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Undergraduate Dean's Office
Eugenia Chase Guild Hall
Lower Level
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Phone: (610)526-5375
Fax: (610)526-7560

deansoffice@brynmawr.edu

Office Hours
9am - 5pm
Monday - Friday

Bryn Mawr College Combined A.B. / M.A. Program

 

The combined A.B. / M.A. program lets the unusually well-prepared undergraduate student work towards a master’s degree while still completing her bachelor’s degree.  Students in this program complete the same requirements for each degree as would students who undertake the A.B. and then the M.A. sequentially but are offered the unique opportunity to work towards both degrees concurrently and to count up to two courses towards both degrees. 

Frequently asked questions:
Who is eligible for the combined AB/MA program?
In which subjects may students earn the master's degree?
How long does the program take?
If it takes five years, when do I get my degree?
How many courses must a student complete in total?
Are there course load restrictions?
What courses can count towards both undergraduate and graduate credit?
How is an undergraduate course modified to fit the requirements of a graduate course?
Must graduate courses be taken in residence at Bryn Mawr?
How do I apply for the program?
What are the application deadlines?
If I'm accepted to the program, how would I register each semester?

What grades would show on my transcript?
Would I still be considered an undergraduate?

Who is eligible for the combined A.B. / M.A. Program?

Both Bryn Mawr and Haverford undergraduates may participate in this program. Eligible students must present an overall grade point average of at least 3.40 and an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.70 in the subject of the proposed master's degree. Each department has its own procedures for identifying prospective candidates. If you are interested, consult your major adviser or department chair.

In which subjects may students earn the master's degree?

With the department's approval, students may work towards the master's degree in those subjects in which the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers a master's degree. Normally, the Master's will be closely allied to the student's undergraduate major. Currently, Bryn Mawr offers graduate degrees in Chemistry, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, French, Greek, Roman and Classical Studies, History of Art, Mathematics and Physics. Within the last 5 years, students who have completed the combined A.B. / M.A. have earned their M.A. in Chemistry, French, History of Art and Math. 

How long does the program take?

Depending on a student's situation, she might earn both the A.B. and M.A. degrees within four years or might spread her work over five years. Significant advanced planning is needed to complete the program in four years, because it normally requires that students amass four extra undergraduate units before the start of the junior year (see below). There are also financial aid implications for students who take five years to complete the program. McBride Scholars and other special students whose curriculum does not conform to the normal four-year baccalaureate program may propose alternative time-lines.

If I take five years, when do I get my degrees?

You will complete your undergraduate degree requirements within the first four years and earn your A.B. at the end of the fourth year, then get your M.A. at the end of the fifth.

How many courses must a student complete in total?

Each student needs six courses for a master's degree and 32 courses for a bachelor's. But since students can count as many as two courses towards both degrees, many complete the program with only 36 courses total. Students who want to complete both degrees within four years can accumulate these 36 units in any combination of the following ways:

  • Applying up to four units of undergraduate credit from work completed in high school earned via the AP, IB, or A-level exams or as transfer credit.
  • Enrolling in an overload of five undergraduate courses during any of her first four semesters at the College. Please note that students enrolled in even a single graduate course may not enroll in more than four courses total during that semester.
  • Earning up to four units of credit during summer school.

Are there course load restrictions?

Yes! In general, students should not plan to take more than two units of graduate work during the junior year. Any applicant who wishes to take more that year must gain the explicit approval of her department, the Special Cases Committee, and the Graduate Dean.   Because students enrolled in even a single graduate course may not enroll in more than four courses total during that semester, most successful applicants will have earned 20 undergraduate units before the start of the junior year.

What courses can count towards both undergraduate and graduate credit?

Students may count two of six graduate courses toward the A.B. These two courses may be full graduate courses or advanced undergraduate courses (300-level or above) that have been modified to fit the requirements of a graduate course (see below). The faculty member will submit both a numerical "undergraduate" grade to the Registrar and an evaluation form to the Graduate School .

How is an advanced undergraduate course modified to fit the requirements of a graduate course?

Any 300- or 400-level course, either required by the major or an elective, may be presented towards the master's degree, provided that the student completes graduate-level work for the course. Before beginning any such course, a student should always consult with the instructor and the graduate chair or adviser about any extra requirements for graduate credit. The Graduate School will grant credit for this work only when the instructor's report to the Graduate School certifies that it meets graduate-level expectations and has been approved by the department.

Must all graduate courses be earned in residence at Bryn Mawr?

Students may enroll in graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania via our reciprocal agreement and may also earn graduate credit on the Bryn Mawr College Summer Program in Avignon. For work done on any other campus, consult the graduate adviser before enrolling in any courses.

How do I apply to the program?

A student enrolled in at least her fourth semester, who has completed significant work in her major subject and who presents the requisite grade point averages may apply. The application must be approved by the Graduate School BEFORE the student begins any graduate work.

Any interested student should begin by talking with her major adviser, the graduate adviser in the field of her proposed master's degree, and her dean.  She is also encouraged to consult the Dean of Studies.  These conversations should take place in the sophomore year or, at the latest, the first week of the junior year.

To apply, the student and her major adviser complete a Plan for a Combined AB/MA Program (class of2014) or Plan for a Combined AB/MA Program (classes of 2015 and 2016. After the student gains the approval and signature of her adviser, her graduate chair, and her dean, she submits the proposed plan to the Dean of Studies, who presents it to the Special Cases Subcommittee of the Committee on Academic Standing.  The Special Cases Subcommittee must approve the plan before forwarding it to the Graduate School, at which point the student must complete a full application to the Graduate School.  For more information, please consult the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at http://www.brynmawr.edu/gsas/abma.html.

What are the application deadlines?

You must submit your plan by: If you intend to:

February 5 of the sophomore year

start graduate work in the fall of junior year

September 15 of the junior year

start graduate work in the spring of junior year

March 15 of the sophomore year

study abroad in the fall of junior year and start graduate work in the spring of junior year

February 5 of the junior year

complete the program in five years and start graduate work in the fall of senior year

September 15 of the senior year

complete the program in five years and to start graduate work in the spring of senior year


If I'm accepted to the program, how would I register every semester?

You will register for both undergraduate and graduate courses via Virtual Bryn Mawr.  You should follow instructions from both the Undergraduate Dean's Office and the Office of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences regarding issues advising and approval. Dual records will be maintained. The evaluation forms on all work completed for the higher degree will be kept in the Graduate Office. The Registrar's Office will notify the Graduate Office when the work towards the A.B. has been completed and, if the M.A. is not received simultaneously, the student will register with the Graduate Office for the remaining graduate work.

What grades would show on my transcript?

You would receive numerical grades for every course that you use towards your undergraduate degree, including those that also count towards the graduate degree. You will receive a grade of "S" for every other graduate course.

Would I still be considered an undergraduate?

After a student has been accepted into the program and throughout the first four years of study, she remains an "undergraduate" with respect to tuition, financial aid, housing, organized student activities, honor code, and primary advising.

If you complete your baccalaureate degree after four years and continue to work on your master's for a fifth year, you must become a fully matriculated student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences subject to all its regulations for that year. This means in your fifth year you will need to pay graduate tuition and fees.  Tuition rates can be found on the GSAS web site. Many students at this point will take out student loans to cover these expenses.   Please contact Student Financial Services to inquire about loan options for graduate students.

                                                                                                               Revised Fall 2011