By Jessica Lyons
How the Programs Work
Students enrolled in 5-year combined degree programs are able to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in a shorter amount of time by taking graduate courses while they're still technically undergraduates. Some of these courses could count towards both their bachelor's and master's degrees.
For example, the College of Communication at DePaul University offers a combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts program in several different areas, including journalism, media and cinema studies or organizational and multicultural communication. During their senior year, students enrolled in these degree programs take three graduate courses that could count toward both degrees. After they have earned their bachelor's degrees, these students complete nine graduate classes to fulfill the requirements for their master's degrees.
One of the biggest benefits of enrolling in a combined degree program is that it gives you the chance to earn two degrees in five years instead of the typical six when you complete your bachelor's degree in four years and then your master's degree in two years. You can save some time and get started on your career a little sooner.
Condensing the amount of time it takes you to earn both of your degrees might also be a good financial decision. First of all, you'll be able to save money by completing your studies quicker. It will also mean you can get a full-time job sooner and start earning more money.
Other Factors to Consider
These programs could be good fits for students who know they want to stay at the same school for their graduate and undergraduate studies. They might also be good for students who want to earn both degrees but don't want to stay in school that long or for students who feel they need more time than just four years to prepare for the working world. For students who need to be academically challenged to make sure they don't lose interest in their studies, 5-year combined degree programs could be exactly what they're looking for.
Although enrolling in combined degree programs at college might be right for some, there are other paths to consider when college isn't the right choice.