The Bulletin: Combined-Degrees Programs

Combined Five-Year Liberal Arts/Engineering Program

For most students entering college, the choice between liberal arts and engineering is a clear-cut matter. For some students, however, the choice is quite difficult. For the latter, both the professional flavor and occupational orientation of the engineering programs, on the one hand, and the variety of course selection in the liberal arts curriculum, on the other, have strong appeal. At Tufts, it is possible for students to secure the advantages of both types of education under the combined five-year program.

With a normal course load in each of 10 semesters, students may complete the degree requirements in both engineering and liberal arts. The five-year program includes two fields of major concentration, one in liberal arts and one in engineering. The plan has particular appeal for engineering students who wish to secure a more liberal arts education than is possible in a four-year engineering curriculum and for liberal arts students who desire a strong technological background. Two degrees are awarded on completion of the program. Both degrees are awarded only on completion of the entire program; a student may not receive one degree earlier, even if the requirements for that degree have been met. Students who start a five-year program, but decide within two years not to continue, may complete the degree requirements for either engineering or liberal arts in the usual period of four years.

Students may apply for and be admitted to the combined five-year program only after entrance to Tufts. Because the program requires careful planning, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Five-year students are required to confer with their faculty advisors at the beginning of each semester to make certain that the courses that have been selected constitute a proper program. Five-year students must complete a minimum of forty-six courses and fulfill the foundation, distribution, and concentration requirements of both engineering and liberal arts. Within the School of Engineering, the BS degree may not be used as part of this program, except for the engineering psychology (human factors) program.

Dual-Degrees Program with New England Conservatory of Music

Tufts University and New England Conservatory of Music have by agreement instituted a full five-year program leading to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Conservatory. It is designed for students who wish to pursue studies in a musical instrument, voice, composition, music history, and theory without giving up the academic disciplines of a liberal arts degree. Admission to this dual-degree program is generally gained by simultaneous application to both institutions. Students in the program will complete a minimum of 72 semester hour units at Tufts; will be in full-time residence for ten semesters; and will meet the foundation, distribution, and concentration requirements stipulated by the School of Arts and Science. Students are also expected to complete 82 credit hours at NEC. Students must graduate from both schools at the same time and degrees from both institutions are only conferred in May of each academic year. Prospective students are requested to address their questions to the Dean of Enrollment Services, Office of Admission, New England Conservatory of Music, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, or Undergraduate Education at Tufts University.

Combined Degree BFA & BA/BS Program with SMFA at Tufts

Students in the combined degree BFA & BA/BS program will be in full-time residence for a minimum of 8 semesters; will complete a minimum of 85 semester hour units of non-studio coursework and 76 semester hour units of studio art coursework. The non-studio distribution requirements for the BFA are satisfied by students completing 15 SHUs in art history, as well as the distribution, foundation and concentration requirements for their BA or BS degree, with the exception of their Arts Distribution requirement, which is satisfied by studio coursework taken towards their BFA degree. There are instances where students may use courses to satisfy multiple requirements in close consultation with their advisor. Normally, the majority of the non-studio work is taken on the Tufts Medford/Somerville campus, and most of the studio art courses are taken at the SMFA. Reference the General Undergraduate Information, the College of Liberal Arts degree requirements, and the Bachelors of Fine Arts sections for the specific graduation requirements for the BFA degree and BA/BS degree.

Students who move from the combined degree program to the BA/BS program may still count up to 6 SHUs of studio coursework, graded Credit/No Credit, to satisfy the Arts distribution requirement; this is an exception to the requirement that distribution courses be taken for a letter grade.

Students transferring from outside institutions entering the Combined Degree BA/BFA program must spend a minimum of four full-time semesters at Tufts or on Tufts Programs Abroad and must complete at least half the semester hours required for each degree at Tufts or on Tufts Programs Abroad. Students are able to transfer up to 43 semester hours of non-studio coursework towards their BA and 38 semester hours of studio coursework for the BFA. Pre-matriculation credits received from certain standardized examinations (such as Advanced Placement and international diplomas) are included in these limits.

Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degrees Program with the School of Engineering

See School of Engineering for description.

Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degrees Program with the School of Arts and Sciences

The School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) offer Fifth-Year Master’s Degree Programs through select departments. The Fifth-Year Master’s Degree is one way of recognizing the increasing number of undergraduates entering college with exceptional preparation in certain areas. In this program students can enroll in bachelor’s and master’s degree programs together with the goal of completing both within five years. Students seeking admission to the program should consult their undergraduate major advisor, their Associate Dean of Advising, and their prospective graduate advisors before applying to the Graduate School.

Fifth-Year Master’s Degree Program students are required to complete the undergraduate degree requirements and graduate before moving into the master’s portion of their program. Students who do not receive their bachelor’s degree by August of their senior year must continue to enroll as an undergraduate and pay undergraduate tuition. Four years of undergraduate tuition and the entire tuition for the master’s degree are required.

Students enrolled in this program are allowed to apply two or more courses toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degree, in addition to reserving courses for the graduate degree. Shared courses can be used to satisfy both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements. The option to share courses will vary between programs and students are encouraged to reach out to the program’s department with questions.

Courses reserved for the graduate degree are not calculated into the undergraduate GPA and can’t be used to satisfy any undergraduate degree requirements, including:

  • The minimum number of credits needed to graduate
  • Major and minor requirements
  • Foundation and Distribution requirements

Admission to the Fifth-Year Master’s Degree Program is typically during the junior year or early in the senior year. Students interested in the program should discuss their plans with their advisors early in their academic career to facilitate program planning. A student may elect to withdraw from the program at any time by filing the appropriate petition. A list of participating programs and application details are available online. Interested students should contact their department or program of interest for the most up-to-date curriculum information.

Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Degrees Program

See Undergraduate Admissions for more details.

Combined-Degrees Program with The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

The combined-degree program is offered jointly by the undergraduate schools (Arts and Sciences or Engineering) and The Fletcher School. It offers an opportunity for a limited number of highly qualified Tufts undergraduates to earn both the bachelor's degree in their selected major and the Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) degree. A total of 16 Fletcher courses (48 SHUs) are required for the MALD degree. As many as four of these courses (12 SHUs) may be used in fulfilling requirements for the BA/BS degree. Degrees are conferred upon completion of requirements for each portion of the program; that is, a bachelor’s degree will be conferred once the BA/BS requirements are completed and a master’s degree will be conferred once the MALD requirements are completed. Students may not begin their three full-time Fletcher semesters until they have earned their bachelor’s degree. A student who has any remaining credits for the bachelor’s degree will remain enrolled in A&S, and pay tuition to A&S until their degree is completed.

Typically, the program lasts six years (12 semesters) and will not reduce the time usually required to pursue the two degrees separately. An undergraduate who is able to complete the AS&E eight-semester residency requirement by December of senior year may be able to complete the combined-degree program in five and a half years. Interested students should consult their undergraduate Advising Dean about this program.

Fletcher courses may be taken over a period of up to three years. The student must be a full-time Fletcher student during at least three semesters. While matriculated at Fletcher, students will pay Fletcher tuition and may receive Fletcher financial aid.

After being admitted to Fletcher, combined-degree students may take up to four Fletcher courses (12 SHUs) while still registered in AS&E and have these courses count toward the 16 courses (48 credits) required for the Fletcher degree. Fletcher courses taken through cross-registration before starting the combined-degree program are not eligible for Fletcher credit. Cross-registration for courses at Harvard or at other institutions in the greater Boston area will not be approved until the student has completed at least eight Fletcher courses (24 credits), including those taken while still an undergraduate.

No more than four Fletcher courses (12 SHUs) can be taken each semester, but students still completing undergraduate requirements may take a combination of Fletcher and undergraduate classes totaling 16 SHUs or fewer. The student's program must be coordinated in such a fashion as to satisfy both the Fletcher and undergraduate requirements.


Students may apply for the combined-degree program once they have completed and received grades for 80 SHUs. All BA/BS-MALD applicants are required to participate in an on-campus evaluative Fletcher admissions interview. Once admitted, students may begin taking Fletcher courses at the start of the following semester, whether it begins in January or September. The application deadline for January enrollment is October 15. The application deadline for September enrollment is January 10.

Additional information about the Fletcher admissions process and financial aid can be found on the Fletcher website.