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Bachelor + Master of Science in Computer Science

BS + MS Degree: Accelerated five-year program for serious computer science students

If you’re dedicated and organized, you have the opportunity to earn both an undergraduate and a graduate degree in five years instead of the usual six years. This gives you a jumpstart on your career so you can start working in the area you find most fascinating; whether that is artificial intelligence, high performance computing, big data, resource management or one of the many aspects of computer science.

Once admitted to the Master of Science program, you are eligible for consideration as a teaching or research assistant. In order to complete  both degrees in five years, you must be ready to take core computer science classes your freshman year.

Core Courses

Undergraduate course requirements and prerequisites

  • Core CS courses (16 Credits): CS 0401CS 0441CS 0445CS 0447CS 0449
  • Upper-level required courses (9 credits): CS 1501CS 1502CS 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.

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
  • 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. 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.

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 1511CS 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 2990CS 3000), graduate internship (CS 2900), thesis project or research courses (CS 2910CS 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.
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.
  • Students must complete either a thesis or a project.

Course Listing


All courses, except CS0401, are offered for three credits. Some courses may be cross-listed with courses in the Swanson School of Engineering. Numbers in parenthesis refer to cross listings. Indications of frequency of offering are approximate and subject to change. Please note: Students must achieve a C or better in order to use a course to satisfy the pre-requisite for any subsequent Computer Science course.

I. Core Courses for Majors
II. Upper-level Courses for Majors
III. Capstone Courses for Majors
IV. Introductory Service Courses Primarily for Non-majors
V. Intermediate Service Courses

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 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 conducted by the committee.

General Requirements
  • All courses except 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.