Guidelines for the 5-year BS/MS Program in Computer Science


The goal of the 5-year BS/MS Program in Computer Science is to enable a student to earn a B.S. in Computer Science or a B.S. in Software Engineering, and also an M.S. in Computer Science in approximately 5 years, specifically, one semester sooner than would otherwise be possible. This is achieved by taking up to 9 credits of graduate coursework during the senior year that count toward both the B.S. degree and the M.S. degree.

See the MSU Graduate Bulletin for rules governing this program. The following is practical advice on how the program functions.

Admission to the Program

  1. At the time of application, an applicant must
    • Be enrolled at Mississippi State University in the B.S. in Computer Science or B.S. in Software Engineering programs
    • Have at least 60 hours earned toward the B.S. degree
    • Have a cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 3.5
  2. An application package consists of the following items, which must be submitted to the department office staff.
    • Application form Click here for form
    • Statement of Purpose Click here for form
    • Contact information for three references (included on the application form). Ideal references are those who are knowledgeable about the academic abilities of the applicant. The department will solicit letters of reference.
  3. The Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering will review an application to assess whether the applicant possesses those qualifications and interests that indicate that the applicant will be successful in the MSU M.S. in Computer Science program.

Advising for Courses in the Senior Year

  1. After an applicant is accepted, the program begins when the student has senior standing. “Senior year” is a synonym for senior standing, irrespective of duration.
  2. The CSE Graduate Coordinator is the student’s initial temporary advisor for graduate courses taken in the senior year. By mutual agreement, a student may have a tentative major professor during the senior year.
  3. During the senior year a student takes graduate courses under the following conditions:
    • A maximum of 9 hours of graduate credit during the senior year. The Dean can approve exceptions, such as lab courses (4 credits), which may cause the total to exceed this limit.
    • In a term with graduate course enrollment, total undergraduate and graduate enrollment is limited to 16 credits in a Fall or Spring semester and 6 credits in all Summer terms combined.
    • Courses at the 6000-level count toward the B.S. degree similar to the corresponding 4000-level courses. Courses at the 7000-level and above count as technical electives toward the B.S. degree.
  4. The department follows the Registrar’s procedures for dual counting.
  5. The student graduates with a B.S. in the normal manner.

Admission to the M.S. Program

Upon satisfactory progress in the senior year, the student is admitted to the M.S. in Computer Science program on a routine basis. The M.S. Degree Guidelines explains academic performance criteria. The following outlines the procedure.

  1. Early in the student’s last term in the B.S. program, the student submits an admission application package to the MSU Graduate Admissions Office consisting of the following.
    • On-line application
    • On-line Statement of Purpose, which may be a copy of the one used for admission to the 5-year program.
    • General GRE scores
    • Designation of the CSE Graduate Coordinator as a reference. The Graduate Admissions Office will solicit the reference letter.
    • Application fee
  2. The CSE Graduate Coordinator will perform the departmental review of the application. Satisfactory progress during the senior year will warrant recommending admission to the M.S. program.
  3. The student is admitted to the M.S. program.
  4. The student enrolls as a graduate student after completing the B.S. degree.

Advising during the M.S. Program

  1. The CSE Graduate Coordinator is the initial temporary advisor to all new M.S. students.
  2. By mutual agreement, the student finds a major professor during the first semester of M.S. study, but no later than the second semester.
  3. The student completes the M.S. degree in the normal manner.