Ohio State has a solution for students who are interested in graduate school but hesitant to sit in a classroom for any longer than they already have.
Undergraduate students are eligible to apply for combined programs once they have completed 90 hours of undergraduate coursework and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5, Samuel Jordan, registration services director and college secretary for the Ohio State Graduate School, said in an email. But there’s a catch — students will pay the higher graduate school tuition and fees instead of undergraduate prices beginning their first semester of the combined program.
Eight colleges at Ohio State offer combined programs in which students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees simultaneously: agriculture, arts and sciences, business, engineering, environment and natural resources, health and rehabilitation sciences, nursing and public health, Jordan said.
“Once a student is admitted to [a] combined degree program, they are able to double count courses toward the completion of both degrees,” Jordan said. “While each college determines their own limit on the number of combined credit hours that they will count, the range is typically between six and 15 credit hours.”
When a student begins the combined program, they are charged graduate-level fees that cover the cost of both degrees, Jordan said.
According to the University Registrar, current tuition and fees for incoming undergraduate students is $11,083.80 per year for in-state residents, and out-of-state residents pay $32,060.80 per year. Incoming in-state graduate students pay $12,424.80, and incoming out-of-state graduate students pay $36,008.80 per year.
Even if a student is registered as an undergraduate for courses that can count toward both degrees, they will be charged graduate-level tuition and fees instead of undergraduate tuition and fees, Nikki Strader, manager and academic adviser in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, said in an email.
“For most students, there are no drawbacks beyond the extra cost, which is usually made up with the increased salaries master’s degree holders tend to make,” Strader said.
One benefit of the program includes shortening the time a master’s degree takes due to the undergraduate and graduate overlap, Dan Kieffer, assistant director of specialized graduate recruiting and admissions at Fisher College of Business, said in an email.
“It can also lead to beginning your career sooner than other students,” Kieffer said.
For example, Strader said the combined bachelor’s and master’s in computer science and engineering allows for students to finish their graduate degree a semester or two ahead of time. The program allows students to have a total of 12 hours of approved coursework for both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
There are currently about 10 students enrolled in the combined program for computer science and engineering, Strader said.
Similar to computer science and engineering, Fisher students are able to complete the college’s program within four years, Kieffer said.
“These students receive two separate diplomas. The fourth year in the program is spent exclusively as a graduate student,” Kieffer said.
The college has seen increased interest in its combined program for a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a Master of Accounting in recent years, but Kieffer said 10 to 20 students is typical for the program.
Tuition and fees for the Master of Accounting program are $32,842.80 a year for in-state students, while out-of-state students pay $56,426.40 a year, according to the University Registrar.
To apply for a combined program in Fisher or the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, students must submit a full graduate school application, including GRE graduate school entry exam scores and other materials by the required deadline, Strader and Kieffer said.