BA/MA Program

Yale College undergraduate students of extraordinary ability who are interested in pursuing advanced research in political science may undertake graduate work for the simultaneous award of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. For further information about university regulations for the combined BA/MA program, see here.


Students must complete the requirement of the BA and also take eight graduate courses. Among the eight graduate courses, students must take the following:
  • PLSC 536 Applied Quantitative Research Design.
  • Two core courses in any one of the methods fields: Quantitative Empirical Methods, Qualitative and Archival Methods, and Formal Theory.
  • Two core courses in each of any two substantive fields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, and Political Theory.
For a list of courses by field, divided up as core courses and electives, see here.
Any graduate course may be cross-listed with the undergraduate program; however, students must meet with the professor at the beginning of the semester to receive instruction in completing the graduate-level work for the course. All graduate courses to be taken in a given semester by a student in the BA/MA program must be pre-approved by the DGS, before the close of the pre-registration period for undergraduate courses. PLSC 536 counts as a core course in Quantitative Empirical Methods, and can count as one of the two core courses in Quantitative Empirical Methods. No course can be counted as a core course in more than one field.

Application Information

Students must submit the following information:
  • A cover letter. It should explain why students are applying to the BA/MA program, why they are well prepared for the program, and how it would help accomplish their future career objectives.
  • A completed Yale College Dean’s Office BA/MA program application form, which includes a semester-by-semester course of study proposal. Students must show that, with the courses to be taken in the sixth term of enrollment, they will complete all requirements for the major with the exception of the year-long senior essay. Students must show that, with the courses to be taken in their remaining three semesters at Yale, they will fulfill all of the program requirements.
  • An official college transcript. To be eligible for the program, students must have maintained, by the end of their fifth term of enrollment, at least two-thirds A or A– grades in all of their course credits as well as in all course credits in Political Science and in other departments that are counted toward the major.
  • A prospectus of the year-long senior essay. The prospectus should be one to two pages long. It should state the research question, briefly review of the relevant literature (discussing around three references), describe the methods that will be used to answer the question. It should include the name of the prospective essay advisor.
  • Two completed recommendation forms. These should be written by faculty members in the Political Science department, who will comment on the student’s ability to succeed in graduate-level courses and conduct research. One of the recommendation forms must be completed by the faculty member who has agreed to serve as the MA adviser.
Applications must be sent to the DUS by the last day of classes in the fifth term of enrollment. Students should consult with both the DUS and DGS before submitting their application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I apply to the program?
  • You should consider the program if you are passionate about research in political science. This experience would help you refine your research agenda and it could ease the transition to a future PhD program if you chose to pursue such an option.
What have graduates of the program gone on to pursue?
  • Some have pursued PhD programs in Political Science. Others have started careers in public policy or the private sector, including the law, where the analytical rigor of the BA/MA program proved useful. Another career path is within the realm of politics itself, whether as a candidate, a consultant, or a campaign staffer for which exposure to graduate-level methods courses and substantive content can be of great value.

How many students would typically be admitted into the BA/MA program each year?

  • One to three.
If I’m planning to take MA courses in my sixth term of enrollment, should I enroll in those classes even though I won’t know if I’ve been admitted to the BA/MA program when my course schedule is due?
  • Yes. Proceed with the intention that you will be admitted into the BA/MA program and enroll in the MA courses during your sixth term of enrollment.
Can I overlap courses between my BA and MA programs?
  • No. If you are planning to apply graduate-level Political Science courses to your BA only, you need to communicate this information to the DUS and DGS Registrars.
Do the grades that I received in my graduate level Political Science courses count toward distinction in my BA program?
  • No. The graduate-level courses that you count toward your MA do not count toward distinction in your BA program.