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Master of Science in Computer Science

All candidates in the M.S. program are expected to demonstrate proficiency in the fundamental areas of computer science by taking four core courses in specific areas. Both thesis (Plan A) and non-thesis (Plan B) options are available in the program leading to the Master of Science degree. A project is required of non-thesis candidates.

Master Degree Requirements

  • Core Courses. MS candidates must pass four core courses, two from each of the following two groups:
    (a) CS 505 (Databases), CS 541 (Compilers), CS 570 (Systems), CS 571 (Networks), and (b) CS 515
    (Algorithms), CS 537 (Numerical), CS 575 (Theory). The final grades in each course must be B or
    higher. In exceptional cases, when courses needed to complete the requirement are not offered, the
    DGS may approve other courses as equivalent replacements.


  • Credits. To receive an MS, the student must finish either option A (thesis option) or option
    B (non-thesis option).
    • Option A requires at least 24 credit hours of regular coursework in CS and up to six credits of CS 768
      Residence Credit for Master’s Degree. The total number of credits required is 30.
    • Option B requires 30 credit hours and a project. The 30 hours may include CS 610.
    • In either option, students may take up to 6 credits of CS 612. For either option, at least half of the credit
      hours must be in higher than 500-level courses (excluding
    • CS 768 and CS 680). Courses from other departments require a prior DGS approval.
      All courses other than CS 768 for option A must have regular letter grades, that is, no pass/fail, and
      the overall GPA in these classes must be 3.0 or higher.


  • Masters committee. The student should consult with the supervising professor in choosing a committee.
    The committee must have at least three members; at least two must be members of graduate faculty
    in CSC, at least one must be a full member of the graduate faculty in CSC. All committee members must
    be regular faculty, not lecturers nor adjuncts. If the chair is not from CS department, they serve as
    co-chair with a faculty from CS department as another co-chair. Upon request, the CS Department may
    allow such faculty to serve as sole chair of the committee.


  • Schedule the defense
    • All master's students need to take the master's exam that is related to the thesis or the project, depending on the student's option. The student initiates the request for the master's exam, specifying the committee, the date, the time and the place through an online form at least three weeks before the intended exam date
    • The student should list the title of the project/dissertation in the comments section of this form. Before submitting this form, the student should present all the committee members with a clean draft of the project/thesis report and get their agreement to serve on the committee
    • The director of graduate studies (DGS) will verify (1) that the student has completed the CS requirements for the M.S. degree, and (2) that all the committee members are available at the specified time and believe that the student is ready to take the exam. The DGS uses an online form to approve the exam and announces the exam to the department faculty and students
    • A written report is required for the completion of a master's degree (whether thesis or project). The writeup must be of sufficient quality to enable committee members to determine the general nature, scope and quality of the project, and must be provided (in hard copy, if requested) to each committee member at least 10 calendar days before the scheduled examination date
    • The master's exam is "open," meaning that the DGS announces it and that all members of the university community are invited to attend it. It is not a party, however; the student should not provide refreshments.


  • Time limits. All students are subject to general time limits set by the Graduate School. Students enrolled in a master’s program
    have 6 years to complete all requirements for the degree, but still have the opportunity to request extensions
    up to additional four years for a total of ten years.