As the fall semester starts to wind down, prospective graduate students are looking ahead to Binghamton University’s selection of 4+1 accelerated academic programs.
The accelerated degree program, which confers both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree after five total years of study, is offered through the University’s College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA), Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management (SOM) and Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science. It requires an undergraduate student to finish the majority of their bachelor’s degree in around three years, with their fourth year consisting of both undergraduate and graduate classes. By their fifth year, they would be admitted to a graduate program and focus solely on graduate coursework.
Gretchen Mahler, the interim vice provost and dean of the graduate school, described the benefits of enrolling in a 4+1 program.
“You are able to take a certain number of graduate courses as an undergraduate that count toward both your undergraduate and graduate degree,” Mahler wrote in an email. “You pay undergraduate tuition for these double-counted classes, which is a financial benefit. You can finish a program that normally takes [one-and-a-half to two] years in [one] year, and you can enter the job market with an additional credential and specialization.”
CCPA offers specific 4+1 programs, pairing various undergraduate degrees to earn a master’s in public administration, master’s in public health in a collabration with Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, master’s of science in student affairs administration, master’s of arts in teaching English as a second language, master’s in sustainable communities and others.
Watson College offers accelerated degree programs in various engineering or applied science-related disciplines, including computer science and biomedical engineering. Every 4+1 program requires the completion of specific undergraduate majors to gain eligibility.
Mahler added that a few notable general graduate programs have recently emerged.
“There are some exciting new programs in Decker College [of Nursing], Harpur [College of Arts and Sciences] and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPS), that include the cinema [master of fine arts] (MFA), physical therapy (DPT), occupational therapy (OTD), speech-language pathology (MS) and pharmaceutical sciences (MS),” Mahler wrote. “While these programs don’t have 4+1 or accelerated degree programs presently, we hope in the future that there will be combined programs available with these programs.”
SOM offers 4+1 master’s of business administration programs for students of all majors. Students without business backgrounds can finish prerequisite coursework in economics and statistics and directly pursue a one-year graduate degree without having to provide Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for admission. Students in the MBA program can choose their concentration in finance, business analytics, leadership and consulting and more.
April St. John, the director of graduate recruitment and admissions, introduced a new tool called the 4+1 Intent Application that will be available soon on students’ University portal.
“It will show all of the 4+1 programs that are available to a particular student and allow them to submit an interest form in their junior year,” St. John wrote in an email. “This will assist students in obtaining proper advising on what courses they should complete in their senior year to stay on track in the program.”
Joshua Kim, a graduate student in the 4+1 master in accounting program, shared his experience earning an accelerated degree.
“I think it has provided me with a lot of insight into concepts that are not as well introduced in [undergraduate study],” Kim said. “The program hasn’t been too overbearing, and I feel like it is very flexible with regard to my responsibilities, mainly studying for the [certified public accountant] (CPA) exam. However, I feel like an improvement to the program could be a more specialized emphasis on the CPA exam, since that is a goal a majority of the people in the program are trying to achieve, and I feel like it is loosely advertised but not as well executed in the program itself.”