BS+MS in Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science is pleased to offer students the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Master of Science (MS) degree simultaneously.

Features of the Combined Program

Section 1

  • The CS@Mines Combined Program is for students who earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (CS) OR a bachelor’s degree in another program with a minor degree in CS. Students earning a minor in CS should complete the following courses in order to be prepared for the graduate program: CSCI 261, CSCI 262, CSCI 341, CSCI 306, and CSCI 358.
  • Students may be able to complete a Non-Thesis or Thesis M.S. in at least one additional year to the B.S. Normally a Master’s Degree requires 36 credit hours and takes two years to complete. Under the Combined Program, students will count two courses(CSCI406 and CSCI442) toward both degrees, so only 30 additional credit hours are needed to complete the degree.
  • Students selecting the Non-Thesis option will be required to complete 30 credit hours of coursework.
  • Students selecting the Thesis option will be required to complete 18 credit hours of coursework and a thesis (12 credit hours).
  • There are two required graduate-level courses: CSCI564 (Advanced Architecture) and CSCI561 (Theory of Computation). The remaining courses are all electives.
  • No more than 6 credits of elective courses may be taken outside the Department.
  • No more than 9 credits of 400-level course work may count toward graduate degree requirements (i.e., at most one 400-level course in addition to CSCI406 and CSCI442). Only CSCI406 and CSCI442 may be double counted.

Admission Criteria

  • Students may not apply for the combined program until they have taken five or more Computer Science classes at CSM (classes transferred from other universities will not be considered). This requirement may be met by any 200-level or above course with a CSCI prefix (e.g., CSCI261, CSCI306, CSCI442, CSCI498 etc.) except CSCI370, CSCI499 and CSCI 274. CSCI 274 is only a one-credit hour course. Since CSCI370 (Advanced Software Engineering) is based almost exclusively on team work, it may not be counted as one of the five courses. Independent study courses (i.e., CSCI499) have varying requirements and are therefore also not included.
  • Students earning a minor in Computer Science should complete the following courses in order to be prepared for the graduate program: CSCI 261, CSCI 262, CSCI 341, CSCI 306, and CSCI 358.
  • Students should have an overall GPA of at least 2.5 and a GPA of 3.2 for courses in the major. The calculation of GPA in the major will be based on all 200-level or above CSCI courses except those excluded above (i.e., CSCI370, CSCI499 and CSCI 274). If a course is taken multiple times, all of the grades will be included in the gpa calculation.
  • Interested students with a lower GPA must write an essay to explain why they should be admitted to the program. See Application Procedure below.

Application Procedure

  • Complete the Online Application.
  • For online applications from CSM undergraduates, the application fee is only $25.
  • Indicate whether you intend to pursue the Non-Thesis or Thesis M.S. in Mathematical & Computer Sciences. Note that you may change from Non-Thesis to Thesis (or vice versa) if you change your mind.
  • Students are not required to take the GRE or submit letters of recommendation. The system currently requires letters of reference, even though our department does not. You will need to enter a first and last name for the recommender (doesn’t have to be real, you could use ‘a’ for first name and ‘b’ for last name). You should also specify that the recommender will not be submitting online.
  • Students must submit a transcript.
  • Students who meet the gpa requirements do not need to write a unique “Statement of Goals” for the application. To ensure that your application will be correctly processed, the Statement of Goals should be: “I am currently a CS major at CSM. I meet the gpa requirements. I would like to apply for the Combined B.S./M.S. program.”
  • Students who do not meet the gpa requirements must submit an essay to explain why they have a low gpa and to provide convincing arguments for their ability to do graduate level work.
  • Students may apply as early as the first semester, Junior year. Admission must be granted no later than the end of registration, last semester Senior year. Be sure to check the application cut-off dates on the Graduate School website.
  • Since you are not allowed to “officially” work on both degrees at the same time, you must enter a date for “expected BS completion date” on the Educational Information page of the online application. Then enter an Intended Entry semester for the graduate program that is after that date.

Taking 500-level Courses

  • Students should not take 500-level courses until they are admitted into the program. You must be admitted by Census Day of the semester you begin to take graduate courses.
  • Students taking 500-level courses during their senior year will need to obtain approval from their advisor and the course instructor. You should check the box for Graduate Credit only. If you have been accepted into the program prior to taking any graduate courses, those credits should automatically transfer to your MS degree as soon as you receive your undergraduate degree.
  • If a student takes 500-level courses prior to obtaining their BS degree, his or her account will have a hold that says Graduate CSM BS Degree (Need Proof of CSM BS Degree). This hold will remain until the start date of the graduate program. Note that students must turn in an undergraduate transcript upon graduation, and there will be a delay before they are able to register for graduate courses.
  • If prior consent is not received or if the student has not been accepted by OGS as a combined program student, all 500-level graduate courses taken as an undergraduate Combined Degree Program student will be applied to the student’s undergraduate degree transcript. If these are not used toward an undergraduate degree requirement, they may, with program consent, be applied to a graduate degree program as transfer credit.
  • Some courses within Computer Science are co-taught as 400/500 level (e.g., CSCI474/CSCI574). Since there are a limited number of graduate courses offered each semester, students who want to pursue the combined master’s should enroll in these courses at the 500 level.

Financial Aid

  • Courses taken as an undergraduate student but applied directly toward a graduate degree are not eligible for undergraduate financial aid or the Colorado Opportunity Fund.
  • Upon completion of their undergraduate degree requirements, a Combined Degree Program student is considered enrolled full-time in his/her graduate program. Once having done so, the student is no longer eligible for undergraduate financial aid, but may now be eligible for graduate financial aid.
  • To complete their graduate degree, each Combined Degree Program student must register as a graduate student for at least one semester.


  • If possible, students should apply during Spring semester of their junior year, in order to begin taking 500-level courses during the Fall semester of the senior year.
  • To be able to earn the MS degree in five years, students will need to carry a heavier load during Spring semester of the junior year and both semesters of the senior year. Note that there is no requirement to finish in five years, so students may follow a more normal schedule and take an extra semester to complete their degree.
  • The timeline for completing the degree will vary depending on whether students select the thesis or non-thesis option. These are described below.

MS Project Track

Students are required to take 6 credits of CSCI700 to fulfill the MS project requirement. (It is recommended that the 6 credits consist of two consecutive semesters of 3 credits each.) At most 6 hours of CSCI700 will be counted toward the Masters non-thesis degree. Deliverables include a report and a presentation to a committee of two EECS faculty including the Advisor (at least one committee member must be a CS faculty member). Deliverables must be successfully completed in the last semester in which the student registers for CSCI700. A student must receive two “pass” votes (i.e., a unanimous vote) to satisfy the project option.

MS Thesis Defense

At the conclusion of the MS (Thesis Option), the student will be required to make a formal presentation and defense of her/his thesis research. A student must “pass” this defense to earn an M.S. degree. You may want to review the detail requirements in this sample timeline. For students in the combined program to complete the degree in five years, items listed in the sample timeline as 1st Semester and 2nd Semester should be completed during the senior year.