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Graduate Policy Handbook - MS Program

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.

MS Degree Option
Students may pursue an MS degree with a Thesis Option or with a Project Option.

MS Degree Requirements
 
Thesis Option
Course Requirements – 24 Credits

  • Up to 4 courses may come from outside the CS department
  • Students must take at least one course from three of the breadth groups
  • Only one CS 697R may be used. A CS 697R proposal form must be completed, signed and turned into the Graduate Program Manager by August 20th for Fall, April 20th for Summer, and December 20th for Winter.
  • All courses must be at the 400-level or above. No more than 3 400-level courses (excluding CS 404 & 405)

Thesis

  • 6 Credit hours of CS 699R
  • Propose, Present, and Defend Thesis to MS Committee

 
Project Option
Course Requirements – 30 Credits

  • Up to 4 courses may come from outside the CS department
  • Students must take at least one course from three of the breadth groups
  • Only one CS 697R may be used. A CS 697R proposal form must be completed, signed and turned into the Graduate Program Manager by August 20th for Fall, April 20th for Summer, and December 20th for Winter.
  • All courses must be at the 400-level or above. No more than 3 400-level courses (excluding CS 404 & 405)

Project

  • 3 Credit hours of CS 698R. Please note that this is a class. It is in addition to the 30 credits of course requirements above. It will be offered for the first time Fall 2017.
  • Present Project and Write-up (10 pages) to MS Committee

Breadth Groups

NOTE: This applies only to MS students accepted starting Spring 2016 or later.

Group 1 - Networking, Security, and Parallel Processing
CS 460 - Computer Communications and Networking
CS 462 - Large-scale Distributed System Design
CS 465 - Computer Security
CS 484 - Parallel Processing
CS 660 - Computer Networks
CS 665 - Advanced Computer Security
CS 684 - Big Data Systems
 
Group 2 - Graphics, Vision, and HCI
CS 450 - Introduction to Digital Signal and Image Processing
CS 455 - Computer Graphics
CS 456 - Introduction to User Interface Software
CS 557 - Computer Aided Geometric Design
CS 650 - Computer Vision
CS 655 - Advanced Computer Graphics
CS 656 - Interactive Software Systems
 
Group 3 - Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
CS 470 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
CS 476 - Topics in Data Mining
CS 478 - Introduction to Machine Learning and Data Mining
CS 670 - Multi-Agent Systems
CS 673 - Computational Creativity
CS 676 - Advanced Topics in Data Mining
CS 677 - Bayesian Methods in Computer Science
CS 678 - Advanced Neural Networks
 
Group 4 - Computer and Information Theory, Software Engineering, Verification
CS 412 - Linear Programming and Convex Optimization
CS 428 - Software Engineering
CS 431 - Algorithmic Languages and Compilers
CS 452 - Database Modeling Concepts
CS 453 - Fundamentals of Information Retrieval
CS 486 - Verification and Validation
CS 611 - Advanced Computer Theory
CS 613 - Robust Control
CS 653 - Information Retrieval
CS 686 - Advanced Model Checking

See the appendix for a list of courses and a tentative five year plan of course offerings.

MS Progress Review

The progress of each MS student is reviewed two times each year during January 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 complete background courses in the first year of the degree program.

  2. Early Submission of a Study List.

    A graduate student should submit a study list in their first semester of study and must submit a study list no later than the second week of the second semester after admittance. Program of Study Form.

  3. Adequate GPA Achievement.

    Students must earn a B- or better in each background course. 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 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. Timely Completion of Thesis Proposal

    Graduate students who have chosen the Thesis Option must successfully pass their thesis proposal by the end of the fourth semester after admittance (Spring/Summer together are considered to be one semester) even if background courses are required.

  7. 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.

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 have until the end of the semester to fulfill the requirements or they will be dropped from the program. In addition, students on Unsatisfactory status become ineligible for Financial Aid.

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

MS Committee

With the help of the advisor, Thesis Option students select a faculty member to serve as 2nd member on the student's MS committee. Once that faculty member has agreed to serve on the committee, the student should contact the Graduate Coordinator via email to ask the Graduate Coordinator to assign a faculty member to serve as the 3rd committee member. These three faculty members serve as the student's MS committee. For Project Option students, the 2nd and 3rd committee members are assigned by the Graduate Coordinator.

Application for Graduation

Applications must be submitted to the Graduate Program Manager by the university deadlines for graduate students. Please contact the Graduate Assistant 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.

