BACS from TESU then MSDS from UT

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by deoniceo, Jan 11, 2023.

  1. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    Thanks to this wonderful forum and the sister site, I began my BACS from TESU last October knowing I could speed through remedial learning and quickly move to degree-focused material. I've been a professional developer for the last 25 years. I went straight into development after getting my MCP certification. I've added various certifications along the way.

    Now, I want to transition into data science, and feel the degree-path is warranted.

    Currently - 30 credits earned

    ASU (Calculus I) - 3
    TESU (SOS-110) - 3
    Sophia - 18
    CLEP (from 25 years ago) - 6
    I am trying to decide between the following two plans:

    Plan A:

    Sophia - 57 total credits
    Study - 27 total credits
    CLEP - 6 total credits

    ASU - 3 credits
    TESU ePack - 18 credits
    TESU - SOS-110, COS-451, and capstone rounding it out
    Plan B:

    Sophia - 57 total credits
    Study - 27 total credits
    CLEP - 6 total credits

    ASU - 3 credits
    TESU ePack - 6 credits
    TESU - SOS-110, COS-451, COS-351, COS-311, COS-111, COS-241, and capstone rounding it out
    If I take Plan A, I think I can finish my BACS by May. But, I will only have 4 grades on my transcript. The rest of the courses will show as "CR". Any experience from the community on if that would impact acceptance when applying to a graduate program, like the MSDS at UT?
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  2. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

  3. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    I considered TECEP, but they don't count towards RA credits. For me, Sophia/Study are a better fit for Non-RA credits. I am looking to maximize the number of self-study RA courses.

    I am enrolled in ASU Universal Learner now, and I see a number of self study courses available (excluding CSE-110). However, my experience with Calculus I left me hesitant. I entered the final exam feeling very prepared after acing the practice exam, but it covered a number of questions from earlier sections I had forgotten and were not on the practice final. I still did well on the course (87 overall), but if I am going to invest that much time I want a very strong grade.

    The e-Packs appear as CR on your transcript, meaning you are less focused on the final grade impacting your GPA. That benefit could also be a downside depending on how an MS program views them.

    If I take 6 e-Packs, I will be taking 5 in one term, so the cost will be $955 per e-Pack. I would then take the final one when I take the last 3 courses from TESU. That is more expensive than ASU, but it consists of only quizzes and a final.

    As far as cost - I worked out that the BACS will be right around $10k either way. I would rather speed it along versus try to reduce the cost further unless that speed costs me acceptance into an MS program.

    I am very open to alternative suggestions though. This is why I posted :)
  4. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    TECEPs do count to your RA credit totals. They do not count toward your residency totals. You only need 16 credits of residency to avoid the waiver fee. The rest can come from anywhere else. TECEPs, TEL Learning, ASU, and even free/low cost credits from Finnish universities.

    I took CSE110 in 2020 (along with several other courses). It was really good as far as course contents vs. exam goes. It felt a bit slow at times, but maybe they've fixed that. Most ASU classes are going to be easier than their Calculus course with respect to the final exam. I tried their Calculus class and dropped it because it was nothing like what I was expecting based on their other classes.

    With ePacks, I believe that you are not allowed to do a term consisting solely of ePacks, as you have outlined. You must take at least one regular class, IIRC, to trigger the flat-rate costs.
  5. LevelUP

    LevelUP Active Member

    I agree with Rachel83az that your plan seems to be flawed.

    You seem to be confused with the RA and residency requirements at TESU.

    There is a 30 RA requirement at TESU. TECEPs DO COUNT for RA credit.

    There is a 16-credit residency requirement at TESU, or you have to pay the residency fee of $3288 when you graduate. TECEPs won't count towards the residency requirement as they must be either TESU courses or e-Packs.

    If you do a flat-rate term at TESU, the cost is $4778. For BS CS, you typically would take:
    Software Engineering (UL requirement easy A course)
    e-Pack intro to computers
    Pick another e-Pack or do an easy TESU course such as Critical Reasoning.
    PLA-100 (1cr course)

    With e-Packs, you take some risk of failing, which wastes your time/money, and you don't save any time versus a regular course unless you have a large amount of previous knowledge. (If you can pass the practice exam with zero studying)

    It's not hard to earn a high GPA at TESU, considering you don't pick courses that have grades heavily weighted toward exams.

    If you plan on doing a master's degree, then you should probably take all graded courses during your flat-rate term.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  6. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    Thanks for the feedback from both of you. I was not aware of the e-Pack term restriction. I will also give ASU another look. My main reason for backing away from that direction was the tediousness of Calculus and the difference between the final and the practice final.

