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.

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

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 turned into 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

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.
  • 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.

Breadth Groups

All MS students must complete one course from three of the following four groups. This provides students with a broad experience in computer science topics. The content of different offerings of CS 501R, 601R, and 704R varies from semester to semester. Specific instances of these classes are listed in the groups below. If one of these classes is not yet listed in a group please contact the Graduate Coordinator.

Group 1 - Networking, Security, and Computational Science

  • CS 418 - Bioinformatics
  • 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 (no longer taught)
  • CS 650R - Computer Vision (all sections)
  • CS 655 - Advanced Computer Graphics
  • CS 656 - Interactive Software Systems​
  • CSANM 459R - Interactive Animation Technology (with prior approval from the graduate committee)
  • CS 601R - Fall 2017, M. Jones.
  • CS 601R - Fall 2019, D. Zappala

Group 3 - Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

  • CS 470 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 472 - Introduction to Machine Learning
  • CS 474 - Introduction to Deep Learning
  • CS 476 - Topics in 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
  • CS 601R - Winter 2019, Crandall.
  • CS 704R - Winter 2019, Wingate.
  • CS 501R - Summer 2019, Martindale
  • CS 704R - Fall 2020 Morse
  • CS 704R - Fall 2020 Clement

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
  • CS 601R - Winter 2019, Sillito

MS Progress Review

The progress of every 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. Students should submit a Program of Study Form in their first semester after admission and no later than the second week of the second semester after admittance.
  3. Adequate GPA Achievement. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA on all courses on the student's program of study. Students must earn a B- or better in each background course.
  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

Applications must be submitted to the Graduate Academic Advisor by the university deadlines for graduate students. 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 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 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.