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Accelerated Master’s Degree Options

Overview

The Accelerated Master’s Degree Option is created to encourage undergraduate students with top academic records to remain at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst for a Graduate Degree. The Accelerated Master’s Degree Option is designed to enable graduate programs to identify potential candidates as early as the junior year of study by extending an “early” (conditional) offer of admission. The requirements for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees remain unchanged.

For additional information on setting up an Accelerated Master's Degree Option see Faculty Senate Document No 10-043.

For requirements and contact information for programs approved as of Fall 2014 see Accelerated Master's Programs at UMass Amherst.

Definition

An accelerated Master’s degree option is an explicit arrangement of graduate admissions and courses and other requirements to enable a student to complete the requirements for a baccalaureate degree and a specified Master’s degree in less calendar time than would be required through normal sequential enrollment.  Although such arrangements are sometimes referred to as “five-year” programs, “4+1 programs,” or “combined bachelor’s/Master’s programs,” it is important to keep in mind that they do not refer to a distinct or different kind of degree program.  The reduction in calendar time does not result from a reduction in courses or content.

Application and Admission

The standard application procedures for admission to graduate programs apply to the Accelerated Master’s Degree.  Students are encouraged to apply by November 30 of their junior year and receive a conditional admission to the Accelerated Master’s Degree in either the fall or spring. At their discretion, programs may consider applications at any point during the student’s junior or senior year. This will be an assurance by the University that they are entitled to admission to the Accelerated Master’s Degree in the appropriate semester provided they fulfill the regular Graduate School’s admission requirements and procedures. For more information see the Graduate School Catalog.

The admission to the graduate program remains conditional until the applicant completes the baccalaureate degree and fulfills the Graduate School and graduate program’s requirements for admission.

Program proposals should describe admission requirements for the Accelerated Master’s Degree applicant particularly if it differs from standard admission requirements for existing master’s program in the same department.

Program Credit Requirements

The Accelerated Master’s Degree requires minimum total credits, taken across both programs, equal to 30 plus the minimum baccalaureate credit requirement.  The typical undergraduate degree requires 120 credits, so the credit minimum for accelerated option would be 150 unless a higher undergraduate requirement applies.

Credit Transfer

All courses applied to the Accelerated Master’s Degree must be graduate level courses, numbered 500 or above.  Upon departmental recommendation, 9 credits may be transferred for programs with up to 36 credits required; 12 credits can be transferred to the graduate degree program for programs with over 36 credits required. Those credits that are to be transferred must be taken as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst while enrolled in the Accelerated Master’s Degree.

Degree Requirements

All standard graduate program and Graduate School master’s degree requirements must be met in order to receive the degree.

Five-College Students

Qualifying undergraduate students from Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke or Smith Colleges may be considered for enrollment in the 5th Year Master’s Program Option at the discretion of the program offering the option. The standard UMass Amherst Graduate School admission and program requirements will apply to these students as well.

Internship

Graduate internship credits, if required for the master’s degree, must be registered while the student is a graduate student.  For students graduating in May, the program may wish to admit the student for the Summer term and allow the student to do the internship that same summer. 

Fees Charged

All applicants are required to pay the Graduate Application Fee and the Graduate Entering Fee.  Graduate level Tuition and Fees will be charged each semester after matriculation as a graduate student.  Students not enrolled for at least one course per semester must pay the Graduate Continuation Fee.

Faculty

All faculty teaching and/or advising 5th year option students must be members of the Graduate Faculty.  Members of the 5-College community are eligible to serve as Graduate Faculty provided they meet the criteria for Graduate Faculty status as established by the UMass Amherst academic departments and the Graduate Council. Such recommendations are made to and approved by the Graduate Dean.