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The Honors B.S.-M.S. Degree Program in Computer Science

Summary

Students with outstanding academic performance in the undergraduate Computer Science program at Rutgers are encouraged to apply to this joint program at the end of their Junior year. The program facilitates entry into the graduate program, and provides a plan to allow them to meet the requirements of both the B.Sc. and the M.Sc. degree in a shortened time frame.

Rationale

The purpose of the program is to:

  • help attract outstanding undergraduate students to come to Rutgers;
  • encourage undergraduate students who may not have considered going to graduate school to consider this option;
  • encourage good students to plan earlier on going to graduate school, whether or not they end up following this program;
  • identify students with strong research potential and provide an opportunity for them to start research sooner, during their undergraduate career, on projects led by Rutgers faculty. Such students may be expected to go on to earn a Ph.D. degree, either at Rutgers or elsewhere.

To attract the best students, the program:

  • provides a clearer path of integration between the undergraduate and graduate study program at Rutgers, which allows students to complete the M.S. degree one semester sooner, on the average;
  • facilitates entry into the graduate program by relying on the faculty's evaluation rather than standardized exams, such as GREs;
  • designates membership in it as an honor

NOTICE OF CHANGE

Because of Graduate School requirements, undergraduate numbered courses (4xx, 3xx) taken while the student is still an undergraduate cannot count towards the MS degree, even though the Computer Science Department regulations allow up to two such courses. Students are advised to take instead 2  Basic 5xx courses and 2  Core or Advancedcourses  ( please check here) during their undergraduate  studies, and not use them towards the BS degree. To sign up for such courses, please

  • fill in the form at http://sasundergrad.rutgers.edu/images/forms/gradcourse.pdf
  • have the instructor sign the form
  • take the form to Ms. Carol DiFrancesco, next to Hill 390
  • you will (eventually) receive a Special Permission number that you can use to register for the class
  • you should attend the class even while not formally registered, waiting for the SP#

Please see below for more details of the changes. (The pre-2016 BsMs program requirements can be found here)

Admission requirements

The minimum requirement for admission to the B.S.-M.S. program (at the end of the Junior year) are:

    1. completion of at least 80 graduation credits (counting towards a general Bachelor's degree)
    2. completion of all but two of the courses required for the B.S. degree in Computer Science
    3. a GPA of 3.75 or better in these Computer Science courses

Admission process

Students should apply for admission to the program at the end of May, after the end of the Spring term before the final year of undergraduate studies at Rutgers - New Brunswick (once Spring term course grades are available). (Please note that late application will no longer be considered.) Please

  • submit via email to the program coordinator personal information (name, student number) plus a pdf file with the latest unofficial transcript of grades (obtainable from Degree Navigator)
  • request that three letters of recommendation (form available here) be e-mailed to the coordinator. Please note that recommenders normally must be full-time professors (not lecturers) who participate in the CS graduate program and who have preferably taught you in 300+ level courses or independent studies. (These persons are most qualified to make a decision whether they would like you in their graduate classes.) You can wait till after you get your grades in May, and ask for recommendations from professors of your Spring classes in which you did well.

The main difference from the general admission requirements to the CS M.S. Graduate Program, is that in exchange for higher standards, applicants need not take the GRE exams. (Note that although only a small number of students are expected to be admitted to the Honors B.S.-M.S. program described here, students in their Senior year can always apply for graduate studies in the Department of Computer Science at Rutgers by following the usual procedures.)

Continued participation in the program is subject to finishing the B.S. degree requirements in the fourth year of undergraduate studies, and obtaining a grade of 3.0 or better in the graduate CS courses (198:5xx) required to be taken while an unergraduate (see below). 

Advising

Students considering applying to the program are encouraged to discuss the matter with the program coordinator at the earliest possible time.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students will pay undergraduate tuition until such time as they complete their B.S. degree, and are officially admitted to the Master's program. At that point, they start paying graduate school tuition fees. Because of Graduate School regulations and the current tight fiscal situation, M.S. students will not receive financial support as TAs. (Even if they can find grant-support as Research Assistants, they should be warned of the extra difficulties of taking 3 graduate courses while being a full-time research assistant. In such circumstances, a more conservative approach of taking 2 courses per semester, and hence staying an extra semester, should be considered.)

Degree Requirements

The fundamental premise to be kept in mind is that the full requirements for both degrees must be met without overlap in counting courses.

