B.A./M.A. Program in Political Science

Columbia undergraduates who wish to earn a Columbia Master’s in a participating department or interdisciplinary program may make progress toward the M.A. degree during their senior year. Interested juniors should meet with the Director of Graduate Studies and departmental faculty in their spring term in anticipation of selecting and registering for courses to be taken their senior year. Such students would then apply in the fall of their senior year for admission to the M.A. program the following fall, after completion of their B.A.

Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit

A B.A./M.A. student may be granted up to one-half Residence Unit (.5 R.U.) of advanced standing and/or up to three courses (nine to twelve credits) of transfer credit for graduate courses (4000 level and above) taken in excess of the requirements for the Columbia bachelor's degree, as certified by the Dean of his or her undergraduate division. These courses count as .5 R.U. of the 2 R.U. requirement for a Master’s degree.


The requirements for the M.A. degree are the same for Columbia students entering through the B.A./M.A. option as for students entering through the standard MA admissions procedure.


  • Students applying to the program will follow the standard online application procedure and follow the instructions for internal admission. Students  must apply  by October 15 of their senior year. Decisions on admission will be made as soon as possible but no later than November 15.
  • Applications will include all of the materials specified for the standard M.A. application, including personal statement, undergraduate transcript, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. Students may be exempted from submitting GRE scores with written permission from the Director of Graduate Studies for the Political Science Department.


  • Applicants must be current Columbia (CC, SEAS, General Studies) or Barnard undergraduates.
  • Applicants do not have to be political science majors, although students with strong political science backgrounds are advantaged.

Credit Points and Registration

  • Students cannot count toward M.A. course requirements any course that has counted toward any undergraduate major or concentration or toward the 124 credit points for their overall undergraduate degree. After the senior year, an undergraduate dean will certify what specifically did not count for the BA degree and therefore can be applied to the MA. However, students should consult with deans and advisers before the senior year when designing a course of study for completion of the B.A. and then the M.A. degree.
  • Students may transfer from their undergraduate school to the M.A. program no more than three 4000 level and above courses (nine to twelve credits).
  • Regardless of the number of credits that students have accumulated prior to the fall of their senior year, students must register for at least one-half residence unit in the fall semester following their senior year. Since two residence units total are required for the M.A. degree and GSAS will grant at most one-half residence unit of advanced standing for courses taken as an undergraduate, it is recommended that students register for a full residence unit in the fall following their senior year.
  • All other degree requirements for the B.A./M.A. program are the same as for the stand-alone MA program. Details of program requirements may be found here.


  • Admission in the M.A. program may be revoked if after admission students fail to make adequate progress toward either the undergraduate or graduate degree. Examples of failure to make adequate academic progress include severe declines in GPA and cases of academic dishonesty.
  • Students will have access to the financial aid and housing facilities of their undergraduate division until they complete the bachelor’s degree. There is no guaranteed university housing for master’s students in GSAS programs.