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Fifth-Year Masters

Fifth-Year Masters Program

There are three distinct paths for undergraduate Rice CS majors who wish to continue their studies into a fifth year. Students can choose from a Professional Master’s in Computer Science (MCS), a Master’s in Data Science (MDS) or the Master’s of Science program (MS). The MCS and MDS programs are better suited to students interested in industry careers, while the MS program offers guided research opportunities.

Fifth-Year Professional Master's of Computer Science (MCS)

Students in the MCS program at Rice can receive transfer credit for at most 6 credit hours of graduate-level coursework earned at other institutions. This limit does not, however, apply to graduate-level coursework taken at Rice, while still enrolled as an undergraduate. Consequently, by taking some graduate-level courses during their junior and senior years, Rice undergraduates can potentially reduce the number of semesters that they will need to be enrolled as a graduate student to complete the MCS degree requirements. However, these graduate-level courses, taken as an undergraduate, can only be applied toward one degree, and admission to the MCS program is not automatic. Upon successful application and matriculation to the MCS program, students will designate which of their graduate-level courses should be applied toward their MCS degree versus their Bachelor's degree. Regardless of the number of graduate-level courses taken as an undergraduate, students must spend at least one semester at Rice enrolled as a part-time or full-time graduate student in the MCS program. Students interested in this option should meet with their CS Major Adviser to carefully plan their junior and senior years.

Fifth-Year Master's of Data Science (MDS)

The Fifth-Year MDS program is open to undergraduate students from any major related to data science. Students in the MDS program at Rice can receive transfer credit for at most 6 credit hours of graduate-level coursework earned at other institutions. This limit does not, however, apply to graduate-level coursework taken at Rice, while still enrolled as an undergraduate. Consequently, by taking some graduate-level courses during their junior and senior years, Rice undergraduates can potentially reduce the number of semesters that they will need to be enrolled as a graduate student to complete the MDS degree requirements. However, these graduate-level courses, taken as an undergraduate, can only be applied toward one degree, and admission to the MDS program is not automatic. Upon successful application and matriculation to the MDS program, students will designate which of their graduate-level courses should be applied toward their MDS degree versus their Bachelor's degree. Regardless of the number of graduate-level courses taken as an undergraduate, students must spend at least one semester at Rice enrolled as a part-time or full-time graduate student in the MDS program. Students interested in this option should meet with their Major Adviser to carefully plan their junior and senior years. 

Fifth-Year Master of Science (MS)

To increase the opportunities for Rice undergraduates to participate in graduate level research, the Department of Computer Science will offer Graduate Research Fellowships for select Rice undergraduates. Upon admission to the program in their junior year, fellows will receive monetary support for their research activities as well as tuition support for two semesters in the Master's of Science program. This competitive fellowship program will support top undergraduates who show a dedication to research. This program offers exposure to graduate level research prior to graduation and guaranteed support during the MS program.

Fifth-Year Masters Program Application Process

MCS, MDS, and MS applicants must use their @rice.edu email address to apply. Apply here http://gradapply.rice.edu with the following application materials:

  • A transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation from Rice faculty, with one letter from the applicant's proposed research adviser
  • A one-page research statement

Note: GRE scores may be submitted at the discretion of the applicant.

Students who intend to apply for this program should contact Beth Rivera (beth.rivera@rice.edu) for additional instructions.

Graduate Research Fellowship for Fifth-Year Master’s 

  • Deadline: Rice undergraduates apply for the fellowship by February 1st of their junior year.
  • By February 24th, recipients will be notified of the fellowship award and guaranteed admission in the Department of Computer Science Master's of Science program upon completion of their undergraduate degree.
  • Fellows receive full-time support for research during the two summers between their junior year and the start of the graduate program. Fellows may also receive part-time support for research conducted during their senior year.
  • Fellows receive full tuition and research stipend for two semesters of study while they complete their Master's of Science thesis.
  • Students completing the program will benefit from an accelerated graduation schedule and will receive preferential consideration for admission to the RICE CS PHD PROGRAM
  • Questions? For more information about the Fifth-Year MS Program and answers to any questions, please contact Beth Rivera, Eugene Ng, or Chris Jermaine: comp@rice.edu