Carnegie Mellon University

MAPW 4+1

An accelerated masters program for qualified Carnegie Mellon students 

The MAPW 4+1 is an accelerated master's program at Carnegie Mellon University. It is designed for CMU students who are typically majors or minors in the English department or BHA/BHS students with relevant coursework. This program allows eligible students to complete the M.A. in Professional Writing in just 2 semesters, as opposed to the standard 3. Interested students can apply for admission during their senior year. Upon admission and transcript evaluation, they may receive credit for up to four courses, equivalent to a full semester's worth of work, applied toward their M.A. requirements. This degree program offers the benefits of an M.A. in an accelerated timeframe and involves intensive coursework that prepares students for various careers in communications.

What are the Advantages of an MAPW over a B.A. or B.S. Degree?

M.A. degrees in general and the MAPW in particular tend to provide the following advantages over a B.A. or B.S. degree:

  • You complete your M.A. in only 2 semesters.
  • You benefit from the potential for higher starting salaries and annual and lifetime earnings.
  • You have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and career preparation via further study, the required internship, and advanced elective courses that didn’t fit your undergraduate schedule.
  • You gain professional polish and poise.
  • You enhance your qualifications for promotion and advancement, particularly in the many larger organizations, including the federal government and technology corporations such as IBM, that have well-established pay schedules and ranks in which upper levels are generally restricted to employees with advanced degrees.
  • You have the opportunity to pursue a generalized set of communication skills applicable to a range of careers or to focus on a specific career path. The six most common areas of specialization selected by MAPW students are these :

    • Writing for New Media, including web design and information design
    • Writing for Print Media, including journalism
    • Editing & Publishing
    • Science, Technology, and Healthcare Writing
    • Public & Media Relations / Corporate Communications
    • Non-profit and & Policy Communication]

How Does the 4+1 Program Work?

The MAPW usually requires 3 semesters of coursework for a total of 12 courses plus a required internship. Students who major in professional writing or technical writing at Carnegie Mellon, or who have taken appropriate writing and rhetoric courses as part of their undergraduate studies, can, upon admittance to the program and approval of the program director, be granted credit for up to 4 courses toward the M.A. The required internship can be done in the summer between the student's senior and M.A. year, the following summer, or in some instance, during the M.A. academic year. 

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Juniors and Seniors who major in professional writing or technical writingor have taken 4 relevant courses. Relevant courses are generally those courses designated as either "writing" or "rhetoric" courses by the English Department. Typical examples would be 76-390 Style, 76-373 Argument, 76-391 Document Design, 76-487 Web Design, 76-386 Language and Culture. A major in PW or TW will always have 4 qualifying courses. BHA majors whose H&SS concentration is in professional writing or technical writingwill generally have 4 qualifying courses. Creative writing or EBA students or minors may have 4 qualifying courses. All students interested in the program are encouraged to consult with the MAPW director as they plan their junior and senior years to be sure they meet the qualifications.

EBA and creative writing students who have not taken 4 eligible courses are encouraged to apply to the program but may need to take up to the full 3 semesters of coursework.

Alumni of the English Department are also welcome and invited to apply.

What Happens if I have More than 4 Qualifying Courses?

For qualifying courses beyond the 4 that can be used to reduce requirements for the M.A., you may be granted exemption for specific course requirements already met through these prior courses. You would still needs to complete 8 courses for the M.A. but may have elective choices in place of requirements.

How Can I Find out What Requirements and Electives I Might Have?

Make an appointment to talk with the MAPW program director, who will be happy to go over your record and suggest the various ways in which your courses can be charted onto MAPW requirements. Or, email the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs.

How Do I Apply to the Program?

The first step should be to schedule a meeting with the MAPW director to express your interest. Then, go to the "Application Requirements" section of the website for more information.

As a CMU undergrad or alum, you do NOT have to submit GRE scores or pay the $50 application fee.

What are the Relevant Application Deadlines?

Students may apply as early as the spring of their junior year, during their senior year, or following graduation. We ask that applicants complete and submit all required materials no later than January 1st preceding the fall in which they wish to enter the program in order to receive full consideration for financial aid. We do, however, accept applications through May or June for the following fall provided that the class is not yet full.

Is a January Start Possible?

Although full-time students typically enter the program in the fall semester, CMU students who complete their B.A. or B.S. in December and have 4 courses that qualify as meeting MAPW requirements can, pending admission to the program and permission of the MAPW director, begin the program in January and finish the following fall.

What Kind of Financial Aid is Available?

All students accepted full-time into the MAPW program receive a partial tuition remission scholarship. In addition, students accepted into the program full-time are eligible for federal loans to cover living costs and educational expenses, including tuition. There also are a small number of Research Assistant (RA) positions available through the department. These positions require 5+ hours worked per week at $13 per hour.  More information is available here.

How Can I Find out More?

Contact the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs.


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