Combined BA/MA programs are relatively new in the grand
scheme of higher education. You can see the ever-growing list of DePaul’s BA/MA
programs here (they’re the ones with the asterisks). The conventional path to a
master’s usually takes six years: four years to earn your bachelor’s and another two to earn your master’s. At DePaul, the BA/MA programs allow you to complete both
your bachelor’s and your master’s within five years. On top of that, the BA/MA
program cuts the cost of a master’s almost in half!
In my BA/MA program, the BA/MA students and the regular
master’s students have the same class requirements. The difference is the
distribution of those classes. During the two years of a regular master’s
program, a full course load is generally two classes per quarter. Right now,
during the senior year of my undergrad, I will be taking one graduate class and
three undergraduate classes each quarter. Next year, I’ll be taking three
graduate classes each quarter. So while it’s a shorter program, it is
definitely more intense.
If you’re thinking about going for your master’s, but the
price is intimidating you, I would definitely suggest looking into the BA/MA
programs. The three graduate classes that I take this year are covered by my
undergraduate tuition (and the credits go towards both my bachelor’s and my
master’s). But that’s not even the best part. The real MVP is the Double Demon Scholarship. Before I met with my advisor, I had never heard of the Double Demon
Scholarship in my life. Don’t let the ridiculous name fool you. It’s pretty
amazing. If you went to DePaul for your undergrad, and you’re coming back for a
graduate program, you receive 25% off all of your graduate credits. So not only
am I getting twelve graduate credits included in my undergraduate tuition, but
the rest of my credits are discounted.
How much does that actually change the cost? The conventional two-year master’s program in International
Studies at DePaul will cost $32,552. For me to earn my master’s through the
BA/MA program, I will pay $18,503. That’s a savings of $14,049, not to mention
a year of my time (which is priceless, as everyone who knows me will tell you).
Right now, I’m loving the program. All the International
Studies grad classes are held at night, so it has been really easy to schedule
around (especially since night classes only meet once per week). It’s
definitely a new level of stress to be balancing the requirements of three
undergrad classes and a grad class at the same time. But to me, a little extra
stress is worth saving the money and time.