The B.A./M.A. Program in the Sciences

Wesleyan has long been praised for the quality of the original research that goes on within the sciences.  Both the faculty and the students are engaged in projects that reflect the essence of innovative scientific research.  Wesleyan is able to provide an outstanding training in science for two reasons.  The first is an overall commitment by the University to maintain top facilities and laboratories.  The second is the commitment by the faculty not only to engage in cutting-edge research, but to include students in this high level of research at an early stage in their scientific careers.  This overall commitment to the sciences and learning has led to the creation of the B.A./M.A. Program.


The B.A./M.A. Program illustrates Wesleyan’s strong commitment to science; we believe that the best way to learn science is to do scientific research.  Wesleyan’s faculty, facilities, and research support allow students majoring in science to receive a Bachelor’s degree in four years and a Master’s degree at the end of the fifth year.  The Master’s degree is tuition free.  This program is particularly appropriate for students who wish to:

  • Strengthen understanding of a field of interest before continuing to a Ph.D. program.  A year of close personal mentoring and laboratory group experience is valuable as preparation for a rigorous Ph.D. program.
  • Pursue industrial science.  A Master’s degree allows students to establish a strong position upon entrance into industrial science.  In terms of salary, employees with the Master’s degree earn approximately $10,000 or more per year over those possessing the Bachelor’s degree.
  • Enter the field of teaching.  Teaching qualifications are enhanced tremendously by completing the program.  The M.A., plus a year of experience engaged in collaborative research with a faculty member, opens up a range of possibilities from teaching science, to holding administrative positions in science education.
  • Strengthen preparation for medical school through an additional year of research and coursework, while taking advantage of Wesleyan’s strong premedical advising program.


A student may earn a Bachelor’s degree in four years and a Master’s degree at the end of the fifth year while building a more solid professional background through courses, seminars and high level research.

  • The opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on a significant research project.
  • Tuition for the fifth year of the Master’s degree is waived.
  • Summer research grants are available in most disciplines.


Students are encouraged to declare their interest in the program to their faculty mentor as early as sophomore year.  Admission to the program is based on faculty sponsorship and a comprehensive evaluation of academic performance.


Applications are submitted online. To start an application for the BA/MA program you must first create an account:  On-line application

The B.A./M.A. Program in the Sciences - A Five Year Plan

            The Science programs at Wesleyan offer a variety of excellent research opportunities.  In fact, the opportunity to carry on significant research is one of the strongest features of science at Wesleyan.  Many undergraduates carry on research in their major department in close collaboration with a faculty member in the department, and those who do often report that undergraduate research has been the most valuable part of their Wesleyan education.  However, in recent years, as the opportunities to do high-quality research have multiplied at Wesleyan, some students have felt the need for a more intensive involvement in research than is possible in the traditional four year undergraduate setting.  In consultation with their major department, a number of such students have constructed programs of study through which they have been able to obtain the M.A. degree after a fifth year of study following their B.A.  This additional year has provided them with the opportunity to devote a great deal of time to completing the research project they had begun as undergraduates.

            Wesleyan’s five-year B.A./M.A. is a formal curricular option for those students who feel the need for the intensive research experience which a fifth year of study can afford.  The program will have a strong research orientation.  However, it will also include course work, seminars, and, in some cases, teaching.  Although it is anticipated that most individuals who enroll in this program will go on for further graduate study, the program will provide a strong professional background for either further advanced study or employment in industry.  It should be clear that completion of both B.A. and M.A. requirements in five years will require careful planning of one's schedule of courses and research for the last two years of the program.  A student hoping to enter this program will be expected to declare the intention to do so early enough in his/her academic career to permit the design of an acceptable program for the last two years with both the major department and a research advisor within that department.

The program will include the following features:

The M.A. will require six to eight credits in addition to the 32 necessary for the Wesleyan B.A.  Of these credits, two to four (at the department's discretion) will be in advanced coursework; the remaining credits may be earned through research, seminars, research practica, etc.  M.A. credit will only be awarded for academic exercises in which grades of B minus or higher have been earned.  However, a student in the program who earns more than 32 credits in four years may apply any excess credits toward the M.A., providing that they are in the major area or a related area and they have not been used to fulfill the undergraduate major requirement.

            Students enrolled in this program will receive the B.A. degree after four years and the M.A. degree at the end of the fifth year.  However, this is a combined degree program; in order to be able to complete the two degrees in five years, it will be necessary for the student to submit a carefully thought out and integrated study plan for the final two years at the time of application to the program.

            Students will be encouraged to declare their interest in the program as early as sophomore year, but applications to begin the MA portion of the BA/MA program in the Fall semester are due December 1 and applications to begin the MA portion of the BA/MA program in the Spring semester are due March 1.

           Admission to the program will be based on both departmental recommendation and academic record.  Departments will set their own requirements for admission into the program, which will be administered by a committee of the Graduate Council.

            Wesleyan will not charge tuition for the fifth year.  Tuition will however be charged for credits being used to make up an "upon completion" requirement.  Students needing more than one year to complete the MA component of the program will pay an extension fee of $250 per semester.

            Students in this program will be expected to submit a M.A. thesis describing the research which they have carried out in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements.  Many students in the program will choose not to write Senior Honors theses because they will be writing a more substantial M.A. thesis based on the same project the following year.  However, there will be no prohibition against writing a B.A. thesis should the student wish to do so.  This would not relieve the student of the obligation to submit a M.A. thesis in the fifth year.

           The program will be under the administrative supervision of a three-person committee of the Graduate Council, which will monitor the progress of students in the program toward completion of the degree requirements.  The OGSS will maintain records of those enrolled in the program.

            Financial support other than tuition remission in the fifth year is not a formal component of this program.  However, some students in the fifth year of the program may be able to find support either from research grant funds or as teaching assistants.

B.A./M.A. Deadline Schedule

Applications to begin the MA portion of the BA/MA program in the Fall semester are due December 1.  Applications to begin the MA portion of the BA/MA program in the Spring semester are due March 1.

Students should apply to the BA/MA program in the semester prior to the semester in which the BA degree is completed.  For example, a student graduating in May should apply the previous fall, and a student finishing in December should apply the previous spring.


December 1 - Application are due.

January 31 - Students receive notification of admission decision from the Director of Graduate Studies.


March 1 - Applications are due.

April 7 - Students receive notification of admission decision from the Director of Graduate Studies.