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The One-Year M.S. Degree

This document provides guidelines for how a William & Mary undergraduate can, with proper preparation, complete a conventional four-year undergraduate BS or B.A. degree in an appropriate concentration area and then, with one additional year of study, earn the M.S. in computer science. The one-year M.S. degree is based on the standard 32-hour, non-thesis M.S. degree option, but completed in just a year of intensive graduate study.

Two of these 32 hours must be satisfied by passing CSci 710; the other 30 hours correspond to ten, three-hour computer science graduate courses. To complete a M.S. degree in just one year of study two of these ten courses must be taken for graduate credit while still an undergraduate. The other eight courses would be taken, four per semester, in two intensive semesters of graduate study.

A student's schedule of study would be as follows:

  1. During the four years of undergraduate study take CSci 141, 241, 243, 303, 304 and 312 (thereby obtaining a minor in computer science).
  2. By the end of the junior year, register with the Computer Science Department as a student who contemplates applying to the computer science graduate program with an interest in the One-year M.S. Degree Program. To be eligible for this registration, you must have at least a 3.0 QPA overall and must have completed at least four of the six courses listed in (1) above with a grade of B or better in each course. Following registration, a computer science advisor will be assigned, if needed, to help with subsequent computer science course scheduling.
  3. In the senior year take any two of the following courses for graduate credit: CSci 520, 523, 524, 526, 527, 534, 535, 542, 544. (All of these are cross-listed as 400-level courses and are offered once per year.)
  4. During the Fall semester of the Senior year, apply for regular admission to the computer science graduate program, clearly indicating an interest in the One-year M.S. Degree Program.
  5. If admitted into the computer science graduate program, you must select a research advisor in the summer following the completion of the BS degree and, with this advisor, initiate planning for the eventual completion of CSci 710 (see step 7). Residence on campus during this summer term is optional.
  6. In each of the following Fall and Spring semesters, take four graduate courses subject to the M.S. degree requirements stated in the College's current Graduate Catalog. If all requirements have been met, including completion of CSci 710 at the end of the Spring semester, the MS degree will be conferred in the May commencement.
  7. Otherwise, CSci 710 must be completed during the following summer. Conferral of the MS degree will then occur in August.

Rules governing undergraduates wishing to register for graduate courses for graduate credit can be found in the Undergraduate Program Catalog in the section on Academic Regulations under Student's Program. The current catalog states:

Undergraduate students of the College who have a grade point average of at least 3.0 may take for graduate credit in their senior year up to six hours of courses normally offered for graduate credit, provided that these hours are in excess of all requirements for the bachelor's degree and that the students obtain the written consent of the instructor, the Chair of the department or dean of the School, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and the Graduate Dean of Arts and Sciences, at the time of registration. Such students will be considered the equivalent of unclassified (post baccalaureate) students as far as the application of credit for these courses toward an advanced degree at the College is concerned.