The Accelerated Graduate Degree Program (AGDP) offers currently enrolled WMU undergraduates the opportunity to get a head start on their graduate history studies. Up to twelve credit hours of undergraduate coursework in history may also be counted for graduate studies. There are two AGDPs in History: one for the M.A. and a second for the M.A. in Public History. Most of what follows applies to both programs.
A student must have senior status and must have earned a minimum of 30 credit hours at Western Michigan University and declared a History major. Undergraduate students enrolled in the AGDP will be expected to meet graduate expectations in their graduate courses. Students who have already received their baccalaureate degrees are ineligible to apply for this program and retroactively claim credits toward the M.A. degree.
Time and Cost Savings
The AGDP is appropriate for History majors and minors who would like to complete the History M.A. in a shorter time frame: an M.A. program of 30 or 33 hours can be significantly shortened (to 18 or 21 hours) with the 12 hours of credit received via AGDP. Time saved also equals money saved: finishing 40% of your M.A. degree in History paying undergraduate tuition rates rather than graduate tuition rates can equal more than $2000 in savings. In 2019 an in-state undergraduate tuition credit cost $463.55 versus an in-state graduate tuition credit costing $651.57.
Timing Your Application
The student must be accepted into the AGDP before the completion of the undergraduate degree and before taking any courses to be accepted for double credit. All courses to be used for the 12 hours of credit must be stipulated before taking any of them. Typically, undergraduates apply before January 15, April 1 or November 1, in the first or second semester of the junior year. See below about the specific term you should list in the online application before you submit it and make sure you understand the example.
As early as possible in the academic junior year, the potential AGDP student should contact the History Director of Undergraduate Advising to discuss the AGDP option and review the requirements, timelines, and application procedures.
Three Key Things to Remember
The online application portal distinguishes between an M.A. applicant who is not a WMU undergraduate and a current WMU undergraduate who wants to apply for the AGDP. Look for the words "History Accelerated" or "History--Public History Accelerated" when choosing your program.
Although you apply for admission prior to your senior year, the term you list on the application form as "term of entry" is later. Your "term of entry" is the term you intend to be a FULL-TIME MA student, not the semester you wish to start taking courses for AGDP credit. You must list the date that you become a FULL-TIME MA student, which is the semester AFTER you complete the BA. This is an odd quirk of the application program, but you do not use the date of when you will start accumulating AGDP credits (during your senior year). Example: Amy has started her junior year in fall 2019. She intends to start her senior year in fall 2020, and she would like to earn 12 credits in the AGDP program during that senior year to apply to her MA program. She intends to graduate with her BA after spring semester 2021 meaning that she will become a full-time MA student once she graduates in April 2021. She lists that she is applying for admission to the HISTORY Accelerated program in Summer 1 2021, the first semester after her BA graduation. Her application is submitted BEFORE fall 2020 and she is admitted BEFORE fall 2020 to the AGDP program so that she may begin to double-count credits in fall 2020, but the Accelerated MA will begin in Summer 1 2021 when she is no longer a BA student.
All students in the M.A. History program must meet a foreign language proficiency in order to receive the degree. Review the History Graduate Handbook for the specifics and consider meeting the requirement(s) while you are an undergraduate.
Requirements to Apply
To complete the online application, the AGDP candidate will need
- a curriculum vitae (c.v., or résumé) that describes the applicant’s employment or activities aside from education.
- three confidential letters of recommendation, preferably from the applicant’s professors and typically at least one from a professor in the WMU department of History. [Note: the online system will tell recommenders that letters are optional. The applicant must inform recommenders that the letters are not optional.
- a detailed statement from the student indicating: a) the student’s background and education; b) the student’s interests (field, topic, etc.); c) why the student wants to pursue a graduate degree in history at the Western Michigan University; d) which WMU faculty members would be most appropriate to working with them in their field of interest; and e) what the student plans to do with the degree upon completion. This statement constitutes a very important part of the application review process and should indicate the student’s understanding of the professional nature of the training that the student is about to begin. It is recommended that before applying, prospective students contact faculty members with whom they are interested in working.
- transcripts. Request one official transcript from each post-secondary institution (college or university) that you have attended, with the exception of WMU. Transcripts are not considered official if provided by the applicant.
- a representative writing sample of at least 20 pages. We strongly prefer a research paper, article, seminar paper, or thesis chapter. Notes and bibliography, as may be appropriate to the sample, should be included.
- Language proficiency statement. You should include in the online application a detailed description of your preparation in languages including the number of semesters of university-level coursework. Transcripts documenting language courses must accompany your application. Indicate how well you speak, read, and write the language(s). Native English speakers should focus on describing preparation in Non-English language courses. Non-Native English speakers should indicate their native language(s) and language preparation in English.
Graduate Record Examination scores (GRE) are not required at the time of an AGDP application. However, if an AGDP candidate wishes to be considered for funding in the second year of the M.A. (after completing their B.A.) GRE scores will be needed.
International students currently enrolled at WMU as undergraduates who wish to participate in the AGDP need to provide additional information directly to the history department:
1. Official TOEFL scores (Western Michigan University institution code # 1902). Test scores are not considered official if provided by or received via the applicant.
