B.S./M.S. Dual Degree Programs

Overview

The B.S./M.S. programs in Information Technology, Software Engineering, and Computer Science are five-year programs that give academically successful Loyola undergraduates the opportunity to pursue the M.S. degree in Information Technology, Software Engineering, or Computer Science while completing their B.S. degree. The applicant can be pursuing any of the B.S. 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.

Curriculum

The stand-alone M.S. programs each require 30 credits of graduate courses. This generally takes one and a half years to complete. B.S./M.S. 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 B.S. also, and there can be a shift in some of the required MS courses based on what students took in the B.S. portion. In particular students in the B.S./M.S. program are allowed to “double count” 9 credits (generally three 3-credit courses) of their Loyola COMP courses for both their B.S. and M.S. degrees. Each must be a 400 level course taken in the student’s senior year in place of a 300 level major course. In addition, 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 M.S. if the extra course is need for no undergraduate requirement, from the university, college, core, major or minor. Hence a B.S./M.S. student with 120 credits and 9 400-level COMP credits counted for the B.S. 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 B.S., then only 18 further credits are needed. In either case students can finish the program in five years. Some further special rules:

  1. All students need to take COMP 271: Data Structures as part of their undergraduate major.
  2. Students pursuing an MS in Software Engineering or Computer Science must take COMP 313: Intermediate Object-Oriented Development by their senior year.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 M.S. requirement for COMP 417: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Computing is waived, to be replaced by 3 M.S. 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 M.S. elective credits.
  5. In M.S. 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 M.S. program elective.
  6. All further individual M.S. program requirements must be met, but with the inclusion of the allowed 400 level courses taken as an undergraduate.

Application Requirements

The academic prerequisites to be considered for admission to the B.S./M.S. programs in the Computer Science Department are as follows:

  • Successful completion of a total of at least 15 credits of major COMP courses, including COMP 271: Data Structures (even if COMP 271: Data Structures 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.

Further notes on B.S. completion: Before the 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.

Application Information

Current Loyola students who have met the above academic prerequisites are encouraged to apply between January 15 and March 15 of their junior 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 prior to their application. Students who have substantial transfer or AP credit, or wish to finish the combined program in less than five years, should discuss the timing of their application with Dr. Harrington. The student should then fill out the on-line Graduate Application Form through the Graduate School web-site. The application will be evaluated upon completion of the following:

  • The Graduate Application Form; applicants are to select the B.S./M.S. 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 B.S.). This is not 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; this is inserted as part of the Graduate Application Form;
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two coming from faculty in the Department of Computer Science at Loyola University.

Note that the GRE exam is not required for applicants to the B.S./M.S. 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 B.S./M.S. Program

After admission to the B.S./M.S. 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 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 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 insure that they are on track for completion of both the B.S. and M.S. degrees. The following are required to complete a B.S./M.S. degree program:

Successful completion of one of the B.S. degrees in the Department of Computer Science or Bioinformatics or a joint major with Mathematics or Physics. It is expected that the student complete all degree requirements for their chosen B.S. degree at least two semesters before completing the M.S. degree. The 30 credits of 400-level graduate courses, including those taken while an undergraduate, must be completed with a GPA of 3.0 or higher;

Further Information

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact Dr. Andrew Harrington, Graduate Program Director for Computer Science. He can be reached at gpd@cs.luc.edu.