I am posting this question on behalf of my friend. Currently my friend is attending the last year of the bachelors degree and has a interest on following up the bachelor with a masters degree.

Now the issue is in following it up with a masters degree. The university my friend attends is located in Israel and rather strangely their third and final year started very late. Which means that the actual final exams will be around September 2017. Now my friend has a interest in pursuing a masters degree in Europe, however this possibly overlaps because most masters also start in September 2017 in Europe and the bachelors degree exams might still be going on, without knowing if my friend graduated or not.

To summarize:

  • Most European universities start around September 2017;
  • The bachelors degree exams finishes around September 2017;
  • There's a chance that a masters study might have started while my friend is still finishing up their bachelors;
  • My friend has no delays in the current study and actually has excellent grades.

I guess that perhaps some agreement can be made with a university about this issue. However my friend is wondering what a general accepted thing in this situation would be. Would a layover year be enforced unfortunately or some agreements can be made with the new university, so there can be started later and everything is good as long my friend graduates.

So my question: The ending/exams of my friends bachelors degree and possibly follow up masters degree start in Europe overlaps. How to proceed with this to make sure no year has to be wasted on waiting to start 'on time' next year.

  • 1
    I don't know about this specific situation, but it is very common to be accepted to graduate school before completing an undergraduate degree; the admission is assumed to be under the expectation that the undergraduate degree will be obtained successfully. I think the only way to answer this question is for your friend to communicate with the future masters program about the situation. The biggest conflict I see is if there are fall classes your friend needs to begin at the start of September.
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 22 '16 at 21:20

There are two problems to be solved, and each problem needs to be addressed in the appropriate institution. Hopefully all involved will be reasonable and a happy solution may be found. Here are instructions for your friend:

  1. Ask the master's institution for permission to begin the first semester before the Bachelor's is granted. Explain the request.

    If you might miss a couple of days of classes, correspond with the individual instructors. Explain the situation, and see if you can get the syllabus, text book and first assignment ahead of time, so you can work ahead.

  2. Ask the undergrad institution to allow you to take an early final exam or omit the final exam in each class. I would start with the dean of undergraduate studies or department administrator or department chair, and then I would be prepared to follow whatever instructions s/he may provide.

    However, if there is an uncooperative person at the top, take a somewhat different approach -- start by talking to the individual professors, after you are far enough into the final semester, so they can see that you are a proven quantity. Explain to each one: "I'm just asking if you you would be amenable to an alternate grading scheme, or an early final exam, in case the department provides approval." Once you have some instructors on board, then it will be easier to get department approval.

    If none of this works, do not hesitate to go higher up in the hierarchy. If you can, find out something about the administrator your propose to meet with, before you go. This last piece of advice is not necessary in all countries and in all universities -- but it can't hurt. If the person seems to be authoritative and negative, maybe skip that rung in the hierarchy and go straight to someone else.

Your general approach should be to be humble and ask for an exception to be made; but if you need to, you can still gently point out that it is an honor to be invited to join the master's program at your-grad-university, and you want to do your alma mater proud.

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