2. A copy of diploma (with an English translation) for degrees earned outside of the United States.
3. Official original transcripts with English translation.
4. A statement about their current visa status and how enrolling in the AGDP would affect their visa status. International students are advised to consult with the Haenicke Institute of Global Education's Immigration Services office before starting their application.
AGDP History Policies
- Students with senior standing who have been accepted into the AGDP can take 6000-level courses for graduate credit while undergraduates. This registration would be done by the Registrar’s Office, with permission of the department and the student.
- Students will pay undergraduate tuition for these 6000-level courses as long as they are undergraduates. The 6000-level courses are included in the flat rate for tuition purposes.
- Students are considered undergraduates for financial aid purposes until they receive the baccalaureate degree.
- The 6000-level courses, taken while the student is still an undergraduate, will appear on the student’s graduate transcript. The grades earned in these courses will be reflected in the graduate GPA.
- At the time the student completes his/her bachelor’s degree, the Registrar’s Office staff will manually add the hours earned in the 6000-level courses to the student’s undergraduate transcript. The undergraduate GPA will also be adjusted to include the grades earned in these courses.
- The department will clearly identify for the Registrar’s Office on the original “Plan of Graduate Work” which 5000- and/or 6000-level courses are available to be double counted. Individual students will have specific courses identified to be double counted when they are admitted to the AGDP.
- The 5000- and/or 6000-level courses which are double counted will be identified as such on the graduate transcript.
- Both undergraduate and graduate transcripts will show that the student has complete an accelerated graduate degree program.
- If a student completes his/her bachelor’s degree and then stops attending the AGDP, the graduate transcript will show the graduate courses completed.
- Typically, the baccalaureate degree will be earned and awarded within one calendar year after initial enrollment in the AGDP or as determined by the department.
- In order to progress automatically into the graduate program, a student must achieve a grade of “B” or above in each of the graduate courses being counted for the undergraduate degree, as well as maintain a 3.00 GPA overall. Students who do not meet this criteria will have the earned grade applied to their undergraduate program only, and must reapply for admission to the graduate program. If the student is admitted to the graduate program, the department and Director of Graduate Studies will determine if the 5000/6000 credits from the bachelor’s degree will be carried forward for the graduate degree. Students who complete the undergraduate degree including a “B” or above in the specified graduate courses will be admitted as graduate students (with the relevant graduate credit) in the next semester or session after receiving the bachelor’s degree.
- Students must complete the bachelor’s degree prior to entering the master’s program. Students in the AGDP cannot elect to by-pass the bachelor’s degree.
- No more that 12 credit hours of graduate work may be counted toward the requirements of both degrees.
It is the responsibility of the student to maintain the appropriate eligibility status to complete the AGDP.
A student completing the bachelor’s degree requirements with and accumulated GPA of less than 3.00/4.00 is no longer eligible to count the 5000- and/or 6000-level credit hours specified (see Eligible Courses for the AGDP) toward the master’s degree and is automatically terminated from the AGDP.
A student who is ineligible to participate in (or withdraws from) the AGDP cannot count any of the courses specified (see Eligible Courses for the AGDP) for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. These courses, however, may be counted toward the student’s bachelor’s degree.
A student who becomes ineligible to participate in the AGDP must be informed by the Department of History Director of Graduate Studies in writing of his/her ineligibility. A copy of this letter to the student must be sent to the Graduate College and the Department of History Undergraduate Studies Advisor.
Eligible Courses for the AGDP
The following list contains courses that may be double-counted for up to 12 hours of AGDP credit. Students preparing to take any of these courses are reminded that they must file the AGDP Course Approval form and comply with all regulations stipulated by the Registrar's office about when this form is to be filed for courses to count for double credit.
HIST 5000: Topics in History
HIST 5150: Topics in Public History
HIST 5245: Topics in American History
HIST 5405: Topics in Ancient History
HIST 5495: Topics in European History
HIST 5500: Topics in Medieval History
HIST 5501: Medieval Proseminar
HIST 5850: Topics in Asian, African, and Latin American History
HIST 5890: Oral History Workshop
HIST 5891: Digital Humanities
HIST 5910: Topics in Historical Theory and Method
HIST 6010: Historiography
HIST 6050: Readings in American History
HIST 6090: Ethnohistory Seminar
HIST 6115: Readings in Ancient History
HIST 6120: Readings in Medieval History
HIST 6160: Readings in European History
HIST 6180: Readings in Global and Comparative History
HIST 6200: Bibliographical Research
HIST 6250: Readings in Cultural Resource Management
HIST 6440: Material Culture
HIST 6500: Special Projects
HIST 6730: Research Seminar in History
HIST 6750: Research Seminar in American History
HIST 6815: Research Seminar in Ancient History
HIST 6820: Research Seminar in Medieval History
HIST 6860: Research Seminar in European History
HIST 6880: Research Seminar in Global and Comparative History
Contact the Director of Graduate Studies, 4352 Friedmann Hall, or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or speak with the Director of Undergraduate Advising in the History Department.