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BS/MA Dual Degree (2+3) FAQs

What is the BS/MA program?

The BS/MA (or 2+3) dual degree program is an accelerated program that allows students to complete a BS and a MA in economics in five years. 12 of the MA credit hours are "double-counted" for the BS- reducing the overall required hours from 150 (120 + 30) to 138 (108 + 30). 

Please note that both degrees (the BS and MA) will be awarded when all requirements for the entire program have been completed.  In other words, the BS and MA degrees will be simultaneously awarded at the completion of study.

So far, I really like economics, is the BS/MA program right for me?

An MA in economics is not for everyone. It is much more quantitative than is the BS - strong quantitative skills are required.

If you are comfortable with mathematics and are a strong student in the quantitative economic courses (intermediate theory and econometrics), then the BS/MA may be an excellent choice for you.

When do I apply?

You can apply after you have earned 60 credit hours up until you have earned approximately 105 credit hours. (It is recommended that you have completed all General Education requirements before applying.)

It is best to apply when you have completed approximately 90 credit hours; this will give you the most flexibility in terms of schedule and which courses can be used for double-counting (for both the BS and MA).

It is best if you have already taken Intermediate Economic Theory: Microeconomics (Econ 3001) and/or Introduction to Econometrics (4100) before applying.

What are the requirements to apply?

You need between 60 and 105 credit hours with a 3.0 or better GPA (both overall and in economics), and you must have economics as (one of) your declared major(s). An economics faculty member must be willing to write you a recommendation to the program. 

How do I apply?

Notify the Director of Graduate Studies that you are interested. Have the supporting faculty member send your letter of recommendation to the Director of Graduate Studies. Once you have been certified as eligible, there is a simple form that you will need to sign.  Students are accepted on a provisional basis.  Once a student is converted to graduate status, the provisional status is dropped.

The BS/MA application can be found here.

Why pursue the BS/MA or graduate study? - in other words, what can I do with an MA in economics?

The placement record for our graduates has been exceptionally strong. Recent employers of UMSL dual degree students include: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, MasterCard, Centene, Army Corps of Engineers, Express Scripts

In addition, several former MA Students have completed Ph.D.s at Cornell, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Maryland, Washington University, George Mason, and Georgia State University, among others.


Is there a formal program of study, i.e., is there a "preferred" course sequence?

Typically, a student would apply for the BS/MA during their Junior year. For example, a student who was expecting to graduate (with their BS) in May 2024, would apply in Spring 2023 (perhaps Fall 2022)

Year 1 (“senior” or fourth year)

           Semester 1: The last semester as an undergraduate. Up to two courses can be taken using the C-1 form (The C-1 allows these courses to count as graduate courses towards the MA).  Student is converted to graduate status (at the end of this semester).

     Semester 2: Grad courses are taken. 

 Year 2 (the ‘additional’ or fifth year)

             Semester 1: graduate courses

             Semester 2: graduate courses; Student graduates (with both the MA and BS) at the end of this semester.

Once the student is converted to graduate status, tuition for all courses will be charged at (the higher) graduate rate. Students should attempt to complete their undergraduate courses by the first semester of the “senior” year.


What is required for the MA portion of the degree program?

There are 30 hours in the MA program.

There are 9 required credit hours:
Econ 5001 (Microeconomics Analysis)
Econ 5002 (Macroeconomic Analysis)
Econ 5100 (Econometric Theory and Methods)

In addition, 21 credit hours of electives must be completed. At most, six credit hours may be economics courses at the 4000 level (4100, 4105 and 4150 cannot be used); all other electives must be at the 5000 level or higher.

Please note that 12 of these graduate hours (selected by the student will also count towards the undergraduate BS).

Subject to pre-approval by the Director of Graduate Studies, up to 9 hours (5000 level or higher) may be outside the department, e.g., business courses or math courses.

What is the general fee rate that I pay?

While in provisional status,the typical undergraduate educational fees; after 108 credit hours, you pay Graduate educational fees.

Is there financial aid available?
Yes once you are a Graduate Student, you are eligible for an assistantship. There are a limited number of assistantships and these are assigned competitively.

Appointments are one-half time which pays $3000 per semester and pay the student's tuition fees (for up to 9 credit hours; other fees apply).

How much math background is required?

One semester of calculus is the bare minimum; two semesters of calculus would be better. (Two semesters of calculus plus linear algebra may be substituted for Econ 4150). If you are planning to pursue Ph.D., then much more math is recommended. (See the FAQs on Ph.D. studies).

For additional information, contact Don Kridel, Director of Graduate Studies: krideld@umsl.edu