Blended B.A. + M.A. Degree Program


Program Overview

The English Department’s blended BA + MA degree program — the only one of its kind within the CSU system — offers intellectually curious and hard working English majors the opportunity to complete their Bachelors and Masters in English in an accelerated, five-year time frame. Majors in good academic standing (3.25 major GPA and 3.25 cumulative GPA) can apply to the program when they have sophomore or junior standing (typically, in their 2nd or 3rd year at Cal Poly). Those admitted to the program begin their graduate coursework in their fourth year. At the end of that year, they will transition from undergraduate to graduate standing and receive both degrees at the culmination of their five-year experience. Students in the blended program complete both an undergraduate senior project and a graduate portfolio project. 

Why Should I Apply to the Blended Program?

There are many excellent reasons to consider applying to our blended program:

  • It gives our highest-achieving majors the opportunity to earn a graduate degree in half the time and at half the cost of our traditional two-year MA. 
  • For those looking to pursue careers in secondary or post-secondary education, technical and professional writing, publishing, and editing, an MA in English considerably expands and deepens students’ knowledge and skill sets, making them competitive on a broad range of job markets. 
  • Not only does it provide an excellent option for students considering, though not yet fully committed to, applying to PhD programs, but it also enables those students who decide to pursue additional graduate studies to craft strong applications. 
  • Beyond all these particular reasons (and there are indeed many more), our blended program was designed for those students who love learning about literature and language so much that they want to read more, learn more, and accomplish more than a traditional B.A. program permits. 

How Do I Apply to the Blended Program?

Students who wish to apply to the blended program should be in good academic standing (3.25 major / 3.25 cumulative GPA) and have either sophomore or junior standing. If your GPA falls below those requirements, then please reach out to the department graduate coordinator as it may still be possible to apply. 

A complete application entails:

  • Blended program application: This application consists of a series of forms available at the link provided below.
  • Personal statement: This document is usually 1-2 pages in length (double spaced, 12-point font). It explains your reasons for applying to the blended program. It may also explain how an MA will help you attain your intellectual and professional goals. The graduate committee reviews personal statements to determine how well your academic interests and goals align with the MA program’s learning outcomes. Submit the personal statement as a part of the blended program application.
  • Writing sample: We encourage you to submit a piece of critical / scholarly writing that demonstrates your capabilities as a critical thinker, researcher, and writer. Typically, applicants will submit an essay written for a course in the English major. Your writing sample should be no fewer than five and no more than twelve pages in length. 

    The graduate committee reviews the writing samples in order to determine your ability to meet the demands of graduate-level coursework, which entails conducting research and writing high-quality seminar papers. We strongly encourage applicants to take great care in preparing both the writing sample and personal statement by paying as much attention to matters of clarity and style as to the ideas presented. Submit the writing sample as a part of the blended program application.
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation: At least one letter must come from a current faculty member in the English Department. Like the writing sample, the graduate committee uses the letters to determine your ability to meet the requirements of graduate-level study, which range from regular classroom attendance and active participation in seminar discussions to the ability to work independently and manage deadlines. Do not submit these letters as a part of the application. Instead, recommenders should submit these letters via email to the current graduate coordinator by the deadline.

How Do I Submit My Application?

When Does The Committee Make Its Decision?

Typically, the department begins its review the day after the application deadline closes. Committee members take approximately two weeks to review the relevant materials. While there are no guarantees, as the length of the review process varies depending on the number of applications received, the committee aims to have a decision made by the end of April. Applicants should expect to hear back by mid-May.

How many students do you admit into the program each year?

This varies from year to year based on the current number of "traditional" two-year M.A. and Blended students enrolled in the program. However, in the past we have typically admitted between three and ten blended students in a given year, with the intention that those admitted with Junior class standing will begin enrolling in graduate-level courses the following Fall quarter. 

You may find more information about the Blended BA + MA Program in the Cal Poly catalog

If you have any additional questions, then please reach out to the department’s graduate coordinator, Dr. Ryan Anthony Hatch, at


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