Columbia BA/MA Degree Option

BA/MA Degree Option

Columbia undergraduates who wish to earn a Columbia MA degree in Sociology may make progress toward the M.A. degree during their senior year. Interested juniors should meet with the MA Program Coordinator in their spring term to plan their course selection and registration for their senior year. B.A./M.A. candidates will apply in the fall of their senior year for admission to the M.A. program the following fall, after completion of their B.A.

Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit

A B.A./M.A. student may be granted up to one-half Residence Unit (.5 R.U.) of advanced standing and/or up to three courses (nine to twelve credits) of transfer credit for graduate courses (4000 level and above) taken in excess of the requirements for the Columbia bachelor's degree, as certified by the Dean of his or her undergraduate division. These courses must also be approved by the MA Program Coordinator as valid electives under the MA degree. Together, these courses will amount to .5 R.U. of the 2 R.U. requirement for a Master’s degree.


The requirements for the M.A. degree are the same for Columbia students entering through the B.A./M.A. option as for students entering through the standard MA admissions procedure. Any exceptions to this should be discussed with and approved by the MA Program Coordinator.


Students applying to the program must follow instructions for internal admission including the standard online application procedure. The deadline for B.A./M.A. students is October 15 of their senior year. Decisions on admission will be made as soon as possible but no later than November 15.

Applications must include all of the materials specified for the standard M.A. application except for GRE scores. This includes a personal statement, undergraduate transcript, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.


Applicants must be current Columbia (CC, SEAS, General Studies) or Barnard undergraduates. Applicants do not have to be sociology majors, although students with a strong social science background will transition more smoothly to graduate work.

Credit Points and Registration

Students cannot count toward M.A. 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 both the B.A. and M.A. degrees.

Students may transfer from their undergraduate school to the M.A. program no more than three 4000 level and above courses (nine to twelve credits).

Regardless of the number of credits that students have accumulated prior to the fall of their senior year, students must register for at least one full residence unit in the fall semester following their senior year and at least one half-residence unit in the spring semester of the M.A.

All other degree requirements for the B.A./M.A. program are the same as for the stand-alone MA program. Details of program requirements may be found here: Free-standing MA in Sociology Requirements.


Admission in the M.A. 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.

Students will have access to the financial aid and housing facilities of their undergraduate division until they complete the bachelor’s degree. There is no guaranteed university housing for master’s students in GSAS.

For more details on the BA/MA option, please refer to the GSAS website: BA/MA Option.