Students may not defer graduation. If they did not successfully meet all the graduation requirements for the semester in which they applied to graduate, the student needs to contact the Graduate Program Manager 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.  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.

Following are details pertaining to each MS options.

THESIS OPTION

Thesis Proposal

Once a thesis topic has been firmly established, the student should submit a thesis proposal. The thesis proposal consists of two components – the thesis proposal document and the thesis proposal presentation. First, the student prepares the written thesis proposal document, as described below. Once the student’s first two committee members have approved the document, the student gives the proposal to the third committee member and schedules the time for the formal presentation of the thesis proposal. No completed thesis can be defended without first having the proposal presented and approved.

Thesis Proposal Document

The thesis proposal document should be submitted to the committee as soon as possible and must be submitted by the end of the fourth semester after the student begins the program. The thesis cannot be defended before the thesis proposal has been presented and approved.

The document must be at most 10 single-spaced pages, exclusive of title-and-abstract page and bibliography. The text must be single-spaced with 11 pt. Times Roman or LaTeX default (Computer Modern) font and have one-inch margins in a single-column format.

The following are best practices guidelines for the thesis proposal. Their purpose is to provide useful, detailed guidance to students and advisors on creating a successful proposal, while allowing flexibility to accommodate individual needs and preferences.

After reading a thesis proposal, the intended audience (i.e., the 2nd and 3rd committee members) should be able to answer the following questions as they relate to your proposed work:

  1. What problem do you want to solve?
  2. Who cares about this problem and why?
  3. What have others done to solve this problem and why is this inadequate?
  4. What is your proposed solution to this problem?
  5. How can you demonstrate that this is a good solution?

The thesis proposal document contains the following:

  • Abstract: 1 to 2 paragraphs summarizing the proposal.
  • Introduction: 1 to 2 pages answering questions 1 and 2 above.
  • Related Work: 1 to 2 pages answering question 3 above.
  • Thesis statement: 1 to 2 sentences stating what is to be demonstrated in your thesis.
  • Project Description: 3 to 5 pages answering question 4 above.
  • Validation: 1/2 to 2 pages answering question 5 above.
  • Thesis Schedule: ¼ to ½ page specifying dates for completion of major milestones.
  • Bibliography: 2 to 5 pages containing references for all work cited.

The following discussion provides additional detail on the content of the thesis proposal.

Abstract - This section provides a short summary of the proposal. As part of the thesis scheduling process, the title and abstract need to be emailed to the Graduate Program Manager.

Introduction - This section provides the reader with enough information to understand and appreciate the thesis statement. This includes giving the motivation, defining terms and formulating the problem. Often, subsections labeled “Background” and “Motivation” will be included in this section. This section typically provides answers to the questions “What problem do you want to solve?” and “Who cares about this problem and why?”

Related Work – This section contains a survey of the literature related to your thesis statement and should demonstrate to your readers that you understand the context of your work. This is a place for you to position your contribution relative to other work and to state how your work builds on other work. This section answers the question “What have others done to solve the problem and why is this inadequate?”

Thesis statement – A clear and concise statement of what is to be demonstrated or developed in your thesis work. A good thesis statement makes a specific claim that your readers care about. Ideally, your introduction will give your readers the background they need to understand your thesis statement and to conclude that it matters.

The following are examples of good thesis statements from MS proposals in the BYU Computer Science department:

  • A dynamic dead variable analysis will reduce the size of the hash table in explicit model checking by marking more variables dead compared to static dead variable analysis.
  • Model checking with magnetic disk requires less time when using a chained partitioned hash table than when using an open address monolithic hash table because delayed duplicate detection time is reduced.
  • Given a set of precepts P and an associated training set Tr, a precept-driven learning algorithm (PDLA) can be designed which produces better results in generalization than when Tr alone is used.
  • When trunk type, network traffic type, and customer characteristics are considered in setting overbooking factors, bandwidth can be used more efficiently and utilization can be predicted more accurately.

Project Description – This section describes your proposed solution and how you will carry out the work of realizing the proposed solution. After reading this section, your readers should believe that, if you do what you say you will do here, you will be able to objectively and convincingly defend your thesis statement. This section answers the question “What is your proposed solution to this problem?”

Validation – This section describes the methods you will use to validate your proposed solution. This section answers the question “How can you demonstrate that this is a good solution?”

