Combined BS/MS Degree

Overview

The graduate and undergraduate programs in environmental engineering (EnvE) now offer a combined BS/MS program enabling qualified EnvE undergraduate students to be expedited into the Bioenvironmental Engineering graduate program, thus providing those students the possibility to earn an MS degree in a shortened time frame.

Recent alumni surveys of EnvE alumni have shown that approximately 50% of BS graduates have gone on to obtain Professional Engineering (PE) licenses. State PE licensing boards are in the process of adding a Graduate Studies requirement for all new PEs. In fact, The American Society of Civil Engineering's (ASCE) Policy Statement 465 directly addresses this. Thus, a seamless process leading directly to an MS degree is of major benefit to qualified EnvE graduates.

In addition, approximately 25% of EnvE alumni have proceeded to employment in the government sector. Some government agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, regard the master's degree as a professional credential with recipients eligible for salary increases.

Eligibility

EnvE undergraduates who have attained an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher and have completed (or are completing) their sixth semester are eligible to apply to the BS/MS program. Students usually apply during their sixth semester or right before their seventh semester. The interested student must have completed 96 credits of coursework by the end of their sixth semester of undergraduate study.

Consistent with School of Graduate Studies policy and other Rutgers engineering programs, the GRE requirement would be waived for students applying for the EnvE BS/ BEE MS program who meet the other application criteria. However, it is still recommended that the GRE exam be taken, as it is required for applications to national fellowships, as well as by many graduate programs at other universities.

The applicant does not need to submit a formal application to the Rutgers Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions (OGPA). The application will be processed internally by the EnvE graduate program, and, even though an application is not submitted to OGPA, the applicant will receive an official admissions letter from OGPA a few weeks after being notified by EnvE of admittance.

Study Program

The MS program offers two plans: (A) 24 credits of coursework, 6 credits of research, and a comprehensive oral examination that includes the defense of a written thesis; or (B) 30 credits of coursework, submission of an approved critical essay, and a comprehensive oral examination. The proposed BS/MS program also offers two plans and provides students with the opportunity to earn a master's degree within an expedited time frame. This becomes possible by taking one or more graduate-level courses in the senior year in addition to undergraduate degree requirements.

The following is a recommended study sequence for the Plan B program:

  • Senior Year: In the spring semester, the student would take at least one graduate course in addition to BS courses.
  • Summer after Senior Year: Consult with advisor to define topic and scope of critical essay.
  • Fifth-Year Fall Semester: The student would take four 3-credit graduate courses and Special Problems in Bioenvironmental Engineering (16:116:688) for one credit for preparation of the critical essay. 
  • Fifth-Year Spring Semester: The student would take four 3-credit graduate courses. In addition, the student would take a one-credit graduate seminar (16:116:612 or 16:375:613) and Special Problems in Bioenvironmental Engineering (16:116:689) for one credit for completion of the critical essay. 
  • Summer following Fifth Year: The student would finalize the critical essay and take a comprehensive final exam.

Alternatively, the following is a recommended study sequence for a Plan A (research) program. This program is suggested for students who will be starting or have been conducting research as part of the Slade Scholars or other Scholars programs:

  • Senior Year: Enroll in Slade Scholars or other honors program. Take 6 credits of honors research, which count as course credits towards the MS. The honors research project can then become the thesis topic for the MS degree. Students can take up to three graduate courses. Please note that courses used to satisfy BS requirements may not be used to satisfy MS requirements (i.e. no "double counting").
  • Fifth Year: Students enroll in three graduate courses and three credit hours of research each semester. 
  • Summer (and perhaps fall) following Fifth Year: Write MS thesis and defend the thesis.

Note: Students can change advisors at the end of their fourth year. The undergraduate research topic (e.g., Slade Scholars) does not necessarily have to be the MS thesis topic.

Application Procedure

  1. A completed BS/MS Degree Application Form
  2. A current transcript
  3. A brief personal statement 
  4. Two letters of recommendation