Integrated Bachelors/Masters Program

Our 21st century information age offers tremendous new opportunities for individuals who can master both cutting-edge technologies and human-centered design. However, obtaining such dual mastery is difficult to achieve under traditional educational programs, requiring students to pursue disjointed study in separate disciplines, with lack of integration extending time to graduation and requiring students to build the bridges between the technical and social sciences for themselves.

To address this growing need, the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information (iSchool) and the Department of Computer Science have teamed up to offer an innovative, integrated five-year program which provides a combined educational path toward obtaining the knowledge necessary to build the information tools of the future. We invite highly-motivated students with strong academic records to pursue this new integrated program of study, with the unique opportunity to earn two university degrees in only five academic years: both a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Information Studies. This program is ideal for students who seek to combine knowledge of back-end, cutting-edge technologies with the front-end, human-centered design skills needed to create productive user experiences. Graduates of the joint program will be uniquely qualified for advanced placement in both the expanding job market and competitive Ph.D. programs in information and computer science.

This cross-disciplinary 5-year program offers students a wide range of diverse course offerings, coupled with the flexibility to tailor their individual programs of study to focus on topics of greatest interest. The program culminates in a final capstone project challenging students to tackle open problems in research or professional practice, and often involving industry engagement. Course topics include (but are not limited to): human-computer interaction, user experience and usability design, information architecture, leadership and management, information policy, social-cultural studies, work practice studies, and organizational processes of governmental, corporate, and cultural-heritage institutions. Many other advanced topics are also offered on a rotating-basis (e.g., visualization, crowdsourcing, data mining, etc.).

Admission

Only current undergraduate Computer Science students in good academic standing may apply to the BSCS/MSIS Integrated Program. The application process takes place in two stages:

  1. An initial application for “pre-admission” (submitted in spring semester of the junior year)
  2. A final application for formal admittance into the Graduate School (submitted in fall semester of the senior year)

The pre-admission application deadline is May 1st of students' junior year and includes the following required materials:

  • the application form
  • a statement of purpose
  • an academic summary
  • three letters of recommendation (the applicant should directly contact potential writers and request they email their letters of recommendation by the deadline above).

Additional, optional application materials include a résumé and a list of publications. The School of Information Admissions Committee will review applications and make decisions for pre-approval based on a holistic review of application materials.

Pre-admitted students must begin enrollment in the program during the fall semester of their senior year, and by December 1st apply for formal admittance into the Graduate School, meeting all standard admissions requirements for acceptance into graduate study at UT Austin. As part of this formal Graduate School application process, students must submit official GRE scores and an updated official transcript. The School of Information Admissions Committee will then review each student’s application materials and make final decisions regarding admission into the graduate program.

In the unlikely event that a student is pre-admitted but not granted formal admittance into the program, the student’s status will revert to being a senior undergraduate, and the student may proceed to complete the original undergraduate bachelor’s degree.

BSCS/MSIS Initial Application form

Requirements

To fulfill the requirements of the Integrated Program, students must complete 120 hours of Computer Science undergraduate courses and 31 hours of graduate coursework acceptable to the School of Information, for a total of 151 credit hours. Twelve of the graduate credit hours will be taken and reserved for graduate credit during students’ fourth year of the undergraduate program.

Students in the Integrated Program must take the following School master’s core courses:

  • INF 380E: Perspectives on Information

and ONE of following iSchool capstone courses:

  • INF 388L: Professional Experience and Project
  • INF 388R: Master’s Report
  • INF 698A/B: Master’s Thesis (six credit hours; two semesters)

Beyond these required courses, students must complete 18 hours of elective coursework (15 hours, if pursuing the two-semester thesis course option).

Of these electives, up to six hours of UT Austin graduate coursework offered outside of the iSchool may count toward the MS in Information Studies degree with the approval of the iSchool Graduate Advisor.

Some iSchool courses in technical topics overlap, at least partially, with competencies taught in undergraduate Computer Science courses. Therefore, the following courses may NOT be taken for graduate credit in the Integrated Degree program:

  • INF 380D - Designing Dynamic Web Pages
  • INF 380K - Internet Applications
  • INF 380P - Introduction to Programming
  • INF 385M - Database Management
  • Other INF courses as determined by the iSchool faculty
  • Undergraduate courses in Computer Science
  • Courses that have already been applied toward another graduate or undergraduate degree program

Sample Program of Study for joint BSCS/ MSIS Degree

Total credits: Computer Science 120 + Information Studies 31 = 151 hours

Semester 1 (16 hours) Semester 2 (16 hours) Summer (6)
CS 312 (3)
M 408C (4)
Social Science (3)
UGS 302/303 or RHE 306 (3)
HIS 315K (3)
CS 311/313K (3)
CS 314 (3)
M 408D (4)
UGS 302/303 or RHE 306 (3)
HIS 315L (3)
GOV 310L (3)
GOV 312L (3)
Semester 3 (17 hours) Semester 4 (14-17 hours) Summer (6-12)
CS 429 (4)
M 408C (4)
M 340L/SSC 329C (3)
Visual and Performing Arts (3)
Science Sequence I (4)
General UDE (3)
CS 311/313K (3)
CS 314 (3)
M 408D (4)
UGS 302/303 or RHE 306 (3)
HIS 315L (3)
Foreign Language (3-6)
Foreign Language (3-6)
Semester 5 (15-16 hours) Semester 6 (15-16 hours)
CS 353/357/CS 378 (Algorithms) (3)
CS 336/UDE (3)
CS UDE (3)
Science Sequence II (3-4)
Science Sequence I (4)
E 316K (3)
CS 345 or 375 (3)
CS UDE (3)
CS UDE (3)
Science Sequence II (3-4)
General UDE (3)
Semester 7 (9 CS, 6 INF hours) Semester 8 (6 CS, 6 INF hours)
Elective, e.g., CS 344M (3)
CS 336/UDE (3)
Elective, e.g., CS 349 (3)
Elective, e.g., CS 356 (3)
INF Elective #1, e.g., INF 382C
INF Core #1, e.g., INF 380C
Elective, e.g., CS 354R (3)
Elective, e.g., CS 361C (3)
INF Core #2, e.g., INF 380E
Science Sequence II (3-4)
INF Core #3, e.g., INF 397C
Semester 9 (9 hours) Semester 10 (10 hours)
INF Elective #2, e.g., INF 385E
INF Elective #3, e.g., INF 384H
INF Elective #4, INF 387C
INF Elective #5, e.g., INF 385S
INF Elective #6, e.g., INF 385P
INF 181E (E-Portfolio)
INF 388L (PEP) OR INF 398R (MS Report)

A student electing the thesis option will take it in place of Elective #4 and the Capstone Project.