Dual BA/MA

The dual BA/MA program offers highly motivated undergraduates the opportunity to earn an MA in less than the usual time by completing some of the MA requirements while still an undergraduate.



The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. It is the policy of this University not to discriminate on the basis of age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or sexual orientation with regard to its students, employees, or applicants for admission or employment. Any complaints alleging failure of this institution to follow this policy should be brought to the attention of the department chair or Ms. Leslie Strohm, General Counsel, Telephone  –  (919) 962-1219.

The following information is intended for both prospective and enrolled students, to familiarize them with requirements and practices of the Department.



The BA requires 120 credits; the MA requires 30. A BA/MA student is allowed to transfer 9 credits earned as an undergraduate into the MA program, as long as at least 120 credits remain to satisfy the BA requirements. A prospective BA/MA student should plan as follows, in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies:

  1. Accumulate at least 120 credits’ worth of courses towards the BA, either by taking the courses outright, or by using Advanced Placement or credit-by-examination, so as to satisfy the BA requirements by December of the fourth year of undergraduate study (or earlier).
  2. In addition to these 120 credits, the student should take three more courses from the 500-level MA required courses, for a total of at least 129 credits.
  3. At the end of the third year, of the beginning of the fourth, the student applies to the MA program. To apply, the student must, by the end of the sixth semester,
    A. Have completed at least two of the three BA core requirements, and at least one course at or above the 500 level
    B. Maintain a minimum overall GPA or 3.300, and a GPA in Linguistics of 3.500
    C. Have met with the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss
    •Feasibility: Is the student, given his or her background and performance, likely to complete both degrees successfully?
    •Utility: Is the student, given his or her interests and goals, likely to benefit from the MA compared to other post-BA paths?

    The GPA requirements must continue to be met through the end of the BA.

  4. No later than the spring of the 4th year, the student enters the MA program, having completed one semester’s worth of MA requirements while still an undergraduate. The student takes the remaining MA credits and completes the thesis along with the regular MA students. Examples of BA/MA academic plans can be found here.

Application and Notification
A student should submit an application to the Linguistics Department before beginning the 7th semester of study. The student should provide the names of two or three UNC Linguistics faculty members to serve as referees. The admissions committee will contact them directly, and other faculty members may also be consulted. Additional recommendations from outside of the Linguistics Department or outside of UNC are welcome as well; they should be sent directly to the committee. Students are not required to submit GRE scores, but are encouraged to consider providing them as supporting materials. Notification regarding acceptance is normally received no later than the 7th semester of study.

Undergraduate Financial Aid
If a student has a four-year undergraduate scholarship, it is important to insure that this advantage is not forfeited by an early transition to the MA program. The Department will work with the Graduate School on individual cases to guard against this possibility.