Combined Degree Program (BA | MA)

Applications for this program are currently closed. If you are interested in applying for Fall 2024, please reach out to Kelly Schmader at

Get ahead of the rest of your class with the Combined Undergraduate/Graduate Degree program. The combined degree allows well-prepared Columbia students to earn graduate credits toward an MA in Entrepreneurship for Creatives, Civic Media, Strategic Communication, or Interaction Design while still enrolled in any undergraduate major. After graduating with your bachelor's degree, you will finish the master's degree in one year.

student at desk

Benefits of graduating with a Combined Degree

The Combined Degree Program allows undergraduates to take graduate level courses toward a master's degree while paying the less expensive undergraduate tuition rate their senior year. Eligible students will then complete the master's degree the following year with fewer credits than typically required for a one-year MA. You will save time and money as you build analytical, critical thinking, and leadership skills you'll use in the workplace.

Graduating from Columbia with both a BA and MA will give you a competitive employment edge, demonstrating to employers your maturity, career preparation, and overall commitment to your career. Having degrees in complementary areas will also showcase a unique combination of skills in a marketplace that increasingly calls for employees who are adept in both right and left brain thinking

Earning the MA will allow you to expand your professional network before entering the workforce. You will work with new faculty and cohort members with different connections than the people you met during your undergraduate degree. Leveraging this extra time to build your skill set and your network will better position you to begin your career.

How to Apply

Any undergraduate student who meets the requirements is eligible to apply. Incoming freshman should indicate interest on their undergraduate application. Current students can apply via the combined degree application form and submit required materials of their choice the fall semester of their junior year. All interested students in the Combined Degree Program will need to maintain the below criteria:

  • Earn at least 90 credits before your senior year.
  • Earn at least 12 credits as a Columbia College Chicago undergraduate.
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all classes taken at Columbia College.
  • Enter your senior undergraduate year with free elective credit hours in both semesters (6-12 credits dependent on MA program).

Students who apply to the Combined Degree Program will be reviewed by their designated MA program committee for admission. Application does not guarantee admission.

The application requires some basic biographical information, a professional resume, two references (one of whom must be from the Columbia community), and a personal statement. 

Application Requirements

Eligible MA Programs

Civic Media
In the Civic Media program, you create media for social impact. The program focuses on participatory, collective, and community engagement, and equips students with a broad range of media skills so they can stimulate community action and civic engagement.

Entrepreneurship for Creatives
This program prepares students to enter the entrepreneurial sector as you develop your original business idea into a creative venture. You’ll gain entrepreneurial skills to both lead and innovate in the creative industries.

Interaction Design
From leadership and project management to development and programming, you'll learn how to design and implement products in the Interaction Design program. In this degree, you will develop a multi-faceted skill set in leadership, interaction design theory, and development.

Strategic Communication
The Strategic Communication MA will equip you with current, in-demand applied strategic communication skills, providing students with a broad range of communications tools, from public relations to brand management. Our students tackle real communication issues brands, companies, non-profits, government agencies and associations face daily. 

A few degree paths Columbia students can follow:

Civic Media (MA)
  • Art History, BA 
  • Cultural Studies, BA
  • Design, BA 
  • Fine Arts, BA 
  • Journalism, BA 
  • Photography, BA 
  • Theatre, BA 
Entrepreneurship for Creatives (MA)
  • Art History, BA 
  • Fine Arts, BA 
  • Fashion Studies, BA
  • Music Business, BA
  • Photography, BA 
  • Theatre, BA   
Interaction Design (MA)
  • Game Design, BA
  • Graphic Design, BA  
  • Theatre Design and Technology, BA 
Strategic Communication (MA)
  • Advertising, BA 
  • Arts Management, BA 
  • Design Management, BA 
  • Illustration, BA 
  • Graphic Design, BA