Dual bachelor’s, master’s program coming next fall

UNA will join other top-ranked universities in fall 2017 as it unveils the latest program to strengthen higher education with the Accelerated Bachelor’s-Master’s Program.

The program will allow students the chance to earn their master’s degree while completing their undergraduate degree, said Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Joylaxmi Borah.

“I am very excited because I am a big believer in higher education,” Borah said. “We want to give our students the maximum number of opportunities they would get if they went to any other university.”

The 2017-18 school year will be a trial year.

There are currently five programs planning to offer this option fall 2017. The programs are professional writing, English literature, geospatial science, health, physical education and recreation and master of business administration, Borah said.

To get into the program, students apply though graduate admissions. Students must meet all requirements for graduate admission, such as test scores, GPA and recommendation letters. The minimum GPA is 3.0, Borah said.

Borah said this program is an opportunity for students to save time and money toward a higher degree. Students will take graduate level courses for an undergraduate price up to nine hours.

Borah said students have the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. It is possible for students to receive both degrees in four years with a full course load during fall, spring and summer.

The program is aimed at academically strong students, but it is open to all students, Borah said.

Once they receive admission to the program, students will receive an advisor in their specialty to help them keep on track for graduation, Borah said.

Each department is working on its individual requirements to make the program work for its area. Borah said she hopes to have this information by the end of spring 2017 so the university can market the program.

Freshman Karina Meza said this program will give UNA the chance to grow.

“I think it will be nice for students to have something to look forward to at UNA,” Meza said. “I think this will really appeal to a lot of students.”

Assistant English professor Kelly Latchaw said she was skeptical about the program until she started designing the course of study for the English Department.

Latchaw said the two English options will allow students the ability to explore specific areas they are interested in rather than hold them to a strict schedule.

A group of professors will meet before the spring semester ends to review the other department’s plans and improve each other’s work. The individual departments will then release the curriculum to the public, Latchaw said.

Other universities, such as the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, offer this program, but Borah said these universities only offer to specific disciplines such as engineering and law.

Borah said UNA hopes to open this program to all existing masters level programs at UNA.

Sophomore Charles Lieb said he is excited for the opportunity to save time working toward an advanced degree.

Academic Affair’s next plan is to market the program to students by creating a website and brochures, Borah said.

Borah said students seem excited about the program. UNA has already had several students contact admissions requesting more information about the program.