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

Applicants interested in the BA/MA option should apply well in advance of the semester in which they intend to begin taking courses that will count toward the MA. 

The 2025 BA/MA application will be available online in September. Please check back to this webpage at the end of the summer to review updated information about participating programs and application deadlines.

The prior-season deadlines listed below are provided for reference only. Please check back to this site in September to review the deadline information and participating programs for the 2025 season.

  • Applicants who wish to begin taking courses for graduate credit during the Spring 2024 semester must submit the BA/MA application by November 16, 2023.
  • Applicants who wish to begin taking courses for graduate credit during the Fall 2024 semester must submit the BA/MA application by April 18, 2024.

    Exceptions: Applicants who wish to apply to the BA/MA programs listed below must submit the application before the following deadlines:
    • Political Science: October 30, 2023
    • Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences: January 18, 2024
    • Global Thought: March 1, 2024
    • Human Rights Studies: March 14, 2024
    • Oral History: May 23, 2024
  • Students in the final semester of their senior year are not eligible to apply via the BA/MA option. 

BA/MA Application Policies

All application materials become the property of Columbia University and are not returnable. Additionally, materials will not be shared with or forwarded to third parties.

All materials submitted to Columbia GSAS as part of your application must be your own work. Artificial intelligence programs may not be used to produce any application materials or responses.

Applicants may not submit more than one application under the BA/MA option.

If your BA/MA application is successful, you will be contacted prior to the completion of your undergraduate degree and asked to confirm that you have completed the university's requirements for your degree conferral. You must promptly respond to this inquiry. Your intended program may also contact you to request a copy of your most recent transcript so they may confirm that your academic progress has been satisfactory before GSAS can release a formal offer of admission to the MA program.

To enroll at GSAS, you will be required to formally accept the updated offer of admission by paying a tuition deposit. The tuition deposit is nonrefundable and not transferable. For more information about tuition deposits, please click here.