Combined BA/MA Pathway

2021 BA/MA students

The combined BA/MA degree pathway in linguistics is a demanding, selective option that allows students who are well prepared and well motivated to complete the requirements for both degrees in five years rather than the usual six.

Admission to the pathway has two stages. In the first stage, interested students first consult with the Undergraduate Program Director and one or more faculty members, and then apply to be admitted to the pathway by the sixth week of the first quarter of their junior year. Transfer students should consult with the Undergraduate Program Director if they are contemplating this pathway. In order to be accepted at this first stage, the students must have demonstrated excellence in at least three courses that are named requirements for the linguistics major.

Students accepted at this initial stage are assigned a faculty mentor who monitors their progress closely.

At the second stage of the admission procedure, students apply in their senior year to be admitted to the MA program through UCSC's normal graduate admissions process. If accepted, they ideally complete the course requirements for the MA, and complete and defend the MA thesis by the end of their fifth year.

Students in the BA/MA pathway take a number of graduate courses in their senior year, which are selected in close consultation with their faculty mentor. Performance in these courses forms a central part of the ongoing evaluation process. If a student's performance does not meet the standards set for the program, the student completes the BA at the end of the senior year and does not proceed to the MA.

Graduate courses required for the MA are taken partly in the senior year and partly in the fifth year. The MA thesis is written in the fifth year. Thus, by the end of their fifth year, students in the program will have fulfilled the requirements for both the BA and the MA degrees. Students who need additional time may remain in the program until the MA thesis is completed and defended.

Students admitted into the BA/MA pathway must complete a minimum of 35 units as an MA student, regardless of the number of graduate courses completed as an undergraduate. (This is a requirement imposed by the Division of Graduate Studies.) If a student completes the core MA requirements as an undergraduate, they should speak with the Graduate Program Director (or their faculty advisor) to create an academic course plan consisting of independent study and graduate seminar courses, sufficient to meet the 35-unit threshold.

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