Thesis Schedule – This section contains a proposed schedule for the completion of your thesis work. The schedule should include deadlines for submission of the thesis to your advisor, submission of the thesis to your committee members and the thesis defense. You may also include other research milestones that seem appropriate.

The department requires that you allow at least three weeks between the time you schedule the defense and the time you actually defend the thesis. In order to schedule your final thesis defense, your first two committee members must have read and approved the thesis. In order to allow sufficient time, you should plan on approximately seven weeks between the time you first give your completed thesis to your advisor and the time you make your final defense. This time is an approximate time; work with your advisor and committee to determine the actual amount of time that will be required.

Bibliography – This section contains references for cited work. References should be complete and written in a uniform style, consistent with your particular sub-area of computer science.

Proposal for Industry-Oriented Thesis: The motivation should provide necessary background and then argue that a significant piece of work (usually a piece of software) is needed. The thesis statement should concisely describe the work. The method section should describe the expectations for the finished product and explain what will be done to assure the quality of the work. The bibliography should convince the reader that the student is well acquainted with techniques needed to do the work and with techniques others have used to solve similar problems. The contributions should reflect the importance of the work.

Thesis Proposal Presentation

Oral Presentation Audience: CS faculty members who may not be acquainted with the topic.

A 12-15 minute oral presentation of the thesis proposal must be carefully organized and given to the members of the thesis committee and the invited public. During the thesis proposal presentation, the student must answer committee member's questions on such areas as method, significance, organization, and literature search. After the presentation, the student and public leave the room while the committee comes to a decision on proposal acceptance. The result will range from unqualified acceptance to unqualified rejection.

General Comments: A simple restatement of the proposal document is not what is wanted. The central ideas of the document should be presented, but this should be augmented by examples and explanations. Ideally, the presentation will have been practiced in front of an audience that can help the student improve the presentation. Part of what should be learned is how to make good presentations.

Thesis Proposal Scheduling Instructions

Before Scheduling:

  • Create and write up the proposal under the supervision of your advisor.
  • Get verbal agreement from your advisor and second committee member that the proposal is now in final form.
  • Provide a copy of your final thesis proposal for your third committee member.
  • Arrange for a date, time, and place to present your proposal. Make sure all three members of your committee can attend. The Graduate Program Manager can help you schedule the CS Conference Room or the Gigapix Room. Reserve one hour for the proposal; your presentation should not extend beyond 15 minutes, but additional time will be needed for questions from the audience and your committee.
  • Fill out the top part of the Thesis Proposal Scheduling Form and get committee signatures on the bottom part.  (Take the form to the Graduate Program Manager to get the signature of the Graduate Coordinator.) 

At Least 1 Week Prior to the Proposal: 

  • Give the completed Dissertation Proposal Scheduling Form, as well as a copy of the abstract (formatted in Word), to the Graduate Program Manager (graduate@cs.byu.edu).

Proposal Day:

  • Obtain signatures of all members of your committee on the Thesis Proposal Approval Form.
  • Leave a copy of the proposal and the signed approval form with the Graduate Program Manager.  The Graduate Coordinator will sign the form after it is turned in to the Graduate Program Manager.

 

Thesis

The MS thesis should make a contribution to the field of Computer Science. When completed, other computer scientists working in the same or related areas should find the thesis useful in solving problems they are working on. The thesis should demonstrate creativity and originality. It should require a thorough search of existing literature in the student's area of research and exhibit the use of skills and techniques acquired during the student's Computer Science graduate education. When reasonable, it is recommended that the student make an effort to publish the accomplished research in the Computer Science literature.

Style Guidelines

Thesis Format: University guidelines specify the format of the title page, abstract page, acknowledgments page, and signature page (bound copies only).  With consultation of the thesis chair, the rest of the thesis should be written in a style and form consistent with the Computer Science literature for your research area.

Citations:

BYU requires a department to certify the consistency of format, captions, and references for all theses. Format and captions pose few, if any, difficulties, but citations are often inconsistent. (Typically, students copy citations from various places without reworking them into a consistent format.) To ensure consistency--and to avoid having to rework citations at department sign-off time-- follow the instructions in either (1) or (2) below.

