University partnership allows fast-track master’s degree

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Stephen Covell. Courtesy WMU

A partnership between universities in the region allows students to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in comparative religion in five years.

Western Michigan University’s 4+1 program will allow Grand Valley State University undergraduate students to transfer credits from upper-division coursework in religion toward the WMU master's degree program.

Melanie Shell-Weiss, chair and associate professor of liberal studies at GVSU, said the agreement puts students on a fast-track to a master's degree.

"This is one more way that Grand Valley's Religious Studies Program provides attractive, relevant opportunities for students of all fields and backgrounds while helping them maximize their tuition investment," Shell-Weiss said.

Students enrolled in the program can bring up to 12 credit hours, putting them two semesters ahead of students working toward master's degrees the traditional way.

"The 4+1 program saves students time and money on their way to a master's degree," said Stephen Covell, chair and professor of comparative religion at WMU. "Graduates of our master's program go on to Ph.D. programs in the humanities and social sciences, law school, education and nonprofit work. For students looking to go into these the fields, the MA gives them a strong foundation to succeed."

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