I have a BA and an MA in biological anthropology/bioarchaeology (as well as all my PhD coursework done, go me). I left that field and academia in general several years ago and ended up landing a job as a web dev/computer programmer, which is a skill set I learned in high school and never once studied formally in college or grad school.

I'm really in love with my current field however, and would like to get a degree in comp sci. After looking around, it seems a lot of local departments don't admit students at the undergraduate level who already have bachelor's degrees, so my option is to go in at the graduate level.

Biggest problem is my first two degrees don't do much for me in terms of satisfying prereqs for admission into an engineering MS program. I had to take lots of stats, for example, but no calc or discrete math. Additionally, I need to knock out a whole bunch of comp sci courses, many of which are either upper division or not available at community colleges.

Has anyone out there done this before? If so, how did you get the upper div or otherwise difficult-to-find-outside-of-a-major-university prereqs?


1 Answer 1


An anecdotal answer -

I am in an identical situation; I had done a bachelors in business admin and then an M.A. in economics.

My passion later turned out to be mathematics and I was unable to get admitted to an undergraduate program (or at least one where they would allow me to skip the electives).

What I did to overcome this was select some universities I wanted to attend and made appointments with the graduate program directors. I then went to see them in person and explained my situation and what I was hoping to accomplish. I then asked what options would be available to someone in my situation.

One of the graduate directors was very receptive to my case and admitted me into something called a "Qualifying year." I am technically a graduate student, but will be taking upper-level undergraduate courses for a year to get the background necessary for graduate level course-work. After this year, I have the option to apply to transfer into the full graduate program or apply to a different university.

A similar option may be available to you, though I imagine every university handles these things differently. Could be worth just going in and asking.

  • Thank for your answer! Do you know anything about extension or distance learning for upper division course work? Part of the problem I'd have is that I don't live close enough to any universities to do anything (even a qualifying year) full time (also, I work full time and am the primary breadwinner in my family). If admitted to an MS program, I'd probably need to go PT and commute, but if there's funding options we'll see...
    – Kale
    Apr 12, 2013 at 16:07
  • @Kale I am unsure on distance learning. I know athabasca was a popular choice among some of my peers though I have no experience with them.
    – user4383
    Apr 17, 2013 at 21:17

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