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Concurrent BS/MS Program


This fast-track program allows eligible USU Biological Engineering BS students to take graduate-level courses during senior year, potentially reducing the time to complete the MS degree.

The graduation requirements of the BS program in Biological Engineering is the completion of 126 semester credit hours. The requirements for the concurrent degree program is the completion of 150 semester credit hours, i.e., 24 additional hours beyond the requirement for the BS degree. In essence, a student enrolled in the concurrent degree program will need to complete six semester credit hours less than a student who finishes his or her BS degree and then enrolls in the MS degree program after graduation. The requirement for the MS degree is 30 semester hours.

After being admitted, students are concurrently matriculated in the BS and MS degree programs and can take both undergraduate and graduate level courses in any semester of the program. Until the semester that the last 21 credits begin:

  • Pay undergraduate tuition.
  • BS is primary degree program; courses 5000-level and under post to BS transcript.
  • MS is secondary degree program; courses 6000-level and above post to MS transcript.
  • Split forms submitted as needed to move 5000-level courses to MS transcript. Up to a total of nine credits may be split during this time (including credits for two BS Tech Electives from BENG that will count towards the MS.)

Starting the semester of the last 21 credits: Matriculated as a graduate student, and start paying graduate tuition.

  • For students receiving financial aid, grant and scholarship eligibility changes this semester. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.
  • MS becomes primary degree program; courses 5000-level and above post to MS transcript.
  • BS becomes secondary degree program; courses 4000-level and below post to BS transcript.

BS and MS degrees are awarded the semester requirements for both degrees are complete.

  • Apply up to 9 credits from your BS degree towards your MS degree.  Two BENG technical elective courses (7 credits max), taken for the BS degree requirements, are counted towards MS degree credits.
  • Greater selection of graduate courses (many graduate courses instructed alternate years).
  • MS research projects can be started during the senior year of the BS degree.
  • Graduate research or project experience can lead to better career opportunities.
  • Faculty research supervision and professional career advisement.
  • MS graduates typically earn higher starting salaries compared to BS graduates.
  • Potential to receive tuition waivers at the MS level.
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!

Becoming a concurrent student is a two-step process.

STEP 1:
  1. Apply for the concurrent program 1-year prior to graduation.
    • As part of the application:
      • You must submit a 2-year plan and a MS check sheet with the application. This plan will include the courses that will finish the requirements for the BS degree and the courses to fill the requirements for the MS degree. The MS check sheet outlines the courses you will take to fill the requirements for the MS degree.
      • You must have a Faculty Advisor whose laboratory you will be working in, as a MS Student.
  2. You must have a 3.2 cumulative overall GPA.  Acceptance to Step 1 with “incomplete grades” will be at the discretion of the BE Graduate Committee and BE Department Head.
  3. You should have completed approximately 95-105 credits for your BS by the end of your junior year to be considered for the concurrent program. You may apply two 5000-level Engineering Electives from your BS to your MS degree.
  4. Your application will be reviewed by the BE Graduate Committee and you will be notified of the decision via email.  Acceptance into the concurrent program DOES NOT mean automatic acceptance into the Graduate Program.
  5. You are required to apply for BS graduation. You need to apply the first semester of your senior year (or the semester BEFORE you would graduate with your BS degree).

Successful completion of steps 1 – 7 will allow you to become a Concurrent Candidate. Until formally accepted by the School of Graduate Studies, you will be a concurrent candidate.

You will NOT receive EITHER degree until the requirements are completed for BOTH degrees.

STEP 2:
  1. If accepted, you will need to apply to the Graduate School and have your GRE test submitted by the following dates:

    Spring Graduates – September 1st of the first semester in your senior year (take the GRE in the summer).
    Fall Graduates – January 1st of the first semester in your senior year (take the GRE over the holiday break).

    It will take 2-3 weeks for the official test scores to reach Utah State University School of Graduate Studies and forwarded to the BE Department.  

    PLEASE ALLOW THIS TIME TO MAKE THE DEADLINE! 
    NO EXCEPTIONS ARE MADE FOR THESE DEADLINES. 

  2. As an engineer, the BE Department requires a score of 75% minimum, on the quantitative section. The Graduate School requires a 40% or better on the verbal section of the GRE.

    Take the GRE seriously!  You can check on gre.org for testing times, study tips, and sample tests.

  3. Your graduate application will be reviewed and if you are accepted, you will become a concurrent graduate student. Students who are not accepted into the concurrent graduate program because of low GRE scores are encouraged to finish their BS degree, retake the GRE, and reapply to the graduate program.
  4. You will begin paying graduate tuition the semester that you have 21 credits left, remaining towards the MS degree.

Step 1. Eligibility

To find out if you qualify for the program, your eligibility (GPA and completion of junior year) needs to be verified by the BE department.
Schedule an appointment with the BE Grad Advisor and bring the completed following forms:

  • The BS/MS concurrent application.
  • The Concurrent BS/MS 2 Year Plan.
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor who you will be working for.

You will be notified by email as to whether or not you meet the eligibility requirements and if you should complete the admissions process in Step 2 below.


Step 2. Admissions

Students who are notified they are eligible need to complete the following before the start of your second semester of senior year.

  • Submit proof of successful completion of FE to Department Grad Advisor.
  • Apply online for admission to USU’s School of Graduate Studies. 
  • Request admission for first semester (fall or spring) immediately following senior year.
  • USU BE concurrent students do not need letters of recommendation; enter Department Grad Advisor where prompted.
  • Clearly state that you are applying for the Concurrent BS/MS program.
  • Take the GRE General Exam, and score at or above the minimums required.
  • BE’s minimum required scores:  Quantitative - 75th percentile, and Verbal - 40th percentile.
  • Prepare to do your best!

Graduate degrees in Biological Engineering (BE) require 15 credits of core mandatory graduate BE coursework (see chart below).  The balance of graduate courses (electives) are determined by the student, major professor, and committee. Elective courses must follow the guidelines of the School of Graduate Studies for inclusion on a student’s Program of Study, and must be approved by the student’s committee.

Elective graduate courses can be chosen outside the BE department.

Biological Engineering Required Graduate Core Courses (15 credits)

BENG 6810

Biochemical Engineering

3

BENG 6600

Downstream Processing

3

BENG 6630

Synthetic Biological Engineering

3

BENG 6860/7860

Research Orientation & Planning

2

BENG 6510/7510

Graduate Seminar

1

STAT 5200 or
CEE 6660

Design of Experiments or
Environmental and Hydrologic Data Analysis and Experimentation

3
3

Possible Graduate Elective BE Courses could be:

BENG 6910

Biosensors

3

BENG 6890

Tissue Engineering

3

BENG 6620

Metabolic Engineering

3

BENG 6850

Advanced Biomaterials

3

BENG 6930

Biological Engineering Special Topics

3

Other Related Coursework Credit

Graduate student’s committee to choose other related graduate coursework as needed to complete the student’s program of study and support the research project.

Dissertation/Thesis Research Credits per degree program

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