Frequently asked questions about the Accelerated 4+1 degree program

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Pre-admission questions

1. Why should I apply for the accelerated 4+1 degree program?

The accelerated degree program offers our top undergraduate students the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s and their master’s degrees in five calendar years. Traditional bachelor’s (120 credits) and master’s degree (30 credits) programs typically would take about 5.5-6 years to complete. The savings in time and money are possible because

  • six credits are shared between the undergraduate and graduate degrees (reducing the total credits for both programs to 144 credits)
  • students can start taking graduate courses as an undergraduate student
  • students pay undergraduate tuition fees for graduate courses taken before their undergraduate degree is obtained

The current workplace is becoming more global and competitive. A graduate degree is extremely helpful in meeting the employer expectations of leading a team of junior workers by example.

2.  When do I become eligible to apply for the accelerated 4+1 degree program? Can I still apply if I am currently enrolled in the 300-level courses?

In order to apply, you must have at least 75 credit hours completed towards your bachelor's degree and be taking junior-level classes.

You can apply while you are taking the 300-level courses needed to meet the eligibility requirements provided you would meet all eligibility requirements by the end of the semester. In these cases, the admission decision is taken within approximately two weeks after the semester grades are posted.

3. Who should I get letters of references from?

The two letters of reference should be from a current SSEBE faculty with whom you have taken 100, 200 and/or 300 level courses.

4. How do I complete the Preliminary Plan of Study (PPOS)?

Your undergraduate advisor can help you complete the PPOS. Note that a complete PPOS is a part of the application package. Your undergraduate advisor may also enlist the help of the graduate advisor and specialty area coordinators.  

5. What are shared courses and which two courses can I take as shared courses?

Shared courses are courses that can be counted towards both the bachelor's degree and the master’s degree. You can only double count six hours. You should review the list of approved shared courses and the graduate program requirements to select your shared courses.

6. What is the timeline for the review process and how will I be notified of my acceptance/denial? If I meet the minimum GPA requirement will I be admitted?

The application deadline for fall semester is March 15 and the deadline for spring semester is November 15. Admission decisions are typically made within two weeks. A longer time period may be necessary if the application package is not complete and evaluation ready. See answer to Question 2 for exceptions. You will be notified via e-mail by the Graduate Advisor. The official notification will appear in your My ASU web page. The admission decision is based on the entire package you submit – your GPA and academic performance at ASU, PPOS, personal statement and letters of recommendation.

7. If my application is denied, can I still apply for the traditional master's degree program?

Yes, you are encouraged to apply for the traditional master's degree since the requirements for the accelerated 4+1 degree program are more stringent than those for the traditional master's degree programs. Refer to the ASU Catalog for admission requirements for each program.

8. How do I choose a specialty area?
The specialty area in the Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering degree program or the Construction Management degree program should be chosen with care. Talk to the specialty area coordinators and see what specialty area has the best match for your career goals.

9. Can I do the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in different degree programs (e.g., a bachelor’s in civil and master’s in construction management)?
No, currently we do not have a cross discipline approved program.

Post-admission questions

1. When do I formally move from the bachelor’s to the master’s program? How long does it take to transition from being an undergrad to when I will see my graduate program in the system?

You are an undergraduate student until your bachelor’s degree is posted to your transcripts. You make the transition from the undergraduate program to the graduate program immediately following the receipt of your undergraduate degree.  Notify the graduate advisor when you have applied to graduate with your bachelor’s degree to begin the transition process.

For example, you may be taking one undergraduate course, two shared courses and one graduate course in the semester you have filed for graduation (with a bachelor’s degree). You will be awarded the bachelor’s degree once you successfully complete the semester (e.g., passing the one undergraduate course and the two shared courses) and meet all the undergraduate degree requirements. You are officially a graduate student at the beginning of the following semester of classes in which you enroll.

2. How many graduate courses can I take before I am awarded the bachelor’s degree?

You must have taken and passed the two shared courses with a minimum of a 'C' grade before you file for graduation with a bachelor’s degree. In addition to the six hours of shared coursework, you may also take up to six credits of graduate courses that will not count toward your undergraduate degree but will count toward your master’s degree.  Note that a minimum of a 'C' grade is required in all graduate courses that appear in the graduate Plan of Study.

3. How are my undergraduate and graduate GPAs calculated?

There are three Graduate GPA’s that are computed.

  • Graduate GPA – Every 500 level class taken as an undergrad or grad.
  • iPOS GPA – Courses listed on your graduate  iPOS (Interactive Plan of Study).
  • Graduate Cumulative GPA – All grad classes taken as a grad student. The Graduate graduating GPA is calculated starting as zero once the bachelor’s degree is completed.  It includes all courses posted to the transcript after the bachelor’s degree is posted regardless of level. 

