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BS/MS Program

Updated September 1, 2017

There are two separate mechanisms for undergraduate computer science students to apply credits from their BS degree towards an MS degree in computer science at MSU. There is the Linked BS/MS program, and there is a dual enrollment option. The dual enrollment option can be used by any student with any GPA whereas the Linked BS/MS program requires a student to complete their BS program with a 3.5 GPA. It is possible to do both the Linked BS/MS program and dual enrollment, but you will essentially be doing the dual enrollment program if you choose this option. There are some subtle differences between the two programs which are described well here.

Common element: For both programs, students must be admitted to the MS program before they take any credits that will be used towards their MS programs. That is, if you plan to use a 4xx course in Fall 2018 that will count towards your MS degree, you must be admitted to the MS program before Fall 2018 begins.

Key differences:

  • For the linked BS/MS program, your tuition for your undergraduate program does not change until you graduate with your BS degree (unless you also dual enroll).
  • For the dual enrollment program, your tuition will change to graduate level tuition once you reach 120 credits. You will also be eligible for graduate assistantships and fellowships. This may also affect your financial aid package.
  • For the dual enrollment program, there is no GPA requirement. For the linked BS/MS program, you must graduate from your BS with a 3.5 or higher.

The Linked BS/MS program in computer science offers high achieving undergraduate students in the computer science and computer engineering programs a chance to complete both a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree in five years. More specifically, up to 9 credits of the required 30 credits for a Masters degree can be waived. In order to waive 9 credits, you must include at least one graduate level course in your Bachelors program plan.

  1. When to apply: You should apply in your junior or senior year.  You would be admitted to the MS program in the same semester as the first course you take that includes credits that will be applied towards your MS degree. You must apply for admission to the MS program prior to that semester. For example, if you take CSE 410 in Fall Semester 2018 and use that course to waive 3 credits from the 30 required MS credits, then your MS program will begin no later than Fall 2018 and you should apply for admission to the MS program no later than Spring 2018. Previously, MSU was allowing students to apply later and retrodate admission, but this is no longer possible.
  2. Requirements: Admission to the program requires a minimum grade-point average of 3.5. Exceptions can be made if there is a strong faculty advocate who will vouch for your admission to this program despite having a lower GPA.
  3. Application Procedure
    1. Inform the Graduate Director you plan to apply for the Linked BS/MS program by emailing graddir@cse.msu.edu.
    2. Find an initial Masters advisor (the Graduate Director can often serve in this role).
    3. Apply to the MS program in computer science completing the official graduate school application. See here for more information about this application process. We typically do not require GRE test scores, but you should still consider taking the GRE, particularly if you are considering applying to other graduate programs.
    4. As part of the above application process, using the Graduate Student Portal, upload a document summarizing your current BS program plan, an MS program plan, and up to 9 credits that will be shared between both program plans. Here is an example document. Upload the document as type certficate. These shared credits will officially only be in your BS program, and the credits will be waived from the required 30 credits for your MS program. This can include at most 6 credits from 4xx level couses, so at least one course must be 8xx or 9xx if you use all 9 credits. The waived credits do count towards satisfying the MS breadth requirement when applicable.
    5. Complete the linked BS-MS application form and upload the form using the Graduate Student Portal. Include the document using the document type certificate.

Additional Information:

If you are accepted into the Linked BS/MS program, you are under no obligation to complete the MS degree. You can complete your BS degree as if you had never applied to the Linked BS/MS program.

Once accepted into this program, you are also eligible for dual enrollment as a BS and MS student. For more information about dual enrollment, see here (scroll down to find appropriate text) and here.