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BA/MA Program

Wesleyan offers a BA/MA program in the natural sciences, mathematics, and psychology as a formal curricular option that allows Wesleyan undergraduate students to continue at the university for a degree of Master of Arts (MA) after completing their bachelor’s degree. The program has a research orientation and includes course work, seminars, and in some cases, teaching. The program provides a strong professional background for further advanced study or employment in industry.  

The period for completion of the MA degree is two semesters beyond the completion of the BA degree.  BA/MA students are full-time, in-residence graduate students during the two semesters immediately after the completion of the BA degree.

Students must apply for this program before they complete their undergraduate studies.  Careful planning of one's schedule of courses and research is essential for completion of both the BA and MA degrees.  In the optimal case, a student will have 1) started research in the summer prior to their senior year, and 2) plan to take coursework during the senior year that can be applied to the MA degree. Applicants are not required to take the GRE.

  • BA/MA Requirements

    The MA requires six or more credits in addition to the 32 required for the Wesleyan BA. MA degree requirements for coursework, thesis and its defense are specific to each department and can be found in the University Catalog:  https://catalog.wesleyan.edu/departments. One credit in each semester will be awarded for Advanced Research (549/550). Research must culminate in an MA thesis.  MA credit is awarded only for courses with a minimum grade of B minus.  

    Students who earn more than 32 credits at the time the BA degree is completed may apply excess credits toward the MA degree provided that the credits are for courses relevant to the area of study and the courses have not been used to fulfill the undergraduate major requirement. 

    Students in the BA/MA program are required to submit an MA thesis describing the research that they have carried out in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements. Many students in the program choose not to write a BA Honors thesis because they will be writing a more substantial MA thesis based on the same project the following year. However, there is no prohibition against writing a BA thesis should the student wish to do so. This does not relieve the student of the obligation to submit a MA thesis.

  • Applying to the BA/MA Program

    There are two application deadlines, one in the Fall semester (December 1) and one in the Spring semester (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 completing the BA in May should apply the previous fall, and a student completing the BA in December should apply the previous spring.

    Dates for applications submitted in the Fall semester (to start the MA portion the next Fall term):

    December 1 - Applications are due.

    January 12 – Departments complete review of applications.

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

    Dates for applications submitted in the Spring semester (to start the MA portion the next Spring term):

    March 1 - Applications are due.

    March 21 – Departments complete review of applications.

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

    To start an application for the BA/MA program you must first create an account:  On-line application

    Notes About the Online Application

    • It is important to use both upper and lower case letters, as appropriate.
    • You may save your work on your application and return to complete it at a later date.
    • Applications are not considered complete until you click Submit. You will not able to edit an application once you Submit.

    Upload the required supplemental materials with the application. Required materials include:

    1) Research Proposal:  A brief description of research you have done and the research you propose to conduct.

    2) Program of Study: The schedule of courses that you will use to satisfy the department requirements for the MA degree, approved by your Master’s thesis advisor. Please Note - Some students find it necessary to revise their Program of Study.  Please click here for the revised Program of Study form.

    3)  Personal Statement: A brief statement of why you are interested in this program and how it fits with your future career plans. 

    4)  Recommendations: At least two letters of recommendation, one from your faculty research advisor and one from an additional Wesleyan faculty member.

    5)  Transcript: A copy of your unofficial undergraduate transcript(s). If you wish, you may include a statement of why you feel your transcript is not an accurate reflection of your academic ability.

    Departments review applications and indicate whether or not they support the application. Applications are then reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies and a committee of the Graduate Council.

  • Tuition and Fees

    Tuition for two semesters of post-BA work toward the MA degree is waived, including courses offered during summer and winter sessions. The tuition waiver is not applicable to study abroad courses, nor to coursework beyond the two semesters after the BA.  In the exceptional case that a student needs an additional semester to complete the MA thesis the student will be charged an extension fee of $250. 

    BA/MA students are financially responsible for their housing, food, health insurance,  the graduate student activity fee, and other living expenses.  Please plan accordingly.  

    Meal plan stipends may be available to eligible students upon application.  Students who have completed the BA requirements and received Wesleyan grant aid during the final year of the BA program are eligible to apply for a meal plan stipend.  The meal plan stipend provides the all-points plan free of charge for the two semesters after the BA.  The meal plan stipend is not available in the summer or during winter break. Students are welcome to participate in the Middletown Cash program.

    BA/MA students are required to have health insurance and must provide proof of health insurance coverage. Students may opt to participate in the graduate student health plan offered by the university.  BA/MA students who select student insurance are responsible for the full premium.  Please see https://www.wesleyan.edu/grad/student-services/HealthInformation.html

    BA/MA students are not eligible for graduate stipends from the University.  Some students may be able to find financial support either from research grant funds or by serving as teaching assistants after completion of the BA. Please note that student accounts must be in good standing to continue study after the BA portion of the program.

  • Housing Options for BA/MA Students

    BA/MA students are eligible to apply for Wesleyan graduate student housing.  Graduate student housing generally becomes available in late August. 

    BA/MA students who are required by their academic department to be on campus conducting research in the summer between the completion of the BA and the start of the MA who wish to live in Wesleyan graduate student housing in the Fall, may apply to live in graduate student housing during the summer.  Residential Life will make every effort to accommodate these requests.

