Most bachelor of applied arts and science (BAAS) programs are non-traditional degree programs that allow students to obtain a baccalaureate degree, even when the student has a background in a technical field. Some schools offer bachelor's degrees in these areas so that students can transition from technical and vocational schools without losing too many credits in the transfer process. Getting into graduate school with the BAAS degree is possible. Students need to carefully consider their reasons for wanting to attend graduate school and must be able to justify their reasons to graduate school admissions committees.
Research your career options for the field in which you intend to work. Consider your technical background and the emphasis of your bachelor's degree program. Determine whether or not a graduate degree program is necessary for your career goals. Some students attend graduate school for the wrong reasons such as erroneously assuming that it is necessary for higher pay or will necessarily lead to advancement. Unless it is required for your job or intended career path, carefully consider your reasons for wanting to attend graduate school. It may not be necessary. Valid reasons for attending graduate school include changing careers or career advancement, where it is possible, with an advanced degree. For instance, a law enforcement agent with a BAAS degree who wants to move into the field of advanced criminological research can pursue a master's degree or doctorate in criminology.
Locate graduate schools in the field of study you intend to pursue. Carefully examine all of the admission requirements of each school. Ensure that you can meet these requirements before completing your application. Create a list of reasons for wanting to attend that school. You will need to be able to justify your application to an admissions committee and it will want to know why you have chosen to apply to its school. Applicants with a BAAS degree should list reasons specific to their intended vocation. For instance, applicants coming from the military who have a technical background may choose a graduate civil engineering program to gain the necessary qualifications to work as a civil engineer.
Research faculty members in your intended field of study. Graduate students work closely alongside professional scholars, many of whom have a Ph.D. or similar doctorate in their field of specialization. These scholars are often expected to continue to research and publish in their field after they are hired by university. Find a scholar whose work closely corresponds to the field of specialization you plan on pursuing, even if you don't plan on working as a professional scholar yourself. If your plan is to enter a field where your graduate degree is for professional application in your vocational field, you can still use that as a way to justify your application. Vocational fields that BAAS degree holders might seek employment in or in which they might pursue career advancement or advanced research include computer technology fields like information technology (IT) or computer science, or other fields like biotechnology, geographical information systems or even business administration with an emphasis in business information systems.
Contact scholars at each school to which you plan on applying. Contact them via email and telephone to speak to them regarding their research interests. Ask them about ongoing research they are conducting and express an interest in working with them. This will increase the likelihood that you will get accepted because these scholars will already be familiar with who you are and may have some input on the admissions committee.
Apply for admission to each school of interest to you. Most graduate schools will require that you complete an application, provide an application fee, get letters of recommendation from undergraduate faculty members, send official undergraduate transcripts from each school that you have attended and complete a statement of purpose or letter of intent. In your letter of intent, include your reasons for wanting to attend school and mention your interest in working with particular scholars that you may have spoken to already. Depending upon the type of degree program that you are trying to get into, you may also need to take a graduate school admission test, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). BAAS degree holders may need to provide additional documentation of their background since some of the credit they receive is based on experience in a technical field.
Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.