The B.A./M.A. Program: Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the concurrent B.A./M.A. degrees in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology?

Only Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Majors at the University of Colorado are eligible for this degree. Persons working on an undergraduate degree in another Department or degrees from other Universities are ineligible. Seniors are also ineligible.


Am I eligible for financial aid if I enroll in this program?

For financial aid purposes, B.A./M.A. students are currently treated as undergraduates while they have undergraduate status. As such, you are eligible for support from UROP. When you achieve graduate status, you are eligible for Deans Small Grants Awards, PBK graduate fellowships, etc.  If you are receiving undergraduate financial aid, however, you do not need to change to graduate status in order to complete the BA/MA degree program.


Am I eligible for a TA position?

If you advance to graduate status, and if a TA position is available, then you would be eligible.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  Be aware of the fact that a commitment to a TA involves a commitment of 50% of your time for that semester, which may be problematic, given the focus on the timely completion of the requirements for the B.A./M.A. degrees.


Can double majors enroll in the concurrent B.A./M.A. program?

No (but if you can demonstrate that the additional major will not negatively impact on your B.A./M.A., you can apply for an exemption to this rule).


At graduation, am I awarded one or two degrees?

You get two separate degrees.


When am I considered a graduate student of the University?

You achieve graduate status at the end of your fourth year when you have completed 120 credit hours, fulfilled all of your MAPS deficiencies, all core requirements, all upper-division credit and the residency requirements.  At that time you complete the Undergraduate Certification Form confirming that you have completed all requirements and that you can advance to graduate status.  This must be approved and signed by the undergraduate advisor.  For more information, see "Guidelines for the Concurrent Degree Program" which is available from the Graduate School.


Are there exceptions to the requirements/standards for the degree?

Exceptions to graduate school requirements are addressed by the Concurrent Degree Appeals Committee (CDAC). Contact Ginny Borst-Young in the Graduate School for more information on the Committee and the process.


If I started out in another major and then switched to Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, can I apply for the concurrent B.A./M.A. degree?

Yes, that might be possible, but you must first fulfill the entry level requirements in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology before admission (A&S core, entry level courses in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) to the program. You should consult with the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about the specifics of your case. The graduate school requires that you must complete at least 24 h of credit at CU before you can be considered for admission to the program.


What are the major differences between the concurrent B.A./M.A. degrees and a straight BA degree?

There are a number of differences.  The first is that at the end of the B.A./M.A. program you receive a Master's degree in addition to the BA.  Another major difference is that the B.A./M.A. degrees emphasize research.  That means that you must have a research advisor and develop a coherent research plan early in your program. Another difference is that all thesis-related courses are chosen following consultation with your advisor and Thesis Committee. There are additional requirements associated with a graduate education, such as taking 30 hours of graduate credit; in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology these credits must include at least 2 graduate seminars. You also have to write and defend an MA thesis. Of course, you have 5 years to finish this degree. The concurrent B.A./M.A. degrees clearly have a different educational emphasis, one that actively involves you in current biological thought and original research.


Am I eligible for Honors?

Yes, but you must fulfill all of the honors requirements of the department by the end of your fourth year. This includes submitting an Honors thesis for evaluation. You receive Honors when you graduate at the end of the fifth year. For more information contact the Honors College at (303) 492 6617.  But, you do not have to write a thesis on a different topic for the B.A./M.A., since you can expand upon the existing Honors thesis to fulfill this requirement.


How should I proceed if I am interested in the concurrent B.A./M.A. degrees?

First, be sure that you fulfill the admission requirements for entry into the program. Given the emphasis on research, you must next decide which research area in biology most interests you. First, learn more about the research conducted in the department; then, determine if any one of the faculty with interests similar to yours is interested in sponsoring a B.A./M.A. student. You will need a research advisor when you apply to the program. You should also speak to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at this time. Because the application deadlines are October 15th and March 15th, act quickly early in the semester.


Can I enroll in off-campus programs, such as "Semester at Sea", and still complete the B.A./M.A. program?

The B.A./M.A. degrees are a demanding, time-consuming program because you are actively involved in a research project and graduate-level coursework. Since there is a firm deadline for finishing this degree, a semester spent elsewhere presents a particular problem. It might be possible to do both the degree and a semester away, but this course of action would be a difficult one.


If I have already completed a degree in another field (e.g. music or political science), can I still apply for a B.A./M.A. in EBIO?

Yes. If you are just starting out as an EBIO major and intend to obtain a second degree you are eligible to apply, providing you fulfill the requirements for admission.


What happens if I drop out of the program?

You would receive only a bachelor's degree, assuming that you fulfill the degree requirements. You are required to complete the requirements for the bachelor's degree by the end of the second semester of the senior year. The B.A./M.A. guidelines stipulate that you should have completed a minimum of 120 credit hours as well as your A&S core and major requirements by that time. Any graduate level courses that you might have taken will count toward the BA.


If I get sick, can I take a leave of absence?

Yes, but you need to get the permission of the Program Director, the Graduate School, and the College of Arts and Sciences.


How many students are enrolled in the B.A./M.A. program?

This varies from year to year.


Can anyone apply for the concurrent B.A./M.A. degrees?

No. This degree is available only to EBIO majors who meet the course and grade requirements. Other majors are excluded. Since considerable planning and coordination of course selection are required to obtain the concurrent degrees within five years, senior EBIO majors are ineligible for admission to this program.


Who is on the Thesis Committee, and how do I pick the right faculty?

The Thesis Committee has a minimum of three members. The three would consist of 1) your research advisor and 2) two other graduate faculty, one of whom may be from outside of EBIO.  In general, you should ask faculty who have considerable expertise in your research area. Become familiar with the research interests of EBIO's faculty. After all, they are on the Thesis Committee to advise you (e.g., which graduate courses might be best for you) as well as to evaluate your academic and research performance.


Are the graduate courses that I take limited to those offered by Ecology & Evolutionary Biology?

No. You can enroll in graduate courses in other departments if they are appropriate for your graduate studies. Your Thesis Committee needs only to approve a course taken outside the department.

If you have additional questions, please contact the EBIO This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., directly.