Combined Bachelor's/Master's Degree Program

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Our combined degree option allows students at Miami to work toward a master's degree concurrently with their undergraduate degree. The combined program is intended to take 5 years, instead of the 6 (or more) usually required to obtain a graduate degree. Students completing M.S. degree will be positioned for entry into research careers or advanced graduate education at the doctoral level.

Program Description

{4+1}This program allows a student to combine Master’s level research with an undergraduate major, resulting in graduation with both a Master of Science in Microbiology and a Bachelor’s degree in their major (either A.B., or B.S.). The combined program requires completion of 150 semester hours, of which 30 hours are for the Master’s degree, and 120 hours are for the Bachelor’s degree. Students can count up to 12 hours of 500-level Microbiology courses towards their undergraduate degree.

Students completing this degree will be able to:

  1. define/explain the core theories and practices of microbiology, including the processes used by microorganisms for their replication, survival, and interaction with their environment, hosts, and host populations;
  2. explain the theoretical basis of the tools, technologies and methods common to microbiology, and employ them in the application of the scientific method and hypothesis testing in the design and execution of experiments in their research;
  3. complete a research-based thesis, in which they will:
    • summarize and analyze scientific literature,
    • describe methodological information,
    • apply microbiological concepts and basic research findings through description, interpretation, and analysis,
    • articulate conclusions and implications of research.

Undergraduate Preparation

Students admitted into the combined program will have completed BIO/MBI 116, MBI 201, MBI 365, and either CHM 231 or CHM 242/245. The recommended major for this program is Microbiology, but majors in Biochemistry, Biology, Botany, Chemistry, and Zoology are also acceptable. It is important for students to have identified a faculty member who will agree to mentor them. Typically, students will have already begun undergraduate research with the faculty member before applying to the program.

Undergraduate preparation for the combined degree takes careful planning, so please contact your advisor as soon as possible if you are considering the combined degree program.

Declaration of Interest

Students may declare their interest in enrolling in a combined program anytime during their academic career at Miami, from the time they are admitted for an undergraduate degree.

Full Admission

Upon earning a minimum of 64 credit hours and having a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or greater, students may apply for admission to the combined program. Regular time-limits for completing the master’s degree apply to students in a combined program (see Graduate School Policies for more information). This program is not compatible with part-time enrollment.

Application Procedures

To apply to a combined bachelors/masters program, complete the Graduate School online application and pay the $50 application fee. Be sure to check “combined program.” Additional requirements include:

  • two letters of recommendation from faculty members, including the student's research mentor,
  • a statement of interest outlining the student’s professional goals and interests, and
  • a Plan of Study that details how the student will complete the requirements for the degree.

Student Classification and Graduation

Students in a combined program will remain as undergraduates until they apply for graduation or submit a request to the Graduate School to have their classification changed from undergraduate to graduate. Students must have completed a minimum of 128 hours (undergrad and grad combined) to be classified as a graduate student (note: this change in classification will affect eligibility for financial aid). Students may receive their bachelor’s degree prior to completing their master’s degree. Upon receiving the bachelor’s degree, students will automatically be classified as graduate students. Students receiving the bachelor’s degree prior to completing the master’s degree can count up to 12 hours of graduate course work toward their bachelor’s degree with permission of the appropriate advisor(s) and dean(s) or their designee(s). Those hours can also count toward the completion of their master’s degree. A minimum of 150 hours is required for the combined program; a minimum of 120 semester hours for a bachelor's degree and a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work (500 level and above) for a master's degree.