The Walter Cronkite School’s reinstated combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program will be finalized Friday after being reviewed by members of the Cronkite School, the Graduate School and the Provost’s Office.
The revamped program, which replaces one that was discontinued recently because it did not meet university policy, is expected to charge participating students higher tuition for the master’s portion of the program. The changes will only affect students enrolling in the program after this fall.
“I know some will not like this, but there is very much a fairness question involved,” Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School and vice provost for the Downtown campus, said in an email. “Namely, is it fair to all other master’s students for the BA/MMC students to be paying less?”
As part of the new program, students will pay graduate tuition for the 24 credits necessary to complete a Master of Mass Communication degree after they earn their Bachelor of the Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. An additional 12 credits of graduate coursework will be taken during undergraduate study, prior to receiving the BA, and will be covered by undergraduate tuition.
Students currently in the program pay only undergraduate tuition throughout the four-year program.
In the upcoming fall semester, undergraduate tuition for non-residents taking 12 or more credits will be $11,231, and graduate non-residents will pay $12,275.
For Arizona residents, graduate students will pay about $400 more than undergraduates in tuition when taking seven or more credits.
Once the revised BA/MMC program is in place, any undergraduate scholarships would not apply to the time students spend in the master’s portion of the program, Callahan said.
Callahan, who crafted the original BA/MMC program, worked on the revised proposal with help from the Graduate School and Provost’s Office. The combined degree program is open to Cronkite students who are part of Barrett, the Honors College.
“We took the original program, which I think everybody agrees is great, and then we took those four-plus-ones (other accelerated master’s programs at ASU) and said, ‘OK, what are some of the good elements of both, and how can we combine this to make a good program?’” Callahan said.
The changes will make accelerated Master of Mass Communication students eligible for graduate assistantships, Callahan said. According to the Cronkite School’s website, students who are granted assistantships receive full tuition, health benefits and an $11,000 stipend for the academic year.
Callahan said he still believes students will be able to complete the two degrees in four years if they want to.
The new program will be implemented in fall 2013, with students enrolling this fall the last to work within the original combined BA/MMC program.
Students starting in the new program in 2013 will earn the same total number of credits as students in the current program (144) and be subjected to the same coursework, Callahan said.
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Editor’s note: Connor Radnovich and Mauro Whiteman are enrolled in the Cronkite School’s combined bachelor’s/master’s program.