5 Year Bachelors/Masters

Interested in earning a Master’s Degree in 5 years?

What is the 5-year Bachelors/Master’s Pathway Program?

An accelerated pathway combining a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies, a B.S. in Environmental Science and Geography, or any other UMBC undergraduate major with a Master’s (M.S.) Degree in Geography and Environmental Systems. You can take up to four graduate level courses as an undergraduate, and these courses “double count”: they count toward both your Bachelor’s degree and your Master’s.

Who Is Eligible?

Any undergraduate student with at least a 3.0 GPA is eligible for the 5-year pathway program, however, the student must secure permission of a GES advisor and the Graduate Program Director to enroll in the program. Undergraduate students interested in this program should consult with their GES faculty advisor as early in their academic career as possible. The advisor will verify that the student’s academic progress is sufficiently advanced to allow successful completion of the requisite graduate-level courses while also completing the requirements for the Bachelor’s degree in their senior year.

How Does It Work?

Students take 4 graduate courses during their senior year. These courses are typically GES 701, GES 702, and two GES 600-level electives. These courses count toward the upper-level elective courses required for the undergraduate GES BA or BS. These courses also count toward the Master’s degree requirements.

How Long Does It Take To Complete?

Full-time students can complete both the Bachelor’s and the Master’s degrees in five years.

How To Apply

Before their senior year, students apply for admission to the accelerated program. In order to successfully apply the student needs to secure the permission of their future advisor. This person needs to be a full-time GES faculty. The student’s pathway advisor will be the student’s advisor through their time as a pathway student and evaluate the student’s final papers. The student’s pathway advisor is not necessarily the same as their previous undergraduate advisor. The undergraduate advisor helps the student select courses while the pathway advisor serves as an intellectual mentor, and so should share similar research interests. The application form for accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs can be found here.

There are several steps to that both the student and their prospective advisor need to take, outlined below. To be admitted to the Graduate School students must have completed all of the University and Department requirements for a bachelor’s degree.

This seems like a lot of steps and paperwork, can you review everything I need to do?

Prior to your 5th year, this is what you need to do, and the order in which you should do it.

During Sophomore or Junior Year

  1. Ask your current undergraduate advisor about the pathway program and determine if it is right for you and who your faculty advisor might be. Your advisor for the Master’s program might be different than your current undergraduate advisor.
  2. Find a faculty advisor that is willing to advise you through the pathway program. This step is incredibly important. Your faculty advisor will guide you through the scholar papers you need to write in your fifth year. Also, without a willing advisor, you will not be accepted into the pathway program.

During Junior Year

  1. Apply for the Pathway program. This will ultimately require three letters of recommendation. One from your future advisor, one from a current GES faculty, and one more (can be GES or other faculty).
  2. Work out a plan with your advisor for the graduate-level courses you will take and submit the Request for Undergraduates to Take Courses for Graduate Credit form. The graduate-level courses you take as an undergraduate need to be pre-approved and this is the form you need. Work with your advisor on this as you will need to pre-identify the courses you want to take in order to fill out the form.

During Senior Year

  1. Apply to the UMBC Graduate School. The application deadline is Feb. 1.
  2. During the student’s last semester of their senior year, they need to complete the 5 year pathway advising report. This allows the student to provisionally map out, with their advisor, what their research papers will be over the following year, and their overall course of study.

5th Year

  1. Take the rest of your courses and write two scholarly papers.

Contact your advisor or the Graduate Program Director, David Lansing (dlansing@umbc.edu), for more information.