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. It is a flexible and individualized plan of graduate study. Students in their final year of a Carleton B.C.S.(Hons.) degree with demonstrated academic excellence and aptitude for research may qualify for this option.
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.
Accelerated Pathway Requirements
- At least one OCICS courses at the 5000-level with a grade of B+ or higher.
- Minimum overall and Major BCS(Hons.) CGPA of A-.
Students may receive advanced standing of up to 1.0 credit which can reduce their time to completion.
Here is how it works.
- At the end of the third year of the BCS (Hons.), students apply for
admission to the undergrad MCS preparatory program.
- 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 topic that will give them
research background preparing 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 5xxx courses (up to 1.0cr) taken as part of the
BCS are counted towards the MCS course requirements, reducing 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: 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.
- Preferably, a faculty advisor (see below).
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+
in each of the COMP 5xxx courses taken during the BCS (Hons.).
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.
Each student in the preparatory program is encouraged to 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.
Some students will have already found an advisor on their own before applying, but this is not required. As part of the application, students are asked to state their research interests. The School will use this to pair the student with an appropriate faculty member.
How to apply to the preparatory program
- Instructions on how to create an SCS account
- Use your fully qualified account name, example: firstname.lastname@example.org, and your SCS password to log into Drupal
Applications will be accepted at any time.
Students who want the School to assist with finding a supervisor should allow at least two weeks for the School to make its admission decision. Please note that permission
to register in graduate courses will not be given until a decision to accept has been made.
Frequently asked questions
What happens if I get part way through the preparatory program but
decide not to apply for the Carleton MCS?
Nothing. The graduate courses (up to 1.0cr) will continue to count toward your
If I am accepted into the preparatory program, am I guaranteed
admission to the MCS?
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 10.0 are almost always admitted.
Do I have to do a thesis in the MCS Accelerated Pathway?
If I do the MCS, does my thesis supervisor need to be the same person
I did my Honours project with?
Can I take one of my grad courses at the University of Ottawa?
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.