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Five-year BS/MS Program

The Five-year BS/MS program is designed to allow qualifying students to take up to six hours of approved graduate courses for their senior undergraduate electives and have them count toward both their B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Tennessee, thus reducing the amount of time it takes for a student to earn a master’s degree.


Detailed procedures are listed below.

  1. Admission. Students must be in the process of completing or already have completed 96 hours of required undergraduate course work. They must have an overall UT GPA of 3.4 or better when applying and continue to meet that minimum until graduation. Interested and qualified students need to fill out the Admission/Course Approval Form and subsequently have it approved by Dr. Gregor (MK311) who serves as EECS Director of Graduate Studies. The form is then returned to Ms. Julia Elkins (MK401) who forwards it for approval by the Tickle College of Engineering and the Graduate School.
  2. Approved Courses. The list of approved courses includes all lecture based 4xx/5xx ECE and COSC courses listed in the graduate catalog. Note that 4xx courses will be approved only if the corresponding 5xx course is not offered in the same semester.  Course approval can only be given for courses that have been scheduled. Students who take 3 hrs one semester followed by 3 hrs another semester must submit an Admission/Course Approval Form for each semester. Approval will not be given retroactively. Students MUST obtain approval prior to taking a course.
  3. DARS. Approved courses will appear in DARS under “MASTERS PROGRAM”. Once the B.S. degree has been conferred, approved courses are automatically transferred to the M.S. degree by the Graduate School.
  4. Senior Requesting Graduate Credit. Students may be able to take an additional 3 hrs of graduate course work their senior year. See Graduate School Instructions for Senior Requesting Graduate Credit. The associated form is not needed for courses approved for the Five-year BS/MS program.
  5. Applying to Graduate School. Students admitted to the Five-year BS/MS program must follow the normal procedure for admission to Graduate School. This includes having to take the GRE, filing an application complete with references, etc. However, students are not required to apply for or accept admission to the EECS Graduate Program in order for the course credits to count toward the B.S. degree.

Additional Information

  • Only lecture based ECE 4xx/5xx and COSC 4xx/5xx courses will be approved. Independent study, off-campus study, and seminar courses are not considered lecture based.
  • Undergraduate students are not allowed to take 6xx courses.
  • The program is designed for students pursuing their MS degree at UT. Other universities will likely not allow transfer of graduate courses that have been used to satisfy the requirements for a BS degree.
  • Undergraduate students are allowed to take a maximum of 9 graduate credits (prior to formal admission to the Graduate School and completion of the undergraduate degree). We therefore recommend that BS/MS students take two approved 4xx/5xx courses during their senior year for dual credit. One additional 4xx/5xx course can then be taken to count solely for the MS degree before completing the BS degree.
  • For questions regarding graduate admissions, please see Ms. Dana Bryson (MK401).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why would I choose BS/MS vs. separate B.S. and M.S. programs?

A: Two reasons: With BS/MS, you get to have 6 hours of graduate credits double counted which means less course work for Graduate School (only need 24 hrs instead of regular 30 hrs of course work). If admitted to the program, the students become preferred candidates for departmental scholarship and fellowships.

Q: Why would I choose BS/MS vs. double B.S. degrees?

A: If you are considering a double major, you may want to consider this program. With the same amount of work you get a B.S. degree and an M.S. degree instead of two B.S. degrees.

Q: Would BS/MS be appropriate if I were considering a Ph.D. someday?

A: Being in the BS/MS program does not conflict with Ph.D. study at all. If, for any reason, you decide to apply for the direct Ph.D. program instead of BS/MS, the graduate credits can still be counted toward your Ph.D. study.

Q: Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) when applying to Graduate School?

A: Yes. The College of Engineering (COE) requires that all students take the GRE test when applying for admittance to Graduate School. EECS and the COE expect to see a high GRE average from incoming graduate students. Undergraduate students should take the GRE exam no later than the first semester of their senior year so that scores will be available to the Graduate School and EECS Graduate Admissions Committee and thereby complete the graduate admission before the Senior Privilege (see above) expires.

Q: What thesis options are available to BS/MS students?

A: BS/MS students have the same three thesis options: course only (with 24 hours of additional graduate credits), thesis option (with 18 hours of additional graduate credits), and a non-thesis project option (with 21 hours of additional graduate credits).

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