To meet the graduation requirements for the master’s degree, every student must meet the minimum GPA requirement (3.0) both for the iPOS GPA and the Graduate GPA (see Graduate Policies and Procedures).

Every course taken before the undergraduate degree is posted to the transcript and is calculated into the undergraduate cumulative GPA regardless of the course level.

4. When do I start paying graduate tuition fees for my graduate courses?

Students pay undergraduate tuition fees for all courses (undergraduate and graduate) taken before their undergraduate degree is posted. Graduate tuition fee rates are applicable as soon as the bachelor’s degree is posted and the student transitions from the undergraduate to graduate student status. See post-admission question #1.

5. Do I have to complete both the degree requirements in five years?

The expectation is that you would complete both degree requirements in five years. Our experience with recent graduates from this program shows that finishing the bachelor's and master's degrees in five years can be easily managed. However, we understand that completing the bachelor's degree and master's degree with thesis in five years can be difficult and allowances for a later graduation are granted on a case-by-case basis. Delayed start of the master’s program and leave of absence are not allowed.

6. How will my academic progress be monitored? What are the special academic requirements for this program?

Academic progress will be monitored and student status will be maintained in accordance with the Fulton Engineering Policy for Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress for graduate students, which requires a 3.0 GPA or higher in all 500-level courses and in all courses in the approved Plan of Study, with the following additional caveats:

  • To remain in the accelerated 4+1 degree program, students must successfully complete a minimum of 12 hours of credit towards their joint degrees each semester
  • For purposes of the accelerated 4+1 degree program, the approved Plan of Study includes the undergraduate courses required for completion of the bachelor’s degree
  • Students must also receive at least a 'C' in all 300, 400, and 500 level courses in their approved undergraduate Plan of Study

Students who do not meet the minimum GPA standard will be put on probation and given one semester to raise their GPA back to 3.0 or higher, as described in the Engineering School Policy for Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students who do not meet the minimum standard for the number of credits successfully completed in a semester will also be put on probation.  Students who fail to meet program requirements for a second consecutive semester are subject to dismissal from the joint degree program. Students who receive a C in one 300, 400, or 500 level course will be allowed to take the course a second time. However, failure to raise the grade above C or receipt of a C in a second course will also be cause for recommendation of dismissal from the program. Dismissal from the joint degree program is effected by a departmental recommendation to the Graduate Education Office to dismiss the student from the master's program. As applicable, upon dismissal from the MS or MSE program, students will be able to continue in the their bachelor's degree program.

By the end of the first semester in the joint degree program, the student shall have selected a graduate advisor in his specialty area and have filed a final POS.  The POS shall specify which degree (M.S. or M.S.E.) the student is pursuing, the term and the courses the student intends to take, and the names of members of the student’s GSC.  The POS will also identify when the student is expected to fulfill the requirements for the bachelor’s degree.  The POS will be signed by the student’s graduate advisor. 

Students in the joint degree program who have not completed their undergraduate program requirement must meet with a member of the SSEBE advising staff prior to being cleared for registration each semester.  In addition to the standards for satisfactory progress described above, student progress will be tracked against their POS by the SSEBE advising staff.  When student progress does not correspond to the POS, the SSEBE advising staff shall notify the student and the student’s faculty advisor by the beginning of the next semester.  The student must then file a revised POS, signed by their academic advisor, before the end of the next semester.  Failure to submit a revised POS as outlined is cause for recommendation to the Graduate Education Office for dismissal from the joint degree program. Students will be considered an undergraduate until all bachelor's degree requirements have been completed and their bachelor's degree has been posted. Undergraduate students enrolled in the B.S./M.S., B.S.E./M.S.E. or B.S.E./M.S. degree programs will be eligible for graduate-level courses and seminars. Upon receipt of their bachelor's degree, the student must change his/her status from bachelor's student to the applicable graduate (M.S.E. or M.S. degree program.

7. Can I drop out of the accelerated 4+1 degree program?

Yes. You can drop out if circumstances prevent you from completing the graduation requirements for the two degrees. If you drop out before you complete the requirements for the undergraduate degree, you can re-enroll in the traditional bachelor’s degree program and complete the requirements for that degree. If you drop after you complete the requirements for the undergraduate degree, you must apply for admission to the traditional master's degree program if you wish to pursue a master’s degree. In any case, please meet with your graduate advisor and the graduate program chair for further assistance.

8. Can I use material from my Barrett’s honor thesis for my master’s thesis?

The Barrett’s honor thesis cannot be used as your master’s thesis. However, a part of your master’s thesis can be based on the work from your Barrett’s honor thesis.

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