SJU News caught up with Julie Tibbitt, Ph.D., to learn more about the obstacles she’s had to overcome during the pandemic as a deaf individual herself, her goals as the new program director, and what Disability Pride Month means to her.
The benefits of a graduate degree are vast. People with graduate degrees can increase their salary potential, stand out in the job market, gain an advanced certification or skill set and get a leg up on their career. However, for some, pursuing a graduate education can be cost and time prohibitive. At Saint Joseph's University, students can earn a graduate degree in less time through the University’s 4+1 program, now offered across 16 different plans of study.
This unique degree program allows undergraduate students to work toward their master’s degree beginning in the senior year of their undergraduate studies, earning a graduate degree one year later.
“Our 4+1 programs give students another option to pursue their educational goals. Many individuals are interested in graduate school, but time and cost can be challenging. By beginning their master’s degree the senior year of undergraduate school, students will complete their degree in five years as opposed to the additional two or three it may take if students take a break in between,” says Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Saint Joseph’s has previously offered 4+1 programs through the Haub School of Business and College of Arts and Sciences, and is now expanding its offerings to add new plans of study, including programs from the School of Health Studies and Education. Programs include public policy, computer science, criminal justice, business intelligence and analytics, accounting, MBA and more. Many of the programs also allow for crossover across disciplines, letting students earn their graduate degree in a different school or field than their undergraduate degree.
Once enrolled in the 4+1 program, students qualify for the University’s 10% alumni discount and gain access to graduate assistantships and scholarships. Graduate school entrance exams such as the GRE and GMAT may also be waived. For student-athletes, the 4+1 program allows them to take advantage of an extra year of player eligibility.
Another perk for students continuing their graduate studies at the same institution is the ability to build upon the research and projects they started during their undergraduate education.
Emily Vance ’21 is pursuing her master’s degree in experimental psychology and says that the ability to continue working on similar research themes that she explored as an undergraduate drew her to the program.
Her research around disgust and how it is associated with factors like health anxiety, emotion regulation and different philosophical conceptions of a just society began as an independent study project she did as part of the University’s Health Promoters program and with the support of her faculty mentor.
“I developed close relationships with the faculty in my department, so the ability to continue my studies as a graduate student was an opportunity I was happy to take,” says Vance. “I continue to explore my interest in emotion research and I am still studying disgust through my master thesis,” she adds.
Students who pursue the 4+1 program also feel they are more prepared for their future endeavors, whether it’s the workforce or a doctoral program.
“In addition to practical, hands-on skills such as research and conducting clinical trials, I’ve also gained invaluable time management and public speaking skills. This will make me a strong candidate for future doctoral programs and my future career,” says Francesca Lupini ’21, who will complete her master’s degree in psychology this spring.
Students interested in learning more about the 4+1 program are invited to attend the information session on Feb. 4 at 11 a.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from program directors about the various program offerings and application processes. The registration deadline is March 1 and students are eligible beginning in their junior year at Saint Joseph’s University. Interested students can also email email@example.com for more information.