Dual-degrees, faster option for graduates

Students considering graduate school may not realize they can participate in a dual-degree program at Seton Hall to earn their Bachelor’s and their Master’s degrees in a shorter timespan.

Dual-degree programs include, but are not limited to, english, history, psychology, education (B.S.) and speech-language pathology (M.S.), and diplomacy and international relations.

Ursula Sanjamino, associate dean of the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, talked about the Diplomacy dual degree program in an e-mail interview.

“Upon completion of the B.S. degree, students dedicate the final year of study to completion of the 45-credit M.A. degree,” Sanjamino said.

“Depending on the student semester course load and summer courses, students may complete both degrees in five to five and half years.”

Sanjamino said admission to the program is very competitive. Currently, there are 11 students enrolled in the dual-degree problem.

The English dual-degree program is structured like the diplomacy dual-degree program.

Angela Weisl, director of Graduate Studies in English and chair of the Graduate Council, said in an e-mail interview students can apply for the program in the fall or spring of their junior year.

The English graduate degree is a 30-credit program. In order to be admitted, students need a 3.2 GPA in the English major and they do not need to take the GRE.

The three dual-degree programs offered in the School of Health and Medical Science are based off an undergraduate degree in biology.

Biology students are eligible for the dual- degree programs in athletic training physician assistant and physical therapy. In the first three years of each program, students have to take 17 to 18 credits, with no option for electives.

Gerald Ruscingno, director of the biology dual degree program, said the physical therapy program takes four years to complete the graduate level, while some other schools take less time, because Seton Hall does not require physical therapy students to take classes in the summer.

By the end of their junior year, all students in the program must have a 3.0 overall GPA, Ruscingno said. However, the programs will be undergoing a revaluation in the next few months.

“The current standards of the programs are going under evaluation by chairs and deans of College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Health and Medical Science,” Ruscingno said. “There may be changes in the GPA requirements and prerequisite courses in the near future.”

With the competitive and intensive nature of the programs, students may wonder if the programs have more benefits than just the timetable.

“A B.S. degree with a solid Seton Hall University interdisciplinary experience, a major in international relations, advanced proficiency in a foreign language and the M.A. provides the opportunity to develop graduate level functional and regional areas of expertise,” Sanjamino said.

Weisl highlighted the advantage for students to finish a Master’s degree in English in one year, instead of two.

“For some students, especially students planning to teach high school, this is an advantage, because it allows them to start at a higher salary in some districts and some private schools,” Weisl said. “For students hoping to complete a PhD or pursue an MFA, it moves them towards advanced study more quickly.”

The programs have their own disadvantages as well as their benefits. Some students, Weisl said, are not fully prepared for the higher research expectations in graduate courses as well as the additional work.

Weisl said that in recent years, a student had to leave the program when he discovered his scholarship did not cover the graduate courses.

“Students have to pay for graduate courses on top of flat tuition, and many scholarships don’t cover graduate classes,” Weisl said. “Also, not having two full years as a graduate student (post-BA) can make it harder for students to compete for Graduate Assistantships. They’re also not eligible for Teaching Assistants in the program.”

Junior Stella Raab is in the dual-degree English program and started her first graduate classes this semester.

“In completing the BA/MA program, I will be able to teach certain college courses should I choose to do so and I will also be more marketable in applying for secondary school positions,” Raab said in an e-mail interview.

Senior Patricia Tibere is also in the English dual-degree program.
“The B.A./ M.A. Program is the perfect opportunity to quickly finish my graduate studies, and it also helps me to remain more disciplined as a student,” Tibere said in an e-mail interview.

Brittany Biesiada can be reached at brittany.biesiada@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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