  1. Use a top-tier journal (not a conference proceedings) in your research area as a guide. Follow the conventions as specified by the journal or exemplified in the papers.
  2. Be consistent and be as complete as possible:
  • Use the same style for the same kind of publications throughout--italics, bold, quotes, punctuation, names (full names or initials), numbering, and indentation.
  • Include all components of a citation--all author or editor names and the title and year; and, as applicable, other components such as journal name, volume, number, pages, month, publisher, city, state or country, and institution for MS theses, PhD dissertations, or technical reports.
  • Order the bibliography alphabetically by last name of first author.

The actual organization of a traditional thesis is flexible. A typical organization would be as follows.

Chapter 1 - Introduces the thesis problem and motivates its importance.

Chapter 2 - A careful overview of related work, referencing similar research.

Chapter 3 ... n-1 - A progressive presentation of the research effort, typically including chapters on:

foundational material (terms, definitions, etc.)

the actual innovations (algorithms, theorems, models, etc.)

validation and analysis of results (proofs, simulations, complexity analysis, etc.).

Chapter n - Overviews the contributions of the thesis and discusses possible directions for future work.

References

Appendices - Contains extended results, code fragments, documentation, etc.

Thesis Document -- Alternative Styles

In trying to modernize some ideas about theses and to tailor them more towards particular types of students and their needs, we also allow two alternative styles which may be used in place of a traditional thesis. We call one of the alternatives a paper thesis and the other an industry-oriented thesis. Both are roughly equivalent to each other and to the traditional model in amount of work. However, they differ in the type of work and experience gained.

Guidelines for the thesis document, the proposal document, and presentations for these two alternatives are provided below. The main difference is in the audience being addressed in the thesis. For a traditional thesis, the audience is primarily the student's committee, broadened, at times, to additional faculty members who may be assigned to examine the student's work. In the alternatives, the audience addressed is different for the thesis than for the proposal and for the presentations and is more appropriate for the objectives of the particular type of thesis.

Thesis Document -- Paper Thesis

Audience: Researchers well acquainted with the topic.

Document: The thesis should be written as a paper for a journal. Except for formatting required by BYU such as double spacing and chapters instead of sections, the thesis should read exactly like a paper that can be submitted for publication. Appendices may include additional material that would not be appropriate for publication, but is pertinent to the student's work. Ideally, the quality of the paper would be similar to papers found in top publications in the research field of the thesis.

Thesis Document -- Industry-Oriented Thesis

Audience: Industrial colleagues well acquainted with the topic.

Document: The document should be written as an industrial technical report. The abstract should read like an executive summary. The introduction should include necessary background and introductory and overview material sufficient for industrial peers to read the document on their own. The body should be appropriate for the type of work done and may include high-level and low-level descriptions of software, test cases, user manuals, and data supporting arguments made in the document such as claims about time and space efficiency. A conclusion should summarize the work. Ideally, the document would show that the work accomplished is topnotch, industrial-quality work.

Industry-oriented means that the work done for a thesis should help prepare a student for industry. It does NOT mean that the thesis is the result of doing a project in industry. Indeed, most projects that would be done in industry are likely to be unsuitable for thesis topics either because there are employer expectations beyond what a thesis should entail or because there are too few expectations about the kind and quality of the work to be accomplished. Almost always, students doing industry-oriented theses will do projects connected with faculty research interests. It is just that the focus is not on creating new ideas and writing papers, but on doing a topnotch job with the work as would be expected in industry.

We should not encourage students to seek projects in industry for theses, and if they bring such projects as suggestions for thesis topics, we should carefully scrutinize these projects, with the idea that nearly all of them should be rejected. There may be some that are appropriate, but the entanglements, expectations, and associated problems all have to be carefully dealt with before allowing a student to proceed.

Thesis Defense

Oral Presentation Audience: CS faculty members who may not be acquainted with the topic.

The presentation should be polished. Ideally, it will have been practiced in front of an audience that can help the student improve the presentation.

Thesis Defense:

The defense of the thesis is open to the public. For the defense, a student must prepare and make a polished presentation, which should last about 25 minutes. After a short introductory overview of the research for the benefit of those not familiar with the work, the presentation should focus on the technical details of the research. At the conclusion of the presentation questions may be asked by the audience and committee relating to the methods and evaluation techniques used to complete the thesis work; when complete the audience will be excused. The committee may ask the student further questions. When the committee is satisfied, the student being examined will be asked to leave the room.

Examination Results:

At this point the examining committee decides on a result. The possible results are:

Pass

Pass with qualifications - Revision to thesis or strengthening of course knowledge are examples of why this would be selected.

