May 07, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Computer Science, M.S. (Software Engineering Concentration)


General Program Information


Brian Bennett, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator
463 Nicks Hall
(423) 439-7409
e-mail: bennetbt@etsu.edu

Tony D. Pittarese, Ph.D., Department Chair
4-464 Nicks Hall
Box 70711
(423) 439-5328
e-mail: pittares@etsu.edu 

Faculty: Brian Bennett; Esra Erdin; Ed Hall; Ghaith Husari; Matthew Harrison; Ferdaus Kawsar; Mohammad Khan; Phillip Pfeiffer; Tony Pittarese; John Ramsey; Jeffrey Roach; David Tarnoff; Christopher Wallace.

In addition to its undergraduate programs in computer science, cybersecurity and modern networks, information systems, information technology, the Department of Computing offers two Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs: the M.S. in Computer Science and the M.S. in Information Systems.

The M.S. in Computer Science is designed for students who desire advanced study in Computer Science for personal and professional development or continuation to a Ph.D. In addition to a core that focuses on software project management and introduces Computer Science research, the M.S. in Computer Science offers concentrations in Applied Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and Software Engineering. Students may also choose one of three capstone options: a group software development project, an individual (independent) computing project, or a traditional thesis.

Graduate Admission Criteria


In addition to admission policies established by the Grdaduate School, all applicants will be evaluated on the basis of the following factors:

(a) Academic performance and professional experience. The equivalent of a major in a computing field with an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is expected. Applicants not meeting the major or GPA criterion may be admitted provisionally. Applicants who do not meet the major criterion may be required to complete (with a B- or higher in each course) undergraduate foundation courses in computer science and mathematics, depending on the chosen concentration. Related professional experience, such as programming, systems analysis, and/or systems design may be substituted for some foundation courses. Applicants who do not meet the GPA criterion may be required to complete their first 9 credit hours in the program of study with a grade of B or higher in each course. 

(b) Three letters of recommendation should be submitted that evaluate the applicant’s academic ability, professional maturity, and communication skills.

(c) A personal essay should discuss the applicant’s reason for pursuing the M.S. in Computer Science.

In addition to the criteria above, international applicants must demonstrate English proficiency as specified by Graduate School Admission Policies.

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:

  1. A background in mathematics including probability and statistics, discrete structures, and for the applied computer science concentration basic calculus.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Some graduate courses have additional or special prerequisites.

Software Engineering Concentration


The Software Engineering Concentration gives students an in-depth experience in software development lifecycle phases. Topics in requirements engineering, software design and design patterns, software testing, and setting up software production pipelines are covered.

Computer Science, M.S. Degree Requirements: 33 credits


Core Requirements 6 credits
Concentration 12 credits
Advisor Approved Electives 9 credits
Capstone: Thesis or Project 6 credits
TOTAL 33 credits

Computer Science Core Requirements: 6 credits


Advisor Approved Electives: 9 credits


  • CSCI 5xxx Courses (9 credits) 

Students may choose unduplicated courses from other concentrations as electives as well as relevant special topics courses. Students may take, at most, one independent study course and three dual-listed courses during the program of study.

Capstone: 6 credits


Choose one of the following options: Thesis, Software Development Project, or Independent Project.

Thesis Option


Software Development Project Option


Independent Project Option


Oral Examination


All students must pass a final oral examination by completing a presentation to their advisor and committee members at the end of their capstone sequence. Please consult with the department for more information about the procedures that govern the presentation.

International Student Seminar Policy


International Students : Must complete 4 credits of International Student Seminar  as part of their graduate program.