BA/MA Option

The “BA/MA option” is a program available to Columbia undergraduate English majors who would like to pursue an MA with us after receiving a BA, and which allows them to receive the MA on a reduced timeline and at a reduced cost.

If admitted to the program, students take graduate-level coursework while still enrolled as undergraduates, and take classes in excess of the credit requirements for the BA. Students then apply those extra credits toward the MA at a later date, after they have graduated from their undergraduate school and enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students exercising the BA/MA option enter our MA program with advanced standing: they can be credited with up to three courses at the 4000 level or above (for between 9 and 12 credits), and up to 0.5 Residence Units. Once they are enrolled, these students work to complete the remaining requirements for the MA. In essence, the “BA/MA option” is an opportunity to receive an MA degree at a 25% discount.

Undergraduate students may apply to the BA/MA program in their junior or senior years. If admitted, students plan their subsequent academic schedules with our Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Director of Graduate Studies, to ensure that they are on track to exceed our BA requirements and earn transfer credit. Students who apply later than the fall semester of their senior year should submit the standard MA application, but will still be able to transfer eligible credits upon enrolling in the MA program.

Applications can be submitted here at any point during classes in the fall or spring semesters, and the application will be reviewed before the semester’s end. Please also send your materials by email to the English Department's Associate Director of Graduate Studies and Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Beyond an initial consultation with the department’s DUS and ADGS, the following materials are required to apply to the BA/MA program:

  • a statement of academic purpose (approximately 1,000 words)
  • an academic writing sample of approximately 15 pages in length
  • a resume/c.v.
  • the names of three references in the Columbia or Barnard departments of English
  • an undergraduate transcript