Combined Degree Program (BA | MA)

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, Media for Social Impact, or Strategic Communication while still enrolled in any undergraduate major. After graduating with your bachelor's degree, you will finish the master's degree in one year.

The deadline for current juniors to apply for Fall 2024 is February 15, 2024.

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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. You won't be able to save and return to the form, so we recommend gathering your materials before you go to submit your application.


Eligible MA Programs

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.

Media for Social Impact
The online MA in Media for Social Impact will help you connect with a community of your choice, work within the community to assess its members’ needs, and generate a collaborative theory of change applying best practices of media creation. 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.

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:

Entrepreneurship for Creatives (MA) 

  • Art History, BA  
  • Fine Arts, BA  
  • Fashion Studies, BA 
  • Music Business, BA 
  • Photography, BA  
  • Theatre, BA

Media for Social Impact (MA)

  • Art History, BA 
  • Cultural Studies, BA
  • Design, BA 
  • Fine Arts, BA 
  • Journalism, BA 
  • Photography, BA 
  • Theatre, BA 
Strategic Communication (MA)
  • Advertising, BA 
  • Arts Management, BA 
  • Design Management, BA 
  • Illustration, BA 
  • Graphic Design, BA 

Questions? Want to learn more? Sign up for an appointment with our Combined Degree admissions director here.