Accelerated (5-year) Computer Science B.S./M.S. Program

Overview of the CSE BSMS Program

An undergraduate in the Computer Science major at Stony Brook can apply to the Accelerated Computer Science B.S./M.S. Program (also called "5-year program") in their junior year. The program is a sequential degree program. The main benefits of the program are:

  • It permits undergraduate students to take up to 3 graduate courses (9 credits) in their undergraduate years and count them towards both the undergraduate and the graduate degrees. As a result, students can complete both degrees within 5 years. The Graduate School requires that B.S./M.S. students take at least 2 graduate courses while they are still in the B.S. part of their studies (the point of the BS/MS program is to allow students to use graduate courses taken as an undergraduate toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees, thus reducing the normal time required to complete both bachelor's and master's degrees).
  • The application process is less cumbersome than the M.S. admission process, which requires filling out a much longer application form, taking GRE exams and paying application fees:​
  • Questions: (include in Subject: "CSE BSMS Program")

Application to the CSE B.S./M.S. Program

Admission into the program is competitive and needs to be approved by the Computer Science Graduate Admissions Committee.

  • Eligibility: Computer science majors may apply for admission to a special program that leads to a Bachelors of Science degree at the end of the fourth year and a Master of Science degree at the end of the fifth year.  Students are encouraged to apply to this five-year program at the end of their junior year, though applications may be submitted up to one full semester before graduation (so that the student can take the minimum of 2 graduate courses/6 credits of graduate courses required by the Graduate School to be taken while they are still in the B.S. part of their studies), subject to the requirements below. A CSE major at Stony Brook that has completed at least three upper-division (300, 400-level) technical CSE courses completed at Stony Brook University (not including non-technical courses, such as: CSE300, CSE301 and CSE312), and has a CSE major required technical courses GPA of at least 3.25 (technical courses include required basic and advanced major courses (such as, CSE114, CSE214, CSE215, CSE216 or equivalent honors basic sequence, CSE220, CSE 303, CSE316, CSE310, CSE320, CSE373 and CSE416), as well as elective CSE3XX technical courses (therefore, not including CSE475 and counting CSE487 only once); note: if a class was repeated, then all the grades count in this major technical GPA) and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (co-listed courses are included, such as, ISE333, ISE334, ISE311, ESE346, AMS345, MAT371, MAT373). This GPA does not guarantee admission since this program is very competitive and restricted by quality of reference letters and overall capacity of the program (as a matter of fact, the average GPAs for previous admissions was over 3.5 and successful applicants had grades of As in most upper division computer science courses, including CSE220 and CSE320). You can use the Stony Brook official GPA calculator found here: Being a quality graduate program we cannot give any details about the reviews to any applicant except that each application is reviewed by at least 3 different faculty and the majority decision is rendered to the applicant.
  • Application form for the Fall of 2021 semester (a Google Form to be completed with the University student account - the easiest way to open it is to open an anonymous browser window, login into Gmail with your Stony Brook student account, then copy the link of the application form and paste it into the anonymous browser. Once submitted the form will also send you a link to the completed application, so you can update certain fields, such as, recommenders, precise GPA, etc.)
    • Deadlines: July 1 for Fall semester admission and January 1 for Spring semester admission. The review process will take approximately 2 weeks after the deadline and the students will be notified by email. 
    • Application forms should be accompanied by a resume, a statement of purpose, and arrange for two to three recommendation letters (i.e., ask for permission to list them as references - The department will request the recommendations through email directly from the references right after the application deadline and require the letters within a week.). A statement of purpose for graduate school is like an essay for university admissions - it describes why you want to do an advanced degree and what are your plans to use it after graduation. This statement can have any format and be around 1 to 2 pages (see for general information about what a statement of purpose is). At least one recommendation letter must be from a current CS department faculty member. Recommendation letters will be requested directly by the department from the references by email after the application deadlines (within a few days). These recommendation letters should be written by professionals in the area of computer science (such as, instructors, previous internship mentors or coordinators, human resources, etc.) and should asses the qualities and capabilities of the person being recommended in terms of that individual's ability to perform their functions in computer science. The reference letter can cover topics such as: the position relative to the author of the reference letter (such as what courses has the student taken or what projects has the student/employee worked on and when), the student/employee's tasks and responsibilities, the duration of employment or tasks/ responsibilities, the student/employee's abilities, knowledge, creativity, intelligence, the student/employee's social attitude, and some text with the actual recommendation itself for the MS program in computer science, such as: do you think that the student will complete the program with distinction? do you think that the student has potential as a TA? etc.  At least one recommendation letter must be from a current Stony Brook University CS department faculty member.

