The Accelerated Master of Science (MS) Program in Computer Science allows MSU undergraduate students to make simultaneous progress toward the Computer Science master's degree.  With careful planning with their academic adviser, accelerated students can typically earn their undergraduate degree after four years and their MS after five years.  Inthe first four years, the student is an undergraduate student and can reserve up to 12 credits of coursework towards their MS in CS.  In the fifth year, these students complete the remaining graduate work on either the MS courses-only or thesis track.  Typically, most accelerated students will take the courses-only track.

Benefits

  • Early acceptance into graduate school.
  • Ability to complete two degrees (BS in CS and MS in CS) within five years.  Typically, this would take six.
  • Students in the accelerated BS/MS track can reserve up to 12 credits of coursework for their MS degree while they are still completing the requirements for the BS degree, without petitioning to reserve each course.
  • Accelerated BS/MS track students who are in good standing and are given a higher priority for teaching assistant (GTA) positions.
  • A line in your resume / CV. Being accepted into this program is an academic acheivement.

Credit Requirements

In total, as an accelerated BS/MS student you would take 120 credits to earn a CS BS undergraduate degree using either the professional or interdisciplinary option. To earn a courses-only MS, you would take additional 30 graduate credits.  To earn a thesis track MS, you would take a 31 graduate credits, including 10 credits of thesis during the final two semesters. Together the 150/151 credits may be divided over five years into 10 semesters as follows:

Year
Credits
BS MS Courses-only MS Thesis
Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring
1 17 17 0 0 0 0
2 18 19 0 0 0 0
3 18 12 0 3 0 3
4 12 7 3 6 3 6
5 0 0 9 9 10 9
  120 30 31

Funding

During the fifth year as an MS student, if you are in good standing in the accelerated BS/MS degree you will have priority over other MS students to receive a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) offer that provides tuition waivers and a stipend.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for the Accelerated BS/MS track you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed at least 89 credits towards your BS degree.
  • Hold a GPA of at least 3.25.
  • Have at least one semester left of undergraduate studies.
  • Submit a request for admission to the Accelerated BS/MS track (PowerForm)
  • If admitted, you will be asked to apply to the Graduate School, per this guidance

To continue to the MS degree you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must finish you BS degree (i.e., graduate)
  • You must have completed an application to the Graduate School and have been admitted

Timeline

  • Fall of first year
    • Incoming freshmen are advised about the possibility of the Accelerated BS/MS track.
    • Students who elect to follow the Accelerated BS/MS plan should discuss this with their adviser.
  • Fall of third year
    • To start reserving the 12 credits towards their graduate degree, students must apply to be admitted to the accelerated BS/MS track. To apply, you must submit the request for admission to the Accelerated BS/MS track (PowerForm, PDF) and request a letter of recommendation to be sent to the MS Program Coordinator. The MS Program Coordinator will inform you if you are accepted into the Accelerated BS/MS track.
    • After you are accepted to the accelerated BS/MS track, you must then apply to the Graduate School. Your application should set the start date for your degree as the semester after your BS graduation date.
  • Spring of third year and Fall and Spring of fourth year
    • Accelerated BS/MS students may reserve up to 12 credits towards the MS degree. To reserve the credits, the students meet with their academic advisor, who approves each semester plan on DegreeWorks and adds a note "Accelerated student- Approved Courses: " listing the approved reserved course(s) for the semester. The Registrar office will see these notes and enroll students in the courses. 
    • Permissible courses are:
      • CSCI 500 level courses other than 590, 592, 598, 599.
      • CSCI 400 level courses (up to 9 credits as part of the 12) other than 482, 483, 490, 491, 492, 494, 495, 498.
      • 400 and 500 level courses in other departments suitable for an MS in CS program of study, such as EELE or M courses, with the approval of the CS MS program coordinator.
  • Summer of the fourth year
    • Accelerated BS/MS students are fully admitted to the Graduate School after they finish their undergradaute degree. 
    • Accelerated BS/MS students file their MS program of study on the courses-only or thesis track. Courses-only program of study is approved by the MS Coordinator. If students want to pursue the thesis track, the program of study needs to be discussed and approved by their thesis advisor.
  • Fall of fifth year
    • MS students students take courses on their MS program of study.
    • MS thesis students take 3-4 credits of MS thesis.
  • Spring of fifth year
    • MS students students take courses on their MS program of study.
    • MS thesis students take 6-7 credits of MS thesis.
    • MS thesis students defend their thesis, which serves as their Comprehensive Examination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm a transfer student. Can I still do the Accelerated BS/MS?

A: Yes, provided you meet the requirements for admission to the Accelerated BS/MS program.
Even if you are not accepted into the Accelerated BS/MS program, you may still reserve up to 9 credits for your graduate degree.

Q: I didn't know about the Accelerated BS/MS when I started the CS BS at MSU and now I'm behind on the Accelerated BS/MS course plan. Can I still catch up and do the Accelerated BS/MS?

A: Yes, provided you meet the requirements for admission to the Accelerated BS/MS program. To do so, you may take Summer classes.
Even if you are not accepted into the Accelerated BS/MS program, you may still reserve up to 9 credits for your graduate degree.

Q: If I'm on the Accelerated CS/MS program, can I switch from the MS to a PhD degree.

A: Yes, to do so you will need to apply to the PhD program and you will be allowed to use the 12 reserved credits towards that degree.