Double-counting for two degrees
Students across all three domains of the College of Sciences and Humanities have new opportunities on the horizon. The recently initiated Accelerated Master’s Programs (AMP) allow undergraduates to begin their graduate studies at Ball State while still earning their undergraduate degrees. With this option, students can begin taking courses for their master’s degrees while still completing their bachelor’s degrees, double-counting some courses toward both. By fast-tracking their studies, students can save both time and money, continuing to only pay undergraduate tuition for both degrees. In CSH, six departments offer nine Accelerated Master’s Programs, programs spanning across the Natural and Computational Sciences, the Humanities, and the Social Sciences.
Programs in CSH
- Clinical Psychology
- Political Science
- Psychological Science
- TESOL and Linguistics
What does it take?
To be eligible to apply for AMPs, a currently enrolled or admitted Ball State undergraduate student must have earned at least 75 college credit hours and a 3.25 cumulative GPA.
AMP students can count up to 9 graduate credit hours toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees they are working toward, and may also apply an additional 3 graduate credit hours to either degree, but not both. Collectively, students can earn up to 12 graduate credit hours toward a master’s degree while during their pursuing undergraduate endeavors.
According to The Graduate School, “These credit hours are applied not only toward your undergraduate degree, bringing you closer to earning your bachelor’s degree, but they will also later apply toward your master’s degree when you become a graduate student at Ball State.”
Sociology AMP student Sophie Thompson encourages any student interested in their department’s AMP program to apply. “Being able to pay for the first year of graduate school at undergraduate rates and using my undergraduate scholarships made it so the price for getting my master’s degree was much cheaper,” said Thompson. “I also loved the idea of only having to do one additional year of schooling outside of undergrad instead of the typical additional two years. I love the Sociology department faculty and knowing that I’d be learning from the same professors that I already formed connections with really sweetened the deal for me.”
Meet the graduate experts
Many CSH faculty across a variety of disciplines share an excitement for their students and the possibilities AMPs create. In each department, at least one faculty member leads the charge on departmental graduate program expertise. We asked these experts: why AMPs?
In the Department of Biology, students can now enroll in the Biotechnology AMP, a program which was previously only offered as a Graduate Certificate Program.
“In the past, many of our undergraduate students who were interested in biotechnology would enroll in the Biotech Certificate, but would not be able to complete requirements before graduation,” said Dr. David LeBlanc, Professor of Biology. “The Biotechnology AMP provides them a way to complete the biotech certificate and earn a Master’s degree in a shortened amount of time by double-counting 9 credits of graduate level biotechnology course work toward both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.”
Alongside his role as professor, Dr. LeBlanc also serves at the Graduate Program Coordinator for the Department of Biology. He believes that the new program benefits students in ways beyond just saving time and money, but also expands opportunity for career possibilities and advancement.
“The combination of the Biotechnology certificate and the Master’s degree gives them much greater opportunity for career advancement. Some of our past graduates who have the Biotech and Master’s degree combination have been given the freedom and responsibility to run laboratories at major research centers,” Dr. David LeBlanc.
“Students completing a graduate degree will be better positioned by the more rigorous graduate-level curriculum and hands-on learning opportunities to move onto a further advanced study or to the job market,” said. Dr. Debbie Mix.
Dr. Debbie Mix is a Professor of English and the department’s Assistant Chair of Programs. In the Department of English, students have the opportunity to pursue an Accelerated Master’s in English or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Linguistics.
“Once you graduate with your undergraduate degree, you’ll already have at least a couple of courses toward your master’s program, and you’ll be able to complete that MA degree within 12-15 months,” said Dr. Mix.
“This program is a terrific opportunity for motivated, high-caliber students to build on the excellent preparation they are receiving as undergraduates and to hone their craft as writers, investigate literary texts, sharpen rhetorical analysis, explore language and language learning, develop leadership skills, and build professional credentials and experience,” she added.
Dr. Steven Hall, Associate Professor of Political Science and the department’s graduate advisor, enjoys seeing Political Science students mature intellectually as they transition from the undergraduate student role to the graduate student “colleague” role.
“In conversations with prospective students, I am most excited when our program’s goals overlap with the student’s desired career trajectory. Simply put, we want students whose interests fit with what we do. The most gratifying result is when we hear back from them after graduation that the skills they developed here are serving them well in their careers,” said Dr. Hall.
Dr. Hall believes that the AMP program “offers students a chance to transition into a program that gives them a very desirable and portable set of skills that will prepare them for careers in the public and private sector or for further academic training.”
“My favorite part is seeing the power and excitement that they feel when they realize the autonomy they have over their research agenda and that they can apply the skills they have developed to the questions they choose,” said Dr. Hall.
Dr. Anjolii Diaz, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Psychological Science, helped develop the Psychology AMP programs alongside the department’s Graduate Committee. Now, they offer two AMP paths: Clinical Psychology and Psychological Science.
“The Psychological Science Department’s mission emphasizes student’s development in critical thinking, communication competency, diversity competency, personal and professional ethics, and an understanding of psychological science in both laboratory and experiential setting,” said Dr. Diaz. “Our AMPs further support our Department’s mission by providing students with both a deeper understanding of psychological principles and the research experiences that enhances their application for doctoral programs as well as the development of necessary skills needed for entry into the workforce.”
“As one of the largest majors at BSU, it is also imperative that the Department of Psychological Science provides students with a strong infrastructure that supports their academic excellence through inclusivity and provides students with equitable access to higher education,” said Dr. Diaz.
She also believes that “as educators and facilitators of student learning and professional development, we believe we have a responsibility to meet the needs of our ever-evolving student population. Our AMPs will help foster inclusivity by opening the doors to students who otherwise may not be able to attain their goal of an advanced degree by reducing current barriers to students’ academic progress and achievement,” she added.
Dr. Mellisa Holtzman, Professor of Sociology and the department’s Director of Graduate Studies, believes that the Sociology Master’s program has always been attractive to their graduates.
“In any given year, about 60% of our enrolled graduate students are also our former undergraduates. The AMP allows these students to start working on their MA degree much sooner and this is important for our students because it saves them a great deal of time and money,” said Dr. Holtzman.
She also believes that cost and time savings is a “tremendous benefit,” but even more than that, that AMP serves as a “great motivator for students.”
“I’m already having conversations with first-and second-year students who have set GPA goals for themselves that will allow them to apply to the AMP once they have completed 75 credit hours,” she added.
“The MA in Sociology offers excellent preparation for professional jobs in numerous fields, including local/state/federal government, higher education, market research, human resources, counseling, and non-profit work (among others). Students who enroll in the AMP will markedly improve their job prospects and earning potential while also saving themselves time and money in the process,” said Dr. Holtzman.
Want more information?
AMP advisors across our College seem to agree: the benefits of these programs are abundant. To learn more or take the next step toward applying to your program(s) of interest, visit the The Graduate School’s Accelerated Master’s Program webpage.