General Program Information
Graduate School Contact:
Rickie Carter; firstname.lastname@example.org; (423) 439-6165
Brian Bennett, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator
479 Nicks Hall
Tony D. Pittarese, Ph.D., Department Chair
4-464 Nicks Hall
Faculty: Gordon Bailes; Gene Bailey; Brian Bennett; Esra Erdin; Asad Hoque; Ferdaus Kawsar; Mohammad Khan; Mike Lehrfeld; Phillip Pfeiffer; Tony Pittarese; Jeffrey Roach; David Tarnoff; Christopher Wallace.
In addition to its ABET-accredited undergraduate programs in computer science, information systems, and information technology, the department offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in computer and information sciences with two concentrations: applied computer science and information technology.
Note: The department’s course offerings and requirements (as well as university regulations) are continually under examination and revision. Requirements, policies, and course offerings are subject to change at any time.
Graduate Admission Criteria
Each applicant is evaluated on the basis of the following factors:
All Applicants: (a) Coursework in computing. The equivalent of a major in a computing field is expected. Students lacking this background may be required to complete (with a B- or higher in each course) a sequence of undergraduate foundation courses in computer science and mathematics. Related professional experience, such as programming, systems analysis, and/or systems design may be substituted for some foundation courses. (b) Three letters of recommendation should be submitted that evaluate the applicant’s academic ability, professional maturity, and communication skills.
Domestic Applicants: Evidence of competence to begin graduate study. Such evidence should include either an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), satisfactory GRE scores (a total of at least 146 Verbal, 146 Quantitative, or a professional record that demonstrates readiness for graduate study in computing.
International Applicants: Demonstration of English proficiency as specified by the School of Graduate Studies Admission Policies is required as well as a GRE verbal score of at least 146, a GRE quantitative score of at least 146.
Minimum M.S. Degree Requirements
During the period before candidacy, graduate students are advised by the departmental graduate coordinator or his designee. By the beginning of the second semester students should form their graduate advisory committee. The committee’s chair becomes the student’s primary advisor. The faculty member who directs the non-thesis student’s software development project serves as the student’s primary advisor and chair of the committee. Where choices exist, students will decide, in consultation with their advisor, which courses to take to complete the master of science degree.
For students in a thesis option, the chair of the student’s graduate advisory committee directs the research and the preparation of the thesis. After selecting a topic, the student, in consultation with the student’s advisory committee chair, must develop a thesis proposal and plan which must be presented to the graduate faculty and approved by the student’s committee. The approval form must bear the signatures of the student and the advisory committee members. The student must orally present and defend the thesis.
Advisory Committee - Students should have this committee formed at the beginning of the second semester in which coursework is taken. Students may not apply for candidacy for a graduate degree until the committee has been formed.
Admission to Candidacy - To be admitted to candidacy a student must meet a number of requirements of the Graduate School (See Degree Requirements ).
Courses Open to Graduate Students - Graduate-level courses are listed at the 5XXX level. Courses at the 4XX7-5XX7 level are subject to special rules concerning enrollment and applicability as electives. Students who desire graduate credit for a course that is offered at both levels must register at the 5XX7 level. Students who wish to count a 5XX7 course as an elective should check with the graduate coordinator about that course’s standing before enrolling: courses that are not explicitly listed as possible electives are treated on a case-by-case basis, and some are not eligible to be counted as electives. A course taken for undergraduate-level credit (4XX7 level) cannot be repeated for graduate credit (5XX7 level). Graduate students who are registered for a 5XX7 level course are required to do additional work over and above that required for students registered at the 4XX7 level. At most, 30 percent of all credit-hours which are applicable to a master’s program may be in courses at the 5XX7 level. Non-degree students who desire graduate credit may enroll for courses at the 5XXX level with consent of the instructor.
Independent Study - No more than one independent study course (1-3 hours) may be taken for credit toward a graduate degree without special written approval of the graduate program coordinator.
Special Topics - No more than two special topics courses (1-6 hours) may be taken for credit toward a graduate degree without special written approval of the graduate coordinator.
Prerequisites for Graduate Study in Computer Science: Students must satisfy the program admission requirements (see Graduate Admissions Criteria above). The foundation coursework includes the following:
- A background in mathematics including probability and statistics, discrete structures, and for the applied computer science concentration basic calculus.
- Computer programming, including problem analysis, algorithm, synthesis, and competence in data structures, with knowledge of a high level programming language and for the applied computer science concentration assembly language.
- Undergraduate-level coursework in database management systems. The applied computer science concentration requires additional work in file processing, computer architecture, and operating systems. The information technology track requires additional coursework in networking and web programming.
- Some graduate courses have additional or special prerequisites.
Information Technology Concentration
The Information Technology Concentration builds on the basic concepts of software development and Web programming. Students in this concentration will develop e-commerce and business-to-business Web applications. The concentration emphasizes good software development practices. Students will participate in software development projects that provide practice with requirements analysis, software design, modeling, project management, verification and validation, and quality assurance. Other skills include enterprise resource planning and information security.
All students must also complete a final oral examination, with a mark of 80% or better in each subject area, within a year of completing their coursework. This examination, which will cover material from the seven courses in the student’s core curriculum, will be administered by the graduate coordinator or a duly appointed member of the department’s faculty. Please consult with the department for more information about the procedures that govern the exam.