The catalog mentions something like that for EE and math.
Award of the Bachelor of Science degree may be followed by graduate
study leading to the Master of Science degree in electrical
engineering, and the more advanced degrees of Electrical Engineer
or Doctor of Philosophy. Because admission to graduate studies in
electrical engineering at Caltech is extremely competitive, the
Admissions Committee attempts to select those applicants it judges
both best qualified and best suited for the graduate program.
Applicants should submit Graduate Record Examination scores.
Entering graduate students are normally admitted directly to the
Ph.D. program, since the Institute does not offer a regular program
in mathematics leading to the master’s degree. A master’s
degree may be awarded in exceptional circumstances either as a
terminal degree or preliminary to the Ph.D. Sufficiently advanced
undergraduates may be admitted to graduate standing to pursue a
master’s degree simultaneously with the bachelor’s program.
In the non-engineering disciplines, an MS doesn't get you much. It usually costs money (for a PhD, you can often get funding from somewhere else), will include courses that you'll have to take for a PhD (if you plan to get one in the future) anyway, and probably does not make a big enough difference in the job market to justify it.
One thing that's similar to what o0CrazyGlue0o may be referring to is Caltech's "joint B.S./M.S." degree. I'm doing this from memory, but I recall that the Caltech catalog says that undergrads can get a B.S./M.S. if
1) They petition by the end of freshman year
2) They can complete all requirements for both the B.S. and the M.S. in 4 years
3) The option representative approves of this, or something like that.
Very few people even attempt to do this (on the order of one person every year), and the ones who do tend to do it in easier majors like Geology. (My next-door neighbor last year may have been the only one that year to get a joint degree, and she was in Geology.) In many respects the joint degree is worse than getting a double major, because a double major can usually be done in a reasonable number of units (i.e., close to 486, the number needed for any single B.S.). In contrast, the joint B.S./M.S. degree often requires something on the order of 486 + 135 = 621 units. Do this over 12 terms and it comes out to about 5.75 classes a term (i.e., extremely painful, really not worth it).
Found it on page 239 (it differs a little from your description, unless you inquired about it with your option or found a more detailed source of information):
Joint B.S./M.S. Degree. In exceptional cases, undergraduate students
may pursue a joint B.S./M.S. program of study in some
options. Several options do not allow a joint B.S./M.S. degree.
Students should contact the graduate option representative to find
out if the joint B.S./M.S. degree is possible in a particular option.
Such students must follow the normal procedures for admission to
the M.S. program in the option of their choice. Students attending
courses or carrying out research toward an M.S. degree before
completion of their B.S. degree requirements will be considered as
undergraduate students and will not be eligible for graduate financial
aid, graduate housing, or other graduate student privileges.
If your goal is to start working in an engineering firm w/ a Master's as soon as possible, Stanford is much better than Caltech. I think you can even get them both in 4 years w/out too much hardship since Stanford offers classes during the summer.
OTOH, there's no incentive for this in my opinion. If you want a job, go choose something truly lucrative like banking.
Hello, ------! Dr. ----- asked me to respond to your inquiry regarding a joint B.S./M.S. degree in Aeronautics. We do allow students to pursue a joint degree in extraordinary circumstances. We usually only have one student doing this per year. You must complete an application for admission to the MS program with the Graduate Office in the Center for Student Services, 2nd Floor, along with any other required paperwork if you decide later to pursue this.
You mention about the requirements being similar. However, you may not use any course that is used towards your BS degree requirements to count towards the graduate degree hours or requirements. So you would need to do 138 units above your BS degree. You cannot use a course that satisfies requirements for the Bachelor's degree in E&AS (Aeronautics) to fulfill the MS requirements. For instance, for the BS degree you must complete ACM 95abc. The MS degree requires 27 units in Applied Math. You may NOT use ACM 95 to fulfill that requirement because it fulfilled your BS requirement. You would have to choose to complete 27 units in ACM by taking another course or series of courses. You would need to complete a minimum of 624 total units (486 for the BS degree and 138 for the MS degree).
Please let me know if you need additional information.
Yeah, so the bottom line of my opinion is that this joint B.S./M.S. degree is a bad idea for everyone. If you're not the cream of the crop at Caltech, then even attempting it is close to suicidal. If you are the cream of the crop, then you should probably consider sacrificing a few classes a term in exchange for a much better social life, and then just get your M.S. in your fifth year like everyone else. Trust me, it's not worth it to kill your nonacademic life in exchange for one less year to get an M.S.
This may have been pointed out before, but an excellent path towards an engineering career is to spend 4 years on the B.S. and then 1 or 2 more for an M.S. Obviously the M.S. will take some time and a lot of effort, but it's so much better than just a B.S. as far as careers are concerned. Ph.D's are another story... that one takes an immense amount of time and devotion, but certainly may pay off.