Brian Smith, a PhD student in the Department of Political Science recently...
Combined BA/MA Program
This four-year joint bachelor’s/master’s program provide successful undergraduate students the opportunity to complete a master’s degree over their fourth year in the College. This is a highly selective and rewarding program in Political Science offered jointly by the College and the Graduate School or Arts and Sciences.
In this joint program, students complete all requirements for the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts. The last two years of undergraduate study are integrated with the first year of graduate work, eliminating duplication of courses and reducing the time required to earn the two degrees. Successful completion of the BA/MA Program may lead to enhanced career employment opportunities, professional training, or doctoral studies. However, the BA/MA Program is not open to students outside of the CAS or Boston Dual Degree Program (DDP) students.
Application forms are available in the GRS Admissions Office Room 112 of 705 Commonwealth Avenue. Applications must be received by November 1 of the junior year. Seniors may not apply to the BA/MA program. This program is designed for students to complete in four years, not for students staying on for a fifth year. A Request for Wavier of Application Deadline must be completed and signed by the department chairperson and submitted with an application that does not meet the deadline. This form is available in Room 112. Applicants must reply to the offer of admission via the link to the student response form in their acceptance letter to finalize their enrollment in the program. Upon completion of 32 courses in CAS, BA/MA students are governed by the rules and regulations of the Graduate School Arts and Sciences to complete their remaining courses (36 in total). It is the student’s responsibility to refer to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin for details on these rules and regulations.
Applicants must have completed four political science courses, including a 505 level (seminar) course or above, by the time of application. They must have received a GPA of 3.7 or above in these courses and any other political science courses taken. Applicants must also have an overall GPA of 3.5 to be considered for the program. Applicants must include their transcript, two faculty recommendation letters, a completed Plan of Study form signed by the Director of Advanced Programs, and a personal statement indicating their purpose for entering the program with the application forms.
Eight discrete courses must be passed with a grade of B- or better for the MA. Courses may not count for both the BA and MA. The specific requirements are as follows: two of the five graduate core courses (PO 711, PO 741, PO 751, PO 771 and PO 791) must be taken to fulfill departmental requirements. Additionally, all students must complete a research methods sequence (any two from PO 502, PO 840, PO 841, PO 843) and four additional courses at the 505-999 level or above. Courses at the 500-level or above taken prior to admission into the BA/MA program may be used to fulfill MA requirements if not being counted towards the BA degree.
Continuing Student Registration Status
All graduate students are required to be registered during any regular semester or Summer Term semester in which a degree requirement is met. These requirements include the thesis (see below). The continuing student fee for students who have completed coursework but must still complete requirements for the 2014/2015 academic year and for either Summer Term semester is $2856 per semester.
The thesis will consist of a piece of unique scholarship endeavored as an extra project with one faculty member. Students will expect to meet once or more per semester with the faculty member reviewing and commenting on at least two drafts of the paper. After these revisions, the single thesis advisor will grade the thesis on a pass/fail basis. There is no grade-bearing component for the research and writing of the thesis paper. It should be distinct from the graduate coursework.
Finally, students in the BA/MA Program will be expected to attend and participate in co-curricular activities sponsored and endorsed by the Political Science Department such as special symposia, guest lectures, PO internships, and round table discussions. The minimum requirements for these activities should be discussed with the Director of Advanced Programs during the application process and expected activities should be outlined in the application. Students will keep a semi-public online journal that outlines their experience and the Program Director will review the journal before the student presents their thesis to their committee.
Diploma Applications and Degree Conferment
BA/MA students must file two diploma applications – one with CAS for the BA degree and one with GRS for the MA degree. Both degrees are conferred simultaneously upon completion of both degree requirements. The award of the MA is conditional on all requirements for both the BA and MA having been met.
If all BA and MA program requirements (including the thesis) are not met by the graduation deadline in May, students will be permitted to “walk through” commencement exercises in May, but must file both BA and MA diploma applications for September graduation.