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College of Arts & Sciences
School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Accelerated Masters Degree


The University of South Carolina’s School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment (SEOE) offers exceptional (GPA>3.5) undergraduate students the opportunity to spend an extra year at USC and earn a Master’s degree in addition to their Bachelor’s degree!  Qualifying students take a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses in their fourth year of undergraduate study and concentrate on graduate work in their fifth year, earning their Bachelor’s degree in the fourth year and the opportunity to earn the Master’s degree in the following year. The accelerated plan allows students to count 12 credit hours of graduate course work (500 level and above) towards both the undergraduate and graduate degree. 

As research experience is essential for a Master’s Degree, candidates for this program must arrange to participate in a research project in a faculty member’s research program prior to applying for the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Graduate Study Plan.  This program is ideal for students already conducting independent research in a faculty laboratory, and/or for students who started with sufficient AP or IB credits that they could graduate a semester or more earlier if not for this plan.


Note that application to the accelerated master’s study plan does not guarantee you admission to a specific SEOE graduate program or financial support.  Nor does acceptance to the accelerated MS degree plan obligate you to stay at USC for your graduate work!  Instead, it merely confirms your interest in pursuing a Master’s degree and allows you to start taking graduate courses during your senior year of undergraduate study. Students are encouraged to apply to other graduate degree programs.


See the Application for Admission to a Combined Bachelor’s/Graduate Degree Plan form ( on the Graduate School’s website for more information about this program.

Students should apply for this plan during the spring of their junior year or in the semester in which they reach 90 undergraduate credit hours.  Note that approval for this program does not guarantee admission to the University of South Carolina’s Graduate School.  Please discuss financial support with your faculty advisor before applying to this program, as the accelerated Master’s Degree does not guarantee support either through Instructional Assistantships or other funding sources.

Once approved for the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Graduate Study Plan, students must complete a Course Work Authorization (G-BGCA form, available on the Graduate School website, for every graduate course they wish to take while enrolled as an undergraduate.  Note that undergraduate students participating in Senior Privilege or the Accelerated Bachelor's/Graduate Degree Plan may opt for only one program; if a student has been approved to participate in one of these programs, that student is prohibited from applying for, or taking courses under, the other.


Please download the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Graduate Degree Plan Checklist (PDF) to apply to the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Graduate Degree Plan! The recommended deadline is February 1 of your junior year.