5-Year Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degree

The MCS is a course-based program for individuals who seek to enhance their careers with advanced knowledge of computer science. The MCS normally requires one and a half to two years of course work (32 semester hours) beyond the bachelor’s degree (120 semester hours). The combined BA/MCS and BS/MCS programs allow qualified students to obtain both degrees in five years. The combined bachelor/master's programs require a combined total of 140 s.h., which is 12 semester hours less than the sum of the requirements for both degrees earned separately.

Students in the joint programs must complete all requirements for each degree. They may count a maximum of 12 s.h. (four courses) toward both degrees. The four courses must be taken during the fourth year of undergraduate study, after admission to the joint program, and must satisfy degree requirements of both the B.A. or B.S., and the M.C.S.

When a student withdraws from the joint program before completing his or her bachelor's degree, credit earned in the four courses is counted only toward the undergraduate degree.

Students are granted the B.A. or B.S. when they complete all requirements for the undergraduate degree.

Students apply for admission to the joint program during their third year as undergraduates and enter the program at the beginning of their fourth year—becoming both an undergraduate and graduate student. Students will switch to graduate status only in the semester following the award of the baccalaureate degree (usually at the end of their fourth year), and should complete the program comfortably in one additional year.

Model BA/MCS Student Schedule

Model BS/MCS Student Schedule

Admission Standards

In order to be eligible for admission, candidates

  • must already be enrolled in either as BA or BS students majoring in computer science at The University of Iowa;
  • must have completed a minimum of 80 s.h. at the time of admission to the joint program, with at least 30 s.h. earned at The University of Iowa; and
  • must have a cumulative University of Iowa GPA of at least 3.25, and a GPA of at least 3.25 in the computer science major (computed on math prerequisites and core computer science course work taken at The University of Iowa).

Application Process

Each applicant must:

  • submit an Application for Admission to the BA/MCS or BS/MCS Program form as early as possible but no later than May 15 for a program beginning the following fall semester and no later than November 1 for a program beginning the following spring semester;
  • submit a statement of purpose expressing current academic interests and why a master’s degree is being pursued;
  • submit  three letters of recommendation;
  • submit copies of all college transcripts;
  • complete the University of Iowa Graduate College application. For application information, please visit the University of Iowa's Admissions website. The Graduate College application must be submitted before forms and documents can be uploaded onto myUI. The Graduate College application process asks for the effective session of admission. If a student enters the program in the fall 2017 semester, which would be the senior year of study, the effective session on the Grad College application would be fall 2017;
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international students;
  • GRE scores may be submitted, but are not required.

Forms

All documents and forms should be completed and then uploaded at the University of Iowa's myUI website. If you are new to the University you will be given access to myUI after you complete the graduate application.

The Application for Admission to the BA/MCS or BS/MCS Program form: Bachelors/MCS Application

Cross-Credited Coursework

Coursework credits to be applied toward the MCS must be earned after admission to the joint program. The specific classes to be cross-credited are reflected on the Course Credit Form, which is filed with the Graduate College by the Department. The Graduate College, in turn, notifies the Registrar’s Office, which places a designator on the student’s transcript. This designator indicates pre-baccalaureate graduate credit.

A total of at most four courses (12 semester hours) will be cross-credited for both the BA and BS degrees. These courses must be taken during the student’s senior undergraduate year, after admission to the joint program. Cross-credited courses do not change program requirements for the BA, the BS, or the MCS degrees. Rather, they must be carefully selected so as to satisfy requirements in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The four courses to be cross-credited will be determined at a meeting with the Graduate Programs Director as soon as official admission to the program has been finalized.

Note that many (but not all) of the advanced technical electives that may be used by undergraduates to fulfill their advanced electives are graduate Computer Science courses numbered CS:4000 or above. These courses are ideal candidates for cross crediting; students in the joint program should therefore choose their advanced electives carefully, being sure to avoid courses that do not carry graduate credit. BS/MCS students will typically use cross-credited courses to satisfy the BS theory of computation requirement (e.g. taking CS:4330 satisfies both the BS theory requirement and MCS Foundations requirement) and three of the four required advanced technical elective courses. BA/MCS students will typically use cross-credited courses to satisfy their required advanced technical course and a maximum of 9 additional elective semester hours.

Granting of BA or BS

Students in the joint program will be granted the BA or BS after completing all requirements of the undergraduate degree, including up to 12 semester hours of cross-credited course work. A total of 120 semester hours are required for both the BA and BS degrees. If withdrawal from the joint program occurs prior to granting the BA or BS, all courses completed as cross-credited courses will be counted only as undergraduate credit on the student’s transcript.

Changes in Undergraduate Program

Students enrolled in the joint program who wish to switch from the BA to the BS or from the BS to the BA must do so prior to being awarded the undergraduate degree.

Tuition

Students enrolled in the joint degree program will pay undergraduate tuition and fees through their entire fourth year of studies.