About the 4+1 Master’s Program

The Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing (WLP) in Emerson College’s School of the Arts offers an accelerated master’s track for selected undergraduates to complete a Master of Arts (MA) in Publishing and Writing in just one additional year after completing their undergraduate degree.

After completing a core group of classes during their time as undergraduates, students are eligible to take four graduate-level classes during their senior year that start them on their journey toward a master’s. Selected undergraduate students will also have advanced standing of 8 credits toward the degree.

Benefits of the 4+1 Master’s Program

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.

  • Advanced Standing. Current Emerson WLP undergraduate students will be given 8 credits of advanced standing toward their MA in Publishing and Writing. By receiving advanced standing, their total number of required credits for the master’s program will be reduced to 32 (8 classes instead of 10).
  • Accelerated Study. Students who are accepted to the program will also 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 degree. By taking these classes during senior year, students will complete up to 4 of the 8 required courses for the MA in Publishing and Writing program 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 5 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 allows students to graduate with the same MA in Publishing and Writing as those who apply for the traditional program, but for a fraction of the time and at a reduced cost—providing the edge in the competitive publishing industry that they need.

Curriculum and Eligibility Requirements

Current Emerson students working toward a BA in WLP may apply for the 4+1 program at the beginning of the first semester of their junior year. Applications will be evaluated by the MA graduate program director and faculty of the department. Students will be notified of acceptance at the start of the second semester of their junior year.

The 4+1 MA in Publishing and Writing will require students to take eight graduate-level publishing courses (32 credits), which can include the optional MA Project (PB 698) in their senior and fifth years. A maximum of four graduate courses (16 credits) may be taken in the senior year. These classes will count as electives toward the undergraduate degree and toward the master's degree. Students in the program cannot count any graduate overview courses, PB 680, PB 683, PB 692, or PB 688 Copyediting, and PB 691 Applications for Print Publishing toward the MA.

Students must complete all requirements for the BA degree by the end of their senior year and are required to complete the following courses as part of their degree: PB 203, PB 302, PB 383, PB 380, PB 395.

It is strongly advised that interested students meet with Graduate Program Director Bill Beuttler 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 should apply for the 4+1 program in the first semester of their junior year. However, it is strongly advised that they discuss their interest in the program with Graduate Program Director Bill Beuttler and Academic Advising well in advance. Application requirements include:

  • Emerson ID number
  • Resume
  • A portfolio of works produced during your time at Emerson (5–10 pages total)
  • Transcript of grades
  • 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 4+1 Publishing and Writing 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.
  • To apply, you will need to create an account in the Graduate Admission Portal, fill out the online application form, and upload the documents listed above.
  • Applicants are not required to submit GRE scores or letters of recommendation.

Have questions about the application requirements? Please feel free to contact Muzhgan Bekdas, the Graduate Admission representative for this program, at muzhgan_bekdas [at] emerson.edu (muzhgan_bekdas[at]emerson[dot]edu).

Application Deadlines

Fall 2024

Priority: November 1

Spring 2024

Priority: April 1


We have no upcoming events at this time. Stay tuned for future updates!