General Program Information
Phil Pfeiffer, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator
467 Nicks Hall
Brian T. Bennett, Ph.D., Department Chair
4-464 Nicks Hall
Faculty: Ahmad Al Doulat; Biju Bajracharya; Brian Bennett; Mathew Desjardins; Matthew Harrison; Stephen Hendrix; Ghaith Husari; Mohammad Khan; Phillip Pfeiffer; Jack Ramsey; Tahsin Rezwana; Jeffrey Roach; David Tarnoff
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 Graduate School, all applicants are required to submit the following:
- Undergraduate transcripts that show the equivalent of a major in a computing field with an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- Three letters of recommendation that evaluate the applicant’s academic ability, professional maturity, and communication skills.
- A personal essay that discusses the applicant’s reason for pursuing the M.S. in Computer Science.
- A curriculum vita, detailing any IT-related work experience.
In addition to the criteria above, international applicants must demonstrate English proficiency as specified by Graduate School Admission Policies.
Applicants will be evaluated for admission based on evidence of preparedness for graduate study in computer science, as attested to by academic performance and/or professional experience. Applicants without sufficient academic or professional experience may be admitted provisionally. Applicants lacking academic preparation may be required to complete (with a B- or higher in each course) 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. Applicants who do not meet the GPA requirement may be admitted provisionally and must complete their first 9 credit hours in the program of study with a grade of B or higher in each course.
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.