Requirements specific to the MS Project program are given below. These requirements are in addition to the general MS in CS Requirements. Requirements specific to the MS Project program do not apply to the MS Thesis program.

The MS Project itself is completed during a single semester. Before that semester, the student completes and turns in a Project Proposal for CS 698R form. During the semester, the student and completes CS 698R. At the end of the semester, the student presents the project to a faculty committee.

Initiating a Project

By the end of the 3rd semester, find a mentor who agrees to work with you on a project. The project may be initiated by you (the student) or the mentor.

CS 698R

In the semester before completing the project in CS 698R or during the first week of that semester, the student and mentor complete the CS 698R form and prepare a short proposal describing the project. Give the form and the proposal to the Graduate Adviser. After the project is approved by the department, the Graduate Adviser gives the student an add code for CS 698R. This process must be completed before the add/drop deadline.

The proposal focuses on specific activities and clearly-defined deliverables, approved by the mentor and then by the Graduate Coordinator.  The proposal should include a checklist of deliverables that will be demonstrated in the final presentation. Plan to meet weekly with your mentor during the semester you work on the project.

Working on a Project

Sign up for CS 698R (using the add code obtained from the Graduate Academic Advisor) during the semester in which you plan to complete the project. You will be expected to put 125-150 hours of work into the project during that semester. CS 698R is a pass/fail class. It is expected that you will only take this class once. The 698R form must be completed, signed and turned into the Graduate Academic Advisor along with the proposal by the first day of classes in the semester/term you intend to take the course.

Revisions to the project are approved by the faculty mentor.

Track hours worked on the project and keep a week-by-week log of hours spent working on the project, split into categories such as design, coding, writing, etc. This 1) allows the mentor to make sure that expectations are met, 2) helps curb project creep, and 3) is common practice in industry (particularly if working for a company that handles multiple consulting/contracts/projects, where it is important to track to the fraction of an hour how long is spent on each).

By the middle of the semester (by the end of the 9th week or during the 4th week in a term), produce a draft report, also focused on deliverables. Email a copy of to the Graduate Adviser. An email will be sent to all faculty mentors and MS Project students by the end of 7th week of the semester as a reminder of this requirement. The student and mentor discuss the draft report, review the time log, go over the write-up, and make scope adjustments if needed. This contributes to the student having a meaningful and culminating writing experience.  Additional reviewing iterations are recommended, but optional.

Prepare a final written scientific project report, including at least an executive summary, an introduction, a project description, a validation section, and a conclusion.

Completing a Project

Written 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 about 15 double-spaced pages. The project report should provide necessary background and then argue that a significant piece of work was needed. The contributions should reflect the importance of the work. A summary of the project's time log must also be included.

Bring a copy of the MS Project Approval form for the committee to sign

Project Presentations

At the end of the semester, project presentations are held within a 3-hour block during finals week. Two members of the Graduate Committee, together with the mentor for each project, make up the student's committee. The Committee sits at a desk with all the project reports in a binder in order of student presentation. The students present for 15 minutes after which there are 5 minutes for questions and comments. The Committee reviews the time log, and checks off deliverables as the student presents. If all deliverables are satisfactory, the student passes. If not, the Committee may discuss and advise as to whether the student passes or fails.

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.