Recess - Substantial revision of thesis and/or course knowledge preparation. A minimum of one month must pass before a subsequent defense can take place.

Fail - Fail the oral exam and be terminated from the graduate program.

The Graduate Program Manager will have given a packet of forms from the Office of Graduate Studies to the student's advisor prior to the presentation. The advisor also serves as the examination chair. The examination chair manages the forms as follows:

Report of Committee Action for Final Oral Examination - Conduct a vote, get signatures, and give the form to the Graduate Program Manager.

Committee Member Evaluation of Final Oral Examination - Each member of the examining committee fills out one of these forms regarding the student's potential in a PhD program. Give these forms to the Graduate Program Manager

Approval for Submission of Dissertation, Thesis, or Selected Project - Get appropriate signatures and then give this form to the student.

Grade Change Authorization - All 699R hours must be changed from a T to a P. Have the student fill out the top portions of the form and have it signed by the Graduate Coordinator. In this case, the instructor name must be the Graduate Coordinator, not the chair advisor.

For any questions about these forms, contact the Graduate Program Manager.

Thesis Defense Instructions

Before Scheduling:

  • Create and write up the thesis under the supervision of your advisor.
  • Get verbal agreement from your advisor that the thesis is in final form and give a copy to your second committee member. The second committee member is very likely to suggest changes.
  • Get verbal agreement from your advisor and second committee member that the thesis is now in final form.
  • Apply for graduation.
  • Be registered for at least 2 credit hours (either 2 hours of 699R or a class that is on your study list)

Approximately 1 Month Prior to the Defense:

  • Obtain a copy of ADV Form 8c Departmental Scheduling of Final Oral Examination online.  
  • Arrange for a date, time, and place to present your defense. Make sure that all three members of your committee can attend and collect their signatures. (Keep in mind that it may take more time than anticipated to gather the necessary signatures due to travel, illness or time off). The Graduate Program Manager can help you schedule the CS Conference Room or the Gigapix Room. Reserve two hours for the defense. (As you complete these steps, fill out the corresponding parts of form 8c.)  

No Later Than 3 Weeks Before the Defense (earlier is better):

  • Email an electronic copy of your thesis (PDF) and your abstract (formatted in Word) to the Graduate Program Manager (graduate@cs.byu.edu).  Submit the completed ADV Form 8c (with all of the signatures) to the Graduate Program Manager.  These steps must be finished 3 weeks (or more) before the actual day you defend.  If you miss this deadline, you will need to select a new date to defend, that is at least 3 weeks out, and fill out a new ADV Form 8c (including all of the signatures).
  • Provide a copy of your thesis for your third committee member.

No Later Than 2 Weeks Prior to the Defense:

  • After submitting your thesis, the Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Program Manager will give feedback on any necessary changes to the formatting and references.  If any revisions are necessary, you must make those changes and resubmit your thesis.  Once the changes are made, the defense will be scheduled.  If the changes are not made at least 2 weeks prior to the defense date, a new defense date will need to be selected and the scheduling process will start over.

Defense Day or After:

  • Finish any required revisions of the thesis.
  • Fill in the ADV Form 10 (received at your defense) and gather the necessary signatures at the defense.  Submit this to the Graduate Program Manager immediately following the defense.    
  • Complete Form 8d Approval for Submission of Dissertation, Thesis, or Selected Project" (received at your defense), and obtain the necessary signatures. Unless technically or legally not possible, students must submit an electronic thesis.  Once completed, Form 8d should be submitted by the student to Graduate Studies in the FPH.  Students are expected to provide a bound copy of the thesis for both the advisor and the department; thus the advisor and the Graduate Coordinator should check the box to request their bound copy.  The department copies of the thesis need to be bound in blue covers and sent to 3361 TMCB.  When these have been paid for, an electronic copy of the receipt should be forwarded to graduate@cs.byu.edu so that the requirement can be lifted in AIM. 


PROJECT OPTION
 

MS Project Paper

An MS Project should be a significant amount of work. As a guideline, it should represent a semesters worth of work or approximately 150 hours. Once a project has been completed, the student should submit a project report. The project report consists of two components – the written project report document and the project presentation. The student prepares the written project report document, as described below. Once the student’s advisor has approved the document, the student gives the proposal to the second and third committee members and schedules the time for the formal presentation of the project. The MS Project Paper and Presentation constitute the deliverables for CS 698R.

