5-year BS-MS Program

Admission Requirements

The 5-year program in Computer Science combines two degrees: a B.S. in Computer Science with an M.S. (with thesis) in Computer Science. This program is competitive, and admission is based on overall academic performance, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

  • Current Illinois Computer Science students enrolled in the College of Engineering with senior standing (must have the Spring semester left of their undergraduate study after they are admitted into the program) who maintain a superior academic performance are eligible to apply for this program. Students admitted to this program will receive both degrees once all requirements for both degrees have been completed. Transfer students entering the CS undergraduate program in their junior year are also eligible to apply to this program.

Note: Students who are seniors follow the standard application process for the MS program.

  • Applicants must have a 3.5 or higher GPA.
  • Applicants transferring to CS from another institution may apply with 15 graded credit hours on the Urbana campus and current enrollment for at least 15 credit hours.  They must have a 3.5 or higher transfer GPA.
  • BS-MS Degree Requirements

NOTE: Students in Liberal Arts and Sciences (CS/Math, CS/Stat, or CS+X) are not eligible for this BS/MS 5-year program. This joint program was negotiated between the College of Engineering and the Graduate College.

Application Deadline

Applications for the B.S./M.S. program open on August 1st, and the submission deadline is September 15th. This program only has a fall entrance. An informational session will be held in mid-October for all interested undergrads to learn more about the program and the application process.

All application materials must be submitted by the deadline of September 15th. Applicants who do not have a completed application by the deadline will not be considered for that term's program entry.

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following application materials by the deadline to be considered for the program. If there are any questions regarding the application process, please contact Kara MacGregor at kmacgreg@illinois.edu.

  • Applications for the B.S./M.S. program must be submitted through the university's Online Application system. Please select "Computer Science - BS/MS" as the "Degree Name".
  • Please review and follow the Application Process & Requirements to submit your application.
  • Required elements of the B.S./M.S. application:
    • A PDF copy of a signed Thesis Advisor Agreement. (If you are admitted to the B.S./M.S. program, the original form must be submitted to the department. Therefore, please save the original form.)
    • Three letters of reference, including a letter from your thesis advisor
    • Resume
    • Statement of purpose
  • The application fee must be paid by the application deadline for the application to be considered complete.
  • Note: Current international undergraduate students do not need to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores for admissions.  However, scores would be required to be eligible for Teaching Assistantship appointments.

Acceptance into the Program

Admission decisions will be released by October 7th.

Students provisionally admitted to the program:

  • Are assigned a graduate academic advisor.
  • Must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 through completion of the B.S. component of the program to remain in the program.
  • If they have 12 hours or less to complete in the FINAL semester of their undergraduate studies, they may register for four-credit graduate courses with approval from their graduate academic advisor. Please note that students cannot transfer more than 12 credit hours of coursework to their M.S. degree, including the shared coursework.
  • Must earn at least 120 hours of undergraduate credit and 9 hours of graduate credit (this is the "Breadth Requirement" of the M.S. degree) and satisfy all B.S. requirements to be officially recommended for admission to the Graduate College.

Upon successful completion of the B.S. component (including grades of B- or better in the "Breadth Requirement" coursework) and an overall GPA of at least 3.0 GPA, students

  • Will be officially admitted into the Graduate College for the next term (not including the Summer term).
  • Will be issued a letter of admission from the Graduate College Admission Office and the Department of Computer Science, at which time they will be considered graduate students and assessed for graduate tuition the following semester. International students may be required to submit additional documentation at this time.
  • May apply or be considered for graduate research or teaching assistantships, tuition waivers, fellowships, and scholarships available to graduate students.
  • To remain in the combined program, you must maintain a graduate GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • Must complete all the remaining M.S. degree requirements within one academic year (spring-summer-fall or fall-spring-summer). Please note that if you finish your B.S. requirements in less than four years, you will not be given extra time to complete the M.S. degree requirements. You will finish this joint program in less than 5 years and be able to start working sooner!

