Accelerated Graduate Degree Program

  The accelerated graduate degree program in communication allows undergraduate students in the School of Communication at Western Michigan University to begin accumulating credits toward the completion of a master’s degree while completing a bachelor's degree.

The accelerated graduate degree program in communication allows undergraduate students in the School of Communication at Western Michigan University to begin accumulating credits toward the completion of a master’s degree while completing a bachelor's degree.

When admitted to the accelerated program with senior standing, you may take up to 12 credit hours of designated 5000- and 6000-level courses for graduate credit. These designated courses may be used in completion of both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree.

An undergraduate degree in communication requires a total of 122 credit hours. The Master of Arts in communication requires a total of 30 credit hours. When enrolling in the accelerated program for the maximum 12 graduate credits, you will earn 140 total undergraduate and graduate credits in contrast to the typical combined 152 undergraduate and graduate credit hours under the usual progression to degree(s).

You will pay undergraduate tuition for these 6000-level courses as undergraduates and the courses will be included in the flat tuition rate. On completion of the undergraduate degree, you will be reclassified as a graduate student and then will pay graduate tuition rates.

Eligibility

This program is open to undergraduate students:

  • In all communication majors: communication studies; interpersonal communication; organizational communication; public relations; journalism; film, video and media studies; and telecommunication and information management.
  • Who have senior status and have earned a minimum of 30 credit hours at WMU and at least 20 credit hours as a declared major in the School of Communication.
  • An undergraduate minimum GPA of 3.5 (based on at least 15 hours earned at WMU).

Undergraduate students enrolled in the accelerated program are expected to meet graduate expectations in their graduate courses.

If you have received your bachelor's degree, you will be ineligible to apply for this program and retroactively claim credits to apply toward the master's degree.

Enrollment

  1. As early as possible in the academic junior year, you should contact the director of graduate studies to discuss this option and review the requirements, timelines and application procedures.
  2. Meet with the undergraduate academic advisor to review current and anticipated credit hour status and make arrangements to conduct a pre-graduation audit.
  3. Apply for admission to the graduate program and complete the necessary application materials for admission to the master’s program in the School of Communication.
  4. Upon acceptance, you must meet with the director of graduate studies and the undergraduate academic advisor to prepare an appropriate program of study that meets the requirements for the undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  5. A letter advising which graduate courses will be counted in both degrees will be sent to you and to the registrar. A copy of this letter also will be included in your graduate file.

Admission 

You are asked to include some program-specific information for the Master of Arts in communication. You are encouraged to bookmark this information for quick reference while working through the graduate application process. 

WMU has a new online graduate application system that allows all students (domestic and international) to submit required information into one system. General application information for the University, as well as specific requirements for individual programs, are captured into this system. 

Apply now

Requirements for continuing eligibility and graduation

  • Completing the undergraduate degree with a GPA within the major of less than 3.5 will automatically declare you ineligible for the program.
  • If you are admitted to the accelerated program, you must follow the program of study developed with the graduate director and the undergraduate advisor. Failure to follow this program of study may result in ineligibility for the program.
  • If you become ineligible to continue participation in the program, you will be notified in writing by the director of graduate studies.
  • In order to progress automatically into the graduate program, you must achieve a grade of B or better in each of the graduate courses being counted for the undergraduate degree. If you do not meet this requirement, you will have the earned grade applied to your undergraduate degree only and you must apply for readmission into the graduate program. If you complete the undergraduate degree including a B or above in the specified graduate courses, you will be admitted as a graduate student (with the relevant graduate credit) in the next semester or session after receiving the bachelor’s degree.
  • It is expected that the baccalaureate degree will be awarded within one calendar year after initial accelerated program enrollment. If you do not meet this time constraint, you must reapply to be admitted to the graduate program.
  • When you complete the accelerated degree program, it will be noted on your undergraduate and graduate transcript.
  • You may withdraw at any time from the program by informing the graduate director in the School of Communication in writing. A copy of the request to withdraw must be sent to the graduate registrar.
  • You must complete the requirements for the M.A. degree within 24 months from the completion of the bachelor’s degree. If you are unable to meet this requirement, you must apply for an extension with the School of Communication graduate director.

Communication courses eligible for the program

  • COM 5410: Telecommunications Law and Policy
  • COM 5600: Teaching Communication
  • COM 6010: Introduction to Communication Inquiry
  • COM 6020: Quantitative Communication Research
  • COM 6050: Qualitative Communication Research
  • COM 6400: Seminar in Mass Communication
  • COM 6450: Mass Communication
  • COM 6700: Seminar in Interpersonal Communication
  • COM 6740: Interpersonal Communication
  • COM 6800: Seminar in Organizational Communication
  • COM 6820: Organizational Communication