    LevelUp, I think your post also answered my original question regarding the master's program.

    I will revisit my original plan versus plan A/B outlined above.
  7. LevelUP

    LevelUP Active Member

    Calculus is a high DFW course for most colleges, including WGU. People have spent hundreds of hours studying and still failed. It's not a course you take willy-nilly as if it were U.S. History I or some standard G.E. course.

    The easiest way to do Calculus is probably through Sophia though that is water under the bridge.

    TESU Cost
    $4778 Flat-rate term 16 RA credit (also meets residency requirement)
    $780 TECEPs 15 RA credit
    $298 Graduation fee
    $5856 Total cost

    $10,000 Your previous plan
    $5856 Most efficient plan
    $4144 Savings

    $4144 Savings
    $622 15% Commission check to DF member (jk)
    $3522 Net savings

    You can do ASU for RA credit. It's only $25 per course, so you can quit if you don't like it. Then it's $400 to transcribe the course for credit once you pass with the desired grade.

    However, ASU is more expensive than TECEPs or other options, and your ASU grades won't show on your TESU transcript, nor will they be calculated in your GPA. You must send your ASU transcript separately if a college asks for it.

    Regarding how many graded credits you need for a master's, this may depend on the college. I haven't heard of many situations where colleges require more than 30 graded credits, except for law school. People who graduate from WGU have zero graded credits yet can get into GeorgiaTech and other T150 college graduate programs. TESU's 16 graded credits should be fine for most schools though I suggest checking with schools and seeing what their requirements are.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  8. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    @deoniceo One, you've completed a portion of the degree plan template and addendum, but it's still missing a few things. We know your age, budget, location, degree and institution you want to get the degree from but we're missing the ACE/RA credits and list of certs you already have completed. It's best to provide us your commitments, dedicated time to study, if you have any tuition assistance/reimbursement, and a timeline of when you want to have the Bachelors plus Masters completed. I suggest you update us with a reply to this post by following the sister board link here: New to DegreeForum? How this Area works!

    Two, Your plan is solid! TESU BACS is a great option, if you have the energy, money, time to complete another 4-5 courses, I would use the initial 10K or less towards a dual degree at TESU. BSBA CIS & BACS combo at TESU can be completed for the same price by maximizing your 16 residency credits. Both moderators LevelUp and Rachel83AZ on degree forum have created slightly different templates on the WIKI, I suggest you compare the two and customize it to your liking, the dual degree allows you to get into a management position or higher supervisory role down the road, it's well worth the ROI/Value.

    Three, Setting your eyes on the MSDS at UT-Austin is good, you've got a direction you intend to go into. Having said that, it's best to also have a backup plan or more options to see which one fits you better. Since UT-Austin is something you're looking at, they also have a MSCS (Comp Sci) for the exact same price which is also offered by at 10K each. If you can budget up to $15K, Coursera has two great backup options you may want to investigate further! It's basically, institution vs institution and their learning material is in conjunction with an Edx vs Coursera partnership.

    1) UT-A MSCS, 10K, 1.5-3 years: Master’s Degree in Computer Science (
    2) UT-A MSDS, 10K, 1.5-3 years: Master’s Degree in Data Science (
    3) ASU MSCS (Big Data), 15K, 1.5-3 years: Master of Computer Science - MCS by ASU | Coursera
    4) UofC-Boulder MSDS, 15.8K, 24 months: Master of Science in Data Science | Coursera
  9. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    I am open to other programs besides UT, but only interested in an MSDS graduate degree as I transition into that field. I would consider a dual degree if it requires minimal extra time/effort. Thanks again!

    Here is the information you requested:

    Education Reimbursements

    $2,500 per calendar year for grades of 80%+
    I used $2,000 in 2022 for the 2 RA credits below. I have $2,500 for 2023.

