About the Policy
The bachelor's–accelerated master's (BAM) degree program options offer currently enrolled CU Boulder undergraduate students the opportunity to receive a bachelor's and master's degree in a shorter period of time. Students receive the bachelor's degree first, but begin taking graduate coursework as undergraduates (typically in their senior year).
Because some courses are allowed to double count for both the bachelor's and the master's degrees, students receive a master's degree in less time and at a lower cost than if they were to enroll in a stand-alone master's degree program after completion of their baccalaureate degree. In addition, staying at CU Boulder to pursue a BAM program enables students to continue working with their established faculty mentors.
The BAM program structure is effective as of July 1, 2019. For the full policy text, see BAM Program Policy.
Students who were admitted prior to July 1, 2019, follow a concurrent bachelor's/master's structure, in which the two degrees are awarded simultaneously when requirements for both degrees are met. See Concurrent Degree Program Guidelines.
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Frequently Asked Questions
BAM vs. Concurrent Bachelor's/Master's Degree Programs
- What has changed?
- Who made the recommendations to change the concurrent bachelor's/master's structure?
- What are the main benefits of the bachelor's–accelerated master's program structure?
- Will some coursework count toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees?
- What transition is anticipated for students currently enrolled in a concurrent bachelor's/master's program?
The BAM program structure replaces the former concurrent bachelor's/master's program structure. The BAM structure and name accentuates the portion of the program that is completed at an accelerated rate due to double-counted coursework.
Students in a concurrent bachelor's/master's program receive both degrees (bachelor's and master's) at the end of their studies. In the BAM structure (effective July 1, 2019), students receive the bachelor's degree "along the way" and the master's degree once all requirements are completed.
The BAM structure also eliminates a clause prohibiting students in concurrent bachelor's/master's programs from double-majoring. The Graduate School has routinely granted waivers to this clause, such that there is no compelling rationale to keep the clause in the guidelines. Departments may wish to advise students against double-majoring while in their BAM program if they wish, but this will not be a campus policy. It also eliminates a current guideline which restricts concurrent bachelor's/master's students from taking a leave of absence. Again, requests are generally only made in cases of extenuating circumstances and are therefore routinely approved.
Members of the Concurrent Bachelor's/Master's Working Group recommended these changes in response to requests from a variety of CU Boulder departments and offices.
Students earn their bachelor's degree upon completion of the undergraduate requirements, instead of earning both degrees at the end of their program (as with the concurrent bachelor's/master's program).
Graduate status and amount of graduate tuition paid is more standardized within each program, and is based upon completion of the bachelor's degree instead of a number of hours which may or may not be indicative of progress toward completion. Instead of transitioning to graduate status (and graduate tuition) at 130/145 hours, all students whose intent application is approved will be allowed (as undergraduates and at undergraduate tuition rates), to take up to and including 12 credit hours of coursework that can later be applied to the accelerated master's portion of the BAM. (This would typically be graduate-level credit, but in programs where the use of 6 hours 3000/4000 level is allowed to double count toward the bachelor's and master's degrees, those credits would be part of the 12 allowed.) Graduate credits taken by the student as an undergraduate in excess of the allowable amount may be applied to the bachelor's degree, but will not count toward the master's degree. The number of credits that can double count toward both degrees is determined by a department's approved program proposal.
The BAM structure better facilitates innovative combinations across disciplines or types of degrees (e.g., professional master's).
The BAM structure more accurately conveys the length of time that students in BAM programs take to receive their bachelor's, thus facilitating more timely graduation and time-to-degree statistics.
The BAM structure will preserve more integrity in graduate academic records and transcripts resulting in more complete graduate records.
Yes, the amount of credit that may be applied to both the bachelor's and master's degrees, as previously approved in the initial concurrent degree proposal, will continue.
Students currently enrolled in an existing concurrent bachelor's/master's program or admitted to an existing program during the 2018–19 academic year (through June 30, 2019) will default to the old concurrent bachelor's/master's program guidelines and will receive the bachelor's and master's degrees together upon completion of all requirements.
Students whose BAM intent application is received on or after July 1, 2019, must follow the BAM program structure and related requirements. This means they must apply to graduate and receive the bachelor's degree prior to formal continuiation to the master's degree.
- How are students admitted into the BAM program?
- What are the GPA requirements for the program?
- How is the bachelor's degree awarded?
- How can students continue with the master's degree?
- How do international students receive ISSS approval to matriculate to the master's program?
- How do we ensure that students apply to graduate and apply to continue to the master's degree?
- How will the undergraduate college and Graduate School clarify which courses should be double counted toward both degrees?
- What if students need to change their expected graduation term?
- How can students discontinue their BAM program enrollment?
- What is the time limit for completion of the BAM degree?
Students submit an electronic intent application form (similar in content to the former concurrent bachelor's/master's one-page application form). Minimum standards for acceptance require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and completion of all MAPS deficiencies. Additional acceptance criteria are determined by the individual departments in conjunction with the appropriate school or college deans and the Graduate School.
Departmental forms can be attached to address program-specific admission requirements. As was the case under the concurrent structure, this is the single point at which departments review applications and make admissions decisions. After completing the bachelor's degree, students will submit a master's continuation form and be entered into the master's program without subsequent department review, provided they've maintained a 3.0 cumulative GPA (see question below).
