Requirements for M.S.

Program Course Requirements:

In order to ensure that the students have good preparation in several of the basic fields of computer science, the department has specified three categories of courses (Category A, Category B, and Category C). Within the first two categories, the courses are divided into three "advisory levels" (Basic, Core, Advanced). Category C consists of Capstone class, CS554, CS555.

Each student will complete 36 credits. They will include 18 credits covering Basic and Core computer science classes from Categories A and B, 12 credits of specialized courses from categories A, B and C and a culminating sequence of six credits dedicated to complete an MS Thesis, an MS Capstone Project, an MS essay, or a special internship class. A few selected classes from other departments are allowed for inclusion in specialized study plans as long as they are approved by the Computer Science faculty.

Students pursuing the MS in CS will complete 12 courses (with at least 10 courses with grade of B or better) divided as follows:

    • Two courses (6 credits) of category A, with a grade of B or better

    • Two courses (6 credits) of category B, with a grade of B or better

    • Two courses (6 credits) from the union of categories A or B

    • Four courses (12 credits) from the list of courses acceptable for CS graduate credit, including courses from categories A, B, and C, acceptable undergrad courses, approved courses in other departments, CS seminars, and independent study. However, at most one of the four courses may be an independent study.

    • A culminating sequence (6 credits) consisting of:

      • Two additional courses from the union of categories A, B and C, plus an MS essay approved according to the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies. (Capstone courses in category C are structured so that the student will be able to produce suitable written work during the course itself)

      • 6 credits of MS Thesis research 704, 705, 706 plus an MS thesis defended successfully according to the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies.

      • 6 credits of 601, 602 and successful completion of the PhD qualifying exam in Computer Science. (In this case, the PhD qualifying paper will satisfy the writing requirement of the School of Graduate Studies).

    • In addition, to align with CPT rules, we require all MS students to have a practical experience, which can be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

      • taking an independent study with grade of B or better

      • taking a category C class with grade of B or better

      • taking the internship class 198:844 with grade of B or better

For more Classes, Pre-requisites, and Schedules, go to:

Essay/Thesis Requirements:

In addition to the coursework requirements for the M.S. degree that are established by the School of Graduate Studies, the student must choose either the Essay Option or Thesis Option as described below. The essay or thesis must be written in English (except that some portion may require a computer language, with English documentation), it must be the student's own work, and it must demonstrate the student's facility for expository writing.

Essay Option:

      • The student must write and submit an expository paper in a field of computer science that was covered in the student's course work. It may be a paper written as part of a course in computer science, or it may be based on such a course. The essay must be appropriately formatted and contain: Title, Author(s), Abstract, and References. A paper that has previously been submitted for a course must have received a grade of B or higher. A paper with multiple authors may only be submitted by one student with written permission of the co-authors. Corresponding presentation slides are required with all essay submissions. When relevant, a video and documentation or user's manual are recommended but not required. No extra credit is given for the preparation of the essay. The essay must be approved by a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Computer Science followed by the MS Director.

Thesis Option:

      • The student must write a Master's Thesis and must register for exactly six credits of 198:704-706. Upon initial registration, the student is required to provide the MS Director with written confirmation from the faculty member agreeing to supervise their thesis.

      • The Master's Thesis must be a written account of a critical and scholarly investigation in an area of computer science. It may represent: (a) a piece of independent research (extensions and improvements of work in a given part of the field are acceptable at a level of novelty which is less than that required for a doctoral thesis); (b) a work of synthesis that gives new significance and insight to previously-known results; or (c) an important constructive contribution to the development of a computer application. The thesis may not be a digest of known results from the literature, a summary of a published report, company classified or government classified material, or dependent for its background on other non-available reports. The thesis topic should be chosen by mutual agreement between the student and their faculty supervisor. The thesis must be approved by the student's thesis committee. The committee consists of the thesis supervisor and two other faculty members who are determined in consultation with the thesis supervisor. The advisor and members of the thesis committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty in Computer Science.

      • In addition to submitting a copy of the completed Master's Thesis to the MS Director, the student is required to follow all thesis formatting, content, and submission guidelines from the School of Graduate Studies.

Degree Completion Processing:

There are several forms that must be filled out and submitted by the appropriate deadlines in order for the student who has fulfilled the above requirements to receive a Master's Degree. It is the student's responsibility that all necessary paperwork be completed on time. Information and forms can be obtained from the MS Administrative Assistant.