A new program — name to be determined — through the John Glenn College of Public Affairs will allow students to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees at the same time. 

The program combines the John Glenn College of Public Affairs’ Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Management degrees. By combining the degrees, students will be able to obtain either their B.A. and M.P.A. or their B.S. and M.P.A. degrees in five years instead of six, Rob Greenbaum, associate dean of curriculum at the college, said.

Greenbaum said plans for the program have been in the works for several months.

“We have been talking about it for a long time, and probably about a year ago is when we got serious about it,” Greenbaum said.

Greenbaum said he and his fellow faculty members discussed partnering with some other units on campus, but decided it would be easier to begin internally with the degrees they already offer at the college.

The program proposal was drafted during the 2018 fall semester and approved during the 2019 spring semester, allowing the new program to begin this fall, Greenbaum said.

He said the program allows fourth-year students who are taking both undergraduate and graduate classes to be considered an undergraduate and graduate student simultaneously to the university.

Although the curriculum for the M.P.A. portion of the program remains the same, Greenbaum said the path through the program is slightly different, depending on what bachelor’s degree students decide to pursue.

“We have two undergraduate degrees — some students are pursuing the Bachelor of Arts and some are pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree, and so it’s slightly different since the undergraduate degrees have a slightly different curriculum,” Greenbaum said. “The path for the combined degree is a little bit different, but the M.P.A. part of the program is the same curriculum.”

Greenbaum said the B.S. program is designed for students who are more interested in an analysis-based career. 

The B.S. program has requirements for a heavier methods course, different general education course, calculus background and evaluation course.

In contrast, the B.A. program is aimed toward students who want to pursue managing positions within companies, Greenbaum said.

Greenbaum said all students — including those in the combined program — are required to have a public policy, public management or a science and engineering minor.

Stephen Listisen, a fourth-year in public policy analysis and the only student currently in the program, said there are several reasons he chose the combined program.

“I had a meeting with my adviser Whitney this summer, and I was just kind of running out of classes to take in the undergraduate track, and I had expressed interest in taking graduate classes through a petition,” Listisen said. “She talked with me about the new program and said that this could be an option for me.”

Listisen said he enjoys the program because he is able to get graduate program experience and graduate a year early, all while keeping his undergraduate status and involvement. He also said he embraces the diversity and challenge of the courses, which offer him an opportunity to meet students of all ages in a range of professional programs.

Although Listisen said he does not dislike anything about the program, he said it has been a change for him.

“It’s been kind of an adjustment with the structure of some of the classes. Two of them are hybrid classes, and one’s online, so it’s a lot of work outside of the classroom, a lot of personal responsibility and just a little bit more of a different pace overall with more reading,” Listisen said.