Special Academic Opportunities

Dual Bachelor's/Master's Degree Programs

The four-year bachelor's/master's program is designed to enable exceptional or gifted undergraduates to earn two degrees simultaneously during their period of study at Brandeis. If a student has not completed the requirements for the master's portion of the program at the end of the fourth year, then only the bachelor's degree is awarded.

Any program offering graduate study is eligible to offer a four-year dual-degree program. At present, participating programs are anthropology, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, history, mathematics, neuroscience and physics.

Requirements for the bachelor's degree, defined by the College of Arts and Sciences, remain unaffected by participation in the program. Students will be eligible for the simultaneous award of the bachelor's and master's degrees if, while completing undergraduate requirements, they can:

A. Fulfill a minimum of three years' residence on campus.

B. Submit a master's thesis in departments requiring one. (Whether such a thesis may also be considered for undergraduate departmental honors may differ among programs, and will be addressed specifically in the program requirements.)

C. Complete a total of 38 courses (152 semester-hour course credits), of which at least four must be at the graduate level and not counted toward undergraduate major requirements.

D. Complete all other departmental and uiversity requirements that apply to earning a master's degree in the chosen department. Specifically, undergraduates should be aware that "B-" is the minimal grade that yields progress toward a graduate degree.

A student must make formal written application for admission to this program on forms available at the Office of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. This must be done by May 1 of the student's junior year (usually the sixth semester at Brandeis).

Transfer students should apply by the fourth semester in residence. (Interested transfer students are advised to consult with their advisers and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences when they first enter Brandeis in order to plan their course of study.) All applications must include a proposed course of study, specifying how all degree requirements will be met. Seniors participating in the four-year B.A./M.A. program are not eligible for senior reduced-rate status.

Computer science, the International Business School, and Near Eastern and Judaic studies offer programs in which the bachelor's degree is conferred at the end of the fourth year, and the requirements for a master's degree are satisfied with one additional year of study at the graduate level. Consult the departments for details.

Independent Interdisciplinary Major

An independent interdisciplinary major (IIM) offers students with interdisciplinary academic interests the opportunity to pursue a self-designed course of study with the support of appropriate Brandeis faculty members and the approval of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Independent interdisciplinary major proposals include courses in at least two, and preferably more, departments at the university and form an integrated program focusing on some issue, theme or subject area not available within the context of existing departmental majors.

An independent interdisciplinary major must be declared before the end of the student's junior year. The faculty committee the student assembles for the IIM normally consists of three Brandeis faculty members, the chair of which must be from the faculty of arts and sciences.

Examples of recent IIMs include Visual Culture, Urban Studies and Peacebuilding.

Additional information and guidance in designing an IIM major may be obtained in the Office of Academic Services.


In addition to a major, students have the opportunity to select a "minor." A minor consists of a coherent group of courses defined by a department or an interdepartmental program. Minors are either a limited version of a major, a more specialized subset of a particular field of study or a structured opportunity to explore areas of study that are interdisciplinary in scope.

Completion of the requirements of a minor is noted on a student's transcript. Students must declare their participation in minors and are limited to a maximum of three. The specific requirements of the minors may be found with the departmental or interdepartmental listings in this publication.

All minors must be declared before the start of a student's final semester at Brandeis.

Minors Offered

African and Afro-American Studies
Art History
Classical Studies
Comparative Literature
Computer Science
Creative Writing

East Asian Studies
Education Studies
English and American Literature
Environmental Studies
Film and Visual Media Studies
French and Francophone Studies
German Language and Literature
Health: Science, Society, and Policy
Hebrew Language and Literature
Hispanic Studies
History of Ideas
International and Global Studies
Internet Studies
Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Italian Studies
Language and Linguistics
Latin American and Latino Studies
Legal Studies
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies
Religious Studies
Russian and East European Studies
Russian Language and Literature
Social Justice and Social Policy
South Asian Studies
Theater Arts
Women's and Gender Studies
Yiddish and East European Jewish Culture

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Brandeis offers special opportunities for undergraduates to engage in scholarly research under the guidance of the faculty. Funds are available on a competitive basis to support student research enterprises during the academic year and during the summer months. Further details about research opportunities for undergraduates may be obtained from the Office of Academic Services.

