The joint bachelor’s/master’s program offers 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 of Arts and Sciences. In this program, students complete all requirements for the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts. The last two years of undergraduate study are integrated with a 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.

A summary sheet of the program can be found here.

Application Procedure

Students may apply to the BA/MA program in their Junior Year

  • The completed application form along with all supplemental documents listed below must be received by November 30th of the junior year. If the application does not meet the deadline, a Request for Waiver of Application Deadline must be completed and signed by the department chair and submitted with the application.
  • Students must have completed at least four semesters at BU to apply for the BA/MA program. Students who transferred to BU may apply during the Spring semester of their Junior year instead of the Fall semester to satisfy this requirement. Students should consult with the program advisor.
  • 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 CAS or to Dual Degree (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 PO505+ seminar, 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:

  • Application Form
  • Plan of Study (to be filled out with an undergraduate advisor)
  • Unofficial transcript(s) (emailed to grs@bu.edu)
  • Two faculty recommendations using the Recommendation for Admission form. Faculty should complete and submit this form directly to grs@bu.edu.
  • Research Statement (3-5 pages, double spaced, emailed to grs@bu.edu). 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. We recommend sharing the statement with the faculty providing recommendations to the program. The research statement should address the following questions:
    1. Why do you want to pursue a master’s degree in political science?
    2. What is, in your opinion the best political science research that you have completed thus far? Explain your research question, methodology, and findings.
    3. What are 2 – 3 research questions that you are interested in studying for your thesis? What makes them interesting and important questions to (a) you, and (b) political scientists?

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 four graduate core courses (PO 711, PO 751, PO 771 and PO 791)
  • two methods courses (PO 501, PO 502, PO599, PO 841, PO 842, PO 843, PO844, or PO 845)
  • PO 599 (Data Science for Politics) is offered concurrently with PO 399. Students may not enroll in PO 599 if they have already completed PO 399. However, students admitted to the BA/MA program may petition to have PO 399 counted as a course to fulfill this methods requirement by contacting the program advisor. Note that by counting PO 399 towards the MA degree, it cannot simultaneously count as credit for the BA degree.
  • First- and second-year students considering the BA/MA program are encouraged to enroll in PO 399 as early as possible in their academic careers.
  • four additional courses at the PO505-598 level.

Courses at the 505-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. 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 produced as an extra project with a faculty member.

  • Students will meet regularly with their faculty advisor. The faculty advisor should review and comment on at least two drafts of the paper.  After these revisions, the 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.
  • The thesis must be distinct from the graduate coursework.Academic work submitted to fulfill the requirements of undergraduate or graduate courses cannot be resubmitted as the master’s thesis. However, the thesis may build on prior coursework. For example, the graduate field seminars may require students to produce a research design or literature review. This work, with the permission of the faculty advisor and course instructor, may be used for the thesis.
  • The thesis will be archived according to GRS policy.

Diploma Applications and Degree Conferment

BA/MA students only need to file an intent to graduate with CAS Advising. Both the BA and MA degree 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 an intent to graduate with CAS Advising for September graduation.

Current BA/MA Students

Program rules, guidelines, and community resources can be found here.