Description of the B.S./M.S. Program

Please read the entire description below carefully, so that you can avoid costly mistakes. In particular, note that a B.S./M.S. is a sequential degree program, therefore the student remains an undergraduate student until the bachelor's degree requirements are completed. Also note that: 

  • As undergraduates, students must receive permission from the Graduate School in order to take graduate courses that will count towards both B.S. and M.S. degrees. See item 2 below.
  • Before completing the CSE undergraduate requirements, students need to apply for admission to the Graduate School. See item 3 below.

Students that don't follow these two steps above will be terminated from the Accelerated program; if they want to enter the M.S. program, they will need to apply for admission to the M.S. program as described here:​.

  1. The BSMS Application process and Admission to the Accelerated BS/MS Degree program

    Applications are reviewed twice per year by the Computer Science Graduate Admissions Committee. Applicants interested in a graduate degree that do not meet these criteria are encouraged to apply directly to the M.S. program. Successful applicants will receive an admission letter for the BSMS program together with a copy of the Registrar Accelerated Programs Declaration form: The student will be included in all the email correspondence with the Graduate School, so everybody knows in what state is their applications (moreover, if any email is received from the Graduate School or Registrar that does not include the student, we will forward it to the student, so the student is aware of the status of their document). The Graduate School replies to the emails with the documents above after these are processed.

  2. Selection of undergraduate and graduate courses

    After a student is admitted in the CSE Accelerated (5-year) B.S./M.S. Program, the student must satisfy the requirements for both the Bachelor's and then the Master's degrees. Before finalizing their selection of undergraduate computer science courses, students should read the CSE Graduate Student Handbook available here, which describes the requirements of the M.S. program. In particular, students should review the breadth requirements for the M.S. degree. An advantage of the joint program is that students may take up to nine credits of graduate courses as an undergraduate. These credits can be counted towards their undergraduate, as well as the graduate degree. Students must have taken a minimum of 2 CSE graduate courses (six credits) in order to proceed into the M.S. program. Students who fail to take six graduate course credits will be terminated from the B.S./M.S. program. A B.S./M.S. student registering for a graduate course while an undergraduate needs to find an appropriate CSE graduate class using SBUClassFind and must petition the Graduate School for approval (this requirement cannot be waived, nor is it possible to accept late petitions) - the petition for undergraduate students in an Accelerated BSMS program to take graduate courses is due to the CSE BSMS coordinator by second day of classes in the enrollment semester. The student must make sure that they don't have a time conflict with the graduate class that they want to enroll into with some other class that they are taking and that the graduate class does not put the student over their credit limit at the time of the form submission (therefore, please wait until the time this credit limit is lifted before submitting the permission form). This form can be submitted as early as classes are open for enrollment in the previous semester.  The goal of the BSMS program is to take lecture courses that can be used for both the BS and MS degree, so the courses that one takes as part of the BS degree must be those that satisfy the CSE technical electives. CSE698 (the graduate teaching practicum) is not appropriate for the BS part of the BSMS program since Technical electives do not include teaching practica (CSE 475). The same applies for the project courses, CSE523 and CSE587, that is, they are not appropriate to be taken while the student is in the BS part of the BSMS program. This form must also be signed by the CSE Graduate Director, Prof. CR Ramakrishnan, during his office hours in the New Computer Science building room number 233. The form that we complete has a field that allows students to enroll even if the class is closed/full (we usually also sign this part, so BSMS students can enroll in the classes that they need). Once it signed by both the BSMS Coordinator and Graduate Director the student must take the form to the Graduate School in the Old Computer Science building room  2401, to get it approved by the Graduate School, after which, the student must take it to Registrar Office in the Administration building to get enrolled in the graduate classes. Students whose GPA drops below the CSE BS/MS Accelerated Program entry requirements may be asked to leave the program even after admission in the program because maintaining the required GPA is a requirement for the transition to the MS program after the completion of the BS degree.

