Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ should answer most of the questions you might have about the BS/MS program. If you have any administrative questions please contact the EECS Student Affairs Specialist, Heather Smith, in the EECS Department Office in Glennan 321.  Questions about the program of study should be directed to the  BS/MS Programs Advisors (Prof. Ming-Chun Huang for graduate degrees in Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering; or Prof. Vincenzo Liberatore for graduate degrees in Computer Science).


Is Computing and Information Sciences the same thing as Computer Science?

Yes, Computing and Information Sciences was the original name of the Computer Science degree program and still remains the formal name for degree purposes.


How many 300-level vs. 400-level classes can BS/MS students take?

Plan A (thesis) BS/MS students are required to take 18 credit hours (six courses) of classes. All MS students (including BS/MS) must only have courses on their program of study at the 400-level or higher. NOTE that MS Thesis may be double counted towards EECS 399, but not towards EECS 398.


How do I double-count classes for the BSE/BS and the MS?

This is one of the key attributes of the BS/MS program. Up to nine credit hours of MS classes (any approved 400, 500 or 600 level class including thesis) may be double counted towards the BSE/BS degree. Engineering often count MS thesis or project towards their EECS 399 senior project requirement. You can also double count graduate classes towards your undergraduate technical elective requirement. Other combinations are possible and should be discussed with the B.S./M.S. program advisor.

Double counted classes should be specifically indicated on your MS Program of Study.

BS/MS Planned Program Of Study

Which classes are required for the MS degree?

There are very few graduate classes specifically required by the different EECS programs. You should check the most current requirements for your specific MS program: Computer Science has a distribution requirement from a list of courses. Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Systems & Control Engineering have no specifically required classes for the MS. In general you are required to take six courses (18 credit hours) for the Plan A (thesis).  


Can/should you take MS classes before being accepted into the BS/MS program?

No. Graduate classes taken before you are officially accepted into the BS/MS program cannot typically count towards the MS degree.


When should one apply to the BS/MS program?

You should typically apply for admission to the BS/MS program in the spring semester of the junior year. You MUST apply in or before the semester in which you obtain senior status (90 credits) and definitely before you take any graduate classes.  Your window for consideration is between 75 and 90 credit hours of coursework.  Deadlines for admission are the same as the traditional Graduate Programs, November 1 for Spring admission and March 1 for Fall admission.


Do I need to take the GRE's to get into the BS/MS program?

No. Typically CWRU graduates and CWRU students do not need to take the GRE's to apply to any School of Engineering graduate program.


How do you make sure that your graduate classes are not incorrectly reported in your SIS records?

These issues are handled by the School of Undergraduate Studies and the School of Graduate Studies.  You should contact them to resolve errors in correct reporting of graduate classes.


If I am in the BS/MS program, am I an undergraduate or a graduate student?

You are officially listed as an undergraduate student until you complete the necessary requirements for the BSE/BS degree. As soon as you complete the undergraduate degree requirements, you will be required to graduate with your BSE/BS degree. At that point you will officially become a graduate student. This distinction can be important because undergraduate and graduate rules are often different. For example, to be a full-time undergraduate student you must register for at least 12 credit hours for that semester whereas graduate students are only required to register for 9 credit hours to be full-time students. See also the question about when you should graduate.


For which thesis courses should a student register?

All EECS degree programs require EECS 651 for the MS thesis degree.

Note that once you begin registering for EECS 651 Thesis you MUST register for it in each following semester (summers are excluded) until you graduate. You only need nine credit hours of thesis and, although you typically register for thesis in increments of three credit hours, you may register for it in any amount from one to nine hours per semester. This should be discussed with your advisor

You only need to register for thesis during the summer if you are planning to graduate during the summer semester. This should also be discussed with your research advisor.


Do I need a thesis committee?

The simple answer is: “Yes.” The MS thesis MUST be defended in an oral presentation before a committee of at least three faculty. The committee must include your thesis advisor. Typically, your faculty advisor recommends the committee based upon their potential interest, but you are responsible for contacting each member to determine their general availability for the committee and for all committee meetings including the defense.

There may be additional requirements for each program. For example, systems & control engineering requires that the committee must meet at least once per year. Please check the published MS requirements for your program to be aware of any additional committee requirements.


What are the deadlines I need to follow to apply?

You should typically apply for admission to the BS/MS program in the spring semester of the junior year. You MUST apply in or before the semester in which you obtain senior status (90 credits) and definitely before you take any 400 level or higher classes.

The application deadline for the fall semester is March 1st.  The application deadline for the spring semester is November 1st.  All applications will then be reviewed by the School of Graduate Studies, the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the department program to which you are applying.  You will be informed by e-mail of the status of your application.


What are the deadlines I need to follow to graduate?

There are two deadlines which you must watch closely. These are the deadlines for applying for graduation and for completing the degree. You are responsible for checking with either the Office of Graduate Studies (Nord Hall) or the EECS Graduate Coordinator (Glennan 321) to learn the exact deadline dates for Applying for Graduation and for turning in all graduation requirements to the Office of Graduate Studies. School of Graduate Studies Deadlines. The exact deadlines vary from semester to semester and are set by the School of Graduate Studies. Please check the School of Graduate Studies calendar for the correct dates.

