B.A./M.A. Program for Columbia Undergraduates

The B.A./M.A. option is a program available to Columbia undergraduate English and Comparative Literature majors who would like to pursue an M.A. in a condensed time frame 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 B.A. Students then apply those extra credits toward the M.A. at a later date, after they have graduated. Students exercising the B.A./M.A. option enter our M.A. 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 M.A

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

Applications can be submitted at the GSAS B.A./M.A. Option page at any point during 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 and Comparative Literature Department's DUS and ADGS.

Beyond an initial consultation with the department’s DUS and ADGS, the following materials are required to apply to the B.A./M.A. program:

  • a statement of academic purpose of approximately 1,000 words
  • an academic writing sample of approximately 15 pages in length
  • a résumé
  • three letters of reference from faculty members in the Columbia or Barnard departments of English
  • an undergraduate transcript