MAIS BAM Application Process

The MAIS BAM Application Process in 10 Steps

This can be a complicated process, but if approved for participation, it will save you time and money. Read carefully, ask for help at mais@gmu.edu, and most importantly, persevere! 

Step 1: Do Your Research. 

Application to a BAM degree pathway is an application to a graduate program, so students should take the same time and care they would if they were applying to a graduate program years after graduation.

Research your intended Interdisciplinary Studies concentration, including degree requirements and program requirements, like the Interdisciplinary Studies capstone, so that you can make an informed decision about applying. You might also reach out to the head of the concentration(s) you’re interested in, to discuss whether this program is a good fit for you.

Step 2: Reach Out to Interdisciplinary Studies

Contact the Interdisciplinary Studies graduate coordinator at mais@gmu.edu to indicate your interest in applying to a BAM degree pathway. She will clarify the process, answer your questions, and provide you with an MAIS BAM Advising Form specific to your intended Interdisciplinary Studies concentration. You will need this form to complete the application process.

Step 3: Meet with Your Undergraduate Academic Advisor

With your MAIS BAM Advising Form in hand, set an appointment to talk with your undergraduate academic advisor. In this conversation, you will:

  • Confirm the remaining degree requirements of your bachelor’s degree.
  • Determine, based on your GPA and credits, whether you are a suitable candidate for a BAM degree pathway.
  • Confirm the timing of your impending bachelor’s degree conferral and transition into the BAM degree pathway, should you be approved for participation.
  • Discuss how graduate credits that you earn towards your master’s degree can also count towards your bachelor’s degree.
  • Initial that you have discussed and understood all of the above.
  • Get the signature of your undergraduate academic advisor.

Step 4: Meet with the Interdisciplinary Studies Director (or a designated representative)

With your MAIS BAM Advising Form (which has now been signed by your undergraduate academic advisor) in hand, set an appointment to talk with the Interdisciplinary Studies director or, if she is unavailable, with a program representative she has designated. The timing of this meeting is important. We recommend setting this meeting before October, if you intend to apply for Spring admission, and before February, if you intend to apply for Fall admission.

In this conversation, you will:

  • Discuss Interdisciplinary Studies application requirements.
  • Discuss Interdisciplinary Studies program requirements.
  • Discuss graduate courses that you plan to take while still an undergraduate.
    • Will they count towards both your undergraduate and graduate degrees? (“advanced standing”)
    • Will they count only towards your graduate degree? (“reserve graduate credit”)
    • How will these credits count towards your graduate degree? That is, what graduation requirements will they fulfill for your master’s degree?

Your completed MAIS BAM Advising Form should be submitted to the Interdisciplinary Studies graduate coordinator at mais@gmu.edu.

Step 5: Apply

Eligibility for a BAM degree pathway does not guarantee admission to a graduate program, which is a parallel but ultimately separate process. Your graduate application should be crafted with care and deliberation, to ensure the best possible outcome. Pay special attention to application guidelines specific to your intended concentration.

Each applicant will submit:

  • An application
  • All undergraduate transcripts (including schools you attended prior to Mason)
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • A goals statement
  • A writing sample
  • 3 letters of recommendation.
    • Two letters should come from faculty who know you (and your work) well.
    • One letter should come from your undergraduate academic advisor.

Step 6: Wait

Interdisciplinary Studies standard application review period runs February 15 to June 1 for Fall admission, and October 15 to December 1 for Spring admission. If you need an earlier review or require an update on the status of your application, contact the Interdisciplinary Studies graduate coordinator at mais@gmu.edu. Notification of your admission or denial will come only from the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Step 7: Make a Decision

When you learn whether you have been approved for participation, you will have some decisions to make.

If you have been denied: Breathe deep, take stock, and focus on the positive! Your graduation from undergraduate is mere months away. That is truly something to be proud of! Also, being denied from a BAM degree pathway does not prevent you from applying to graduate school through the regular pathway. Take some time to figure out what you want to do after graduation, and if it is graduate school, work with your faculty mentors to ensure that all of your application materials are as good as they can be.

If you have been approved for participation: Breathe deep, take stock, and focus on the positive! You now have some choices to make. Do you really want to make the last semester or two of your college experience next-level challenging? If the answer is “Yes!” then follow the instructions in your approval letter and contact the Interdisciplinary Studies graduate coordinator at mais@gmu.edu and your concentration head for help registering for graduate courses.

Step 8: Excel in “Advanced Standing”

After you have been approved for participation in the accelerated masters program, but before your undergraduate degree has been conferred and you have actually entered your graduate program, you are in a transitory state between undergraduate and graduate standing that brings its own challenges. You are obligated by policy to do well during this time. Students in transition are not permitted to get less than a B in any class, even their undergraduate classes. Go here to review policies governing students in this transition period.

Step 9: Transition

In your final undergraduate semester, you must complete the Registrar’s  Bachelors/Accelerated Master’s Transition Form and submit it to the Interdisciplinary Studies graduate coordinator at mais@gmu.edu for processing. You will not be able to register for your first semester as a fully realized graduate student without it.

Step 10: Welcome to Interdisciplinary Studies!

We know it was a long road to get here, and we are so glad you made it! Now that you are a fully realized graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Studies master’s program, you have a couple of tasks you must soon fulfill:

  1. Once your bachelor’s degree has been conferred, you are required to enroll in at least one course towards your graduate degree in the following semester (Fall for Spring/Summer graduates; Spring for Fall graduates). Failure to do so may result in you being dropped from your graduate program. Contact mais@gmu.edu if you need to delay beginning the graduate program for any reason.
  2. Learn more about the Interdisciplinary Studies program by: Perusing the program website; reading the Student Handbook; meeting with your concentration head; attending orientation; and/or reaching out and asking for help at mais@gmu.edu!
  3. Register for MAIS 796: Interdisciplinary Studies Proseminar, if you have not done so already. All Interdisciplinary Studies students are required to take MAIS 796 in their first 2 semesters or 9 credits in the program.