    Your Location: Texas, United States
    Your Age: 43
    What kind of degree do you want?: Masters in Data Science (only considering data science degrees)
    Current Regional Accredited Credits:

    TESU Credits: #3
    SOS-110, 3, 99% A

    ASU Credits: #3
    MAT-210, 3, 87% A

    Current ACE, CLEP, or NCCRS Credits:

    Sophia Credits: #21
    Introduction to Statistics, 3
    Ancient Greek Philosophers, 3
    English Composition I, 3
    US History II, 3
    College Algebra, 3
    US History I, 3
    Environmental Science, 3

    CLEP: #6
    Computer Science I, 3
    Computer Science II, 3

    Any certifications or military experience?
    MCITP - BI Developer
    MCSD (Expired)
    PMP (Expired)
    Licensed Texas Real Estate Agent

    I checked with my TESU advisor, and the MCITP certification and real estate license cannot be used there.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2023
  10. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    You're not critical to the degree name for TESU BACS, some people are only looking for BSCS even though the courses may be identical for all 40 of those required ones to complete the degree... it's just a name, I usually look at the courses required and if those subjects interest me or not. If you look at the links I sent to the ASU MSCS with concentration in Big Data or the plain jane MSCS at UT-Austin, you'll notice many of the courses taught are 'used' in several Data Science degrees.

    Coursera and Edx like to partner with 'recognized and well established' high ranking universities, their partnership programs are pretty top notch. Since I mentioned ASU MSCS, if you click the link, the header mentions earning a MSCS from a top 12 engineering program even though it's a CS program. And for those with an eagle eye, if you click the Big Data or Cybersecurity links to ASU's site, you'll notice they accidentally swapped the two program details as the corresponding courses are incorrect!

    Anyways, here's another Coursera partnership, it's roughly $21K, 1-3 years, U of Illinois, it's a Masters of Comp Sci, rated top 5 CS but also the #1 Data Science program. Again, it's just the name showing as Comp Sci, when the concentration is Data Science! As always, look at the academic courses required for the degree and see if they interest you, each curriculum differ greatly, it really depends on the student and their needs, the program has overlapping courses with the plain jane MSCS obviously. Master Of Computer Science (Illinois) | Coursera | Coursera

    Last but not least, the most expensive Coursera Masters Applied Data Science at over$34K, I wouldn't go for it just because it's coming from U of Michigan and whatever is mentioned on their page. I looked at their Academics and similar courses are taught at the $10-$15K offerings in MSCS or MSDS I mentioned above... prospective students really need to see what interests them most. Academics - Master of Applied Data Science | Coursera
  11. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    Thanks for the information! I've been adjusting my plan to take 15 credits through TECEP and looking at fitting in the BSBA degree as a possible option.
  12. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    I just completed the TECEP for CIS-107, and have 4 more scheduled this month. That was a good catch. TECEP being RA credits definitely helps to reduce the time and cost of the degree. I picked TECEP courses that either had a backup on Sophia, or were subjects I have familiarity with, so minimal studying required.

    Moving right along.

    Scheduled TECEP Exams:


    Total Credits: 51

    Current Regional Accredited Credits: 9

    TESU Credits: 3
    SOS-110, 3, 99% A

    TECEP Credits: 3
    CIS-107, 3

    ASU Credits: 3
    MAT-210, 3, 87% B

    Current ACE, CLEP, or NCCRS Credits: 42

    Sophia Credits: 33
    STA-201, Introduction to Statistics, 3
    FIN-200, Finance, 3
    ECO-111, Macroeconomics, 3
    ACC-101, Accounting, 3

    PHI-180, Ethics, 3
    PHI-226, Ancient Greek Philosophers, 3
    MAT-121, College Algebra, 3
    HIS-113, US History I, 3
    HIS-114, US History II, 3
    ENS-200, Environmental Science, 3
    English Composition I, 3 Credits: 3
    MAT-270, Discrete Math, 3

    CLEP: 6
    Computer Science I, 3
    Computer Science II, 3
    Rachel83az likes this.
  13. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    Hi all, I wanted to give a quick progress update along with a question/concern.

    My progress is below, but here is my question/concern:

    Some of the courses are getting applied to the BACS and BSBA academic evaluations in unexpected places, such as:

    For BSBA
    These are electives: COS-240, MAT-270, BUS-101, ENS-200
    And these fall under "Other Courses": BIO-208, COS-306

    I am wondering if this affects the overlap of courses between BACS and BSBA. I was expecting COS-306 and COS-240 to fall into AOS. As COS-306 doesn't. I am also curious what other courses may not apply how I am expecting.

