BA/MA Option

The BA/MA option is available only to current Columbia undergraduates (Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of General Studies, and Barnard College).

Applicants apply during their junior year or during the first semester of their senior year.

Applicants admitted via the BA/MA option receive permission to commence MA coursework for the program of their choice, with a promise of official admission to the MA program following the conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Transfer Credit

Students who are offered admission under the BA/MA option will work with the DGS or program director to determine an appropriate selection of graduate courses during their remaining undergraduate semesters, and can be granted up to .5 Residence Unit (RU) of the 2 RUs required for a Master’s degree.

Upon enrollment in GSAS, BA/MA students may be granted up to three courses (9-12 credits) of transfer credit and up to 0.50 Residence Unit (RU) for graduate courses (4000-level and above). Students transferring fewer than 9 credits will be granted a 0.25 RU.

Transfer credit will be granted ONLY for courses taken in excess of the 124-credit requirement for the Columbia or Barnard bachelor's degree (i.e., courses that did not count toward undergraduate major, concentration, or general education requirements). 

Transfer credit courses must be taken for a letter grade, and the grade received must be B or better.

Students will then complete the remaining RUs and coursework as GSAS students. For more information on completing Residence Units as part of fulfilling degree requirements, see Residence Unit and Other Registration Categories.

Applying for the BA/MA Option

Departmental Advising

Students who are interested in pursuing the BA/MA option must consult the director of graduate studies (DGS) or program director of their intended MA program before applying. This consultation is a required part of the application process and must take place before a BA/MA application may be submitted.

Participating programs are listed below. 

Application Deadlines for 2023

Applicants interested in the BA/MA option should apply at least two months prior to the semester in which they intend to begin taking courses that will count toward the MA. 

The 2023 BA/MA application is available here.

  • Applicants who wish to begin taking courses for graduate credit during the Spring 2023 semester must submit the BA/MA application by November 16, 2022.
  • Applicants who wish to begin taking courses for graduate credit during the Fall 2023 semester must submit the BA/MA application by April 20, 2023.

    Exceptions: Applicants who wish to apply to the BA/MA programs listed below must submit the application before the following deadlines:
    • Political Science: October 19, 2022
    • Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences: January 19, 2023
    • Human Rights Studies: March 16, 2023
    • Global Thought: March 16, 2023
  • Students in the final semester of their senior year are not eligible to apply via the BA/MA option.