Internship for Credit

Internships allow students to apply the liberal arts skills of research, writing and analysis in work-world situations, thereby enhancing the development of these skills. A credit-bearing internship should have a significant academic component, provide a valuable learning experience for the undergraduate and make a meaningful contribution to the student's program of study. It should require use of research, writing and/or analytical skills and include a specific project to be accomplished in the designated time period.

Brandeis offers three different forms of credit-bearing internships. Structured internships, which include weekly meetings as a class, are offered by departments under the course number 89. Internship courses, which are individually arranged by a single student and instructor, are offered under the course number 92. Research-based internship courses, which are individually arranged by a single student and instructor around a research project, are offered with the course number 93 and the course title Research Internship.

All internship courses are subject to the normal enrollment deadlines; specific directions for registering can be found on the Schedule of Classes each semester. Participation is normally limited to juniors and seniors. International students wishing to complete internships must enroll in an internship course, meet visa requirements and obtain approval from ISSO for all internships. A student may not receive credit for more than two such courses, the equivalent of eight credits. Students interested in pursuing an internship while on study abroad should contact the Office of Study Abroad for further information on procedures and requirements specific to such opportunities.

Students may also apply for transcript notation for internships that would not otherwise qualify for academic credit through a program administered by the Hiatt Career Center. Transcript notation allows the university to recognize career-related learning experiences by including them on the official student transcript, provided that these internships have concrete career-related learning goals and outcomes, as determined by a committee of Hiatt staff members and other administrators. For further information, please visit the Hiatt Career Center Web site.

Expected Components of Academic Year Internships

Students should work the equivalent of at least 10 and no more than 15 hours per week for at least 10 weeks of a 13-week semester. Students should complete readings and written assignments considered appropriate by the instructor. Examples of assignments include submission of an annotated bibliography of readings relevant to the work site, several short papers (or one long paper), a journal or log of experiences and papers completed for the internship.

Faculty sponsors meet with interns at least once every two weeks to discuss learning objectives, research methodologies, the bibliography or other assignments, work-site experiences and so on. Faculty sponsors and site supervisors should communicate at the beginning, midterm and end of the semester. The academic work related to the internship should contribute a significant portion of the final grade, but work performed at the internship may also be included in the grading process. The grade for the internship course is determined solely by the faculty member.

Expected Components of Summer Internships

Credit for a summer internship may be earned during the following fall semester if the internship and appropriate academic work are successfully completed. Students should observe the guidelines established for academic year internships with the following adjustments.

Arrangements with the faculty sponsor should be completed prior to the student's leaving Brandeis at the end of the spring term. Students should work the equivalent of at least six weeks and at least one hundred hours during the summer internship; for example, 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, 17 hours per week for six weeks, and so on. Faculty sponsors should meet with students at least six times during the fall semester to supervise readings and written assignments related to the internship. Although work performed at the internship site may be included in the grading process, the internship grade is determined solely by the faculty member.

Experiential and Community-Engaged Learning

Experiential learning is a process through which a student develops knowledge, skills and values from direct experiences. Experiential learning allows students to learn through action in addition to their classroom experiences. Academic experiential education at Brandeis includes community-engaged learning, internships and other activities including performances, lab work and creative and studio work. For additional details about experiential learning at Brandeis and course listings, visit the Web site.

Community-engaged learning (CEL) initiatives at Brandeis draw students, faculty, staff and community members into conversations about citizenship and social responsibility. In our academic and volunteer programs, we seek to develop sustainable and productive partnerships with organizations and communities beyond the boundaries of campus, in ways that help address pressing social needs and foster democratic participation in civic life.

Community-engaged learning is an aspect of the university's broad-based commitment to experiential learning. By integrating hands-on practice and thoughtful reflection, CEL projects enhance the university's commitments to social justice and academic rigor. In local, regional and international projects, we encourage students to assume important leadership roles, building linkages with community actors and reflecting upon the nature of equitable and sustainable partnerships.

Additional details may be found at www.brandeis.edu/community-engaged/, along with a listing of CEL courses.

Undergraduate Peer Assistantships for Credit

Peer Assistantships yield many benefits to undergraduate teachers and learners. The university has established uniform standards for the utilization of undergraduate peer assistants and for the awarding of academic credit for such activities. Opportunities to serve as peer assistants are by invitation and generally limited to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement.

Undergraduates serving in this capacity may be compensated for their services or receive one, and only one, semester course credit for their assistance during their Brandeis career. Credit-bearing peer assistantships are enrolled under the course number PEER 94a and are subject to the normal enrollment procedures and deadlines. Peer assistant courses are offered exclusively on a credit/no-credit grading basis and are not factored into the student's GPA.

