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Number of Credits and GPA

The MS in Computer Science degree program requires completion of at least 37 semester credits with a grade “C” (or 2.0 quality points) or above in each course and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. The full-time program typically spans four semesters of 15 weeks each and an additional semester to complete a thesis or comprehensive examination, for a total of two calendar years. The part-time program typically spans twelve semesters (including summer semesters) for a total of four calendar years. Students may choose to complete the program in less time by following an alternative three-year course sequence. For candidates with a lack of experience in computer graphics or mathematics, some articulation classes may be required.

Required Courses

Subject AreaCreditsRequired Courses
Computer Science22
  • CS 525, CS 529, CS 541, and CS 598.
  • Two courses from one of the following concentration areas:
    • Artificial Intelligence: CS 581 and CS 580 or CS 582
    • Graphics: CS 560 and CS 500, or CS 561, or CS 562
    • Physically-Based Simulation: PHY 500 and CS 550
    • Image Processing: CS 570 and CS 571 or CS 572
  • Two additional CS courses numbered 500 and up.
Electives3Any CS course numbered 500 and up, PHY 500, or any MAT course numbered 500 and up.
Mathematics3At least one MAT course numbered 500 or above.
Projects9GAM 541 and two courses from the following: GAM 550, GAM 551, GAM 590, and GAM 591.

Note: Thesis or Extra Course

CS 601 and CS 602 are required for the research and project theses tracks and will count toward fulfillment of the Computer Science Requirement. Students who choose the comprehensive examination track cannot receive credit for CS 602.

Waived Required Courses

Required courses can be waived on a case-by-case basis for qualified students. The academic advisor will decide on whether or not to approve these requests. In any case, students are required to satisfactorily complete a minimum of 37 semester credits to earn a MS in Computer Science degree.

Length Restrictions

Full-time students in the MS in Computer Science degree program should complete the requirements for the degree in 36 months. Students in the part-time MS in Computer Science degree program should complete the requirements for the degree in 72 months. All students must remain in continuous matriculation throughout the duration of their degree program.

Note on Capstone Experience

Upon the successful completion of MS in Computer Science degree requirements, students need to have fulfilled a “capstone experience.” This is designed to bring reflection and focus to a student’s area of concentration and to enhance the skills, methodology, and knowledge learned throughout the degree program. Components of the capstone experience can include (but are not limited to): game project classes, externships at a game company, extra courses, comprehensive examination, project thesis classes, thesis defense.

Thesis and Examination Tracks

Students in the Master of Science in Computer Science program must select to focus their studies through the completion of one of three tracks: research thesis, project thesis, or extra coursework. The research thesis option is designed for those students who wish to develop analytic research skills and to make an original contribution to the field. The project thesis option allows students to advance their professional careers through a hands-on experience or practical application of their study. The extra coursework option is intended for those preferring extended knowledge and broader skills in computer science or a related discipline.

1. Research Thesis (CS 601 and CS 602)

Students choosing this track must identify an area of interest within the discipline of computer science, computer engineering, mathematics, physics, or game production. They shall conduct a literature survey on existing techniques and algorithms in the field, propose an innovative approach to the field, develop the theory and prototypes, and write and defend the thesis.

2. Project Thesis (CS 601 and CS 602)

This option is similar to the research thesis. However, instead of an original contribution to the field, the project thesis emphasizes the practical aspect of a specific problem. After surveying the literature in a narrowly focused area of study, students choosing this track shall select existing algorithm(s) to implement. They must also analyze and compare different approaches. This option also requires that students write a technical report and demonstrate the implementation of the algorithm(s) to the thesis committee.

3. Extra Cousework with Comprehensive Exam

This option allows a student to take one or two additional electives offered at the graduate level to replace CS 602 or both CS 601 and CS 602, along with the satisfactory completion of a comprehensive exam.

The comprehensive examination tests a student’s knowledge of basic computer science material and material covered by the chosen concentration area. The exam is based on graduate courses and suitable undergraduate material. To schedule an examination, the student shall complete the Comprehensive Examination Request Form no later than six weeks prior to the proposed examination date. The student and his or her academic advisor need to sign the form.

The comprehensive examination consists of two parts - general and subject. The general part of the examination covers core computer science topics and includes all four of the following:

  • Algorithms
  • Data Structures
  • Advanced C++ (CS 525)
  • Advanced Graphics (CS 541)

The subject part of the examination covers topics from a student’s chosen concentration area (see Degree Requirements section).

Each of the two parts of the examination will be given in a threehour period and may be taken either on the same day or on different days. The student’s final grade will be given based on individual performance in each of the two exams. Instructors will provide a syllabus of the material covered by the exam.

The outcome of the comprehensive examination will be one of the following:

  • Pass - Student earns a grade of 75% or higher in each of the two parts of the examination.
  • Conditional Pass - given in rare borderline cases where a student may need to fulfill additional requirements, such as retaking one part of the examination.
  • Fail - Student is required to retake both parts of the examination.

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