The Accelerated Graduate Degree Program (AGDP) in communication allows students to begin accumulating credits toward completion of a master’s degree while still enrolled as undergraduates. Undergraduate students admitted to the communication AGDP, with senior standing, may take up to 12 credit hours of designated 5000- and 6000-level courses for graduate credit. These designated courses may be used in completion of both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree.
An undergraduate degree in communication requires a total of 122 credit hours. The Master of Arts in Communication requires a total of 30 credit hours. Students enrolling in the AGDP for the maximum 12 graduate credits would earn 140 total undergraduate and graduate credits in contrast to the typical combined 152 undergraduate and graduate credit hours under the usual progression to degree(s).
Students would pay undergraduate tuition for AGDP eligible 5000- and 6000-level courses as undergraduates and the courses will be included in the flat tuition rate. On completion of the undergraduate degree, the student will be re-classified as a graduate student and then will pay graduate tuition rates.
Eligibility for application
This program is open to undergraduate students in all of the communication majors: communication studies; interpersonal communication; organizational communication; public relations; journalism; film, video and media studies; and telecommunications and information management.
A student must have senior status and must have earned a minimum of 45 credit hours, 15 of which must be from Western Michigan University and at least 20 credit hours as a declared major in the School of Communication.
Undergraduate students enrolled in the AGDP will be expected to meet graduate expectations in their graduate courses.
Students who have received their baccalaureate degrees will be ineligible to apply for this program and retroactively claim credits toward the M.A. degree.
The student must meet the established master’s program admission criteria:
- an undergraduate minimum GPA of 3.5 (based on at least 15 credit hours earned at WMU)
- at least 20 credit hours in a declared major in the School of Communication
- three letters of recommendation from academic references
- evidence of academic interest (a personal statement) including rationale for admission to AGDP
- an academic writing sample
1. As early as possible in the academic junior year, the potential AGDP student should contact the director of graduate studies to discuss this AGDP option and review the requirements, timelines, and application procedures.
2. Meet with the undergraduate academic advisor to review current and anticipated credit hour status and make arrangements to conduct a pre-graduation audit.
3. Students must apply for admission to the graduate program with the Office of Admissions and Graduate Admissions and must complete the necessary application materials for admission to the master’s program in the School of Communication.
4. Upon acceptance into the AGDP, the student must meet together with the director of graduate studies and the undergraduate academic advisor to prepare an appropriate program of study that meets the requirements for the undergraduate and graduate degrees.
5. A letter advising which graduate courses will be counted in both degrees will be sent to the student and to the registrar. A copy of this letter will also be included in the student’s graduate file.
Requirements for continuing eligibility and graduation
1. It is expected that the baccalaureate degree will be awarded within one calendar year after initial AGDP enrollment. Students not meeting this time constraint must re-apply to be admitted to the graduate program.
2. In order to progress automatically into the graduate program, the student must achieve a grade of “B” or better in each of the graduate courses being counted for the undergraduate degree. Students who do not meet this requirement will have the earned grade applied to their undergraduate degree only and must apply for readmission into the graduate program. Students who complete the undergraduate degree including a “B” or above in the specified graduate courses will be admitted as graduate students (with the relevant graduate credit) in the next semester or session after receiving the bachelor’s degree.
3. A student in the AGDP must follow the program of study developed with the graduate director and the undergraduate advisor. Failure to follow this program of study may result in ineligibility for the AGDP.
4. A student completing the undergraduate degree with a GPA within the major of less than 3.0 will be automatically declared ineligible for the AGDP.
5. Students must complete the requirements for the M.A. degree within 24 months from the completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students unable to meet this requirement must apply for an extension with the School of Communication director of graduate studies.
6. Students who have completed the Accelerated Graduate Degree Program will have it noted on their undergraduate and graduate transcript.
7. Any student who becomes ineligible to continue participation in the AGDP will be notified in writing by the director of graduate studies.
A student may at any time withdraw from the AGDP by informing the director of graduate studies in the School of Communication in writing. A copy of the request to withdraw must be sent to the Graduate College and the registrar’s office.