Not being allowed to take undergrad CS courses

I am accepted into Applied Computer Science (M.Sc, namely “postgraduate”) program in Germany. The classes will be taught in English in this program. The students usually come from countries outside Germany. However, the undergraduate program (B.Sc.) is in German. I have the required German qualifications. I am fluent in German. My knowledge of German is certified in multiple official exams. So, the lack of German skills cannot be a reason for denying me access to undergraduate courses. I contacted the programme coordinator (a professor) to ask if I could take undergraduate Computer Science courses, which I wasn’t able to take when I was in the undergraduate programme, while studying in the master’s programme. She answered me with “no”. I asked why and still have no answer about why I am not allowed to. I had told her specifically that I didn’t have a chance to take them during my undergraduate studies because it mean extending my studies, which is extremely costly in terms of finance and time. I studies the subjects of these undergraduate CS courses alone, on my own, after my graduation. I even took online courses for several of them. But having these courses on an university transcript would be much more beneficial than trying to convince people that I’d studied them alone and took online courses etc.

Now, I have multiple questions about this situation.

1.) Is this a fair situation. What do you think? Am I getting what I deserved just because I wasn’t able to take them during my undergraduate studies.

2.) Can there possibly a way out of this? For example, taking these courses from another university? If yes, is it worth it doing all that?

The university classes will start in October. So, I still have time to figure out a solution for this. I’m considering to cancel my plans for going into this program because of this hard-to-justify “rules”.

Some of the courses I might be interested to take are Operating Systems, Computer Graphics, Computer Networks, Machine Learning.

If you finish with a master’s degree anyway, do these courses even matter?

If you have studied then on your own, and your general knowledge is great enough to get you into gear school, they may not want what they consider a “ringer” in the class.

I don’t know that this is true. Specific undergrad coursework (which represents generally 3 months of part-time study) is not particularly useful resume filler. It’d be a waste of your time/energy, professionally speaking.

Why not? A knowledgeable student can help others. Having him there is better for everyone - it’s like a free TA.

Are you looking for credits towards your master’s degree for taking undergraduate-level courses? Could this be the problem?

First, I don’t know where the word “gear” came from. I’m on a laptop, so I can’t blame autocorrect. I’m glad you knew I meant “grad” school.

Second, IME, professors HATE a kibbitzer. The last thing they want is a “free” TA. I don’t know if they are afraid someone might call them out on a mistake, or just don’t want the focus off them-- maybe they are afraid students will start asking the ringer questions, instead of asking the instructor, but I got kicked out of a class once when I needed the credit on my transcript for something I learned in the real world. The instructor didn’t want me in the class. It was barely a week into the class, and no, I wasn’t being a smartass, or know-it-all. In fact, I was working very hard to keep a low profile, but it was a language class, so it was hard to keep it under wraps that I had full fluency in the highest level class that the university offered at the time, when no one else, including the AI (what the school called TAs) had anything close to fluency.

I ended up having to scramble for another class that the school would accept in the slot for credit (it was for an independent minor), and ended up with a class that wasn’t terribly appropriate, but at least had an instructor I really synced with.

In the parts of the US education system I’m familiar with undergrads can take grad school courses for dual credit but grad students can’t take undergrad courses for credit aside from meeting their program prereqs. My guess is that the courses you want to take are not of sufficient academic rigor that the school feels comfortable putting them on a masters transcript, in which case they really won’t bolster your resume. You can probably ask to sit in on the class for no credit but then you’ll have issues with a full load on top of them.

Yes. I doubt so.

In one of the job interviews, I got asked why I studied Information Systems instead of CS. I told them I studies all the CS courses in the curriculum, have internship experience, solved coding challenges, participated in Hackathons and have small side projects. I encouraged him to ask me any theoretical(non coding challenge)/technical(computer networks, operating systems etc.) questions from the field of CS. The interviewers could not be less impressed by my answer. :mad:

Go talk to your advisor and explain the issue. I doubt very much that you’ll be able to include the credits towards your master’s degree, but I understand your problem. If they let your transcript reflect the course work, it would help.

I really, really doubt any university would give you 500-level credit for three or four-hundred level work if that’s what you’re asking. If you want a credential, you might look at EDx, Udacity, or Coursera to see if one of their certificate programs might suit your needs.

I don’t know how you framed this during your interview, but the above doesn’t answer the question that you say was asked. I think you should spend some time coming up with reasons that studying Information Systems makes you a better candidate than you’d otherwise be.

I actually don’t care that much about degrees or courses, even when interviewing entry level programmers. I’d probably still ask why you picked the degree you did (even if it was CS). The point wouldn’t be to determine how competent you are but to open up a line of questioning to get to know you better in general. If you answer defensively, it’s tough to go forward on that line.

That said, one question doesn’t usually make or break a candidate. If you feel like you screwed up a question in an interview, by all means figure out a better answer for that question generally. But beating yourself up and trying to convince your school to change their policies because one interviewer didn’t like an item on your resume is not a good use of your time.

From the OP:

I suspect this is the answer right here. Taking classes is still costly, and whoever’s funding this extension of your education doesn’t want to pay for unnecessary classes.

Undergrad courses do not count toward graduate credit. Those courses are part of a different program which you did not get accepted into; taking courses that you did not get accepted into implies both an extra load for a teacher who wasn’t expecting you, and for you. You’re supposed to be focusing on the coursework in front of you, not on “what I wish I had done already”.

And as for college transcripts, nobody gives a shit about those beyond your first job. If anybody does they’re bloody morons.

That would be because you didn’t answer the question as asked. He asked “why did you swim in the Pacific Ocean rather than in the Atlantic”, and rather than “because I happened to be living in Oregon”, you answered with “oh, I swam in the Atlantic Ocean when we went on vacation in New Jersey.” Doesn’t leave me very hopeful about your listening skills.

You might not like this:
FTR, I have a CS graduate degree.

Yes, it is quite likely that you can enroll in other classes at other institutions, and get certification for individual classes (not for credit towards your degree). It is less likely that you can enroll for extra classes at your degree institution, because they won’t approve the extra workload. It is sometimes possible to stretch out your degree to take longer, to allow you to take extra workload.

It doesn’t matter if the undergraduate courses are at the same level to your post-graduate course, and are equally relevant: your post graduate qualification is tied to it’s published program: you can’t just choose to do something different and get the same diploma.