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School of Computing

MS in Computer Science

The Master of Science program in Computer Science prepares individuals for a Ph.D. program, research careers in industry, or advanced technical positions in industry and government. The program is designed for students who offer evidence of above average scholastic ability at the undergraduate level.

Completion of the M.S. program normally requires from one and one-half years to two years beyond the undergraduate degree but may require additional time for students whose undergraduate degree is in an area other than computer science. For students awarded assistantships, two academic years are usually required for the completion of the M.S. degree.

Degree Requirements

The requirements for the MS are based on 30 credits, which may be obtained through either:

  • 30 credits of coursework
  • 24 credits of coursework and 6 credits of MS thesis research (CPSC 8910)

The Coursework-Only Option

In this option, a student is required to complete ten approved courses. There is no thesis presentation or comprehensive examination required for the degree.

The Thesis Option

The thesis option is designed for students who have a strong interest in research and who can complete an original and creative research project. The quality of the research and presentation should be such that the thesis or a derivative work is acceptable for publication in a refereed conference proceeding or archival journal.

The final examination is an oral examination conducted by the student's Advisory Committee. The student is expected to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of both the research results presented and the pre- existing body of knowledge that the results extend.

Of the 30 credits required for graduation, the thesis-option student must have 6 credits of CPSC 8910. The student must also meet the Concentration and Breadth Requirements as defined below in the remaining 24 credits of coursework. A student may take more than six credits of CPSC 8910, but only six credits may be applied toward the degree.

Concentration and Breadth

During the MS program, the student will choose a concentration of study in one of six core areas and will choose courses in at least two other core areas for breadth:

  • Data Science and Informatics
  • Foundations and Theory
  • Human Centered Computing
  • Networks, Systems, and Security
  • Software Engineering
  • Visual Computing

Concentration Requirement: Each student must take at least three courses in one core area. These courses can be selected from the courses listed in the table below or from approved CPSC 8810 special topics courses in that area.

Breadth Requirement: Each student must take one course in at least two other core areas.

MS Core Area
Courses
Data Sciences and Informatics 6300, 6550, 6620*, 6630*, 8100, 8450, 8470, 8480*, 8490, 8620*, 8630, 8650, 8770
Foundations and Theory 8380, 8390, 8400, 8480*, 9400
Human Centered Computing 6110*, 6120, 6140, 6150, 6160*, 6180*, HCC 8310, HCC 8330
Networks, Systems, and Security 6180*,6200, 6240, 6280, 6620*, 6630*, 6770, 6780, 8200, 8220, 8240, 8300, 8510, 8520, 8530, 8540, 8550, 8570, 8580, 8620*
Software Engineering 6160*, 6720, 8270, 8280, 8290, 8700, 8710, 8720, 8730, 8750
Visual Computing 6040, 6050, 6110*, 6160*, 8040, 8050, 8110, 8170, 8190

* CPSC 6110, 6160, 6180, 6620, 6630, 8480, and 8620 span core areas but will count in only one core area each

Course Selection

There are three other considerations in selecting courses for an MS program or study.

6000/8000/9000-Level Credits: For the coursework-only option, at least 18 of the 30 credits must be at the 8000 or 9000 level. For the thesis option, level at least 21 of the 30 credits must be at the 8000 or 9000 level (note: six of these 8000/9000-level credits will be CPSC 8910).

Courses Outside the School of Computing: Students in the coursework-only option may include up to 12 credits of approved courses from outside the School of Computing. Students in the thesis option may include up to 9 credits of approved courses from outside the School of Computing.

Transfer Credits: Students in either option may include up to 9 credits of approved computing courses transferred from another university. Transfer courses will be counted among the approved courses outside the School of Computing but will listed as CPSC 6999 or 8999 on the GS2.

Course Exclusions: Of the 30 credits of approved courses required for graduation, the student may not include credits for CPSC 6810, 6890, 74xx, 8880, or 95x0, 9810, 9910, or DPA 6000-6030, 6810-6830, 8600, or 8800. Additionally, only six credits of CPSC 6820 or CPSC/DPA/HCC 8810 can be included. Coursework-only students may not include credits for CPSC 8910.

Assessment

Each student must submit three course-related artifacts and accompanying self-reflection prior to the program of study being approved. Please see the MS Assessment page for details.

Advising

For advising, please contact Dr. Mark Smotherman at [email protected]

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