MS Mission Statement

Students should be exposed to and participate in leading-edge research. Depending on their long-range objectives, students should also do one or more of the following:

  • Develop skills for critical thinking and for analyzing results.
  • Learn to write technically and articulately.
  • Evolve research ideas and produce research results.
  • Learn about group development and be technically capable of leading a development team.
  • Demonstrate ability to develop software for industrial-size problems.

Thesis or Project

Students may pursue an MS using either the thesis or project option. Both options require completing classes from 3 of 4 breadth groups

The thesis option involves completing 8 courses and defending the research contribution in a written thesis. The project option involves completing 11 courses (including CS 698R) and presenting the results of a project. Completing a thesis may require several semesters of effort. The project is contained in a single semester during which the student takes CS 698R.

Thesis Requirements

Project Requirements

The requirements listed below are identical to those in the CS Graduate Handbook. are included for reference. They will be deleted at some point in the future.

MS Coursework Requirements

The thesis option requires 24 credits and the project option requires 30 credits subject to the requirements below:

  • Take at least one course from three of the breadth groups listed below.
  • All courses must be at the 400-level or above, including at least 4 500- or 600-level CS courses and no more than 3 400-level CS courses (excluding CS 404 & 405).
  • Graduate Studies does not accept online courses to count towards the Program of Study.
  • Up to 4 500- or 600-level courses, that are relevant to your CS research, may come from outside the CS department.
  • Only one CS 697R may be used. A CS 697R proposal form must be completed, signed and emailed to the Graduate Academic Advisor by the first day of classes in the semester/term you intend to take the course.
  • Complete any background courses specified in admission letter. This might include CS 240 or CS 312, or both.
  • If your undergraduate degree was obtained from BYU and you took up to 3 400+ level courses (9 credit hours) that did not count towards your undergraduate degree that you would like to count towards your Program of Study, please contact your college's academic advisor and have them contact the CS Department Graduate Academic Advisor ( with the information regarding those courses.

In addition to the credit and course requirements listed above,

  • For the thesis option, complete an additional 6 hours or more of CS 699R. Note that the CS 699R credits are Pass/Fail. Students are given a temporary grade of T until they successfully defend their thesis, at which point all of the T's are changed to P's. Students can take as many as they want in a semester, but they only need 6 total, and 2 of those need to be taken while defending their thesis. Students may consider using 2 credits if they plan to work in a research lab in Spring/Summer terms.
  • For the project option, complete an additional 3 hours of CS 698R. Note that CS 698R includes a proposal which must be completed by the first day of classes in the semester in which CS 698R is taken. See the Project Requirements section for details.

Fill out your program of study here. This should be completed by the end of the first semester in the program.

Breadth Groups

The updated list of breadth groups is now found in Section 2.2 of the CS Graduate Handbook

MS Progress Review

The progress of every MS student is reviewed two times each year during February and September. Students will be notified in advance of each review and should create or update their online Graduate Profile prior to the review date. The student is expected to meet the following requirements.

  1. Timely Completion of Background Courses. Students should complete background courses in the first year of the degree program. Students must earn a B- or better in each background course.
  2. Early Submission of a Program of Study. Students should submit their Program of Study by the end of their first semester in the program.
  3. Adequate GPA Achievement. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA on all courses on the student's program of study.
  4. Limited Course Repeats. A student may have a total of two repeats, at the most, during their graduate program. Only one of those repeats may be used for a background course.
  5. Steady Completion of Coursework. After being in the program for one year, a graduate student must have successfully completed a minimum of 9 MS coursework credit hours (excluding CS 699R thesis credit hours). This minimum enrollment of 9 coursework credit hours in the three semesters preceding the semester of evaluation must be maintained throughout the graduate program (Spring/Summer together are considered to be one semester) until all coursework is complete. This course-completion rate is a strict minimum. It is expected that most students will progress at a much faster rate.
  6. Duration of MS Degree Program. All students should complete the MS degree requirements (courses, thesis proposal, thesis/project, and thesis defense/project presentation) within three years from the time of admission.
  7. Progress on Thesis or Project. Students are expected to make timely progress on their thesis or project as described in the MS Project Requirements and MS Thesis Requirements.

If a graduate student fails to meet any of the above requirements, the student will be notified in writing of any action taken and of any action the student should take. The student will also be given a Warning, or be placed on Marginal status. Failure to satisfactorily perform according to the written requests in a previous evaluation will result in a student being placed on Unsatisfactory status. Being placed on Unsatisfactory status means they will be dropped from the program.

Students may be dropped at any time as determined by their Committee, the Graduate Committee and the Department Chair.

Application for Graduation

If students miss the graduation deadlines for any given semester they must register for at least 2 hours or pay the equivalent minimum registration fee and will graduate the following semester. Please contact the Graduate Academic Advisor with questions about these deadlines. You can apply online at the Graduate Studies website.

Students cannot apply for MS graduation unless they have (a) completed all of their coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, (b) successfully proposed their thesis, and (c) have a current ecclesiastical endorsement.

If a student does not successfully meet all the graduation requirements for the semester in which they applied to graduate, the student needs to contact the Graduate Academic Advisor to have their name removed from the graduation queue. They will need to reapply for graduation at a later date. There is no fee for graduate students to apply for graduation.

The University requires all students to register for at least 2 credit hours during the semester in which they complete the submission of their electronic thesis (ETD) or project.