While the Department of Political Science does not offer a joint bachelor of arts/master of arts degree, it does allow Columbia and Barnard undergraduates to apply for early admission to its freestanding M.A. program. Early admission to the M.A. program enables qualified undergraduates to obtain the B.A. degree and M.A. degree in fewer than five years (ten semesters) from the time of their entrance into Columbia or Barnard, if they fulfill the M.A. course and residency requirements through summer or fall course work after receiving the B.A. or through accelerated study during the course of their undergraduate career.
Students may apply as early as their junior year or the fall of their senior year to begin graduate study in the summer or fall following award of their B.A. degree. The department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will accept for graduate credit (advanced standing) up to nine credits of appropriate graduate courses taken at Columbia while the student is an undergraduate. Such courses must be in excess of the courses and credits required for the B.A. degree and undergraduate major or concentration.
For further information about the application process and minimal qualifications for early admission, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Some guidelines are below.
- Students applying to the program will follow the standard online application procedure and follow the instructions for internal admission. Students who are applying as juniors must apply by April 1 of their junior year. Decisions on admission to the program will be made after grades are posted from that semester. Students who are applying as seniors 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 MA 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 MA 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 BA and then the MA degree.
- Students may transfer from their undergraduate school to the MA program no more than three courses’ worth of credit.
- Regardless of the number of credits that students have accumulated prior to the fall of their senior year, students must register for at least 1/2 residence unit in the fall semester following their senior year. Since two residence units total are required for the MA degree and GSAS will grant at most one 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 early admissions MA program are the same as for the stand-alone MA program. Details of program requirements may be found here.
- Admission in the MA 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.
- When students are enrolled in the MA program and have finished their 4th year, they officially become students of GSAS. As such, they will lose their rights to undergraduate housing and undergraduate financial aid once they are enrolled in the MA program and have finished their 4thyear. However, at that point they will be eligible for MA housing and financial aid.