The accelerated B.S. and M.S. program allows qualified students to earn both the B.S. and M.S. in Mathematical Sciences with a concentration in statistics or operations research in a minimum of five years by completing approved graduate courses during the senior year of their undergraduate program. Students in the program may count up to nine hours of graduate courses toward both the B.S. and M.S. degrees. Thus, the two degrees may be earned with a minimum of 141 credits rather than the 150 credits necessary if the two degrees are pursued separately.
Students holding these degrees are better prepared for a career in a technical industry, for a career in teaching and/or for further studies in a quantitative Ph.D. program, such as data science, statistics, or operations research. An accelerated B.S. and M.S. degree in statistics or operations research offers a direct pathway toward high-paying positions in big tech companies and financial institutions.
Admission to the Accelerated Program
Interested undergraduate students should consult with their adviser as early as possible to receive specific information about the accelerated program, determine academic eligibility and submit (no later than two semesters prior to graduating with a baccalaureate degree, that is, before the end of the spring semester of their junior year) an Accelerated Program Declaration Form to be approved by the graduate program director. Limited spaces may be available in the accelerated program. Academically qualified students may not receive approval if capacity has been reached.
Once enrolled in the accelerated program, students must meet the standards of performance applicable to graduate students as described in the “Satisfactory academic progress” section of the Graduate Bulletin, including maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Guidance to students admitted to the accelerated program is provided by both the undergraduate mathematical sciences adviser and the faculty adviser to the graduate program.
Admission to the Graduate Program
Entrance to the accelerated program enables the student to take the approved shared courses that will apply to the undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, entry into an accelerated program via an approved Accelerated Program Declaration Form does not constitute application or admission into the graduate program. Admission to the graduate program requires a separate step that occurs through a formal application to the master’s program, which is submitted through Graduate Admissions no later than a semester prior to graduation with the baccalaureate degree, that is, before the end of the fall semester of the senior year. In order to continue pursuing the master’s degree after the baccalaureate degree is conferred, accelerated students must follow the admission to graduate study requirements outlined in the VCU Bulletin. Three reference letters (at least one from a Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research faculty member) must accompany the application.
Entry into an accelerated bachelor’s-to-master’s program begins with a consultation between the undergraduate student, adviser and graduate program director. Qualified students will be invited to submit an Accelerated Program Declaration Form, which must be approved by the graduate program director.
At this stage, students should not submit an application to the graduate program. If a student does submit an application to the graduate program, and if the program admits the student, significant negative billing implications can result. The student is an accelerated undergraduate student until the baccalaureate degree is conferred. Tuition and fees are assessed at the VCU undergraduate rate, including for the shared graduate courses. The accelerated student is not a graduate student at this point. Admission to the graduate program is a separate step.
Information about applying to all accelerated bachelor's-to-master's degree programs at VCU, including the B.S. to M.S. in mathematical sciences, can be found at the VCU Undergraduate Bulletin.
QiQi Lu, Ph.D.
Master's Degree Program Director