Accelerated BS to MS Program

The Accelerated BS to MS Program for Information Science majors interested in pursuing either the MSIQ or MSIQ after graduation is intended to serve as a fast path for completing their Master’s degree in either Information Quality or Information Science following completion of an undergraduate degree in Information Science, condensing what would normally be about six years of study into five years. There are several reasons for why we wish to offer this Accelerated BS to MS degree option:

  • Many of our undergraduate students are interested in graduate education as a way to further enhance their career opportunities. An Accelerated BS to MS program make graduate education more accessible and affordable to students interested in pursuing advanced studies.
  • Our undergraduate students are well prepared to enter our graduate program and obtaining a Master’s in Information Quality or Information Science is advantageous for individuals pursuing positions that involve working with large amounts of data.
  • The Master of Science in Information Quality prepares students to pursue a variety of data assurance careers such as Information Quality Manager, Information Quality Analyst, Information Quality Consultant, and Information Quality System Developer. Our students have been well received by the market and we expect demand for individuals with this skill set to grow.
  • Our newly created Master of Science in Information Sciences prepares students to pursue a variety of data careers such as Data Scientist, Data Analyst, Systems Analyst, and Data Architect. Individuals with advanced skills for working with large, unstructured data shared among a complex array of information systems/technologies are in high demand and this demand is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

The BS and MS Curriculum

The BS in Information Science (IFSC) is 120 credits. Both the MS in Information Quality (MSIQ) and MS in Information Science (MSIS) are 33 credits each. Under this program students are allowed to double count 12 credits of graduate courses so they can complete both their BS and desired MS program in 5 years. These 12 credits would satisfy their IFSC undergraduate elective requirements as well as satisfying course requirements in their MS graduate degree (either MSIQ or MSIS).

Application Process

Students are strongly encouraged to apply to the Accelerated BS to MS program (either MSIQ or MSIS) before the end of their junior year to help ensure that they have the full subsequent year to begin taking appropriate courses for graduate credit, lessening the course load they will need to carry in their fifth year. Faculty advisers for undergraduate students will help promote the program and to identify eligible students who show good potential for the program.

  • Undergraduate students may apply and be accepted any time after completing 75 hours or more of undergraduate coursework. Students must have completed MATH 1451 Calculus I (or acceptable transfer work) with a C or better.
  • All applicants must have at least an overall GPA of 3.5. Students who have transferred to our program can participate in the Accelerated BS to MS program provided their relevant transfer coursework (i.e., courses taken at other institutions that are being used to meet our IFSC degree requirements) also meets the 3.5 minimum GPA criteria. The GRE requirement for the MS program is waived for students with an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Students with an overall GPA between 3.2 and 3.5 may apply using the GRE option. Students taking the GRE who score in the 50th percentile or higher for Verbal and Quantitative can enter the Accelerated BS to MS program with a lesser GPA. Applicants with an overall GPA of less than 3.2 are not eligible to participate in the Accelerated BS to MS program.
  • All applicants must complete an application for and be accepted into the MS program (Information Quality or Information Science) and Graduate School.
  • All applicants must complete an Accelerated BS to MS Program form and have it approved by the Graduate Coordinator and Graduate School. This form must be approved before the student begins graduate coursework. Failure to obtain prior approval negates the ability to “double count” courses.
  • Once accepted into the program, students need to maintain at least a 3.0 overall average in their undergraduate coursework and per UALR Graduate School Guidelines, a 3.0 overall average in their graduate coursework.
  • Once a completed application has been received by the Information Science Department, the student will be notified quickly, generally within 30 days, whether they have been accepted into the MSIQ Accelerated BS to MS or the MSIS Accelerated BS to MS program. The program accepts a limited number of students each year, and applicants will be considered for admission on a competitive basis.
    Acceptance into the Accelerated BS to MS program indicates a commitment by the student to pursue the MS degree (either MSIQ or MSIS) after the completion of the BS in Information Science.
  • Students may request a break of up to two semesters between the completion of their BS and the start of their MSIQ or MSIS courses per the UALR Graduate Student Leave of Absence Policy (Policy #509.12). However, if a student does not resume their graduate studies after their approved leave time expires, the student will then be released from the Accelerated BS to MS Program. The student is then welcome to apply to either the MSIQ or MSIS programs using the regular admission process and to be advised accordingly.
  • Both the IQ and IS graduate programs also offer the option of a Graduate Certificate in Information Quality (4 courses) or a Graduate Certificate in Information Science (4 courses). Students will be encouraged to complete the four courses that make up the Graduate Certificate in their desired area (IQ or IS) first. While any four courses of the MS could be taken by the student while they are an undergraduate, taking the four courses that make up the certificate allows the student to at least complete a Graduate Certificate in conjunction with their BS if they choose not to finish the MS.
    Note: Students interested in earning the Graduate Certificate in additional the MS degree will need to request admission to both programs.
  • Both the MSIS and MSIQ are offered using distance technologies so it is possible for students to complete these graduate degrees remotely.

A Completed Application Consists of

  • Completed graduate application form for the UALR Graduate School
  • Completed Accelerated BS to MS Program form specifying either the MSIS or MSIQ program
  • Transcript including transferred courses (Note: GPA must be recalculated to include all relevant transfer work being applied towards the completion of the BS in Information Science)
  • Written statements of career goals and reasons for applying to the Accelerated BS + MS program of their choice (either MSIQ or MSIS)
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a university faculty member (letters are to be submitted directly by recommenders)
  • Submit your application to the Accelerated BS to MS Program Coordinator. This person is currently Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, Information Science Chair, 550 EIT Building, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, AR 72204. Applications may be submitted by email to expierce@ualr.edu as a single WORD or PDF document.

Program Restrictions

  • To ensure that they follow the proper degree plan, students must meet with the Accelerated BS to MS Program Coordinator upon acceptance to the Accelerated BS to MS program to map out the graduate courses they will take.
  • Accepted students will have provisional status in the graduate program, pending the award of their baccalaureate degree.
  • If, at the end of his/her baccalaureate degree, an Accelerated BS to MS student has failed to meet the Graduate School admission requirement of a 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA with no grades below a B, she/he will be dismissed from the graduate program.
  • Students will be advised to review the Scholastic Standards of the UALR Graduate School (Policy #509.15) so they are aware that if they are academically dismissed from the Accelerated BS to MS program then they are not eligible to pursue any other graduate study options at UALR.
  • Students accepted into the Accelerated BS to MS program will be subject to the same policies as traditionally matriculated graduate students.
  • The Accelerated BS to MS program may not be used in conjunction with the credit reservation program (see Motion FS_2014_6 and its attachment that was passed May 9, 2014); therefore, no graduate courses taken before admission to the Accelerated BS to MS program may be applied to a graduate degree.