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Combined BA/MS Degree

The combined Bachelor’s/Master’s degree program allows Northwestern undergraduates to begin work toward a Master’s degree in Plant Biology and Conservation and then enter the graduate program so that they may complete the two degrees in a timely fashion. Students are encouraged to discuss their intent to apply to the program early on in their undergraduate career.  Applicants must have at least one quarter of undergraduate study remaining at the time of their enrollment in the combined degree program. More information about combined degrees can be found at The Graduate School’s webpage.

Requirements for admission

Students may come from any undergraduate degree, but to be admitted into the accelerated MS program a student should meet the following criteria prior to applying.

Application Process

The application process will involve submitting the following documentation to the Director of the PBC Program and TGS. Applications should be submitted during the quarter in which the student will be within four courses of completing his/her Bachelor degree requirements. The MS admissions committee will review the application.

Requirements for completion of the MS degree

Other important considerations

Example timelines for students matriculating in the MS in different quarters

Classes in bold are required.

Fall matriculation

Quarter Undergrad/Grad Grad
Fall PBC 450 (2 units)*
BIO 335*
Apply for and matriculate in MS
3 electives
Research
Winter PBC 435
PBC 401 (suggested elective)
Research
Spring PBC 402 (suggested elective)
PBC 499(2 units)
Form thesis committee
Thesis proposal
Analyze data
Prepare thesis
Summer Research Defend thesis

Winter matriculation

Quarter Undergrad/Grad Grad
Fall BIO 335*
PBC 450 (2 units)
PBC 499
2 electives
Research
Winter Apply for and matriculate in MS PBC 435
1 elective
BIO 350
Analyze data
Spring BIO 3491
PBC 499
Form thesis committee
Thesis proposal
TGS 512 Prepare and defend thesis
Summer Research

Spring matriculation

Quarter Undergrad Undergrad/Grad Grad
Fall BIO 335* PBC 450 (2 units)
PBC 499
Research
Winter BIO 350* PBC 435
PBC 499
2 electives
Research
Spring BIO 349*1 Apply for and matirculate in MS
PBC 499
Form thesis committee
Thesis proposal
TGS 512
Analyze data and prepare thesis
Summer Research Defend thesis

*a course that will be counted toward the MS degree but could be taken as an undergraduate

1 If a biology major has a plant concentration, this is a required course for their bachelor’s degree. In this case, this suggested elective will be waived for the MS degree and the student can substitute another elective (i.e., BIO 316) to take while still an undergraduate. Back to top