The Accelerated Pathway of the Master of Computer Science (MCS) program allows Carleton Bachelor of Computer Science students to get a head start on their MCS. Students in their third year of study in the B.C.S. (Hons.) degree should consult with both their Undergraduate Program Coordinator and the Director of Graduate Studies to determine if the accelerated pathway is appropriate for them and to confirm their selection of courses for their final year of undergraduate studies. COMP 5000-level courses taken in the accelerated pathway where the student has received a grade of B+ or higher will count towards both the BCS and future MCS.
Here is how it works
- At the end of the third year of the BCS (Hons.), students apply for admission to the undergrad MCS Accelerated Pathway preparatory program. The MCS accelerated Pathway Application form is available here.
- Accepted students take up to two graduate courses in their fourth year. These courses count toward the BCS as generic fourth-year COMP courses (they cannot be used to fulfill requirements that specify specific fourth-year courses).
- Students are encouraged to select an honours project or honours thesis topic that will give them the research background to prepare them for the thesis work in the MCS.
- In their fourth year, students apply to the MCS Accelerated Pathway.
- If admitted to the MCS, the COMP 5000-level courses (up to 1.0cr) taken as part of the BCS are counted towards the MCS course requirements provided the grade obtained in the grad course is B+ or higher. This reduces the number of courses required from 2.5cr to 1.5cr or 2.0cr. Because of the research background developed with the Honours project and the graduate courses taken in the BCS, it is expected that students will be able to complete their MCS program requirements at a faster pace.
Admission requirements: Accelerated Pathway preparatory program
The minimum requirements for admission are as follows.
- Third-year standing in the BCS Honours program with substantial completion of the required courses at the 3000-level and below.
- A major GPA of at least 10.0.
- Each student in the preparatory program must find a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor will work with the student to select an appropriate Honours project topic and appropriate courses to give the student a strong start on the advanced research to be done in the MCS.
Students not meeting one of the first two requirements may still be admitted if they have demonstrated research aptitude, e.g. they have already completed research projects at the university level.
Admission requirements: MCS Accelerated Pathway
The minimum requirements for admission are as follows.
- The usual MCS requirements.
- Completion of the preparatory program with at least a grade of B+ or higher in graduate 5000-level courses taken during the BCS (Hons.).
Students will receive advanced standing for a 5000-level course only if they achieve a grade of B+ or higher for up to 1.0 credit.
Please note that these are minimum requirements. The admissions committee will also assess whether you have an adequate head-start in research. This will normally be the case if you have completed the preparatory program under the guidance of a faculty advisor (see below) and wish to do your thesis work in a related area. In other cases, students meeting the minimum requirements above may still be accepted if they have an adequate background in research.
Faculty advisor for the preparatory program
Each student in the preparatory program needs a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor will work with the student to select an appropriate Honours project (or Honours thesis) topic and appropriate courses to give the student a strong start on the advanced research to be done in the MCS.
Students need to already have found an advisor willing to work with them before applying. Here is a list of the Faculty research areas and interests.
How to apply to the preparatory program
To apply, you must fill out the MCS Accelerated Pathway Application Form that can be found here. Applications will be accepted at any time.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What happens if I get partway through the preparatory program but decide not to apply for the Carleton MCS?
A: Nothing. The graduate courses (up to 1.0cr) will continue to count toward your BCS.
Q: If I am accepted into the preparatory program, am I guaranteed admission to the MCS?
A: Admission is not guaranteed. It will depend on your fourth-year grades and whether a thesis supervisor can be assigned. However, past experience shows that students completing our BCS with a major GPA of at least 10.5 are almost always admitted.
Q: When can I register for the graduate courses?
A: Permission to register in graduate courses will not be given until a student has been accepted in the preparatory program.
Q: Do I have to do a thesis in the MCS Accelerated Pathway?
Q: If I do the MCS, does my thesis supervisor need to be the same person I did my Honours project with?
A: Not necessary.
Q: Can I take one of my grad courses at the University of Ottawa?
A: Yes, as long as the course also has a Carleton COMP number. The OCICS website has a complete list of such courses. Please note that the University of Ottawa manages its own course enrolment. When you are accepted into the preparatory program, we can open a spot for you in any of the School’s grad courses, but we have little control over who is allowed to register in University of Ottawa courses. You also have to go through the Carleton-University of Ottawa Course Exchange formalities to register in the course offered at the University of Ottawa.