BA+MA Pathway

The Department of Second Language Studies offers a BA+MA Pathway that helps students earn a bachelor's and a master's degree in just 5 years. The pathway allows BA students in SLS to double-count 9 credits towards both a BA and an MA in the Department of Second Language Studies, including taking two 600-level courses in their senior year.

Some students may take more or less time, depending on variables such as double majoring, AP credits, back credits, and number of eligible credits taken each semester. Refer to the 5.5-year and 5-year sample plans as examples that show the myriad possibilities for pursuing the BA+MA Pathway.

Who can apply?

Undergraduate students in SLS who hold second-semester junior status with a 3.00 GPA or higher from their studies at UH-Mānoa, and who have already completed SLS 302 (Second Language Learning) and SLS 303 (Second Language Teaching) with a grade of B or higher (not B-).

When to apply?

Apply by the MA admissions deadline (March 1 for fall; September 1 for spring) during in your second semester as a junior in the BA in SLS program. (You must have already earned 75 credits, not "in progress.")

How to apply?

Refer to the MA Admissions page. All application instructions are the same for the BA+MA Pathway.
In addition, you must email Betsy Gilliland, Undergraduate Chair in SLS ( to let her know that you would like to apply for the BA+MA Pathway. She prepares the list of BA+MA Pathway applicants for the Graduate Admissions office. In order to apply for the pathway, your name must be on this list.

What courses will "double-count" for the BA and MA degrees?

SLS 600, SLS 601, and SLS 660. All three double-counted courses must be earned at a grade of B or better (not B‑). SLS 600 is usually offered only in the Fall semester, while SLS 601 and SLS 660 are usually offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters.

How does the BA+MA Pathway affect my student record?

In your senior year, you will be considered an undergraduate student (both student status and tuition status) up until the point you have earned your BA degree.
Once you graduate with your BA degree, your student status will then change to that of a graduate student for the three remaining semesters for the MA (assuming the regular 9-credit course load for MA students; 3 semesters at 9 credits each is 27 credits total).

What's the advantage of the BA+MA Pathway?

Since you will be taking the three double-counted courses as a senior, you’ll be paying for one semester’s worth of graduate courses (9 credits) at the undergraduate tuition rate, which is lower per credit hour than the graduate rate. The MA in SLS program requires 36 credits total; with 9 credits double-counting for the BA+MA Pathway, you can finish your master's degree in three semesters (taking a maximum of 27 credits) rather than four semesters, saving both money and time!

I was planning on taking undergraduate excess credits. How do they fit into the BA+MA Pathway?

A maximum of 6 undergraduate excess credits may be taken in addition to the 9 double-counted credits. If eligible for this plan, you would only be required to take 21 credits as a graduate student. Please be sure to consult with the SLS Graduate Chair (Theres Grüter; and the Undergraduate Chair in SLS (Betsy Gilliland; for this plan.

What should I do now?

Send an email message to Betsy Gilliland, Undergraduate Chair in SLS (, to let her know that you are interested in learning more about the BA+MA Pathway, so that you can set up an appointment as soon as possible. In the appointment, Betsy will walk you through the application process, including whether and when you are eligible to apply, and what makes an effective application packet.