The BA/MA (Master of Arts) Program in Science at Wesleyan University

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 BA/MA 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 report that undergraduate research has been the most valuable part of their Wesleyan education.  In consultation with their major department, students have been able to obtain the MA degree after a fifth year of study following their BA.  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 BA and MA 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 BA/MA (Masters of Arts) 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.

Biology BA/MA students are expected to submit and orally defend a formal thesis document that descirbes the research they have carried out in partial fulfillment of the Master's degree requirements, and to give an oral presentation on their research in our graduate seminar series. Biology BA/MA students are expected to complete at least one summer of full-time research (in addition to 2 semesters of research and required coursework), in order to complete their MA thesis in a timely manner.

BA/Ma students enroll in at least 3 credits per semester, typically following the pattern in the chart below.


                    FALL SEMESTER           SPRING SEMESTER
BIOL200,300 or 500 advanced lecture BIOL200,300 or 500 advanced lecture
lab or seminar course (1.0 credit) lab or seminar course (1.0 credit)
                                                          RESEARCH SEMINAR
BIOL549, Advanced Research Seminar, BIOL550, Advanced Research Seminar,
Graduate, Biology (1.0 credit) Graduate, Biology (1.0 credit)
                                                              JOURNAL CLUB
BIOL505, Cell & Development  Journal BIOL506, Cell & Development  Journal
Club I (0.25 credits) Club II (0.25 credits)
BIOL507, Evolution Journal BIOL508,Evolution Journal
Club I (0.25 credits) Club II (0.25 credits)
BIOL509, Neuroscience Journal BIOL510, Neuroscience Journal
Club I (0.25 credits) Club II (0.25 credits)
BIOL557, Advanced Research Seminar, BIOL557, Advanced Research Seminar,
Biology (0.25 credits) Biology (0.25 credits)

MA credit will only be awarded for academic work in which grades of B minus or higher have been earned. A student in the BA/MA program who earns more than 32 credits during the BA may apply any excess credits toward the MA, providing that they are relevant to the research area and they have not been used to fulfill an undergraduate major requirement.  


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

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.

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.

BA/MA Deadline for entering the BA/MA Program

Applications should include a research proposal and copy of the student's official transcript. These materials along with 3 letters of recommendation must be submitted to the departmental or program chari by the deadlines listed below. Note: approval by the Biology Department is only a perliminary step and does not constitute acceptance into the program.

December 1 - Seniors applications due to department

January 12 - Seniors departmental endorsements due to the Office of Graduate Studies

January 31 - Notification of approval from Director of Graduate Studies

March 1 - Juniors applications due to department

March 21 - Juniors departmental endorsements due to Office of Graduate Studies

April 7 - Notification of approval from Director of Graduate Studies

For additional information, visit the Graduate Studies Office BA/MA program website:
Graduate Studies at Wesleyan