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Accelerated Degrees (4+1) and Dual Degrees (BS/MS, BS/ME)

View RIT's current Accelerated Degree and Dual Degree offerings

Accelerated Degree programs (4+1) allow a student to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree in five years of study. Instead of double counting credit hours, as is done in a dual degree program, up to six graduate courses may be waived in a 4+1 program.

Learn more about Accelerated Degree programs (4+1)

Dual Degree programs (BS/MS and BS/ME) allow a student to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in less time than it would normally take to complete each degree separately. Most Dual Degree programs require completion of freshman and sophomore course work at RIT before applying for admission. Students in Dual Degree programs generally double count 6-9 credit hours in both degrees.

Dual Degree proposals should allow students to complete their BS degree along the way in four years (or five for five year undergraduate programs) and enroll in the courses that will be double counted during the second to last year of the combined accelerated program.  Undergraduate degree completion and certification within the 150% period will retain eligibility for the Direct Loan interest subsidy. 

Dual degree programs (BS/MS or BS/ME) can be created from existing bachelor's and master's programs or may be originally developed as a dual degree program (e.g., RIT"s BS/MS Physician Assistant program).

View/download guidance package for Dual Degrees (BS/MS and BS/ME)

For additional Dual Degree guidance, click a section below:

Creating Dual Degrees (BS/MS or BS/ME) from Existing General Academic Programs
  1. Departments should prepare requests for a dual degree program using the following items from the Dual Degree guidance document:
    • Proposal form (page 5 of guidance document)
    • Table 1 (page 6 of guidance document)
  2. Proposed dual degrees must be reviewed and approved by:
    • The department faculty and department chair(s) from the contributing undergraduate and graduate degre programs
    • The Department Curriculum Committee
    • The College Curriculum Committee
    • Dean of the College
  3. Once steps #1 and #2 are completed, the completed Dual Degree proposal form should be forwarded by the Dean to the Assistant Provost.
  4. The Assistant Provost will review the proposal and secure Provost approval.
  5. The final decision for approval of a dual degree resides with the Provost.
Required Approvals for Dual Degrees (BS/MS and BS/ME)

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) defines three types of degree programs:

  • Programs to prepare candidates for teacher, educational leader, or pupil services certification (these are considered professional programs)
  • Programs to prepare candidates for a professional license
  • All other (general academic) programs

Depending upon the type and status of programs involved in the dual degree, the approvals vary:

In all cases, RIT is responsible for ensuring that dual degrees are subject to internal curriculum review and approval, and that they adhere to the established guidance from NYSED on the use of double counting credit in these degrees (see next section).

Double Counting Credits in Dual Degrees (BS/MS and BS/ME)

Dual Degrees where the undergraduate and graduate component are Non-Engineering Programs

  • For programs that are 120 semester credits for the bachelor’s degree and 30 semester credits for the master’s degree, up to 6 credit hours from the master’s degree can be double counted in the bachelor’s degree. 
  • For programs that are 123 semester credits or more for the bachelor’s degree and 30 semester credits for the master’s degree, up to 9 credits can be double counted.  
     

Dual Degrees that include an Engineering Program (requirements from the NYS Engineering Board)

  • To double count credits, the number of credits double counted must align to the number of credits in the bachelor program that exceed 120 semester credits. For example: if the bachelor is 126 semester credits, then 6 credits from the master can be double counted.  If the bachelor program is 120 semester credits, no master’s courses can be double counted.
  • Therefore, the number of double counted credits will have to be determined on a program by program basis dependent upon the number of credits in the standalone bachelor’s program.
Quick Links to Dual Degree (BS/MS and BS/ME) Forms
Program Type* Dual Degree is comprised of Existing BS and MS programs Dual Degree is comprised of
New BS program and/or
New MS program

General Academic Programs

RIT Dual Degree Proposal Form

Complete a separate application for new BS program and/or new MS program:
NYSED Application for Registration of a New Degree Program

New Dual Degree Program:
NYSED Change or Adapt a Registered Program
 

Professional Programs and/or Programs that Prepare Candidates for a Professional License

NYSED Application for Registration of a New Program in a Licensed Profession

Complete a separate application for new BS and/or new MS, and new Dual Degree program:
NYSED Application for Registration of a New Program in a Licensed Profession
 


The New York State Education Department (NYSED) defines three types of degree programs:

