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4 + 1 Program

The Department admits a limited number of exceptional students to a 4+1 program designed to allow Vanderbilt undergraduate students to complete the bachelor's and master's degree in five years total: four years of undergraduate study plus one year of graduate study. 

4+1 MA candidates must complete 30 total hours of 8000-level (PhD-level) course credits and submit a thesis or complete a field examination. There are thus two paths to this degree:

  1. Complete the BA in political science in 4 years, complete 24 didactic course hours at the 8000-level, complete 6 credit hours of research credit, and submit and defend a research thesis; OR
  2. Complete the BA in political science in 4 years, complete 30 didactic course hours at the 8000-level, and complete and pass a comprehensive exam in the student's major field of study.

Among the 24 didactic hours, students are expected to attend the PhD Math Camp the week before the "+1" year begins (which is a pass/fail requirement but does not constitute credit hours), complete the two course sequence in methods (PSCI 8355: Research Methods and PSCI 8356: Statistics for Political Research I), and at least 6 hours in one major field of study (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Theory). The thesis is directed and approved by a two-person committee comprised of the student's adviser and one other faculty member. The comprehensive exam is evaluated by a two-person committee within the student's major field.

Students applying to the 4+1 Program in Political Science should have at least a 3.5 overall and major GPA. The GRE is not required. Ideally, students would apply in the junior year. The application process requires the following steps:

1.  Meet with the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Emily Ritter, to discuss how this would fit into your current plan of study.
2.  Submit a hard-copy application packet consisting of the following materials to the Director of Graduate Studies.

a.  Statement of purpose / Letter of intent explaining why the applicant seeks to enroll in the 4+1 program
b.  Vanderbilt transcript (unofficial is fine)
c.  CV or resumé
d.  Department of Political Science 4+1 Letter of Recommendation form
e.  Arts & Sciences Petition to Apply to the Combined BA/MA 4+1 Degree Program form.

The Graduate Committee in Political Science will evaluate applications on a rolling basis.

For more information, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Emily Ritter.