  3. Completion of the undergraduate degree

    Students must satisfy all the applicable degree requirements. Up to three graduate computer science courses may be substituted for upper-division computer science electives. Each elective requires three credits and a grade of C or higher. Students must file for graduation of their bachelor's degree before the applicable deadlines and indicate on the application for the degree that they are in a five-year program. The undergraduate degree must be awarded before a student enters the graduate program for their M.S. degree. Admission to the five-year program constitutes provisional acceptance to graduate study pending the awarding of the undergraduate degree. The BSMS coordinator will prepare a new MS Admission Letter and the Graduate School 's Form Application to the Graduate School for the APP program and invite the students to sign them during the last semester of the undergraduate program (i.e., around March or October). Students must graduate with a minimum 3.0 GPA in order to transition to the M.S. program.

  4. Completion of the graduate degree

    A master's degree requires 31 graduate credits. Thus, students who have completed nine credits as undergraduates may complete their remaining 22 graduate credits in two semesters of full-time enrollment: 12 graduate credits in one semester and the remaining 10 in the other semester. (However, there is no requirement that students must complete their M.S. degree requirements within one year.) A master's degree may be awarded when all applicable requirements have been met. On the degree application it should be clearly indicated that the student is in the B.S./M.S. program. Students should read the CSE Graduate Student Handbook available here, which describes the requirements of the M.S. program.

  5. Withdraw from BSMS

    If a student decides not to continue in the program, the Graduate School requires the student to sign a Request for Withdrawal from APP available here: and submit it to the BSMS department Coordinator. Students who opt to withdraw from an accelerated or combined degree program may choose to apply the graduate credits earned as part of their accelerated degree program toward their undergraduate degree.

BSMS sample schedule  based on the Bulletin schedule:

1st year Freshperson
FALL Credits
First Year Seminar 101 1
WRT 101 3
CSE 101 (TECH) 3
AMS 151 (QPS) 3
Natural Science (SNW) 3
Total 16
SPRING Credits
First Year Seminar 102 1
WRT 102 (WRT) 3
AMS 161 3
Natural Science 3
CSE 114 (TECH) 4
Total 14
2nd year Sophomore
FALL Credits
CSE 214 4
CSE 215 4
Natural Science 3
Total 17
SPRING Credits
CSE 216 4
CSE 220 4
AMS 210 3
Total 14
3rd year Junior
FALL Credits
CSE 300 (SPK & WRTD) 3
CSE 316 3
CSE 303 3
AMS 301 3
Total 15
SPRING Credits
CSE 312 (STAS, CER, ESI) 3
CSE 320 3
CSE 373 3
Elective 3
AMS 310 3
Total 15
Apply for the BSMS program  
4th year Senior
FALL Credits
CSE 416 3
CSE technical elective or graduate course 3
CSE 310 3
Elective 3
Elective 3
Total 15
SPRING Credits
CSE technical elective 3
Graduate couse instead of CSE technical elective 3
Graduate couse instead of CSE technical elective 3
Elective 3
Elective 3
Total 15
Total credits 121

At most 3 CSE required elective courses can be satisfied for BSMS students using CSE graduate courses. See the figures below for the workflow of prerequisites for CSE courses.

CS Workflow

CS Honors Workflow

The following graduate courses satisfy specific UG major requirement courses:

  • CSE540 Theory of Computation => CSE303 Introduction to the Theory of Computation
  • CSE548 Analysis of Algorithms => CSE373 Algorithm
  • CSE534 Fundamentals of Computer Networks => CSE310 Fundamentals of Computer Networks
  • CSE506 Operating Systems => CSE306 Operating Systems (however, it is not advised to take the graduate Operating Systems course without having an undergraduate operating systems course)
  • CSE532 Theory of Database Systems => CSE305 Databases
  • CSE528 Computer Graphics => CSE328 Computer Graphics
  • CSE504 Compilers => CSE304 Compilers
  • CSE526 Principles of Programming Languages => CSE307 Principles of Programming Languages

Students not in the BSMS program must complete this form
to enroll in graduate classes.

A recording of the CSE BSMS information session from Fall 2020 is available here:

A recording of the CSE course scheduling session from Fall 2020 is available here:

FAQ: Scholarships for the CSE BSMS Program

We currently do not have scholarships for the CSE BSMS Program. We had scholarships between 2010 and 2018, but currently we can only offer partial teaching assistantship stipends without tuition if courses need additional TAs. The department encourages students to apply to the PhD program if they are interested since the department offer support to all our PhD students either as TAs or RAs (teaching or research assistants) for 4 years. The PhD applications are handled by the graduate school and are completely separate from the BSMS applications: Beside the Stony Brook department scholarships, the most common scholarships are: federal scholarships like the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program where students apply to directly without our department intervention, or industry fellowships like the Google PhD Fellowship Program , Facebook, or IBM .