Students in the program are eligible to apply for the Ph.D. program (fall entry only) in Computer Science near completion of the M.S. component. If admitted, the combined degree will count as Stage 1 of the Ph.D. program, as if the student is admitted with a Masters degree.


BS-MS Degree Program Requirement Planning Form

B.S. Component: 120 hours plus 3 "Breadth Requirement" courses for 9-12 graduate hours

  • The same required courses as the traditional B.S. degree, with the minimum hours required reduced to 120 hours.
  • Must complete 3 "Breadth Requirement" courses: three different courses, each from a different area, from the following eight core areas with a grade of B- or higher.
  • University undergraduate student minimum residence requirement satisfied.
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher maintained through the completion of the B.S. component of the program.

M.S. Component: Minimum 16-19 additional coursework hours plus 4 hours of CS 599 thesis

  • The program is identical to the traditional M.S. program, with the "Breadth Requirement" satisfied while still classified as an undergraduate.
  • Students who take the "Breadth Requirement" courses for 3 credit hours instead of 4 credit hours will need to complete a minimum of 19 additional coursework hours.
  • Additional Coursework: Graduate (400- and 500-level) coursework from Computer Science, other Grainger College of Engineering Departments, MATH, STAT, or PHYS are pre-approved as Additional Coursework. All other courses must receive prior approval from the CS Graduate Advising Office in order to satisfy degree requirements.
  • Students must satisfy the university's graduate student minimum residence requirement.
  • Students must complete the remaining M.S. degree requirements in one academic year (fall-spring-summer or spring-summer-fall).
  • Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 through the completion of the M.S. component of the program.

University Residency Requirements

Undergraduate residency requirements include a student spending the first three years, earning not less than 90 semester hours, or the last year (two semesters or the equivalent), earning not fewer than 30 hours, in residence at the Urbana-Champaign campus, uninterrupted by any work in another institution. Graduate residency requirements include that half or more of the graduate hours applied toward the degree must be earned in courses counted for residence credit. Consult the University of Illinois Programs of Study book for additional details about university residency requirements.

Additional Information

Students may earn graduate hours for the M.S. component "Breadth Requirement" taken during the third and fourth year while a classified undergraduate. Students are required to perform and be graded at the (more advanced) graduate student level in those courses or must register in the graduate level section of a course when offered.

Students who do not complete all 5-Year B.S.- M.S. degree program requirements may request by petition to have graduate hours earned, including the Breadth Requirement coursework, converted to undergraduate hours and applied toward a traditional B.S. in Computer Science degree. Students who reverted to the B.S. degree program must earn the minimum number of hours and satisfy all degree requirements of whichever version of the B.S. curriculum is appropriate. Graduate credit not used to fulfill the B.S. degree requirements will remain on the transcript and may, at some point, be considered for transfer to another degree program.

Students are strongly advised to seek faculty counsel about the 5-year program to be sure they understand the pros and cons of pursuing a Masters's degree via the 5-year program. If they intend to ultimately pursue a Ph.D., then it may be preferable to avoid the rapid pace of the 5-year program and instead invest time in research as an undergraduate. For admission to competitive Ph.D. programs, the expectation of publications and extensive research experience is higher for M.S. graduates. Therefore, as an alternative to the 5-year program, many top students may prefer to conduct research, possibly leading to a B.S. thesis, to improve their admissions chances into top Ph.D. programs.

Degree Conferral & Commencement

See: Fifth Year Master's Degree Conferral & Commencement Policies

Graduate Academic Office Contact Information


Graduate Academic Office / University of Illinois
201 North Goodwin, 1312 Siebel Center
Urbana, IL 61801
Campus Mail Code: MC-258
Phone: (217) 333-4428
Fax: (217) 244-6073
Email: academic@cs.illinois.edu

Monday – Friday

  • Morning: 8:00 AM to 11:45 AM
  • Afternoon: 1:00 PM to 4:45 PM
  • Walk-in advising hours start at 10:00 AM

List of Graduate Advising Contacts and Virtual Advising Queue