With college tuition rates spiking across the country, the thought of attending graduate school or pursuing any additional degrees may seem daunting to students.
However, students at Claremont McKenna College, through CMC’s Robert Day School of Economics and Finance (RDS), can now enter a program to earn both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in finance over a four-year period.
“It’s structured to allow students to basically finish their master’s and their bachelor’s in four years by overloading, using AP credits or using summer school,” said Dr. Brock Blomberg, the dean of RDS. “It lets you early on essentially have a leg up in the educational component associated with your career.”
Through the program, students earn either a bachelor’s in economics or a bachelor’s in economics-accounting, along with the master’s in finance.
Students must complete 36 credits and one full summer internship credit over the four-year period, more than the 32 credits necessary for an undergraduate degree at CMC.
“We want to be able to allow more students access to all of the wonderful classes they can take in the finance program and other benefits that are only possible through the master’s degree,” Blomberg said. “We’re basically trying to provide as many opportunities as we can, as many touch points as we can, for students who want to have that kind of an experience.”
The new program joins several other accelerated dual-degree programs offered by RDS. Together with Claremont Graduate University, RDS offers a five-year B.A./M.A. program in economics, a five-year B.A./MBA program and a five-year B.A./B.S. program in economics and engineering.
Hester Lam CM ’15, a student in the B.A./B.S. program in economics and engineering, said that the accelerated major programs are good for students who want to get strong backgrounds in more than one area of study.
“I thought I was going to do biomedical engineering for a really long time, and then in high school I took an economics class and I fell in love with that,” Lam said. “I couldn’t decide between the two, so I just get the best of both worlds.”
Students in the economics and engineering program who meet certain academic standards are guaranteed acceptance at Harvey Mudd College to fulfill their two-year B.S. in engineering, but can also transfer to any engineering institution of their choice.
CMC joins Stanford University, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Emory University and Brandeis University as one of just six schools to offer a four-year B.A./M.A. program, according to the online newspaper The Strategic Sourceror.
“We want to always think of ourselves as a leader and always entrepreneurial,” Blomberg said. “We found that sometimes students are impatient, they don’t want to stay for the fifth year, so this is a way to push down the education to a lower level.”