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The MS program combines a firm grounding in theoretical foundations with training in current technologies and applications. MS students graduate with the flexibility to pursue careers in research, or to go on to doctoral study.
The department offers two options for MS candidates: a course-only MS, or a thesis or project based MS The course-only option requires a combination of 30 credits of graduate level Computer Science courses, courses from outside Computer Science, and a portfolio composed of research papers, project reports, presentations and other professional documents produced during the course of the MS The thesis or project option requires the completion and successful oral defense of a thesis or research project under the supervision of a faculty advisor and committee. While still requiring 30 credits, fewer of the credits must be from graded classes.
The course-only option requires at least 18 credits of graduate Computer Science courses, at least 6 credits of non-CS coursework drawn from a single coherent field related to CS or to the student's area of concentration, and at least six credits of approved course electives. At least 6 of these 30 credits must be earned by taking courses that have significant course-project components.
The MS thesis or project option requires at least 12 credits of graduate Computer Science coursework, at least 6 credits of non-CS coursework drawn from a single coherent field related to CS or to the student's area of concentration, at least 6 credits of approved electives, and up to 6 credits of (ungraded) research.
For either option, a student can earn at most 6 credits toward the MS degree using undergraduate courses, but no courses numbered below 200 may be used for credit toward the degree. A student must earn B- or a higher grade in a course for it to be counted toward the MS degree.
Master's Exam Requirements
For the course-only option, each student will take an oral exam, typically 15-20 minutes long, administered by a three-person committee appointed by the Department Chair. The exam is based on the portfolio, mentioned above, that the student submits in advance.
For the student pursuing the thesis or project option, he or she must complete a thesis or a project under the supervision of a faculty member. The student completes a written report describing the objectives of the work, the previous state of the art, the results obtained, and (in the case of software or hardware projects) how to use the results of the project. The student defends the work in a public presentation before the committee consisting of the advisor and 2 other faculty members.