Bay State Programs

For the strongest computer science undergraduates at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as well as at the participating five-colleges, the College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) offers students three special opportunities to enter its Master's of Science in Computer Science degree program.

  1. The Bay State Master's Program provides a hassle-free admissions process for students who meet the program requirements. In addition, the program provides a tuition scholarship worth approximately 10% of the MS tuition. Students satisfying the requirements will be automatically admitted upon application to the program. In addition, the Graduate School will waive the application fee for applicants who are currently enrolled as undergraduates at UMass Amherst (or one of the Five College campuses).
  2. The Bay State Scholars Program builds upon the Baystate Master's Program and provides a tuition scholarship worth approximately 50% of the MS tuition for students who meet the requirements outlined below.
  3. The Bay State Fellowship Program builds upon the Bay State Master's Program by providing a 10 hour per week working assistantship, a full tuition credit, and a 95% waiver for health fees. A short CICS application is required for entry to this program. The College expects to award at least eight Bay State Fellowships annually.

More details about each of the programs is provided below. Bay State programs are also open to students at participating Five-Colleges (details are pending for each institution, please check with CICS for the most recent information).

Why should students consider a Bay State program? A CS master's degree is an invaluable investment.  With this degree, salaries in the computer industry are significantly higher, work opportunities are often more interesting, and the program provides an in-depth look at the frontiers of research in a rapidly developing field.

How does the MS program work? The Computer Science Master's degree is a 30 credit hour residential program. The degree can consist of ten 3 credit classes, or eight classes, along with a 6 credit Master's project. Student coursework must also include 4 Master's program core classes. Up to six credits of previous work -- for example, graduate courses taken while an undergraduate not used to satisfy undergraduate computer science requirements -- may be applied to the 30 credit MS requirement. Some MS work -- for example, the 6 credit project -- may be done during the summer.

NOTE: The Bay State Fellowship program that ran through 2016 became extremely popular, and unfortunately its popularity has made its previous goals financially unsustainable. The newly redesigned admissions mechanism and support structure described here apply to all students who hope to enter the MS program starting in 2017. 

Requirements and Qualifications

To be eligible for the program, an undergraduate must have completed one of the computer science Bachelor of Arts/Science programs, and must have taken at least 15 of the College's required 20 technical courses at the Amherst campus (and thus transfer students are eligible to participate in the program). 

Application Process

Students who wish to participate in the Scholars or Fellows programs, should set up a meeting with Prof. Robert Moll. Fellowship applicants need to complete the (brief) application process by the deadlines listed. Additional questions can be directed to the Graduate Program Manager, Leeanne Leclerc

Bay State Master's Program

Students who meet the requirements below at the beginning of the final semester of their senior year will be automatically admitted to the Master of Science in Computer Science program with a scholarship in the amount of approximately 10% of the billed tuition. (The University also requires that students make a formal application to the University Graduate School.)

  • a GPA of 3.4 or higher and
  • a B+ or better in COMPSCI 311

Students will be notified of their acceptance to the program in early January for Fall admission, early November for Spring admission. 

Bay State status may be rescinded for those students who do not maintain the GPA minimum through their final semester or who do not complete requirements that were to be completed that semester.

Bay State Scholars Program

Students who meet the following requirements at the beginning of their final semester will be automatically admitted to the Master of Science in Computer Science program and, upon matriculation, will be awarded the status of Bay State Scholar.  With this designation, a student will receive an approximately 50% tuition scholarship for up to four semesters. (The University also requires that students make a formal application to the University Graduate School.)

  • a GPA of 3.6 or higher and
  • a B+ or better in COMPSCI 311 and
  • have completed (or will complete in the final semester) an advanced mathematics class such as COMPSCI 501- Formal Language Theory; COMPSCI 513- Logic in CS; COMPSCI 575/MATH513- Combinatorics and Graph Theory; or Math 411- Abstract Algebra

Students will be notified of their acceptance to the program in late January for Fall admission, early November for Spring admission. 

A student who qualifies for the Bay State Scholar program must begin the Master's program within one year of graduation.

Bay State status may be rescinded for those students who do not maintain the GPA minimum through their final semester or who do not complete requirements that were to be completed that semester.

Bay State Fellowship Program

Students who meet the requirements listed below at the beginning of their final semester, will be eligible to apply for the Bay State Fellowship program.  Bay State Fellows join the Master of Science in Computer Science program and will be awarded a 10 hours per week working assistantship** which will provide them with a tuition credit, a discounted health fee/plan and a small supplemental stipend (at the college rate) for up to four semesters. (The University also requires that students make a formal application to the University Graduate School.)

  • a GPA of 3.7 or higher and
  • a B+ or better in COMPSCI 311 and
  • have completed (or will complete in the final semester) an advanced mathematics class such as COMPSCI 501- Formal Language Theory; COMPSCI 513- Logic in CS; COMPSCI 575/MATH513- Combinatorics and Graph Theory; or Math 411- Abstract Algebra and
  • have completed (or will complete in the final semester) a one-semester independent study project (for example, an honors project)

To be considered for an assistantship position, students must provide a one-page application, due January 31 for Fall admission/October 1 for Spring admission, that outlines professional interests and goals as well as an identified faculty contact who can comment on the student's teaching or research promise.  In addition to academic achievement other factors, such as programming skill, financial need, and faculty recommendation, will also be taken into consideration. A UMass Amherst transcript should accompany the application.

We will award a minimum of eight Bay State Fellowships each year.  

Students will be notified of their acceptance to the program in early February for Fall admission, early November for Spring admission. 

Students who qualify for the Bay State Fellowship program must begin the Master's program within one year of graduation.

Bay State status may be rescinded for those students who do not maintain the GPA minimum through their final semester or who do not complete requirements that were to be completed that semester.

**Stipend and fee waiver subject to availability of funds. Bay State Fellows make a corresponding commitment to the educational or research mission of the College upon matriculation, either by serving as half-time, working teaching assistants, research assistants or project assistants. The nature of a student's assistantship will be determined at the discretion of the College. The assistantship stipend is not intended to fully cover living expenses and other required fees.