Accelerated Degree Program

Accelerated programs are available for students seeking master's degrees in orientation and mobility for adults or vision rehabilitation therapyStudents in the Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Services and Sciences can accumulate credits toward your master's degree as an undergraduate student. 

Undergraduate seniors who are admitted to the blindness and low vision accelerated degree program may count between six and 12 credit hours of 5000-level courses toward your master's degree. Note: to use the credits in your master's program, you must complete your master's degree in blindness and low vision studies within 24 months of completing your bachelor's degree.

  • Applying to the program

    A prospective student who meets the eligibility requirements (see tab below) must meet with the healthcare services and sciences advisor and the blindness and low vision graduate advisor to develop plans of work for the two programs.

    Before being admitted to the accelerated degree program, you must first complete your WMU graduate application, which will include:

    1. An application
    2. Application fee
    3. Copy of all transcripts
    4. A plan of graduate work, signed by the prospective student, the undergraduate program director and the graduate program director
    5. Undergraduate GPA (at the time of application) of 3.3 or higher

    The plan of graduate work for the master's degree must clearly indicate:

    1. The 5000- and 6000-level courses (a maximum of 12 graduate credit hours) that will be counted for both the bachelor's and master's degrees.
    2. The graduation date for the master's degree that meets the time limit for the accelerated degree program (i.e., obtaining a masters degree in blindness and low vision studies within 24 months of completing the bachelor's degree). Any changes to the program plan must be submitted in writing and approved by the graduate program advisor and the graduate dean.


    Permission to pursue an accelerated degree program does not guarantee admission to the Graduate College. Admission is contingent on meeting and following eligibility requirements at the time of entering the graduate program:

    1. Students must have completed a minimum of 88 and a maximum of 96 credit hours in their undergraduate programs, including credits earned from advanced placement.
    2. Transfer students must meet the University requirements for transferring credits from another institution.
    3. Students must have a minimum accumulated grade point average of 3.3 at WMU and 3.3 in blindness and low vision studies courses.
    4. International students must clarify their visa status with the Office of International Admissions and Services before submitting an admission application.

    Admission to the accelerated degree program does not guarantee admission to the Graduate College. However, successful completion of an undergraduate degree under the accelerated degree program (see requirements for participation and graduation) will ensure admission to the Graduate College.

  • Eligible program courses

    Work with your undergraduate and graduate advisors to select accelerated curriculum classes and decide which classes in your undergraduate curriculum should be replaced. You may select six to 12 credits from the following list:

    • BLS 5870: Individuals with Complex and Diverse Needs (two credits)
    • BLS 5900: Physiology and Function of the Eye (two credit hours)
    • BLS 5950: Introduction to Orientation and Mobility (two to four credits)
    • BLS 5970: Principles of Low Vision (two credits)
    • BLS 6030: Development Through the Lifespan (three credits)
    • BLS 6050: Practice in Low Vision (one credit)
  • Program requirements


    • Students must complete the bachelor's degree prior to entering the master's program. Students in the accelerated degree program may not elect to bypass the bachelor's degree. Students will be allowed to count only a maximum of 12 5000- and 6000-level credits taken during their undergraduate studies toward their master's degree. These credits will be waived toward their master's degree.
    • Accelerated degree program students enrolled in Western Michigan University's Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Services program must take BLS 3050 before applying.
    • Students must receive a grade of B or better in the 5000- and 6000-level courses taken during their undergraduate studies.
    • Courses with a grade of CB or below cannot be counted toward their master's degree.
    • Students who do not meet the GPA criterion of 3.3 will have the earned grade applied to their undergraduate program only, assuming the earned grade meets requirements for the undergraduate program. Students who do not meet the grade criterion as part of the accelerated degree program must apply for readmission to the graduate program.
    • No more than 12 hours of graduate work may be counted toward the requirements of the student's bachelor's degree.
    • Students must complete the master's degree within 24 months from completion of the bachelor's degree. If the master's is not completed within this time, none of the 5000- or 6000-level courses specified in the plan of graduate work will count toward the master's degree. The graduate program advisor may grant an extension to this in special cases.


    • It is the responsibility of the student to recognize his/her eligibility status.
    • A student completing the bachelor's degree requirements with an accumulated GPA of less than 3.3 is automatically terminated from the accelerated degree program.
    • A student who does not follow the approved plan of graduate work may become ineligible to participate in the accelerated degree program.
    • A student who is ineligible to participate in (or withdraws from) the accelerated degree program no longer qualifies for waiving courses specified in the plan of graduate work toward a master's degree. These courses, however, may be counted toward the student's bachelor's degree upon the discretion of the undergraduate advisor.
    • The graduate advisor shall inform a student who becomes ineligible to participate in the accelerated degree program in writing. A copy of this letter shall be sent to the Graduate College.


    A student may withdraw from an approved accelerated degree program at any time by informing the director of the undergraduate program and the graduate advisor, in writing. A copy of this request to withdraw will be sent to the Graduate College for approval.