Accelerated and Dual Degree Programs
The BA/MPH is a dual degree program in which a student earns a BA from Vassar then goes on to an accelerated Masters program in Public Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Accepted students spend the fall semester of their senior year at Mailman and take the multidisciplinary Core Curriculum. Students then return to Vassar for the spring semester.
Once the student graduates from Vassar, they enter the Mailman program which includes a practicum and a year of coursework and thesis work. The practicum may be taken the summer after graduating from Vassar, during the spring of the year at Columbia, or in the summer following the Columbia year.
All students are expected to have at least one semester of calculus or other appropriate quantitative course.
Additional prerequisites depend on the discipline chosen for the MPH.
- Biostatistics requires a total of one year of calculus.
- Environmental Health Sciences requires one year of both chemistry and biology.
A minimum GPA of 3.5 is required.
Students that take one semester abroad junior year can apply to the dual degree, as long as the student can complete all college and major requirements. It is important to know, however, that Vassar only allows one study away experience, so the student must be able to make the case that the JYA semester and the semester at Columbia constitute a “single experience.” A JYA semester focused on public health, for example, combined with the core program at Columbia, could be considered a single experience. A student that studies abroad for both semesters junior year can not apply to the dual degree program (this would amount to 3 semesters away from campus, which violates the college’s residency requirements).
Students are very strongly encouraged to meet with Pauline Saavedra firstname.lastname@example.org in the Dean of Studies office for information and/or a public health advisor prior to applying.
How to Apply
Students apply in their Junior year. For students who will be seniors in 2020/2021, we will begin reviewing applications on November 15. Students will need to submit:
- the application form
- three letters of recommendation
- a major advisor evaluation
- a 500 word essay
Applicants will need to select their discipline at the time of application: Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Management and Policy, Population and Family Health, or Sociomedical Sciences.
A committee at Vassar will review applications, then submit recommendations to admissions at Mailman, which will make the final decision. The Committee on Leaves and Privileges will confirm eligibility for study away.
The Core Curriculum taken at Mailman will be transferred to the student’s transcript as interdepartmental (INTD) courses for a total of 4.5 units. Students should consult with their advisors to ensure that they can complete major and college requirements for graduation. Particular attention should be given in majors that have senior-year requirements such as a year-long thesis.
Vassar students accepted for the dual degree program are eligible for housing at Columbia during their senior semester. On the application form you must indicate if you will need housing. During your summer and full year at Columbia following graduation from Vassar, you will also be eligible for housing per Columbia’s housing policy.
Through a cooperative arrangement with the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, Vassar students may earn both the bachelor of arts (BA) degree from Vassar and the bachelor of engineering (BE) degree from Dartmouth. Normally, students spend their junior year at Dartmouth, return to Vassar in their senior year to finish the bachelor of arts degree requirements, and then complete a fifth year at Dartmouth to obtain the second degree (2-1-1-1 option). Successful completion of the BE degree would prepare students to work in the field of engineering or apply to graduate school in engineering. An additional one or two years may lead to the master of engineering management or the master of science degree from Dartmouth. Although admission to Dartmouth is not guaranteed, Vassar students who follow the required and recommended course of study have an excellent record of being accepted by the program. Areas of Concentration Available through Dartmouth
Academic Plan and GPA
- Students must work with their academic advisor, the Vassar Dual-Degree Engineering advisor, and the Vassar Assistant Dean of Studies to develop a feasible academic plan that incorporates the major, the Vassar degree requirements, and the year at Dartmouth.
- Students should have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 or higher in order to submit an application for the Dartmouth program through Vassar (students with lower GPAs will be considered on a case-by-case basis by Vassar’s Committee on Leaves and Privileges).
- Students must declare a major at Vassar before the end of the 1st semester of their sophomore year.
Courses: The following Vassar courses (or equivalent) are required for the program. They must be completed prior to the end of the student’s sophmore year.
- MATH 121, MATH 126 (0.5 credit), MATH 127 (0.5 credit), and MATH 220
- PHYS 113 and PHYS 114
- CHEM 108 (or CHEM 125 if interested in Chemical or Biomedical Engineering)
- CMPU 101
Depending on the engineering area of concentration, certain additional Vassar courses are also recommended, as indicated below:
- MATH 221 and MATH 228
- PHYS 200 and PHYS 210
- PHYS 240 (If interested in Electrical Engineering)
- BIOL 105 and BIOL 106 (If interested in Biotechnology or Biomedical Engineering)
- CHEM 244 and CHEM 245 (If interested in Chemical or Biomedical Engineering)
- CMPU 102 and CMPU 145 (If interested in Computer Engineering)
- Beginning of 1st Semester Freshmen Year
- Attend New Student Orientation Pre-Engineering Advising Session.
- Consult with departments offering required courses.
- Consult with pre-major advisor.
- 1st Semester Sophomore Year
- Declare major and consult with major advisor (determine major department's policy on courses eligible for transfer from Dartmouth to Vassar for the major).
- Consult with Vassar Dual-Degree Engineering advisor.
- Consult with Vassar Assistant Dean of Studies, who will provide a link to the Vassar eligibility form.
- December 1st of Sophomore Year
- Complete the Vassar eligibility form.
- Complete Dartmouth Dual-Degree Application Form (this form is to be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Studies, NOT to Dartmouth).
- Arrange for a letter of recommendation, written by a mathematics or science professor.
- February of Sophomore Year
- Dartmouth reviews applicants.
- End of Sophomore Year
- Consult with Vassar Financial Aid Office if Dartmouth application is successful.
- Beginning of Junior Year
- Matriculate at Dartmouth-Thayer (up to 9.0 units of transfer credit will be transferred back to Vassar).
- Beginning of Senior Year
- Matriculate back at Vassar College for their senior year (student should graduate from Vassar before returning to Dartmouth to finish the BE).
- Beginning of 5th Year
- Matriculate at Dartmouth to complete the BE.
Students who receive Vassar financial aid would be allowed to apply this aid toward the tuition and fees of the Dual-Degree Program for the junior year only. Students not receiving Vassar aid but receiving federal loans may also have them applied toward the junior year at Dartmouth. However, to have either the Vassar aid or federal aid applied, a student must complete the Financial Aid Budget Worksheet for Study Away. The Vassar Financial Aid Office will contact students who have been accepted to the program to complete this form prior to beginning the year at Dartmouth. Students who return for the fifth year at Dartmouth to complete the B.E. degree must apply to Dartmouth for financial aid for that year.
- Vassar College Dual-Degree Engineering Advisor
Sarjit Kaur | email@example.com
- Vassar College Assistant Dean of Studies
Pauline Saavedra | firstname.lastname@example.org | Main N125
- Vassar College Financial Aid Office
email@example.com | Main S199
- Dartmouth Thayer Dual-Degree Program
Jenna Wheeler | firstname.lastname@example.org