Master of Science in Computer Science


student on campus

The Department of Computer Science offers a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. The M.S. in Computer Science program provides recent college graduates, or college graduates who have had several years of professional life, an opportunity to enhance their careers and work on cutting-edge areas of computer science. The program offers three concentrations: (1) Data Science, (2) Cybersecurity and Networking, and (3) High-Performance Computing and Bioinformatics.
The M.S. in Computer Science offers the non-thesis and thesis options. All students are required to complete a total of 33 credit hours that include 9 credit hours of major core courses, 12 credit hours of concentration core courses, 6 credit hours of electives, and 6 credits hours of design-based courses (for non-thesis option) or 6 credit hours of thesis (for thesis option).
Substitution within the core courses may be permitted with the consent of the advisor and approval of the department chair.

Admission Requirements
All students desiring to enroll for graduate study must apply through the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. To be admitted to the program, students should demonstrate readiness to succeed in the graduate program. To do this, students should meet the following criteria:

1. Applicants must have an academic background that covers certain prerequisite knowledge in mathematics, software systems and computer programming, data structures, computer architectures, and computer networks. Student transcript should present evidence of the following courses with a grade of "C" or better:
            a. Mathematical background: 8 credit hours of calculus and 3 credit hours of linear algebra.
            b. Completion of undergraduate computer science prerequisites courses (or their equivalents): COMP 2240 (Computer Programming II), COMP 2400 (Computer Organization), COMP 3040 (Data Structures), COMP 3310 (Data Communications and Computer Networks), and COMP 4100 (Operating Systems).

2. The applicant must have a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related area with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale.

3. The applicant must submit two letters of recommendation.

The application materials of each applicant will be evaluated by a committee, which may recommend some prerequisite undergraduate courses for the applicants under conditional admission. The applicant will have conditional classification until the completion of the recommend course or courses. If admitted the applicant must correct the deficiency within the first two semesters. 
An applicant whose Bachelor's degree is not in Computer Science or a related area and who has exceptional experience in Computer Science may also be considered for conditional admission on an individual basis. Such applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 and provide a written technical summary for evaluation of their technical experience. This summary should emphasize the applicant's experience with software systems and methodology, computer organization and architecture, and theory and mathematical background. 
Conditional admission: Applicants admitted in this category will not be allowed to take more than 6 credits hours of graduate courses in the program until successful completion of the prerequisite courses with grade C or above.

Non-Thesis and Thesis Options
The program requires completion of either a 6-credit hour thesis, for the thesis option, or 6 credit hours of design-based courses, for the non-thesis option. For the thesis option, a thesis manuscript and an oral presentation are required to document the student's research activity. A thesis committee will supervise the student's thesis work. The committee will consist of 3 faculty members, including the thesis chair. At least 2 of the committee members must be computer science graduate faculty. The chair must be a computer science faculty with graduate faculty credentials. For the non-thesis option, 6 credit hours of design-based courses are required. These courses will be selected from an approved list with advisement of the student's advisor. These courses have a strong project/design component.

Retention Requirements
The following is a list of the retention requirements:
1. Students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 throughout the program. After completion of nine semester hours of graduate work, if the student's cumulative GPA at the end of the given semester falls below 3.00, the student will be placed on probation. A student who fails to attain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 during the next semester enrolled will be suspended.
2. Students must have a grade of B or better in all core courses and may not have more than two C grades in other courses used to meet degree requirements.
3. Students who have repeated a core course and failed to achieve a grade B or higher will be dismissed from the program.
4. The maximum time allowed for completion of the master's degree is six calendar years. All requirements for the M.S. in CS degree must be completed within the six-year period beginning with the student's first term of enrollment in a graduate course.
5. Students dismissed form the program will not be readmitted.

Graduation Requirements
The M.S. in Computer Science program has two tracks: (a) a non-thesis program that requires 33 hours of coursework or (b) the thesis program that requires completion 27 hours of coursework and a thesis. The thesis option is strongly recommended for the students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree. The Master of Science degree in Computer Science will require the following:
1. Admission of all degree-seeking students to candidacy for the degree after the completion of nine (9) graduate credit hours in residence at the University. The student must file an Admission to Candidacy form with the Graduate School prior to the semester in which graduation is desired.
2. A minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate work, including 18 credit hours of required graduate core courses, with the following conditions for the Non-Thesis Option and Thesis Option:

Non-thesis Option:
The student must complete 33 credit hours of graduate computer science coursework.
Thesis Option:
The student must complete 27 credit hours of graduate computer science coursework and 6 credit hours of thesis work. A thesis is documented by a report and an oral presentation is required. A thesis committee will supervise the student's thesis work. The committee will consist of 3 faculty members including the thesis chair. At least 2 of the committee members must be computer science graduate faculty. The chair must be computer science faculty.

Teaching/Research Assistantship
Students who are looking for assistantship can either find a faculty member who has a current funded project to work with as Research assistant or apply to the department for Teaching assistant position. The department of Computer Science has a limited number of half assistantship every semester. Therefore it is very competitive. To be eligible for assistantship, student must download the form from graduate school page (called Graduate Assistantship Application) and submit it to Dr. Erdemir before May 15 (for Fall) and October 15 (for Spring).

Program of Study

For more information or to apply, contact Dr. Fenghui Yao  at, phone#: 615.963.5875.

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Computer Science