Joint Degree: BA GEO + MURP

Joint Degree: BA GEO + MURP

Joint Degree: BA Geography and Master's in Urban and Regional Planning

What is a joint degree program?

A joint degree program (or Combined Advanced Degree Program) creates a pathway for undergraduate students to begin taking graduate courses as part of the undergraduate major and then seamlessly transition into a master’s program upon graduation.  The student enrolls in graduate planning courses while an undergraduate student, and these graduate courses double count for both the undergraduate degree and the master’s degree.  The result is a shortened time to completion of the graduate degree and significant savings in paying graduate tuition. 

In the joint degree program between the BA in Geography and the MS in Urban and Regional Planning, the undergraduate student takes 4 graduate courses (12 s.h.) during their junior and senior years.  With careful selection of courses in the graduate program and attending summer sessions, a student in the joint program can complete the masters in just one additional year of study after receiving the undergraduate degree (2 semesters of summer coursework are required).  So, a student that completes the joint program can leave Rowan University with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just 5 years.

More information about Combined Advanced Degree Program admissions can be found here.

Why would I want to do this?

There are a variety of reasons to participate in a joint degree program, not the least of which is the substantial savings in both time and money.  Students pay the undergraduate tuition rate for graduate courses taken while an undergraduate.  When those students enter the graduate program, they do so with 12 s.h. already completed.  The result is that the time spent in graduate school is shortened considerably.  While Rowan’s undergraduate program in Geography offers excellent preparation for a range of jobs, an advanced Master’s degree can both make a student more competitive in the marketplace and expand vocational opportunities within the planning discipline. Many traditional geography-related positions in the public and private sector require advanced academic training, and a masters in Urban and Regional Planning helps students focus the skills they learned while an undergraduate in Geography while simultaneously maintaining the flexibility and dexterity needed to be competitive for a variety of different geography-related positions.  Further still, a completed graduate degree in planning reduces the number of years of professional experience needed to take the AICP exam.  (By the way, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that careers in planning are growing and the median pay in the U.S. is $78,500.)

Our students often find work in government planning offices, non-profit organizations, engineering firms, and advocacy organizations. Some of our students choose jobs that directly serve the public interest, while others seek out environmental justice positions. Finally, even if you decide not to enroll in the graduate program upon completion of your undergraduate degree, you will be eligible to receive a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Urban and Regional Planning with no additional coursework.  You can list this credential on your resume as evidence that you have successfully completed graduate coursework, enhancing your marketability for jobs as well as your competitiveness for admissions to future graduate programs. 

What are the admissions criteria?

Students are eligible for admission if they meet the following requirements:

  • Declared major in Geography
  • Sophomore status (60 or more credits earned)
  • Minimum 3.3 GPA in undergraduate coursework
  • Minimum grade of B in all Geography courses

To be admitted to the accelerated program, students must submit to the Department Chairperson the following materials no later than 1 November of the fall semester of the student’s junior year:

  • An unofficial academic transcript
  • 2 letters of recommendation from Rowan University faculty
  • A statement of purpose (300 – 500 words) that outlines the student’s educational and career goals. 

A full guide for this 4+1 program can be found here.

How do I get more information?

Contact the chairperson of the Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability at (856) 256-4231 or  Interested students can also ask any instructor in the Department of Geography, Planning & Sustainability for additional information.