Combined B.S. - M.S. Degree Program for Bioenvironmental Engineering — Program Description

Overview

The Graduate and Undergraduate Programs in Bioenvironmental Engineering (BEE) now offer a Combined B.S. - M.S. Program enabling qualified BEE undergraduate students to be accepted into the BEE graduate program in an expedited way, thus providing those students the possibility to earn an M.S. degree in a shortened time frame.

Recent alumni surveys of BEE alumni have shown that approximately 50% of B.S. 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 M.S. degree is of major benefit to qualified BEE graduates.

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

Eligibility

BEE 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 B.S. - M.S. 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 BEE B.S.-M.S. 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 BEE 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 BEE of admittance.

Study Program

The traditional BEE M.S. 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 B.S. - M.S. 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 Plan B program:

  • Senior year: In the Spring Semester the student would take at least one graduate course in addition to B.S. 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 116:688 Special Problems in Bioenvironmental Engineering 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 (116:612 or 375:613) and 116:689 Special Problems in Bioenvironmental Engineering 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 (e.g. Cook, SEBS, etc.) Scholars Programs:

  • Senior year: Enroll in Slade Scholars or Cook Honors Program. Take six credits of Honors Research, (e.g., 650:491 and 650:492 for Slade Scholars), which count as course credits towards the M.S. Honors research can become the thesis topic for the M.S. degree. Students can take up to 3 graduate courses, if prepared. Please note that courses used to satisfy B.S. requirements may not be used to satisfy M.S. requirements (i.e., no "double counting").
  • Fifth year: Three graduate courses and three credit hours of research each semester.
  • Summer (and perhaps fall) following fifth year: Write M.S. thesis and defend.

Note: Students can change advisors at the end of their fourth year. The Slade Scholar research topic does not necessarily have to be the M.S. thesis topic.

Application Procedure

  1. A completed B.S. - M.S. Degree Application Form
    The Application Form can be accessed by clicking here.
  2. A current transcript
  3. A brief personal statement
  4. Two letters of recommendation