Tufts University School of Medicine Early Acceptance Program

The Tufts University School of Medicine Early Acceptance Program is designed for academically strong undergraduate students who are pursuing a premedical curriculum. Successful completion of this program assures candidates of acceptance to Tufts University School of Medicine after graduation.

Interested candidates apply to the program in the spring of their sophomore year and are expected to have completed at Brandeis two semesters of general chemistry and biology with laboratories and one semester of organic chemistry with a GPA of 3.50 or better, and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50 at the time of application. Students must apply by the stated dealine and will be notified of their acceptance in July. Accepted students are expected to complete one year of physics, mathematics, English and American literature, and requirements for graduation with a B+ average before entering Tufts University Medical School.

Once accepted to the program, students will have access to a faculty mentoring program at Tufts University Medical School, and the opportunity to participate in special seminars. Accepted students have until Aug. 1 following their sophomore year to accept the offer via the AMCAS early decision process. If a student does not accept the offer, he or she has not jeopardized the chance to apply to any other medical school. For statistical purposes only, the MCAT is required for accepted students and must be taken prior to matriculation at the medical school.

Columbia University Law School's Accelerated Program in Interdisciplinary Legal Education

Brandeis affiliated with Columbia University Law School in a special program that allows outstanding students to apply for admission to the law school after three years at Brandeis. Students must have completed 28 courses, have taken the Law School Admission Test, and have been nominated by Brandeis after a rigorous screening process. Students accepted by the Columbia University Law School will complete their four courses required for the completion of the Brandeis degree during their second and third years at the law school. They will be awarded the Brandeis B.A. and the Columbia J.D. simultaneously.

Students interested in this program are advised to seek additional information at the outset of their fourth semester in the Office of Academic Services.

Columbia University School of Engineering Combined Degree Program

Brandeis University and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science of Columbia University have established a dual-degree program whereby students complete three years of course work at Brandeis, followed by two years of study at Columbia University to complete the requirements for an engineering degree. Students should consult the Pre-Combined Plan Curriculum Guide created by Columbia University in order to determine the equivalent courses they will need to take at Brandeis.

Students who complete this program are awarded a bachelor of arts degree in physics (or possibly some other science major) from Brandeis and a bachelor of science degree in engineering from Columbia University.

Interested students should consult the program coordinator in the physics department as soon as possible in order to plan their curriculum to meet Columbia prerequisites. Each engineering department at Columbia has its own set of prerequisites that can be obtained from the program coordinator.

Interested candidates must apply to the program prior to Jan. 1 in their junior year for admission to Columbia University in the subsequent fall semester. Before matriculating at Columbia, a typical physics major would have completed at Brandeis the general university requirements, the requirements for a physics major and at least the following courses (or equivalents):

  • MATH 10a, b; 22a, b or 15a, 20a; 35a, 37a

  • CHEM 11a, 18a

  • COSI 11a

  • One course in economics

Students should also have earned a grade-point average of 3.0 or above. Letters of recommendation from the faculty liaison, a member of the science faculty and a member of the mathematics faculty are also required to apply.

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering Certificate in Engineering

Olin College offers a five-course Certificate in Engineering for students at Brandeis as part of a special collaboration. This certificate is not equivalent to an engineering degree, but represents a substantial investment in engineering courses that could help students pursue a wider field of postgraduate opportunities in industry or graduate school. The courses of study are designed to provide the student with a fundamental understanding of an engineering field, and typically consist of courses ranging from introductory engineering courses to advanced courses.

One of the five courses may be an approved Brandeis course with the remaining four taken through cross-registration at Olin. There are six programs of study: engineering design, materials engineering, bioengineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering systems.

For students who want to concentrate their studies and immerse themselves in a team-based engineering environment through residence at Olin, there is an option to enroll at Olin for a semester. For further details and to explore academic options, please consult with either Professor Robert Meyer (Physics) or Professor Timothy Hickey (Computer Science). For direct consultation at Olin, contact the Certificate Program Coordinator, Professor Mark L. Chang, mark.chang@olin.edu or 781-292-2559.

Brandeis Summer School

The Brandeis Summer School offers students a diverse selection of undergraduate courses in two five-week sessions. Special summer programs on campus and abroad provide students with further opportunities for in-depth study.

