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fast track to master's

Fast-Track Program

This program enables exceptionally gifted senior undergraduate students to include master’s level courses in their undergraduate degree plans. When a successful Fast-Track student graduates with the BS degree, he or she is automatically admitted to graduate school at UT Dallas without need to take the Graduate Records Exam. The number of hours required to complete the MS degree will be reduced by the number of Fast-Track graduate hours completed by the student with grades of B or better. So, for example, if a Fast-Track student took 12 hours of well-chosen graduate course work while she was an undergraduate, and earned grades of A or B in all these courses, she would have only 33-12 = 21 hours of graduate coursework left in order to complete her MS degree.

This document explains the qualifications necessary to enter the program, the requirements to complete the program successfully, and the procedures to be followed by Fast-Track students.


An undergraduate qualifies to be admitted unconditionally to the Fast-Track program if he or she meets all of the following qualifications:

  • Completed at least 15 hrs at UT Dallas
  • Within 30 hours of graduation
  • An overall GPA for all college courses of at least 3.0.
  • A GPA in quantitative work of at least 3.3.
  • Completion of at least six of the following specified courses, corresponding to the student’s choice of major, with an average grade of at least 3.5:


Computer Science Software Engineering
CS 2305 Discrete Math I CS 2305 Discrete Math I
CS 3305 Discrete Math II SE 2370 Math Foundations for SE
CS/SE 3345 Algorithms and Data Str. CS/SE 3345 Algorithms and Data Str.
CS 4337 Programming Languages CS/SE 3354 Software Engineering
CS/SE 4340 Computer Architecture CS/SE 4340 Computer Architecture
CS/SE/TE 4348 Operating Systems CS/SE/TE 4348 Operating Systems
CS 4349 Adv. Algorithms and Data Str. SE 4351 Software Requirements
CS 4384 Automata theory SE 4352 Software Architecture
Electrical Engineering Telecommunications Engineering
EE 3300 Advanced Engineering Math I CS 2305 Discrete Math I
EE/TE 3301 Electrical Network Analysis TE 3307 Discrete Math II
EE/TE 3302 Signals and Systems TE 3346 Algorithms and Data Structures
EE 3310 Electronic Devices CS/SE/TE 4348 Operating Systems
EE 3311 Electronic Circuits EE/TE 3301 Circuits
EE 3320 Digital Circuits EE/TE 3302 Signals and Systems
  EE/TE 3341 Probability and Statistics
  EE 3350 Communications Systems

Conditional Admittance:

A student may gain conditional admittance if, during the semester that he or she applies to join the program, the student is taking courses that will complete the requirements listed above. Students who fail to meet these conditions at the end of their semester of application may be removed from the Fast-Track program. Any graduate credits earned at that time will be applied to the undergraduate degree, but none of the other benefits of membership of the Fast-Track program will apply.

Choice of MS Degree and Cross-Tracking:

Fast-Track students who graduate with a BS in one program within the ECS School may request admittance to a different MS program in that school. Fast-Track courses taken during the undergraduate senior year must be well chosen so that they both satisfy the requirements of the BS degree and those of the intended MS degree. For example, CS seniors may elect to Fast-Track into the CE MS programin the school. Such students may, with the advice of the College Master or an Academic Advisor, fulfill their undergraduate guided electives and free electives by taking graduate level courses that are either prerequisites or required courses for their intended MS program.

Graduate Courses that can be Taken as a Fast-Track Student:

It is always best to consult an Academic Advisor or the College Master before deciding on the graduate courses that you wish to take. Only organized 5000 and 6000 level courses can be used as Fast-Track courses. An organized course is one that is advertised in the schedule for classroom (or online) delivery. Independent study courses do not qualify. Students are discouraged from taking more than one 5000 level course. The reason is that the maximum benefit of the Fast-Track program comes from maximizing progress towards fulfilling the 6000 level requirements of the MS degree. Only one 5000 level course can be used to satisfy the requirements of the MS degree. Students should also avoid taking certain graduate level courses for which they have already taken an equivalent undergraduate course. Here is a list of current forbidden pairs:

Java Programming
CS 3336 and CS 5336
Algorithms and Data Structures
CS 3345 and CS 5343
Software Engineering
CS 3354 and CS 5354
CS 3375 and CS 5375
Computer Architecture
CS 4340 and CS 5341
Operating Systems
CS 4348 and CS 5348
Artificial Intelligence
CS 4365 and CS 6364
CS 4376 and CS 6359
Automata Theory
CS 4384 and CS 5349
CS 4390 and CS 5390
Digital Communications
EE 4360 and EE 6352
Intro’ to Wireless Communication
EE 4365 and EE 6390

The graduate courses in this list may be taken in place of the equivalent undergraduate courses.

Number of Graduate courses that a Fast-Track Student can take:

In order to qualify for the Fast-Track privileges noted in the summary above, students must complete at least two and at most five graduate courses, with grades of B or better, before graduating with the BS degree. If a student takes x hours of well chosen graduate courses under Fast-Track rules, and earns grades of at least B in these courses, the MS hours requirement for that student will be reduced by x.

In addition to the Fast-Track program, senior undergraduates may also take up to 12 hours of graduate course work to be used either for credit towards the undergraduate degree or the graduate degree. See the College Master for permission.

Applying for admission to the Fast-Track Program:

Please click here for information from the Office of Undergraduate Advising (OUGA).

Applying to take graduate courses once admitted to Fast-Track:

To apply for graduate courses that will be completed before you graduate with your BS degree, you must obtain the College Master’s signature on a special registration form. You can obtain the form by clicking on the appropriate link below. The College Master will check that you are eligible for the classes you want to take, that they fit into your undergraduate and graduate degree plans, and that you are not exceeding the 15-hour limit for Fast-Track courses. You will have to take this form to Records in person in order to register.

To apply for graduate courses during your last semester as an undergraduate, use the regular course registration form, or apply online or via touchtone. You will not need the College Master’s signature at this time.

Requirements for staying in the Fast-Track program:

You must maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must earn grades of B or better in your graduate courses.

Transition to the MS degree:

Assuming that you graduate in good standing as a Fast-Track student, a graduate matriculation will have already been created for you. There is no need to apply for admission to graduate school; no application fee or letters of reference are required, and you need not take the GRE exam. The hours required for you to complete your MS degree

will be adjusted according to the number of graduate hours you completed with grades of B or better under the Fast-Track program.

Taking a break in between the two degrees:

You may take off one long semester, plus a summer, before starting your studies as a graduate student. If you do take a break, you will not lose any of your Fast-Track privileges, but you may be required to complete an application form when you return to UT Dallas. Consult the officials in the Records department on your return.

Taking breaks during graduate studies; a minimum course load:

Once you are a graduate student, you are governed by the rules for all graduate students. There is no minimum course load, and you can take breaks, as outlined above, so long as you complete the requirements of your MS degree within 6 years.