Emory Eliminates 4-Year B.S./M.S. Programs

Emory is set to redesign its four-year bachelor/master’s programs into five-year “4+1” programs, due to faculty concerns regarding the rigor of the programs.

The bachelor/master’s programs in political science, chemistry, mathematics and mathematics/computer science, through which students could earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years, have suspended applications until the five-year 4+1 programs are implemented, according to Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Joanne Brzinski. Students currently enrolled in the four-year bachelor/master’s programs will have the opportunity to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.

Master’s degrees generally take two years to complete, but the time period may vary depending on the structure of the degree program; whether the student is enrolled full-time or part-time; the degree requirements; and the prior preparation of the student, according to the Department of Education (ED). Additionally, undergraduate credit cannot be counted toward graduate studies unless the undergraduate courses are taken for graduate credit and are certified as such by the graduate faculty, according to the ED.

The departments that offer the bachelor/master’s programs have been reviewing the curriculums for the past 10 years, according to Brzinski. After internal discussions, faculty members came to a consensus of dissatisfaction with the rigor of the current programs and felt that they did not comply with the ED standards and therefore had to be redesigned, according to Brzinski.

“Incorporating a master’s program into a four-year bachelor’s program doesn’t allow for the rigorous academic experience that students should be having in a master’s program,” Brzinski said.

Students who choose to participate in the 4+1 programs “bridge” their undergraduate senior year with a fifth year in graduate studies at LGS to earn a master’s degree, according to the LGS website. The new programs will go through a review process and must be approved by the College Curriculum Committee, the LGS Executive Committee and Emory’s Board of Trustees, according to Brzinski.

Faculty are discussing possible options for a chemistry 4+1 program but no decisions or specific plans have been made yet, Chair of the Chemistry Department Stefan Lutz wrote in a Jan. 22 email to the Wheel.

Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Math and Computer Science David Borthwick said the department is currently preparing proposals for 4+1 programs for math, applied math and computer science. Borthwick hopes the programs will be available for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Chair of the Political Science Department Clifford Carrubba wrote in a Jan. 18 email to the Wheel that he is not sure when the 4+1 political science program will be implemented because the approval process takes time, but he hopes it will be during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Director of Undergraduate Studies for the English Department Erwin Rosinberg wrote in a Jan. 28 email to the Wheel that the department believes the redesign established a more rigorous and complete experience for students in the program. Rosinberg added that the extra year allows students to have more time for graduate coursework in English and other related departments such as history and philosophy.

“Additional exposure to various critical and theoretical approaches to literary study at the graduate level has helped our 4+1 students immensely as they develop their master’s theses, which are written in the fifth year,” Rosinberg wrote. “The interaction between 4+1 students and our Ph.D. students has helped promote healthy dialogue about learning objectives at the graduate level, too.”

Emory currently offers 4+1 programs in environmental sciences, English, film and media studies, biostatistics, environmental health, juris master, cancer biology and translational oncology.

CORRECTION (2/15/18 at 6:30 p.m.): A previous version of this article referred to the Department of Education as DoE. The article has been updated to reflect the Department’s correct abbreviation which is ED.

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