The Combined Bachelor/Master's Program in Mathematics

The Combined B.S./M.S. program is intended to allow especially talented undergraduate students to progress quickly into graduate level study. The principal feature of the program is that it allows the students to use 12 hours of graduate work simultaneously toward the completion of their bachelor's degree and a program of study leading to a master's degree. Eligible students must apply for admission to the program. This application includes an application for admission to the Graduate School and hence is reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee of the Mathematics Department

Eligibility Undergraduates are eligible to apply for the program after they have completed 75 hours and have a QCA of at least 3.5.

Advisability The combined program is similar to "dual status" in The graduate program - under both arrangements the student is allowed to work toward an undergraduate and a graduate degree at the same time. The distinction is that under dual status a student may use a graduate course toward either their B.S. or their M.S. but not both. In the combined program, up to 12 hours of graduate courses may be used for both the B.S. and M.S. degrees. It is this ability to complete the final year of undergraduate work with the same courses that comprise the first year of graduate work that makes it possible to finish both degrees approximately one year sooner. On the other hand, if a student is not able to complete 12 hours of graduate work in their last year of the BS, then they will probably be unable to finish a M.S. degree by the end of the following year, and hence might not be well-advised to enter the combined program.

Application Procedure Interested students should begin by consulting with their undergraduate advisor to insure that they can complete their undergraduate degree with the inclusion of 12 hours of graduate work in their last year as an undergraduate. Then the applicant should meet with the Graduate Program Director or other qualified graduate advisor to draw up a tentative plan of study for the M.S. degree. The purpose of these consultations is to insure that the combined program is suitable for the applicant before the rest of the application procedure goes forward.

The applicant should fill out an application for admission to Graduate School and arrange for letters of recommendation to be provided. However the application, letters and any other supporting documents (e.g. listing of undergraduate courses) should not be mailed to the Graduate School but collected into an application folder in the Mathematics Department. When it is complete the Graduate Admissions Committee will review the application. If the Admissions Committee recommends acceptance, the application materials will be forwarded to the Honors Program office with a letter from the department stating our decision to accept. The Honors Program must certify eligibility and then forward the application to the Graduate School for official processing.

GRE scores are not required for admission to the combined program, but students accepted are requested to take the GREs at the usual time (in their senior year) and have scores forwarded to the Graduate School. (This is to provide data for a future review of the combined program.)

Note: Since this is a new program administrative procedures for enrolling combined program students are still being developed. In the interim the Graduate School is using the dual status designation to enter students on its computer systems, simply because no combined degree designation yet exists on those systems. Students admitted to the combined program should not be disturbed if they see "dual student" on some documents generated automatically by the Graduate School systems.

GTA Eligibility and Tuition A student admitted to the combined program will only be expected to pay undergraduate tuition in their last year of the BS, even though they are also a graduate student at that time and the graduate tuition is somewhat higher. Students are not eligible to hold a GTA position until they complete their undergraduate degree. However in their last year they are full-fledged graduate students and eligible to hold GTA positions. In the Spring of their last BS year they will be included in the Department's annual review of all graduate students. Awards of GTA positions are determined on the basis of that evaluation. The Department requires all its GTAs to complete a 2-part "teaching certification" process, to insure readiness for assuming teaching duties. We ask that students in the combined program complete this during their last BS year, if possible, so they are ready to assume regular GTA duties at the start of their second year in the graduate program. Students making satisfactory progress can normally expect to receive GTA support in their final year. The Department pays the tuition for all GTA holders in addition to the monthly stipend.

Further Information on Graduate Programs Further information on the requirements of the M.S. in Mathematics and other aspects of the graduate program are available in the brochure GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN MATHEMATICS: Policies and Degree Requirements, available in the Mathematics Department office. In particular they may apply for entry to the Ph.D. program in their final year in the M.S. program. Further questions may be addressed to the Graduate Program Director, or sent to info@math.vt.edu.