  • Programs to prepare candidates for teacher, educational leader, or pupil services certification (these are considered professional programs)
  • Programs to prepare candidates for a professional license
  • All other (general academic) programs
Additional Guidance for Dual Degrees (BS/MS and BS/ME)

ADDITIONAL ACCELERATED DUAL DEGREE GUIDELINES - BS/MS and BS/ME (Effective September 2015):

  1. Accelerated Dual Degree students will be classified as graduate students once they are certified for the bachelor’s degree or once they reach the credit hours* that are required for the bachelor’s degree portion of the accelerated program, whichever occurs first.
  1. While a student is still classified as an undergraduate all courses will be placed on the undergraduate record/transcript.
  1. Once classified as a graduate student,  courses taken from that point forward will be reviewed each term and courses applicable to the bachelor’s degree will be placed on the undergraduate record/transcript and all graduate courses will be placed on the graduate record/transcript.**
  1. Also, once a student is classified as a graduate student, that determination made by the Registrar’s Office will continue to be used consistently throughout campus for external reporting, enrollment status, financial aid eligibility, tuition calculation, and eligibility for employment as graduate assistants for example. It is important to note that enrollment in graduate level courses will be reported to the Department of Education so it will be important to ensure that those students are enrolled in graduate level courses.
  1. We are not asking already approved programs to go through major curriculum modifications.  The Registrar’s office will continue to conduct the individual evaluation described above and notify other offices on campuses when students are determined to be graduate students, based on our current understanding related to their program progress. 
  1. We do expect that newly developed accelerated dual degrees will make every possible effort to lay out a curriculum that will  allow students to complete their BS degree along the way in 4 years (or five for five year undergraduate programs) and enroll in the courses that would be double counted during the second to last year of the combined accelerated program. Undergraduate degree completion and certification within the 150% period will retain eligibility for the Direct Loan interest subsidy. 

*The credit hours threshold is calculated by adding credits earned and credits in progress.    In general, the threshold has been 120 to 123 credit hours. 
** This change is mandated by the Department of Education. 


SUPPORTING RATIONALE FOR GUIDELINES:

This briefing provides clarification of the proposed path for “new” accelerated degrees.  Federal reporting requirements have historically required that RIT designate whom we count as an undergraduate student and whom we count as a graduate student.  New federal requirements require more specific enrollment information on students who are enrolled in accelerated undergraduate/graduate degree programs.  There is a unique impact on the students who are enrolled in these programs, are considered to be graduate students, and who have not yet completed undergraduate degree requirements.   Several offices have worked through the issues and have developed an approach that will allow RIT to be in compliance without penalizing students who are participating in these accelerated programs. 

As approved by New York State Education Department, students in the accelerated dual degree programs generally double count 6-9 credit hours in both degrees.    In the past, RIT has established a process for determining at what point students in accelerated (dual) degree programs are considered to be graduate students.   The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (Public Law 112-141) added a new provision to the federal Direct Loan statutory requirements that limit a first-time borrower’s eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans to a period not to exceed 150% of the length of the borrower’s education al program.  Under certain conditions, the provision also causes first-time borrowers who have exceeded the 150% limit to lose the interest subsidy on their Direct Subsidized Loans.    The resulting new federal requirements mandate a change in how RIT reports enrollment for students enrolled in those credit hours.  Specifically, the enrollment information provided must now include information about each student’s academic program length.  Program-level enrollment data is now required each time RIT reports enrollment. 

Currently, an individual evaluation of each student record is conducted by the Registrar’s Office once a student reaches the credit hour threshold* and the classification is based on a determination that the student is essentially a graduate student who might be missing one undergraduate requirement, for example.    The determination made by the Registrar’s Office is used consistently throughout campus for external reporting, enrollment status, financial aid eligibility, tuition calculation, and eligibility for employment as GRA’s, for example.   

We realize that particularly in the Engineering discipline that our undergraduate programs are 5 year programs and that in many cases students do not complete the BS and MS until their final term at RIT.  This is occasioned by the need for the multidisciplinary seminar course in the last year and in some programs other important program requirements. 

What we are asking new program proposers to do is to make every possible effort to lay out a curriculum that would allow students to complete their BS degree along the way in 4 years (or five for five year undergraduate programs) and enroll in the courses that would be double counted during the second to last year of the combined accelerated program. Undergraduate degree completion and certification within the 150% period will retain eligibility for the Direct Loan interest subsidy. 

Questions?

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Anne Wahl (Assistant Provost) or Brenda Thornton.

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