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Computer Science MS

Program overview

The computer science program is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree (or minor) in computer science, as well as those who have a strong background in a field in which computers are applied, such as engineering, science, or business.

The degree is offered on a full- or part-time basis. Courses are generally offered in the afternoons and evenings to accommodate part-time students. A full-time student, one who takes five courses per semester, may be able to complete the course work in one year; part-time students may finish in two to four years. The time required to complete a master's thesis or project varies according to the student and the scope of the project; two semesters is typical.


The program consists of 30 semester credit hours of course work plus the completion of a thesis or project. Students with a strong background in a core area may receive permission from the graduate program director to replace a core course with another course, generally in the same area.


Electives provide breadth of experience in computer science and applications areas. Students who wish to include courses from departments outside of computer science need prior approval of the graduate program director. Refer to the course descriptions in the departments of computer science, engineering, mathematical sciences, and imaging science for possible elective courses.

Master's thesis/project

Students may choose the thesis (6 semester credit hours) or project (3 semester credit hours) option of the program. A thesis or project forms a capstone to the program. Students who choose the project option must also register for the Project Colloquium course (CSCI-789). Students will participate in required in-class presentations that will be critiqued. A summary project report and public presentation of the student's project (in poster form) will occur at the end of the semester.

Computer science (thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
CSCI-665 Foundations of Algorithms 3
  Cluster Course 1, 2, 3 9
  Elective 1, 2, 3, 4 12
CSCI-790 Thesis 6
Total Semester Credit Hours  30

Computer science (project option), MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
CSCI-665 Foundations of Algorithms 3
  Cluster Course 1, 2, 3 9
  Elective 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 15
CSCI-788/789 Project/Colloquium 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS in computer science, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:


Applicants must satisfy prerequisite requirements in mathematics (differential and integral calculus, probability and statistics, discrete mathematics, and computer science theory) and computing (experience with a modern high-level language [e.g., C++, Java], data structures, assembly language programming, software design methodology, introductory computer architecture and digital logic, operating systems, and programming language concepts).

Additional information

Bridge program

If an applicant lacks any prerequisites, bridge courses may be recommended to provide students with the required knowledge and skills needed for the program. If any bridge courses are indicated in a student's plan of study, the student may be admitted to the program on the condition that they successfully complete the bridge program courses with a grade of B (3.0) or better (courses with lower grades must be repeated). Generally, formal acceptance into the program is deferred until the applicant has made significant progress in this additional course work. Bridge program courses are not counted as part of the 30 semester credit hours required for the master's degree.

A bridge program can be designed in different ways. Often, other courses can be substituted, and courses at other colleges may be applied. See the Computer Science Graduate Studies Handbook for more details. All programs must be approved in advance by the graduate program director.


Faculty members in the department are actively engaged in research in the areas of artificial intelligence, computer networking, pattern recognition, computer vision, graphics, visualization, data management, theory, and distributed computing systems. There are many opportunities for graduate students to participate in these activities toward thesis or project work and independent study.


The computer science department provides extensive facilities that represent current technology, including:

Maximum time limit

University policy requires that graduate programs be completed within seven years of the student's initial registration for courses in the program. Bridge courses are excluded.

Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Software developer, software engineer, programmer/analyst, network administrator, database administrator, PC analyst


Software design & development, system design & development, technical support, new product testing

Recent Employers

Hewlett-Packard, Lucent Technologies, Dialogic Incorporated, Blue Lobster Software, Digital

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