    Credit Summary:

    Total: 78
    RA: 15
    UL: 3
    LL: 75

    Current Regional Accredited Credits: #15

    TECEP Credits: #9
    SOC-101 Introduction to Sociology
    CIS-107 Computer Concepts and Applications
    BUS-101 Introduction to Business

    TESU Credits: #3
    SOS-110, 99% A

    ASU Credits: #3
    MAT-210, 87% A

    Current ACE, CLEP, or NCCRS Credits: #63

    Study Credits: #18
    MAT-270 Discrete Math
    COM-290 Communications
    POS-110 Comparative Politics
    COS-241 Data Structures
    COS-240 Operating Systems
    CIS-311 Database Management

    Sophia Credits: #39
    ENG-101 English Composition I
    ENG-102 English Composition II
    PHI-180 Ethical Leadership
    STA-201 Introduction to Statistics
    FIN-200 Principles of Finance
    ECO-111 Macroeconomics
    MAT-121 College Algebra
    HIS-113 US History I
    HIS-114 US History II
    ENS-200 Environmental Science
    PHI-226 Ancient Greek Philosophers
    ART-221 Two Dimensional Design
    ACC-101 Financial Accounting

    CLEP: #6
    COS-102 Computer Science I
    COS-103 Computer Science II

    In-Progress Courses:


    COS-330 Computer Architecture
    CIS-301 Management Information Systems
  14. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    SteveFoerster likes this.
  15. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    A quick update. I have completed 105 of 120 credits towards my BACS degree and 96 of 120 credits towards my BSBA degree.

    A couple interesting things: 3 courses didn't apply to BSBA which did apply to BACS.

    I planned to complete both degrees by taking the following courses in a single term:

    COS-306 Computer Architecture - STUDY
    ITS-150 Computer Programming in Python - TESU (substitute for CIS-111 which is in Java)
    COS-451 Artificial Intelligence - TESU
    CIS-351 Software Engineering - TESU
    LIB-495 Liberal Arts Capstone - TESU
    BUS-421 Business Admin Capstone - TESU
    BUS-210 Qualitative Skills for Business - STUDY (Brief Calculus doesn't satisfy this requirement for some reason)

    I am finding that combining these two degrees while minimizing extra courses is a little trickier in practice than on paper because of these three rules:

    1) Only 3 AOS courses can overlap between them.
    2) For BACS 18 AOS credits must be upper level
    3) For BSBA 12 AOS credits must be upper level

    Currently, these 3 courses overlap between the AOS:

    CIS-301 Management Information Systems
    CIS-311 Database Management
    CIS-351 Software Engineering (which for BSBA is getting applied to group 4 AOS instead of the Systems Design requirement).

    And COS-451 is not getting applied to the BSBA degree due to the overlap.

    As such, I still have to take some additional classes to make this work:

    1) A course to satisfy Systems Design for BSBA that is not CIS-351, TESU recommends CIS-320
    2) An additional upper level AOS course for BSBA
    3) A course to satisfy the Social Sciences requirement for BSBA

    Any ideas on these alternative courses would be much appreciated. Preferably through or Sophia.
    Dustin likes this.
  16. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    I know you said SDC or Sophia, but Coursera has some UL courses that can count toward the BACS but not the BSBA. These can be finished relatively cheaply and easily. Then COS-451 could be applied to the BSBA, assuming it qualifies.
  17. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    If you’re interested in MSDS programs there are also the following, albeit, more expensive than UT-Austin:

    1. UC Berkeley MIDS (Masters in Information and Data Science
    2. Rice MDS (Masters in Data Science)
    3. University of Virginia MSDS (Master of Science in Data Science)
    4. University of Michigan MADS (Masters of Applied Data Science)

    All are top-tier public universities like UT-Austin that may be of interest to you. I am not as well-versed as others on the steps you’re taking to earn your BACS and BSBA but figured a few more recommendations program-wise would not hurt.
  18. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    Thanks for the feedback. I realized I had left out CIS-302 Systems Design from my plan, and that would round on the BSBA.

    I am just working out the details of which courses are available through TESU for the July term at this point.
  19. deoniceo

    deoniceo New Member

    I'm happy to report that as of November 19th, I finished all my courses required for both a BACS and BSBA in CIS.

    I will say that taking BIS-421, LIB-495, CIS-351, COS-495, and a lower level programming course from both TESU and ASU within the same semester, while holding down a full time job and family duties is not for the faint of heart. It gets real busy approaching the last week of classes!

    I just need to wait for the ASU grade to be transferred over to TESU and do some paperwork.

    Thanks for all the advice and recommendations. Particularly from Rachel83az and AsianStew!

    On to the next chapter...
  20. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Great stuff! Apply to the ones mentioned previously for the Masters options! I highly suggest anything that's offered by Coursera/EDX that is within budget... Apply to those that are to your liking and maybe have one or two as backup options just in case your first choice doesn't go through.

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