Project Report

The MS project report document should be submitted to the committee at the end of the semester in which the student takes CS 698R. The document must be at most 10 single-spaced pages, exclusive of title-and-abstract page and bibliography. The text must be single-spaced with 11 pt. Times Roman or LaTeX default (Computer Modern) font and have one-inch margins in a single-column format. The project report should provide necessary background and then argue that a significant piece of work is needed. The thesis statement should concisely describe the work. The method section should describe the expectations for the finished product and explain what will be done to assure the quality of the work. The bibliography should convince the reader that the student is well acquainted with techniques needed to do the work and with techniques others have used to solve similar problems. The contributions should reflect the importance of the work.

The following are best practices guidelines for the project report. Their purpose is to provide useful, detailed guidance to students and advisors on creating a successful project report, while allowing flexibility to accommodate individual needs and preferences.
 
After reading a project report, the intended audience (i.e., the 2nd and 3rd committee members) should be able to answer the following questions as they relate to your work:

  1. What problem do you want to solve? 
  2. Who cares about this problem and why? 
  3. What have others done to solve this problem and why is this inadequate? 
  4. What is your proposed solution to this problem? 
  5. How can you demonstrate that this is a good solution? 

The thesis proposal document contains the following:

  • Abstract: 1 to 2 paragraphs summarizing the proposal. 
  • Introduction: 1 to 2 pages answering questions 1 and 2 above.
  • Related Work: 1 to 2 pages answering question 3 above. 
  • Thesis statement: 1 to 2 sentences stating what is to be demonstrated in your thesis. 
  • Project Description: 3 to 5 pages answering question 4 above. 
  • Validation: 1/2 to 2 pages answering question 5 above. 
  • Thesis Schedule: ¼ to ½ page specifying dates for completion of major milestones. 
  • Bibliography: 2 to 5 pages containing references for all work cited.

The following discussion provides additional detail on the content of the thesis proposal.

Abstract - This section provides a short summary of the project. The title and abstract need to be emailed to the Graduate Program Manager.Manager.

Introduction - This section provides the reader with enough information to understand and appreciate the thesis statement. This includes giving the motivation, defining terms and formulating the problem. Often, subsections labeled “Background” and “Motivation” will be included in this section. This section typically provides answers to the questions “What problem do you want to solve?” and “Who cares about this problem and why?”

Related Work – This section contains a survey of the literature related to your thesis statement and should demonstrate to your readers that you understand the context of your work. This is a place for you to position your contribution relative to other work and to state how your work builds on other work. This section answers the question “What have others done to solve the problem and why is this inadequate?”

Thesis statement – A clear and concise statement of what is to be demonstrated or developed in your project. A good thesis statement makes a specific claim that your readers care about. Ideally, your introduction will give your readers the background they need to understand your thesis statement and to conclude that it matters.

The following are examples of good thesis statements:

  • A dynamic dead variable analysis will reduce the size of the hash table in explicit model checking by marking more variables dead compared to static dead variable analysis.
  • Model checking with magnetic disk requires less time when using a chained partitioned hash table than when using an open address monolithic hash table because delayed duplicate detection time is reduced.
  • Given a set of precepts P and an associated training set Tr, a precept-driven learning algorithm (PDLA) can be designed which produces better results in generalization than when Tr alone is used.
  • When trunk type, network traffic type, and customer characteristics are considered in setting overbooking factors, bandwidth can be used more efficiently and utilization can be predicted more accurately.

Project Description – This section describes your solution and how you developed the solution. After reading this section, your readers should believe you have objectively and convincingly defended your thesis statement. This section answers the question “What is your solution to this problem?”

Validation – This section describes the results that validate your solution. This section answers the question “How can you demonstrate that this is a good solution?”

Bibliography – This section contains references for cited work. References should be complete and written in a uniform style, consistent with your particular sub-area of computer science.

Project Report Presentation 

Oral Presentation Audience: CS faculty members who may not be acquainted with the topic.

A 12-15 minute oral presentation of the project must be carefully organized and given to the members of the MS committee and the invited public. During the project report presentation, the student must answer committee member's questions on such areas as method, significance, organization, and literature search. After the presentation, the student and public leave the room while the committee comes to a decision on project report. 
 

Examination Results:

 

At this point the examining committee decides on a result. The possible results are:

Pass

 

Pass with qualifications - Revision to project is an example of why this would be selected.

 

Fail - Fail the oral exam and be terminated from the graduate program.

The final CS 698R grade will be determined by the Advisor.