Students will have to complete the full requirements for the B.S. degrees in Computer Science at Rutgers - New Brunswick, which include:

  • completion of the CS Major
  • 120 credits of course work
  • any additional requirements for the Honors Program of which they are a member.

The student will also need to complete the requirements for an M.S. degree in CS at Rutgers-New Brunswick, including:

  • 30 credits of course work, none of which should have or will be counted towards the B.S. degree. (The M.S. thesis option is also available to participants in this program.)
  • The A/B area distribution and grade requirements for Computer Science graduate courses, as specified in the Graduate Catalog

In order to challenge this select group of students, and to finish the degrees in 5 years there are some additional requirements for this program (the terms "Basic", "Core" and "Advanced" course, used below, are specified here):

  1. In the undergraduate year(s) of the program
  2. In the MS part of the program
    • completion of 198:431 Software Engineering  
    • a limit of 3 Basic or Undergraduate  course counted towards the MS (this includes 198:431)

Study Plan

The following is a sample schedule that would allow a student to complete the program in 5 years, by

  • Taking 4 graduate courses that count toward CS graduate credit in the 3rd and 4th year. The sample schedule below indicates 4 such courses in the 4th year. There is however no reason for students not to take as early as possible Basic graduate courses.
  • Using the summers and/or additional courses in some terms to take 6 courses to earn 18 non-CS credits that help satisfy the B.S. requirements. (Some students may wish to take these in the early summer terms, leaving 3rd and 4th year summers for industry internships or research, such as NSF-sponsored Undergraduate Research Experience.)
  • This plan assumes that students will take at least two general electives with labs, which count for 4 credits (marked with * below). Students are cautioned about taking on too much work in any term, in view of the stringent GPA requirements. In particular, graduate courses consume considerably more work, so students are strongly cautioned about taking additional courses during the fourth and fifth year of the program.
1st year FALL Credits SPRING Credits
  640:151 Calculus I 4 640:152 Calculus II 4
  198:111 Intro to Comp Sci 4 198:112 Data Structures 4
  750:203 Physics I 3 750:204 Physics II 3
  750:205 Physics I Lab 1 750:206 Physics II Lab 1
  UG general elective  3 UG general elective  3
    15   15
Credits: 30        
2nd year FALL Credits SPRING Credits
  198:205 Discrete Structures I 3 198:206 Discrete Structures II 4
  640:240 Linear Algebra 4 UG CS elective II 4
  UG CS elective I 4 198:211 Computer Architecture 4
  UG general elective  4* UG general elective  3
    15   15
Cum. B.Sc.  
Credits: 60
       
3rd year FALL Credits SPRING Credits
  198:344 Design and Analysis 
of Algorithms
4 UG CS elective IV 4
  UG CS elective III 4 UG CS elective V 4
  UG General elective 3 UG CS Elective VI 4
  UG general elective  3 UG general elective  3
    14   15
Cum. B.Sc.  
Credits: 89
4th year FALL Credits SPRING Credits
  UG general elective 3 UG general elective 3
  UG general elective 3 Independent Study 492/493  
(Counts as seventh CS elective for B.Sc.)
4
Cum. B.S. 
credits: 102
       
  198:5xx (probably Basic) 3 198:5xx (probably Basic) 3
  198:5xx (Core or Advanced) Categ. A (resp. B) 3 198:5xx  (Core or Advanced) Categ. B (resp. A) 3
         
    13   13
Cum. M.S.  
Credits: 12
       
Summer or regular term overload 
during years 1 to 4
6 UG general elective courses  18 credits 
Cum. B.S. 
Credits: 120
 
5th year FALL Credits SPRING Credits
  198:431 Software Engineering(counts towards MSc) 3 Grad CS Elective VI 3
  Grad CS Elective IV 3 Grad CS Elective VII 3
  Grad CS Elective V 3 Grad CS Elective VIII 3
    9   9
Cum. M.S. 
Credits: 30
       

The Computer Science aspects of this schedule can be speeded up in the case of students who have AP in calculus, for example, by taking 198:205 in the Spring of Year One, thereby moving up 198:206 and the first CS elective by one term. In addition, students may consider staying over the summer after 5th year to do independent study, or in fact take 3 semesters to complete the M.S. degree, taking 2 courses each semester.