BS/MS Dual Degree Programs¶
The BS/MS programs in Information Technology, Software Engineering, and Computer Science are five-year programs that give academically successful Loyola undergraduates the opportunity to pursue the MS degree in Information Technology, Software Engineering, or Computer Science while completing their BS degree. The applicant can be pursuing any of the BS degrees offered by the Department of Computer Science, including the joint majors with Mathematics or Physics or the interdisciplinary Bioinformatics.
These programs reduce the total number of courses needed and the total time needed for the combined degrees.
Students may not automatically enroll in the BS/MS program during Freshman admission. They must specifically apply to the Graduate School, generally in their Junior year by using The Graduate Application Form. See Application Requirements and Application Information for more details.
The stand-alone MS programs each require 30 credits of graduate courses. This generally takes one and a half years to complete. BS/MS students must also take 30 credits of courses at the 400 level or greater. The main advantages come from the fact that some of the MS courses may be double-counted, applying to the BS also, and there can be a shift in some of the required MS courses based on what students took in the BS portion. In particular students in the BS/MS program are allowed to “double count” 9 credits (generally three 3-credit courses) of their Loyola COMP courses for both their BS and MS degrees. Each must be a 400 level course taken in the student’s senior year in place of a 300 level major course. Also, a student wishing to take 123 or more credits while an undergraduate, can have 3 of the extra credits be for a fourth 400 level COMP course, and count that toward the MS if the extra course is needed for no undergraduate requirement, from the university, college, core, major or minor. Hence a BS/MS student with 120 credits and 9 400-level COMP credits counted for the BS is required to take only 21 credits (instead of 30 credits) of additional 400-level courses. If a student takes a further 3-credit 400 level COMP course beyond the 120 credits needed for the BS, then only 18 further credits are needed. In either case, students can finish the program in five years. Some further special rules:
- All students need to take COMP 271: Data Structures I as part of their undergraduate major.
- Students pursuing an MS in Software Engineering or Computer Science must take COMP 313: Intermediate Object-Oriented Development by their senior year.
- Students may take at most 6 credits total of internship at the undergraduate and graduate level, COMP 391: Internship in Computer Science plus COMP 499: Internship.
- A student with credit for a 300 level COMP course that was taught in a combined class with a 400 level course may not take the 400 level course later for separate credit without permission from the Graduate Program Director. In particular for students with credit for COMP 317: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Computing, the MS requirement for COMP 417: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Computing is waived, to be replaced by 3 MS elective credits. Similarly, in programs requiring COMP 413: Intermediate Object-Oriented Development, COMP 313: Intermediate Object-Oriented Development will satisfy the requirement, but still, the course will need to be replaced by 3 MS elective credits.
- In MS programs with restricted electives lists with two or more courses required from a larger explicit list, one of the courses may be waived if the corresponding 300 level undergraduate course was successfully completed at Loyola. The course must still be replaced by a 3-credit MS program elective.
- All further individual MS program requirements must be met, but with the inclusion of the allowed 400 level courses taken as an undergraduate.
The academic prerequisites to be considered for admission to the BS/MS programs in the Computer Science Department are as follows:
- Apply before the start of your senior (final undergrad) year. CAS requires this to be clear on how to handle your advising for your final undergrad year.
- Successful completion of a total of at least 15 credits of major COMP courses, including COMP 271: Data Structures I (even if COMP 271: Data Structures I is only an elective in the major) and including at least 9 credits of 300 level COMP courses. For students pursuing the BS degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics, or Bioinformatics, the 300-level courses may alternately include up to 6 credits of 300 level major courses that are not COMP.
- A GPA of 3.5 or higher in all the major courses.
- A cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher for all course work at Loyola;
- Satisfactory progress towards completion of Loyola’s core.
Before the undergraduate deadlines do apply to graduate with your B.S in the semester you will actually finish! Otherwise, you complicate the conversion to graduate status. If the date when you will start graduate status changes from your original application, notify the GPD ahead of time so data in Locus can be fixed.
Current Loyola students who have met the above academic prerequisites are encouraged to apply before registration opens for your senior year, though the program is still of practical help to a student who applies before the final undergrad semester in which s/he is taking COMP courses. Students who have an interest in the program are encouraged to consult with the Graduate Program Director for Computer Science, Dr. Andrew Harrington, in the semester before their application. The application will be evaluated upon completion of the following:
- The Graduate Application Form; applicants are to select the BS/MS option. Be careful of the misleading entry named “starting semester”: The starting semester for the program should be the first semester when the student will be in pure graduate status (after expected completion of the BS). This is not generally the semester coming right after the student has filled out the application. This is after all double-counted courses are completed.
- A one-page personal statement of purpose.
- Three letters of recommendation, at least two coming from faculty in the Department of Computer Science at Loyola University.
The GRE is not required for applicants to the BS/MS program, even if they are applying for an assistantship. There is no application fee for applicants who apply on-line. At the time of consideration for admission, the student’s most recent Loyola transcript will be examined. If the applicant has transfer credits from another college or university, the student may be required to submit those as well.
Requirements for Completion of the BS/MS Program¶
After admission to the BS/MS program, a student may request to be registered in their senior year for up to four 400 level COMP courses, with three of them replacing undergraduate major courses, and a fourth if the student will graduate with at least 123 credits and not need the fourth course as a part of any undergraduate requirement. Students generally take the remainder of their 30 credits of 400-level MS classes during their fifth year. This schedule can be modified for students with AP or transfer credit who desire to finish the combined program in less than five years. Students in the program are expected to consult regularly with the Graduate Program Director to ensure that they are on track for completion of both the BS and MS degrees. The following are required to complete a BS/MS degree program:
- Successful completion of one of the BS degrees in the Department of Computer Science or Bioinformatics or a joint major with Mathematics or Physics.
- The 30 credits of 400-level graduate courses, including those counted while an undergraduate, completed with a GPA of 3.0 or higher