When the intent application is approved, an identifying subplan code, an R09 service indicator and an expected graduation term will be entered on the student's record.
All students formally admitted to a BAM program must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the duration of the program. Students must meet the basic continuation requirement of a 3.0 GPA in order to be matriculated into the graduate program, and the cumulative GPA of the courses being used toward the master's degree must also be 3.0 or higher. Once students transition to graduate status, the Graduate School is responsible for monitoring the minimum standard and notifying students who are placed on probation. Departments are responsible for establishing a procedure for probation or dismissal from the BAM if their departmental standard is higher than the minimum.
Students must apply online to graduate with their bachelor's degree for the semester in which they expect to complete those degree requirements (consistent with all undergraduate students). They will be received and cleared for graduation by their respective undergraduate college/school according to standard protocols. Students are eligible to participate in the general and departmental commencement ceremonies for the bachelor’s degree.
Deadline to apply to graduate (bachelor's degree):
- February 1 (for students graduating in May)
- March 1 (for students graduating in August)
- October 1 (for students graduating in December)
At the beginning of the last semester in which students are enrolled in the remaining requirements for the undergraduate degree portion of the BAM, they must formally request to continue with the accelerated master's program by completing a streamlined master's continuation form through Slate.
This simple process will not require documents such as letters of recommendation or personal statements, and students will not be required to pay an application fee. The process will not require departmental review. Students will be matriculated into the master's program if they meet the basic continuation requirement of 3.0 GPA. International students must have approval from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) prior to matriculation (see question below).
The deadline to submit the master's continuation form matches the undergraduate graduation application deadline (students may select a start term within three semesters):
- February 1 (for students graduating in May)
- March 1 (for students graduating in August)
- October 1 (for students graduating in December)
These dates ensure that students can register along with continuing graduate students for the upcoming semester/term.
Students must begin the master's program within one academic year (three semesters, including summer) and must select their term of admission on the application. Advising will be necessary for students if their master's program only permits students to start in a particular semester (e.g., programs with a prescribed fall semester start).
Upon submitting a master's continuation form through Slate, international students in F-1 or J-1 visa status are prompted to contact ISSS to provide the proof of funding required for a change in level. Upon approval by ISSS, the student may continue to move forward in the matriculation process.
Students supply an expected graduation term in their intent application, which should be discussed with their academic advisor. This will be entered in Campus Solutions and an R11 service indicator will be placed on these students' accounts. This will prevent students for registering for upcoming terms without applying to graduate, applying to continue to the master's degree or updating their expected graduation term through the Office of the Registrar.
Students also receive instructional and reminder communications prior to and during their expected graduation term.
The student's program will submit a BAM supplement to the candidacy application form that identifies:
- The 12 or fewer credits the student took during their undergraduate career that can be applied toward their graduate degree
- Which of those courses are being counted toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees
This form must be submitted when the student applies to graduate with the master's degree, but may be submitted earlier, as this information should be approved by the undergraduate advisor and dean's office when the bachelor's degree is awarded.
If the student has already applied to graduate, they should cancel their current application and submit a new application with their revised graduation term. Students who have not applied to graduate will need to update their expected graduation term by submitting the BAM program change/discontinuation form to the Office of the Registrar.
Students who are at undergraduate status and would like to discontinue the BAM program (i.e., receive their undergraduate degree and not continue to a graduate degree) should submit the BAM program change/discontinuation form through the Office of the Registrar. This will remove the BAM subplan and R09 service indicator from the student's record, as well as update their expected graduation term.
Students who have received their undergraduate degree may withdraw from their graduate plan and/or courses through the Office of the Registrar using the normal withdraw process. Students at graduate status who fail to register for one or more semesters will be discontinued.
Students are bound by existing time limits for bachelor's and master's degrees. The master's degree time limit will be calculated beginning with the semester in which the student is matriculated into the master's degree program.
Yes, students whose bachelor's degree has been conferred are eligible, at the discretion of their department, for RA/TA appointments, scholarships, fellowships or other types of support or recognition ordinarily available to graduate students. Professional Master's students are eligible for hourly student assistant work, but not for positions with tuition remission, such as RA/TA/GPTI.
Students must begin the master's program within one academic year (three semesters, including summer, and depending on the graduate program). To ensure students aren't refunded the confirmation deposit and then asked to repay it at a later date, the Bursar's Office will place the positive service indicator R09 on students in the program to trigger a process to hold the student’s enrollment deposit for three semesters following the awarding of the undergraduate degree. Students should be aware in advance that their enrollment deposit will be held for three semesters following graduation from their undergraduate program.
Once a student has met their undergraduate requirements, they will no longer be eligible for federal grants, most state and university grants, and subsidized loans. Annual and aggregate federal loan limits will increase. Also, graduate students are considered independent of their parents when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
It depends on the scholarship provider. We recommend contacting the Office of Financial Aid for specific scholarship questions.
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Policies & Guidelines
- BAM Intent Form Administration Guide (PDF)
- Master's Continuation Form Information (PDF)
- BAM Supplement Form Advisor Guide (PDF)