BS+MS in Computer Science

Five-Year Program


The BS degree program in computer science requires 120 credits of coursework including 40 credits of CS coursework, a capstone experience, and 11 to 12 credits in Math/Stat. It is designed to be completed by a full-time student in four academic years. The 30-credit MS degree program in computer science may take two academic years to complete, depending on the academic performance and preparation of the BS degree holder, e.g. how well they satisfy the prerequisites for admission to graduate school at Pitt. However, the requirements of the two degree programs can be accomplished by our best students over a period of five years. Besides earning both degrees a year early, advantages of this program include the opportunities to participate in a variety of experiential educational activities such as research and teaching (once admitted to the MS program, a student is eligible for consideration as a teaching or research assistant).

Program Description

In order to complete both degrees in five years, the student must be very well-prepared as an incoming freshman, ready to take our core CS courses. They must plan from the outset to follow a tightly packed, challenging, three-year course schedule, plus satisfy all the conditions (see below) before the end of the junior year in order to be certified for early admission to our MS program.

The course requirements for the BS+MS program will total 138 credits. They are based on the currently existing requirements for each program separately.

Required Progress in Undergraduate Studies:

A computer science major must have achieved the following in (approximately) three years of study toward the BS degree at Pitt:

  • Completion of 96 credits of coursework
  • At least 37 CS credits required for the BS degree
  • 11 to 12 credits in Math/Stat required for the BS degree
  • The particular CS courses (22 credits) and the particular Math/Stat courses (18 credits) that are specified as prerequisites for admission to the MS program
  • All General Education requirements specified by SCI
  • All of the above with a QPA of at least 3.3, both overall and in computer science

Early Entry into the MS Program:

If a student meets the conditions, a computer science faculty committee will certify that fact and admit them to the MS program.

  • Admission will be formalized using a minimal procedure based on the completion of relevant parts of the regular graduate application form and a special checklist form identifying all above-specified requirements, including those in general education.
  • Upon certification of a student's admissibility, the following offices will be notified: CS Graduate Programs, SCI, and the Registrar.
  • The student will have approximately one year of study remaining to complete 24 credits toward the BS degree and to get started with selected graduate-level courses.
  • One year will remain for study dedicated to the MS degree program.

Degree Requirements :

  • One of the required courses for the MS degree, either CS 1510 or CS 1511, should be taken among the 96 credits of undergraduate coursework, thereby leaving only 27 credits necessary for the project-based MS degree;
  • Only one course may be counted towards both CS-BS and CS-MS degrees. The course must be either CS 1510 or CS 1511;
  • All cross-listed courses, such as CS 1510 and CS 2012, may be counted only once;
  • As a senior, the student can register for up to three graduate courses (nine credits) in some pattern distributed over the two terms of an academic year;
  • For the project-based MS degree, the balance of 18 credits of required courses (as described in the MS degree requirement) must then be taken during the fall and spring terms of the fifth year of study;
  • For the thesis-based MS degree, the balance of 15 credits of required courses (as described in the MS degree requirement), and 6 credits of CS 2000 must then be taken during the fall and spring terms of the fifth year of study;
  • The summer term between the fourth and fifth years can be used by the self-supporting student to get a head start on the three-credit MS project. Use of the summer is only an option, not a requirement.

Summary of Course Requirements and Prerequisites

  • Core CS courses (16 Credits): CS 0401, CS 0441, CS 0445, CS 0447, CS 0449
  • Upper-level required courses (9 credits): CS 1501, CS 1502, CS 1550
  • Upper-level elective courses (15 credits): At least five additional 1000-level courses
  • Required Math/Stat courses (11-12 credits): MATH 0220, MATH 0230, and one of the following: STAT 1000, STAT 1100, STAT 1151

Prior to graduation, all CS majors must satisfy the Capstone Experience requirement.


Similar to applications for graduate study, BS+MS applications must be completed and submitted entirely online here.

MS Program Requirements

This degree requires 30 credits of formal coursework, including either an MS project or an MS thesis.

Coursework may include:

  • Four courses, one from each of the following specialization areas: Architecture and Compilers (CS 2410 or CS 2210), Operating Systems and Networks (CS 2510 or CS 2520), Artificial Intelligence and Database Systems (CS 2710 or CS 2550), and Theory and Algorithms (CS 1511, CS 1510 or CS 2150). CS 2001 and CS 2002 do not count toward the MS degree.
  • Four (for thesis option), or five (for project option) additional graduate (2100-level or higher) CS courses. These must be actual courses and cannot include independent study courses (CS 2990, CS 3000), graduate internships (CS 2900), thesis project or research courses (CS 2910, CS 3900). Alternatively, a student may (a) petition GPEC to count either one out-of-department course, or (b) count one CS1600-level (or its CS20xx cross-listed equivalent) course.
  • Either of the following two options:

Project option

  • One additional graduate-level course in computer science. (Independent study and directed study do not count toward this requirement.)
  • An MS project, taking at least three credits of CS 2910 with the S/N grading option.
  • A project report and satisfactory performance in an oral examination on the project given by the advisor.

Thesis option

  • MS-level research resulting in a written thesis.
  • At least six credits of CS 2000 are to be taken on the S/N grading basis.
  • Selection, with the assistance of the student's advisor, of a thesis committee consisting of at least three faculty members, at least two members must be from Computer Science (one being your advisor) and at most one from outside of the department or University.
  • An oral final examination is to be conducted by the committee.

General Requirements

  • All courses except the project or thesis must be taken for a letter grade.
  • The student must receive a grade of B or better in each of the required courses, a grade of B- or better for all other courses, and must maintain an overall average of B or better.

Other requirements, options, and procedures are detailed on the Graduate Policies page.