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

Director: Jason Wiese –

Administration: Vicki Rigby (BS/MS advisor) –

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 and tracks.

Each of the degrees has three options: course-only, project, and thesis. See the graduate handbook 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.

When you’re ready, proceed to the BS/MS application.

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 Master’s thesis be an extended version of a BS thesis. This is because it is generally difficult to complete a Master’s 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 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 the minimum grade (or better) required by the graduate program or track was earned in the specified courses (see graduate handbook for grade minimums), and if the course is 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

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

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.

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

A: There are two cases when the BS/MS program is not advisable:

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

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

A: No, although we prefer that you do.

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.

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

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

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

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.
  • 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.

A: This depends whether you’re still in undergrad status, or you have already been moved to graduate status:

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.

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