About the 4+1 Master’s Program

4+1 is an accelerated master’s track for current Emerson College undergraduates in the School of Communication’s Department of Communication Studies. Selected students complete a Master of Arts (MA) in Political Communication in just one additional year after completing their undergraduate degree.

Students can also choose to pursue an MA in Public Relations or MA in Sports Communication.

Why 4+1?

The 4+1 format is a fantastic opportunity for current Emerson students who are interested in pursuing a master’s-level qualification to jumpstart their careers while still obtaining a graduate degree.

  • Accelerated study. Students who are accepted to the program will be allowed to take master’s (600-level) classes during their senior year. These classes will be double-weighted, counting toward both the bachelor’s and the master’s degrees. By taking these classes during senior year, students will complete up to 3 of the 9 required courses before the end of the bachelor’s degree. This accelerates the pace of the master’s degree, making it possible to complete both the BA and the MA within five years.
  • Cost savings. Any 600-level credits that students take while they are still registered for their bachelor’s degree will be charged at the undergraduate tuition rate, saving lots of money on tuition! A maximum of 16 600-level credits can be double-counted and charged in this way. Assuming that the student’s status as a full-time student is maintained, their financial aid will not be affected while they are still enrolled as an undergraduate student.
  • The Emerson Edge. The 4+1 format requires the same number of graduate credits as a normal master's degree, meaning students can graduate with their master’s sooner and bring a competitive edge to the communication industry.

Curriculum and Eligibility Requirements

All Emerson undergraduate majors are eligible to apply except those graduating with a BFA. Students should contact their advisor for specific details.

Current Emerson Communication undergraduate students will be given 4 credits of advanced standing towards the MA in Political Communication. By receiving advanced standing, the total number of required credits for the master’s program will be reduced to 32, eight classes instead of nine.

Students are required to take eight graduate-level courses as aligned with the program’s curriculum. A maximum of three graduate courses (12 credits) may be taken in a student’s senior year. These classes will count as electives toward the undergraduate degree and toward the master’s degree.

Students in the program cannot take three graduate foundation courses, CC 652 Emerging Communication Technology, CC 645 Research Methods Practice, and CC 608 Public Affairs toward the MA.

All students must complete CC 692 Capstone or CC 699 Thesis.

Students must complete all requirements for the bachelor’s degree by the end of their senior year and are required to complete the following courses as part of their degree:

  • One technology-focused communication course: CC 304 Strategic Digital Communication, CC 308 Online Content and Strategy, or CC 360 Social Media and Politics
  • One research methods course: CC 303 Public Opinion Research, CC 305 Communication Research Methods, or CC Research Methods in Sports
  • One public communication-focused course: CC 263 Argument and Advocacy, CC 361 Public Diplomacy, or CC 345 Public Affairs

It is strongly advised that interested students meet with Graduate Program Director Mary Anne Taylor and Academic Advising by the start of their junior year in order to determine eligibility and/or plan to meet the prerequisite requirements.

Application Requirements

Students are eligible to apply for the 4+1 Political Communication program upon completion of their sophomore year and will be notified of acceptance during the first semester of their junior year. Application requirements:

  • Graduate Admission Application
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Professional Resume
  • Admission Statement
  • 1 Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member
  • Students applying for the 4+1 program should have a strong academic record. If accepted, students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average at the graduate level. In addition, courses in which a grade below B- is earned will not be credited toward any graduate degree. This includes courses taken at the graduate level while enrolled as an undergraduate student.
  • Emerson College's graduate programs form a vibrant and engaged community of creative artists, professionals, scholars, and clinicians who all believe in the power of language and communication to transform society. Your careful responses to the following prompts will help us determine if the program you are applying to is the right fit for you. Please answer each prompt as thoughtfully as possible.
    • How does the focus and curriculum of the (insert program name) program align with your experience and goals? What particular aspects of your current and/or future work do you hope to develop while in graduate school? 500 words.
    • Drawing on your personal, professional, creative, and/or academic experience, please share an example of a time that you overcame an individual or collective challenge and the approach you took to address that challenge. 250–500 words.
    • The mission of Emerson College is the betterment of society through communication and the arts. With this in mind, what impact do you want your work to have? 500 words.

For questions about the application requirements, please feel free to contact Sarah Duffet, the Graduate Admission representative for this program, at  sarah.duffett [at] emerson.edu (sarah[dot]duffett[at]emerson[dot]edu).

Application Deadlines


Priority: November 1


Priority: April 1

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