M.S. / M.B.A. Dual-degree Program

Offered by Graduate Programs in Software (GPS) department and Evening MBA - Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas. Attend a Graduate Programs in Software Information Session to learn why this may be the right program for you.

Businesses today are challenged to use information technology efficiently to support ongoing operations and to align the business’s investments in information technology with its strategic goals.  In the future, it is expected that those businesses will have recognized and developed whole new lines of business and ways of doing business that will be based on the opportunities offered by rapidly developing information technology. To get to that future will require leaders with managerial competence, business vision, and a sound understanding of the technology that is the foundation of those changes.

Currently organizations face the challenge of effectively using computer and information technology to meet their needs. This requires individuals who understand the needs of the organization and the challenges it faces in terms of day-to-day operations and opportunities for growth, and who understand computer and information technology, its potential and limitations.  Only by understanding both can an individual align computer and information technology use with the organization’s operations and goals and recognize opportunities for growth through new uses of the technology.  This MS/MBA dual-degree program addresses the need for such individuals.

The MS/MBA dual-degree program is based on the existing University of St. Thomas Evening MBA degree program and the existing MS degree programs of Graduate Programs in Software (GPS). The dual-degree program will allow a student to share courses between the MBA and MS programs. This sharing of courses means a student can complete both degrees sooner and with significantly fewer courses than if the two degrees were earned separately, without changing the requirements or compromising the quality of either degree.

The dual-degree program is open to both new students and University of St. Thomas students currently pursuing either an MBA or MS.  To be in the dual-degree program the student must apply to both the MBA and MS programs and both programs must accept the application. Current students need only apply to the second program (MS students apply to the MBA program, MBA students apply to the MS program), but they must let both programs know they wish to be in the dual-degree program.

University of St. Thomas Evening MBA alumni may be eligible to return to complete a Master of Science degree with the GPS department for as few as eight additional courses.*  St. Thomas Evening MBA alumni should contact the GPS program for more information at 651-962-5500 or gradsoftware@stthomas.edu

Graduate Programs in Software alumni may be eligible to complete the University of St. Thomas Evening MBA for as few as nine additional courses.*  GPS alumni should contact Evening MBA Admissions for details at 651-962-4200 or eveningmba@stthomas.edu if interested in pursuing an MBA at the University
of St. Thomas.

*Eligibility and the number of additional courses required for the second degree depend on when you graduated and what courses you took while earning your first degree.

A student earning the joint MS/MBA degree will be required to complete 42 credits toward the MS
and 51 credits toward the MBA. However, the student will count four courses (12 credits) from the
MS program as electives in the MBA, and either four courses (12 credits if in the software management major) or  two courses (6 credits if in the software engineering major) from the MBA program in the MS.

The result would be that rather than the 31 courses (93 credits required) to earn the two degrees separately, a student would need 23 courses (69 credits) for the MBA and an MS (software management major) or 25 courses (75 credits) for the MBA and an MS (software engineering major). Because each academic unit is accepting coursework taken in the other’s program, the joint degree allows a student to finish two degrees in 12 or 13 semesters instead of 16 semesters.

MS/MBA Dual Degree

Major:   Software Management   Major:   Software Engineering
  18 MS only credits (SEIS)     24 MS only credits (SEIS)
  12 MS shared credits     12 MS shared credits
  12 MBA shared credits      6 MBA shared credits
  27 MBA only credits     33 MBA only credits
  = 69 credits total     = 75 credits total

Duration: 12 semesters (software management major) or 13 semesters (software engineering major)

Applicants for the MS/MBA dual-degree program must apply separately for admission to Graduate Programs in Software and the Evening MBA at the University of St. Thomas. The applicant must meet the separate admission requirements for each degree. Each program must accept the applicant if he/she is to pursue the MS/MBA dual degree program. Admission to one will not ensure admission to the other. An applicant admitted to one degree program but denied admission to the other degree program cannot pursue the MS/MBA dual degree.

An applicant who wants to be sure that he or she will be able to pursue the MS/MBA should apply to GPS for admission to the MS program and also to the Evening MBA for the St. Thomas MBA program. The priority deadlines for application to GPS are August 1 for the fall semester and January 1 for the spring semester. The priority deadlines for application to the Evening MBA program are June 1 for the fall semester and November 1 for the spring semester.

Applicants may apply to start both programs as a dual-degree student in the same term. Or an applicant may elect to begin one program and later, while a student in the first program, add the second program as part of a dual-degree program. The student must be accepted by the second program and they must inform the original program of their intent to change to a dual-degree program in order to change to the MS/MBA dual degree program. Students who begin in only one program may apply to the second program to pursue the dual degree any time before graduation from the first program. Students who begin one program and later move to the dual-degree program may not be able to apply all completed coursework to the dual-degree program. For example, an MS degree in software engineering student who has chosen to take multiple elective courses early in their career may have more MS electives than can be used in the dual-degree program.

Current St. Thomas students in either an MBA or MS program may join the dual degree program by applying and being accepted to the other program and declaring their intention to pursue the dual degree. If the other program does not accept the applicant the student would continue in their existing program without change.

Both the MS and MBA are part-time programs and can be completed on a part-time basis taking classes evenings and weekends.

Although a dual-degree student will receive two separate degrees and two separate diplomas, all of the degree requirements for both degrees must be completed by the student before the University of St. Thomas will award either degree.  St. Thomas will award both degrees at the same time, the end of the semester in which the student completes all requirements for both degrees.  Because of this the elapsed time from when a student begins his/her program until he/she has a master's degree on his/her record will be greater than  if he/she were in either the MBA or MS program alone.  Students for whom the time to complete a degree is an important consideration should keep this in mind.

Also, a student in the dual-degree program may opt out of the program to complete either just the MBA or just the MS.  A student who does this might find that he/she will take longer to complete the single degree and have to take more courses to complete the single degree than if he/she had never been in the dual-degree program.  This can occur because the MBA degree program will permit only four courses from the MS program and the MS degree program either four (software management major) or two (software engineering major) courses from the MBA to count as electives.  Thus it is possible to have completed extra electives that will not count towards graduation.  How much extra time and how many extra courses will vary from case to case. It will depend on how long the student had been in the dual-degree program, which courses the student had completed, and which single degree the student decides to complete. 

Students may choose to enroll in only MS courses, only MBA courses, or a mix during any semester.