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.

Application Procedure

The application form can be found on the CAS GRS website here. Please be sure to include all supplemental documents listed below in the Application Requirements section. The completed application form along with all supplemental documents must be received by November 30th of the junior year. If the application does not meet the deadline a Request for Wavier of Application Deadline must be completed and signed by the department chairperson and submitted with an application. 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. The BA/MA Program is not open to students outside of the CAS or to Boston Dual Degree Program (DDP) students.

If accepted, 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.

Application Requirements

Applicants must have completed four political science courses, including a 505 level (writing intensive seminar) course or above, by the time of application. They must also have an overall GPA of 3.0 or above and a major GPA of 3.5 or above (i.e., across all political science courses). Applicants must include with their application:

  • Plan of Study form. First and foremost, applicants should fill out the the Plan of Study with the PO Undergraduate Advisor, Serrie Hamilton, and leave the form with her to await the Advanced Programs Director’s signature.
  • Unofficial transcript(s). Applicants should send copies of all unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended to grsrec@bu.edu.
  • Two faculty recommendations using the Recommendation for Admission form. Applicants should complete the top portion of each form and then provide it to the faculty members well in advance of the due date. Faculty may then complete and submit this form directly to grsrec@bu.edu or leave it with the Undergraduate Advisor.
  • Research Statement in the range of 3-5 pages. The statement should briefly address the applicant’s achievements and other evidence of academic promise that suggest the ability to complete the MA, before focusing on the applicant’s specific interests in political science and the anticipated thesis topic. It is generally recommended to share the statement with the faculty providing recommendations to the program. Applicants should send the research statement to grsrec@bu.edu.

Program Requirements

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 501, PO 502, PO 840, PO 841, PO 843) and four additional courses at the 505-599 level.  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).

Thesis Requirement

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. The thesis will be archived according to GRS policy.

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.

Current BA/MA Students

Program rules, guidelines, and community resources can be found at the Advanced Programs Blackboard Learn site.