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Engineering  |  School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering

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Count part of your senior year towards a master’s degree in computer science.

Software engineering 4+1 program

The 4+1 program in software engineering was created to allow high performing, current students pursuing the Bachelor of Science (BS) in software engineering degree the ability to advance into the Master’s of Science in software engineering program with the purpose of completing both degrees in five years. This advancement is accomplished through course sharing during the senior year of the undergraduate program. The design of this program requires full-time status for both the undergraduate and graduate program. The SE 4+1 is limited to ground campus students.

Once transitioned into the full-time master’s degree program, students may elect to pursue thesis or non-thesis studies. Students pursuing non-thesis studies are expected to complete the graduate degree in one (1) year immediately following the undergraduate degree. Those pursuing the thesis option may need to extend graduation from the master’s program due to the required research component.

How does it work?

The acceleration of the BS and MS degrees will begin when admitted 4+1 students prepare to take the 400-level SER electives (3 courses) and the upper division engineering technical elective (1 course). SER501 and SER502 will be used for two of the four classes (double count for the master’s degree), and students will select two  400-level courses that will also double count for both degrees. For students with room in their schedule during the senior year, a third graduate course may be reserved instead of a 400-level elective.

Admission to the 4+1 Program for Software Engineering is competitive and will be considered for students who have met the following criteria:

  • 75 semester hours completed toward the SE bachelor’s degree.
  • ASU cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.
  • All 300-level required SER-prefix courses completed or in progress. Grades of B or better are recommended.
  • Two semesters remaining for the undergraduate program at time of admission to the master’s program (senior year course work).

NOTE: Students will not be required to take the GRE.

How to apply?

Deadline:

Spring deadline to apply:  12/15

Fall deadline to apply:  8/1

Application checklist for software engineering 4+1 program:

  • Review your eligibility for the program by meeting with your Software Engineering Undergraduate Academic Advisor.
  • Review the Software Engineering master’s handbook.
  • Identify three recommenders (at least two need to be Software Engineering faculty). NOTE: this requirement is waived for students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 at time of application. 
  • Complete a Statement of Purpose (1-2-page document outlining why you want to pursue a master’s degree).
  • Apply for the 4+1 program by going to https://students.asu.edu/graduate/apply. Late fees may be associated with graduate applications based on time of submission.
  • International student applicants must complete 90 domestic semester hours to be eligible to waive the English proficiency requirement.
  • International students need to review the international student admission requirements regarding additional documents required to pursue graduate studies
  • Admission into the 4+1 program is competitive and not guaranteed. Several factors are taken into consideration when evaluating a student’s application: the student’s cumulative GPA, major, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and performance in individual courses.

How to enroll in graduate courses once accepted

  • Meet with the Software Engineering Graduate Advisor to develop a graduate plan of study (iPOS) that includes the four (4) courses to be shared for both degree programs.
  • The graduate advisor will assist the 4+1 student with registration and will coordinate with undergraduate advising DARS exceptions while the student is still completing the undergraduate degree.
  • 4+1 students are expected to finish the master’s program within one year of completing the bachelor’s degree.
  • 4+1 students who do not finish the graduate requirements within one year of completing the bachelor’s degree may be converted to the traditional SE master’s program, thereby forfeiting the shared 12 semester hours.

Steps after admission

Undergraduate students accepted into the 4+1 Program will be eligible for graduate-level courses and seminars as seniors. They will remain undergraduates until all BS degree program requirements have been completed and the SE bachelor’s degree has been conferred by ASU’s graduation office.  During the senior year, undergraduate 4+1 students will work closely with the SE graduate advisor regarding the iPOS and the graduate courses.

Upon receipt of the BS degree, the status of the student will change from undergraduate to graduate, which means the student will be eligible to apply for graduate research assistantships with the benefits of health insurance and tuition waivers. Students will not be able to register for their first semester as a master’s student until they have notified the SE graduate advisor of their bachelor’s degree completion.

Those admitted to the 4+1 program who desire to complete a thesis as their culminating experience will need to identify a Software Engineering faculty member as their thesis advisor. In consultation with this advisor, the student will finalize their interactive plan of study (iPOS) leading to the dual degrees. Students should frequently check the MS in Software Engineering handbook to ensure they are meeting all requirements for the master’s degree.

Maintaining good academic standing

Satisfactory progress in the 4+1 program is achieved for students who maintain a 3.00 GPA in overall graduate and shared course work per the approved master’s plan of study (any reserved courses need to have a B grade or better). Students with concerns about this requirement should meet with their graduate advisor for advice on next steps.

4+1 students who are in their senior year may return to the regular Software Engineering bachelor’s program at any point in time. This discontinuation of the program means that any courses taken toward the graduate program will not be applicable to any future graduate degrees; however, the courses will still apply toward the bachelor’s degree. Students who are dismissed or who voluntarily withdraw from the 4 + 1 program and return to undergraduate status are eligible to apply for admission to the stand-alone master’s program at ASU.