    The deadline for applying for Wesleyan housing is July 1. Residential Life makes every effort to match a graduate student’s preference for housing with the available housing stock and considers requests in the order in which applications are received. 

    BA/MA students who are required by their academic department to be on campus conducting research in the summer between the completion of the BA and the start of the MA who do not plan to live in Wesleyan graduate student housing in the Fall, should make arrangements to move into an off-campus location for the summer. 

    Wesleyan Graduate Housing Options: https://www.wesleyan.edu/reslife/grad_housing/grad_options.html

    Wesleyan Graduate Housing Application: https://www.wesleyan.edu/reslife/grad_housing/housing_application.html

  • Additional Information

    BA/MA students are full-time, in-residence graduate students during the two semesters that immediately follow the completion of the BA degree requirements.  

    The Office of Graduate Student Services will review the academic records of BA/MA students at the end of the first semester of the graduate program.  Academic review warnings will be sent to students and the research advisor who are in danger of not fulfilling course requirements for the MA degree by virtue of having received a failing grade (B- or below) in a course. A student with no chance of fulfilling the requirements for the MA degree by the end of the second semester may be required to withdraw from the university, subject to approval by the department.

    BA/MA students who have completed all of the course requirements for the MA degree but have not completed the thesis will be classified as ABD-NOT and may continue as ABD-NOT for a maximum of two years. Students classified as ABD-NOT continue research and writing, do not enroll in courses, are not eligible for tuition remission, are not eligible for the meal plan stipend, are not eligible for federal student loan deferment, and pay a nominal fee of $250 per semester. In exceptional circumstances, students may petition their academic department for a one-year extension beyond the two-year limit for ABD status.  University housing beyond two semesters of work after the BA is not guaranteed; new graduate students have priority for university housing.

  • BA/MA Guide to Successful Completion

    The experience of BA/MA students varies as much as the breadth of research topics and the personalities of students and faculty mentors.  Explicit and clear expectations and communication will help you succeed. 

    Advisor and Committee 

    Your advisor is your mentor and essential to your success.  Some departments, though not all, form committees made up of faculty who will monitor your progress, provide feedback on your work, help you with research problems and arbitrate disagreements between you and your advisor.  In some departments, other faculty serve as “readers” of the final thesis.

    It is recommended that you discuss these topics with your advisor:

    • What your advisor expects from you (in the lab, in research, in writing).
    • How often you will meet.
    • When to select your committee members or readers and how to select them.

    Courses

    Confer with your advisor about course selection.  If your selected courses are other than what you submitted on your “Program of Study” on your application, submit a “Revised Program of Study” form to the Office of Graduate Student Services.  This is important as it helps verify credits toward your degree.

    Research and Thesis 

    Make a comprehensive plan with your advisor.  Unspoken expectations on both sides can cause problems.

    It is recommended you discuss these topics with your advisor: 

    • What to do when you run into trouble with research.
    • How you will know when you have enough data.
    • How you will know when it is time to start writing.
    • Sharing data and written work with your advisor.
    • Reasonable expectations for feedback after you have shared what you’ve written.

     

    If you have trouble related to:

    Do this…

    Research

    Talk to your advisor and/or your committee

    Writing

    Make an appointment at the Writing Center

    Lab mates

    Talk to your advisor

    Advisor

    Talk to another member of your committee or to Graduate Student Services

    Anything else

    Talk to Graduate Student Services

  • Timeline Nuts and Bolts

    The online MA Graduation Requirements contains deadline dates for people who complete the degree requirements in May.  People who complete the degree requirements in December use the same exit packet and forms and disregard the dates. 

    Students who complete the MA in May must complete the exit process before the deadline of the exit period in order to receive the degree in May.

    Students who complete the MA in December must defend the thesis and complete the exit process before the start of the enrollment period for the subsequent spring semester.  Preferences vary by department – check with your advisor.

    Each Department has its own variations on the protocols and the following information is generalized. Make sure to check the details of the requirements with your own department.

    • MA students are required by their departments to participate in an oral defense. Your department will schedule your oral defense to occur during the MA Oral Exam Period. Check with your department Administrative Assistant for scheduling your oral defense.
    • You will need to submit a copy of your thesis to your thesis readers/committee members approximately two weeks before your scheduled oral defense date. Check with your faculty research advisor about the latest date they would like you to submit your thesis to your readers/committee.
    • Committees often require a student to make edits to the thesis after the oral defense.  You must make all edits before uploading the final document to WesScholar.  After you have defended, made edits to your thesis, and uploaded the final document to WesScholar, you must exit through the Office of Graduate Student Services.  You must bring the required signed paper forms to the exit appointment.
    • Instructions for scheduling an exit appointment are included in the online Graduation Requirements:

    http://www.wesleyan.edu/grad/academics/graduationrequirementsma.html

    Possible Timeline for Progress on Thesis (work out the details with your P.I.)
    May Completion: 

    • By end of the first semester of MA – complete majority of experiments
    • By end of winter break - write draft of introduction to your thesis
    • By end of spring break - write draft of methods and results
    • By end of first week of April - write draft of abstract and conclusion
    • By end of second week of April - revise and edit with your advisor

     

    December Completion: 

    • By end of the first semester of MA – complete majority of experiments
    • By end of summer break - write draft of introduction to your thesis
    • By mid-October - write draft of methods and results
    • By end of first week of November - write draft of abstract and conclusion
    • By end of second week of November - revise and edit with your advisor