The student has the opportunity to enroll in courses to meet university degree requirements, accelerate individual programs of study, work toward a double major or take enrichment courses. A maximum of four courses may be used toward the academic residency requirement. The average summer program course has a small student enrollment, generating a rigorous but informal atmosphere for teacher-student interaction.

Of particular interest to students are the strong summer program offerings in the area of premedical education, intensive language study, computer science courses, the wide variety of liberal arts selections and special programs in which academic work complements practical work experience.

A student may earn credit toward the Brandeis degree for no more than three semester courses in one summer.

Students entering Brandeis as freshmen must complete one semester at Brandeis before enrolling in Brandeis summer school courses.

For full information, see the Summer School Bulletin or contact the Rabb School of Continuing Studies, 781-736-3424.

Preparation for Professional Training

The College of Arts and Sciences does not design courses of study with specific vocational goals in mind. In pursuing a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences, students develop a firm foundation for subsequent professional education.

Architectural schools are looking for solid experience in any major. It is not necessary to major in fine arts. There are several kinds of courses, however, that should be taken: basic calculus and basic physics; basic design, life drawing and as many other fine arts studio courses as practicable; courses in architectural history; and principles of urban studies and other urban studies courses, if feasible.

In addition, past experience indicates that students should prepare an art portfolio consisting of studies prepared in conjunction with basic design or another studio course. Finally, summer employment in architectural offices, gained on the student's own initiative, remains useful.

Admission requirements for graduate schools of business typically include one or more years of full-time work experience in addition to rigorous academic training. Students seeking to go to business school after Brandeis should therefore take courses at Brandeis that prepare them for entry-level positions in business and related organizations. They should also follow a course of study that develops their skills in logical reasoning, critical reading, effective writing, quantitative analysis, library research and oral expression.

Business schools usually do not prescribe a specific undergraduate major; although many successful applicants to business school are social science majors, majors in natural sciences and humanities are also common. So the best advice is to exploit the liberal arts education that Brandeis offers, by following a course of study that is interesting and challenging while simultaneously providing exposure to business issues.

Brandeis offers an undergraduate minor in business that enables students to combine preparation for business with any major. A major in business will be offered beginning in the fall of 2010. Both of these interdepartmental programs are offered by the School of Arts and Sciences and the International Business School. It includes preparation in accounting, introductions to economics and to all the major functions of business, broad perspectives on business from related disciplines, elective courses in global business and entrepreneurship and an optional internship experience. See further discussion under the business interdisciplinary program in this Bulletin.

Most law schools advise undergraduates to concentrate in what interests them as the later specific legal training will build on the advantages of a sound liberal arts education.

Although there is no prescribed program of study for prospective law school applicants, many concentrate in such social sciences as politics, economics, history and American studies. Because law schools tend to look for evidence of a rigorous schedule of courses and high verbal competence, a background in logic, the natural sciences and English is desirable. Although courses from the Legal Studies Program might familiarize the prospective law student with law school material, it is not necessary that such courses be taken as preparation for professional training.

Prospective applicants to law school should consult the Hiatt Career Center for law school catalogs and Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) registration materials. Also available in that office is the Brandeis Prelaw Handbook, which includes a survey of the experiences of recent Brandeis alumni in seeking admission to law school, as well as a more detailed description of law school application procedures. Several members of the faculty serve informally as advisers to prospective law school applicants. Students requesting a dean's certification should contact the Office of Academic Services.

Medicine and Dentistry
The course of study for pre-health professionals at Brandeis is more than simply a collection of required courses. The director of pre-health advising in the Office of Academic Services is available for advice and guidance throughout a student's undergraduate career. In the junior year, each student is assigned a member on the Board of Premedical Advisers. These advisers provide ongoing guidance, aid in the application procedure and participate in the preparation of letters of recommendation.

The basic requirements for prehealth professionals are satisfied by the following courses: two introductory courses (plus laboratory) in general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and biology. Many schools also require one semester of mathematics or statistics and one semester of English.

A Guide for Premedical Students at Brandeis University, a comprehensive handbook that addresses all aspects of the premedical curriculum and the process of applying to medical schools, is available to all premedical students at www.brandeis.edu/as/prehealth.html.

The university offers a program that fulfills Massachusetts requirements for teacher licensure and at least partially fulfills those of other states as well. Students interested in preparing for careers as teachers in preschool, primary or secondary schools should inform themselves of certification requirements in the state where they plan to work and should consult the director of the education program.