Graduate Studies

Integrated Baccalaureate and Master's Degree Programs


1. Purpose

An Integrated Baccalaureate and Master’s degree program provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to earn both degrees in five years. Typically, a baccalaureate degree requires four years to complete and a master’s degree requires an additional two years. However, the integrated degree programs are intended to be accomplished over a period of five years depending on length of the master's program. In addition to earning both degrees a year early, the integrated programs may include additional opportunities to participate in a variety of experiential educational activities such as a master’s project or thesis.

Many higher education institutions currently have integrated degree programs. Some institutions in Illinois include: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois Springfield, Southern Illinois University, and Illinois State University. Some reasons for creating such programs include:

  • The existence of an integrated program will serve as an attractive recruiting device for strong, motivated, directed, high-achieving undergraduates.
  • The existence of an integrated program will encourage good students to plan early for graduate school, and provide the department with a mechanism to attract them to graduate school at Western Illinois University.
  • An integrated program will provide a more deliberate and directed integration of baccalaureate and master’s studies than is typically achieved by a student who follows separate baccalaureate and master’s programs.
  • The integrated program will send much needed, qualified master’s graduates into the workplace one year sooner, on average, than is the case with students who earn separate degrees, particularly for those pursuing a terminal master’s degree.
2. Definition

The requirements for the baccalaureate and master’s components of the integrated program will remain the same as for the existing baccalaureate and master’s programs. However, some advanced coursework completed while the student is at the baccalaureate level will also be used to satisfy requirements for the master’s degree. (See Section 7)

3. Policies/Regulations

All policies/regulations related to undergraduate or graduate degree programs apply to the integrated degree programs except as specifically differentiated in these regulations.

4. Admissions

Students may apply for admission to an integrated baccalaureate/ master's degree program after completing 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework of which a minimum of 30 semester hours must be at WIU. Integrated baccalaureate/master's degree applicants must meet the cumulative grade point average and the grade point average for their major as specified by their integrated degree program. Admission must be granted by the School of Graduate Studies before a student will be allowed to enroll in 400G or 500 level courses. Students may begin taking bridge courses after the completion of 90 semester hours.

Integrated degree program proposals must require a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and a minimum of 3.25 grade point average in the major or a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and a minimum 3.3 grade point average in the last 30 credit hours taken at WIU for admission to the integrated program. Higher grade point averages may be required by individual integrated baccalaureate/master's degree programs. The cumulative GPA calculation will include all undergraduate coursework taken including transfer work from other colleges and universities.

Second bachelor's students, if eligible per all admission requirements, may apply to an integrated degree program. The coursework completed in the second bachelor's degree at WIU will be included when calculating the cumulative undergraduate GPA for admission consideration.

5. Financial Eligibility

After a student has completed undergraduate degree requirements, the student is:

  • assessed tuition and fees at the graduate level rate on the tuition plan maintained as an undergraduate for one additional year. In most instances this will be based on the date a student started at Western. (Note: Pending BOT approval)
  • eligible for financial aid at the graduate level.
  • eligible for graduate assistantships, scholarships, or other types of support/recognition normally available to graduate students.
6. Time Limit

The work required for the integrated baccalaureate/master’s degree program must be completed within six consecutive calendar years from the time of first enrollment in courses which are part of the integrated program.

7. Coursework Satisfying both Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Requirements

Proposals for Integrated Degree Programs are permitted to include a maximum of nine credit hours of advanced coursework as required in the academic program that will be used to satisfy both baccalaureate and graduate degree requirements. These nine hours will only be used to calculate the undergraduate GPA and will only appear on the transcript once. All grades of C or lower earned, including those taken for bridge credit, count towards the Graduate School's 6-hour C rule. Proposals must identify bridge courses, and demonstrate the academic soundness and quality of the coursework serving both degree requirements.

8. Awarding of the Degrees

Upon completion of all requirements of the baccalaureate degree, such degree will be awarded. Subsequently, after completing the requirements for the master’s degree (including the dual credit courses), such degree will be awarded to the student.