BS/MS Program

The School of Computing’s BS/MS program makes it possible for students to get both a bachelors and a masters degree in five years.

BS/MS Program Details
Admission to the BS/MS program
Options for BS/MS Students
Example BS/MS Program of Study
Student Requirements
Grading Policy
Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective BS/MS Students
Frequently Asked Questions for students already in the BS/MS Program

BS/MS Program Details

The requirements for the BS/MS degree are just the BS requirements plus the MS requirements. Starting to take graduate-level courses during the senior year is what makes it possible for students to complete the masters degree in just one additional year.

The MS degree can be in any of our programs:

  • Masters of Computer Science
  • Masters of Computing with a Computer Engineering specialization
  • Masters of Computing with a Data Management specialization
  • Masters of Computing with a Graphics and Visualization specialization
  • Masters of Computing with a Human-Centered Computing specialization
  • Masters of Computing with a Image Analysis specialization
  • Masters of Computing with a Robotics specialization
  • Masters of Computing with a Scientific Computing specialization

Each of the degrees has three options: course-only, project, and thesis. See the webpages of each program linked above to get details on the specific requirements. If you plan to do the MS thesis option, it is recommended (but not required) that you do a BS thesis, which you then expand to an MS thesis as a graduate student.

Admission to the BS/MS program

Requirements for the BS/MS program:

  • Junior status in Computer Science at the University of Utah
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (successful candidates typically have a higher average in CS courses)
  • Residential or domestic status — unfortunately international students on visas are not eligible for BS/MS programs

The application

Students accepted into the graduate program should attend the SoC new grad orientation along with the rest of the new graduate students in late August. You will be sent information about this.

We make admission decisions for the BS/MS program as follows. A small committee of SoC professors looks at the record of each student applying to the program, paying particular attention to performance in upper-level undergraduate CS courses. We admit students who we believe will do well in graduate-level CS courses.

Transfer students (students who already have a degree, or part of a degree, from another university) are not admitted directly into the BS/MS program. You should first gain admission to the U (see the admissions web site) and to the Computer Science program as an undergraduate. Subsequently, admission to the BS/MS program happens according to the instructions on this page.

Options for BS/MS Students

Course-based MS: Completing required courses for each track and any additional electives to equal 30 credit hours.

Thesis-based MS: We recommend that your Masters thesis be an extended version of a BS thesis. This is because it is generally difficult to complete a Masters thesis from scratch in one year. In this case, your thesis advisor should be the same person who supervised your BS thesis.

Project-based MS: The project is done through an independent study (often formally as an independent study course) with a professor in the School of Computing.

Example BS/MS Program of Study

Below is an example program of study that we consider to be ideal for a course-based BS/MS degree. Following this schedule, you graduate in 5 years and pay 4 years of undergraduate tuition and 1 year of graduate tuition.

Apply your junior year:

  • Your junior year is considered one or two semesters before starting CS 4000.

End of senior year:

  • Have completed all requirements for BS degree
  • Have completed up to 12 hours or 4 graduate level courses that will count towards the MS
  • Change to graduate student status

Fifth year:

  • Take 9 hours of MS classes in Fall
  • Take 9 hours of MS classes in Spring
  • Graduate with combined BS/MS degree in Spring

Alternate plan 1: Take 3 hours of courses that count towards the MS during each of Fall and Spring of your senior year, then take 12 hours of MS courses Fall and Spring of year 5.

Alternate plan 2: Take no courses that count towards the MS during years 1-4. Do not change to graduate student status at the end of senior year. During Fall of year 5, take 12 hours of MS courses while retaining undergraduate status. Get grad student status at the end of Fall of year 5. Take 9 hours of MS courses in Spring of year 5 and then 9 hours of MS courses in Fall of year 6.

Student Requirements

All BS/MS students will be required to meet with the BS/MS Advisor, Vicki Rigby once a semester. You can schedule an appointment with Vicki HERE

Grading Policy

Requested courses will remain on the undergraduate record but will be recorded as graduate credit to be used toward the graduate degree. Graduate credit may only be granted if a B or better was earned in the specified courses and not counted towards any undergraduate requirements. Only one request is eligible for consideration.

Graduate School Grading Policy

Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective BS/MS Students

Q: Why would I want to be in the BS/MS program?

A: First, it is a cheap (in terms of your time and your money) way to get a Masters Degree from a well-regarded Computer Science department. Second, it offers you an opportunity to specialize in a particular area.

Q: Will I be admitted to the BS/MS program if I apply?

A: It is likely that you will be admitted if you are getting As and Bs in CS courses and if you have taken at least one or two CS courses at the 4000 level or higher and have a good recommendations from professors.

Q: How much is tuition?

A: You pay undergraduate tuition until the University views you as a graduate student at which point you pay tuition at the graduate rate.

Q: Under what circumstances should I not apply to the BS/MS program?


  • – If you must, for whatever reason, receive the BS degree on time at the end of your senior year.
  • – If you are an international student.

Q: How do I go about paying in-state tuition rather than non-resident tuition?

A: An application for Utah residency (and lots of other relevant information) can be found at the U of Utah admissions site.

Q: Must BS/MS students graduate in five years?

A: No, although we prefer that you do.

Q: Should I apply for graduation when I finish the BS degree?

A: No. Both degrees are awarded when you complete the BS/MS program. Of course if you have met the BS degree requirements and need to bail out of the program for any reason, you receive the BS degree at that time.

Q: Can I count a class toward both the BS and MS?

A: No. The only double-dipping is that in the thesis option the BS thesis can be expanded into an MS thesis.

Q: Do BS/MS students get assistantships?

A: Yes, if students are hired as research assistants or teaching assistants.

Frequently Asked Questions for Students already in the BS/MS Program

Q: When exactly does the University start to view a BS/MS student as a grad student?

A: You become a grad student when we manually move you into the graduate program. Normally this happens after the semester in which you complete your undergrad requirements, and about four grad courses. There are some things that you need to keep in mind. First, once you have graduate student status you will not be eligible for undergraduate financial aid.

* Please remember you can only take 12 credit hours or 4 classes that count towards to MS degree while you have undergraduate status.
* You must have graduate student status for two semesters, while taking at least 9 credit hours per semester, in order to graduate. This equals the 30 credit hours that will be needed to receive your MS degree.

Q: How do I register for graduate-level classes?

– As an undergraduate you must fill out the permission code located here – In the comments note that you are a BS/MS students.

– Once you have graduate student status, you can do this yourself.

Q: Can I get credit for both the 5xxx and 6xxx versions of a cross-listed course?

A: No. The only exception to this rule occurs when the courses are substantially different due to a change in syllabus and instructor. In this unlikely case, approval from DGS (director of graduate studies) is required to get credit for both.

Q: Who should I talk to if I still have questions?

A: Vicki Rigby (BS/MS advisor) – in the SoC front office. As a BS/MS student you will required to meet with Vicki once a semester. If you have further questions please contact Vicki at