Bracketing Courses

Advanced Standing students enrolled in the AB/AM or SM program seek the permission of the Administrative Board to bracket graduate-level courses by filling out a Bracketing Form, and returning it to the Office of Undergraduate Education (University Hall, 1st Floor North), by the 5th Monday of the term in which the course is taken. Most students earn the majority of their AM credits in their fourth year at the College, but students are also permitted to bracket courses earlier in anticipation of the AM or SM degree. This requires prior permission from the Head Tutor or Director of Undergraduate Studies of the undergraduate concentration as well as the Chairman or designated adviser of the graduate program in which they wish to enroll. Students who bracket courses before they are admitted to the graduate program should understand that these courses will be unbracketed by the Registrar if they do not gain admission to the AB/AM or SM program. The student's course plan should be discussed with the Department Chair (or designated adviser) of the graduate program in which the student is seeking the advanced degree, as well as the Head Tutor of the undergraduate concentration.

The Department Chair (or designated adviser) of the graduate department in which the student is enrolled must certify, by signing the bracketing form, that the courses the student has chosen to bracket meet the department's approval for graduate credit toward the AM or SM degree. Ordinarily, graduate credit is granted for 100-level (and above) courses. Under no circumstances may any bracketed course be considered both for undergraduate and graduate degree credit. Bracketed courses do not affect the undergraduate record; they will not be calculated toward the AB degree or the undergraduate grade-point average, nor are they counted for departmental honors calculations. In order for bracketed courses to count toward a graduate degree, they must be taken for a letter grade or (300 level only) SAT/UNSAT. Courses taken for graduate credit may not be taken Pass/Fail. Note also that a passing grade in a graduate course is ordinarily a "B-" or higher.

A separate Bracketing Form is required each term in which courses are bracketed. These forms will then be presented to the Administrative Board for approval. With the approval of the graduate department, students may, if necessary, retroactively bracket courses they have taken in a previous term to count toward the graduate degree by petitioning the Administrative Board through their Allston Burr Assistant Dean. Once bracketed, these courses will not count in any way toward the undergraduate degree.

The bracketing procedure is straightforward, but the decision to bracket courses requires careful thought about a student's broad academic program. Students should plan carefully to insure that they are able to meet the requirements for both degrees by the end of the 4th year.