You must apply for graduation at the beginning of the semester in which you are expecting to graduate. The deadline is typically about 4-6 weeks after the semester begins. The MS must be defended before your committee and all materials turned in to the Office of Graduate Studies approximately four weeks before the end of the semester in which you are graduating. There are no exceptions to this rule. The student is responsible for scheduling the oral presentation. This means that you must contact all committee members to determine a mutually acceptable time. You must also contact the EECS Office of Student Affairs to publicize the presentation at least one week before the presentation.

All MS theses require a written thesis which must follow the format established by the School of Graduate Studies. All MS theses must be defended in an oral presentation before a committee of at least three faculty. You must provide your thesis committee with a copy of your thesis/report 10 days before the oral presentation.


How do I go about finding an advisor/thesis topic/project?

This is actually the most critical part of the BS/MS program.

There are two important aspects of finding an advisor and a thesis topic. First, you need to study the research the faculty in the department are performing. We recommend that you get an appointment from the faculty, and go talk to them about their research. Also, the department organizes “Research Days” and “research Seminars” for the students to attend and learn about faculty research. Once you have identified some faculty whose research interests you, you should make an appointment to talk to them further about opportunities for thesis research with them.


What financial aid is available? How is undergraduate financial aid impacted by the BS/MS program?

The EECS Department has no involvement with undergraduate financial aid or with the Office of Financial Aid. Undergraduate scholarships typically last till the end of the eighth semester, or until you graduate with your BSE/BS degree (whichever comes first).

There are a few external programs which provide financial aid for the MS degree. Please check the EECS Department Web pages for links to financial aid programs which may be applicable.


Organizations which may support MS Fellowships include the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security, and NASA.

You can use your undergraduate financial aid until it expires. A few students who entered with advanced placement credit and who have taken extra courses each semester have managed to complete their BSE/BS and MS requirements in four years.

As long as you are registered for EECS 651 each semester, you will be certified as enrolled full-time for loan deferment purposes. The US Department of Education will require at least 6 hours each term for you to obtain any additional Federal loans, but the prior loans will not require repayment until you graduate with your MS. The Office of Financial Aid has made arrangements with SALLIE MAE for a graduate student who is taking at least 1 credit hour per term to be classified as full-time for purposes of their private Signature Loan. The rate on the Signature Loan could be as low as 4 % (Prime minus 3/4 %). This can be an excellent backup if you run out of funding.

You might consider searching for a professor who is willing to support you as a research assistant on a research contract. You would need to contact the individual faculty to determine if they have funded research and are looking for a research assistant. Such positions typically require you to work on very specific research projects which may also be suitable for a thesis. BS/MS students are given preference for department jobs such as graders and recitation leaders.


When should I graduate with my BSE?

The Office of Undergraduate Studies will require you to graduate with your BSE/BS degree after your eighth semester at CWRU as soon as all your undergraduate requirements are completed. If you are double counting your master's thesis or project for your senior project, you may apply for your BSE/BS degree for the semester in which progress on master's thesis or project will be adequate to satisfy the senior project requirement. Your adviser must certify with the Office of Undergraduate Studies that you have completed work adequate for the senior project; however, your MS work and MS thesis need not be fully completed. Note that Undergraduate Studies is not requiring you to graduate UNTIL after you have completed eight semesters so you should be able to preserve your undergraduate scholarship until then.


What happens if I do not finish on time? Can I get an Incomplete on my thesis for that semester?

Thesis do not receive conventional letter grades. You will receive either a “S” indicating that you are making satisfactory progress towards your thesis/project or you will receive a “U” indicating unsatisfactory progress.

Your thesis advisor is the sole judge of when your research is complete. Note that experimental theses (such as designing an integrated circuit) will often take longer than theses which involve mathematical analysis or computer software. Typically, the B.S./M.S. program takes five years; however, some students have done it in four years while others have taken as long as six years to complete their research.

Many students do not know that you can still turn in your materials to the Office of Graduate Studies after the deadline for that semester. In this case you will not be listed as graduating in that semester. As an example suppose you planned to graduate in the Fall semester, missed the deadline, and turned in your thesis to the Office of Graduate Studies in mid-December. You would then be listed as graduating in the Spring semester (i.e., May) as opposed to the Fall semester (i.e., January). Even though you would be listed as graduating in the Spring semester you would not have to register (i.e., pay tuition) for the Spring semester. As long as you turn in all your required degree materials (a thesis for Plan A students and the appropriate form from the members of your committee certifying that you successfully defended your thesis) before the first day of the semester you do not have to register for that semester, yet you will be listed as having graduated in that semester.


Do BS/MS students get out of senior project?

BS/MS students must satisfy ALL requirements of both the BSE/BS and MS degrees they are pursuing. You cannot double count EECS 651 towards EECS 398; however, you may double count EECS 651 as EECS 399 for the undergraduate degree using EECS 651 to fulfill part of your undergraduate senior project requirement. The total number of hours required for each degree remains the same - you are simply allowed to double count nine credit hours.

Created: 2002-9-22. Last Modified: 2011-8-19.