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Computer Science Masters Degree Requirements

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Masters of Science Degree in Computer Science

This program is administered by the Advisory Committee for Graduate Work in Computer Science

A program of study leading to the Master of Science in Computer Science is an interdisciplinary program offered jointly by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Comput­er Science. Courses are offered in both departments on a wide variety of areas, ranging from theoretical topics to applied topics. Students having an undergraduate background with appropriate computer science content are invited to apply. The regular course load for a full-time student, including research credit towards the M.S. degree, is 30 credit hours per calendar year. Thirty credit hours and a thesis are required for the M.S. degree.

 In addition to the general requirements for the M.S. degree that are established by the University, a student is required to satisfy the following set of requirements:

  • The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate level work. At least 20 credit hours must be earned in residence at Clarkson. Each student's program of study must be approved by the Advisory Committee.
  • Those students who are not fully prepared to pursue graduate work in computer science may be required to take the course CS 511, Foundations in Computer Science. In addition, students with very little to no background in computer science may be required to take undergraduate computer science courses, for which graduate credit will not be given.
  • Course and seminar work will comprise a minimum of 20 credit hours. To ensure some breadth in the program, four courses must satisfy the following:
    • Two foundation courses must be taken, as described below
      • CS541 Introduction to Automata Theory and Formal Languages
      • CS547 Computer Algorithms
    • Two courses from the following set, where each of these courses requires a substantial amount of programming.
      • CS544 Operating Systems
      • CS545 Compiler Construction
      • CS550 Software Design and Development
      • EE505 Computer Graphics
      • EE569 Software Design and Analysis
      • For those students who can demonstrate that they have successfully completed comparable graduate-level courses before coming to Clarkson, the Advisory Committee may waive the requirement that the student take these specific courses upon request from the student.
    • At least two restricted elective courses will be taken from the courses offered in computer science or computer engineering departments as selected by the student and their advisor. Of these 2 restricted elective courses:
      • one must be a course that focuses on research topics in computer science.
      • one must be a computer engineering course with relevant emphasis on computer science topics.
      • Students should consult with their advisors to identify courses in these categories.
    • Two seminar credits. To earn a seminar credit, students must enroll in a seminar course in Computer Science.
    • Thesis credit will comprise a maximum of 10 credit hours of the 30 credit hour minimum. All students must have a research advisor by the end of their first semester of study and must submit a research proposal to the Examination Committee by the end of the semester before they plan to graduate. The Examination Committee shall consist of a minimum of three faculty members.
    • All students must complete a thesis and defend it orally to their Examination Committee. Two copies of the completed thesis must be submitted to the University.

Grading System
The grades A, B+, B, C+, C, and Q are acceptable for credit toward the degree. For graduation, an average of B or better must be earned in hours presented (exclusive of credits earned with Q grades) for the degree.

All work done for the degree is to be completed within a period of four calendar years.

Students who are required to take additional background courses must take the background courses at the undergraduate level, and must obtain at least a B.

Requirements to Obtain Second Year and Later Years of Financial Assistance

  • All first year teaching assistants will be evaluated by the Graduate Committee as to their teaching and academic performance, and will be informed of their status and prospects after the first semester. Input for the evaluation will be solicited from their supervisors and graduate course professors. In the event that a student is found to be performing unacceptably, he or she will be terminated at the end of the first year. Such students are to be notified early in the calendar year in order to give them the opportunity to find new employment.
  • Time limit on Support for Teaching Assistantships: No M.S. candidate will be supported for more than two years.