BA/MA Program FAQ


How does the BA/MA program work?

This program is designed for students seeking additional preparation before applying for PhD Programs in English and related fields, as well as for those pursuing other career tracks (such as secondary teaching and publishing, law school) in which an MA degree in English is valuable. This program will give students the chance to work closely with faculty mentors and with doctoral students who come to UB from other institutions to study at a Research 1 graduate program. Applicants must be UB English majors in their junior year.

The College of Arts and Sciences requires a total of 120 credits for a BA degree. The MA degree requires 30 credits distributed as 8 seminars.

Students continuing in the BA/MA program would also receive the conferral of the BA at the end of their senior year assuming they have successfully fulfilled all BA requirements.

When can I apply to the BA/MA Program?

Undergraduates must apply in the spring semester of their junior year for admission in the fall semester of their senior year.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with notification by the end of May, so that students will know by the end of their junior year whether they are eligible to pursue the combined degree at the start of their senior year.

 What is fourth year review?

In the spring semester of the fourth year, students will undergo a review to determine whether their performance justifies continuing in the BA/MA program. If approved, students will continue as indicated above. If their performance is considered inadequate, students will conclude their work in English with the conferral of the BA.  Students continuing in the BA/MA program would also receive the conferral of the BA at the end of their senior year assuming they have successfully fulfilled all BA requirements.  Students who are not approved to continue with the BA/MA program may reapply to the MA program at a later date. Their English 501 and 502 seminars will count toward their BA degree.

What are the costs of the program?

BA/MA students will pay undergraduate rates for four years, then graduate tuition rates for only the final 5th year. This significantly reduces the cost of a traditional two-year MA program.

Do I need to write an MA Thesis?

As in the stand-alone Master’s Degree Program, students in the BA/MA Program can complete their requirements for the MA either by writing a thesis or through an MA Project/Exam. As described in our MA Handbook, the MA Project (Eng 598) is usually an oral exam based on a semester-long reading list, along with an essay of between 25-30 pages. This option tends to be preferred by students who have not yet decided to specialize in a particular field. This project may result in a polished writing sample for further graduate applications and/or submission for journal publication.

Will I still be able to do an undergraduate Honors thesis?

Yes. If you are enrolled in the BA/MA Program and plan to do Honors as well, you will take English 497, ideally in the fall of your senior year. During your senior year, you will write an Honors thesis. During your fifth year, you will have the opportunity to expand and significantly revise your Honors thesis, if you wish to make it the basis of your MA thesis. You may also pursue an entirely different research topic for your MA thesis or choose to take the MA project/exam.

Can I complete the Undergraduate Creative Writing Certificate AND the Innovative Writing Certificate at the MA level?

If you are interested in this option, you should speak with the Director of the Certificate in Innovative Writing to determine whether you could complete the required coursework (MA with Certificate) within a 5th year at UB

If you have further questions about Creative Writing and the Innovative Writing Certificate, please contact Professor Dimitri Anastasopoulos

Will I be able to apply for departmental support (fellowships, teaching assistantships) while I am working toward my MA degree?

No. BA/MA students do not qualify for departmental support.

Can I earn a PhD after my BA/MA?

We recommend that students who have received their BA and MA degrees from UB pursue their doctorate elsewhere.

More Information?

If you have any further questions about the BA/MA program or the stand-alone MA program, please contact the Director of the MA Program, Jason Maxwell,