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Information & Requirements

The Computer Science Master’s program gives graduates a broad and deep knowledge of computer science by offering a strong core program with a wide selection of elective courses. The program maintains a balance between theory, systems, and applications, with emphasis on software development.

Students gain the ability and courage to use their knowledge by working on realistic scale projects in the graduate courses. Their experience includes work as a member of a team as well as situations where an individual is responsible for the whole project from problem specification to the completion of the solution. Students learn to conduct independent research and present their results in oral and written forms. They graduate with the knowledge and skills required to develop and design high-quality computer systems and application software. They have the ability to follow the rapid changes in the field. As highly qualified professionals, students are ready to compete for responsible positions in the computer industry, research institutions, government, or to pursue their education in PhD programs.

Degree requirements

An individual graduate program is arranged by the student with an advisor during the first semester and approved by the student’s Graduate Committee. All students complete three required computer science courses and a master’s project or thesis course. Combined thesis and project credits cannot exceed six. Elective courses round out the student’s program.

Complete 3 core courses, chosen from

  • CIS 522 – Algorithms and Complexity 3 credits
  • CIS 560 - Theoretical Computer Science 3 credits
  • CIS 570 - Advanced Computer Systems 3 credits
  • CIS 580 - Paradigmatic Software Development 3 credits

Complete required project or thesis course (maximum of 6 credits)

  • CIS 600 - Master's Project 3 credits (Project Track), OR
  • CIS 690 – Master’s Thesis 3-6 credits (Thesis Track)

Combined thesis and project credits cannot exceed 6 credits.

Select additional CIS 500- or 600-level courses

Approved courses from another department may be substituted. Students on the Project Track select six additional CIS 500- or 600-level courses for 18 credits. Students on the Thesis track can take either five or six additional CIS 500- or 600-level courses for a total of 15 or 18 credits. On the Thesis track, if six additional CIS 500- or 600-level courses are taken, one of them can be CIS 600.

Additional requirements

  • One CIS 400 level technical elective taken during the graduate study may be counted toward the CIS MS degree, only with the previous approval of the Graduate Program Director.
  • No more than 6 credits of coursework taken as a non-degree special student may subsequently be credited toward the graduate degree.
  • Students must meet the university graduate requirement of at least a 3.0 grade point average; only courses graded C or better may count toward the degree.
  • Students doing a Master’s Thesis will make an oral presentation on the thesis topic.

Students must pass the course CIS 599 graduate seminars for two semesters. In order to pass the course, at least 80% attendance rate is required. In addition, a one-page report, which describes at least two seminars attended, must be submitted by the end of each academic semester.

Graduate certificates

A certificate offers the working professional recognition of a coherent program of advanced study at the graduate level. Each of our certificate programs is compatible with our MS degree requirements, enabling certificate recipients to transition to a degree program without loss of credits.

Acceptance to a certificate program

Applicants must have an earned MS in an appropriate field. One applies for acceptance to a graduate certificate program through the Graduate Studies Office. Applicants follow the procedures for graduate degree acceptance into the MS in Computer Science, but in a curtailed form. Thus, they submit a shortened application form and supply an essay and official transcripts of all post-secondary work, as instructed herein. However, they are not required to submit GRE scores or recommendation letters.

A joint faculty committee will review applications for acceptance to this certificate program. One element in the review will be to assess whether a student has met the stated prerequisites and in general has the appropriate combination of background and experience to succeed in the program. It is possible for acceptance to be offered with a contingency that the student must also take one or more undergraduate prerequisite courses.

Other certificate policies

Prospective students can take up to two courses (with permission of the instructor) for the certificate before completing their official acceptance to the certificate program. Certificate students may use no more than one CIS Technical Elective 400-level course toward their certificate program, and a 400-level course may be used only when the related graduate course is not offered during the student’s certificate program enrollment. Other graduate policies, such as those for longevity of credit, acceptable grades, and ability to repeat courses, apply to certificate students as to degree students.

BS/MS in Computer Science

The department offers an integrated program that allows qualified UMass Dartmouth undergraduate majors in Computer Science to proceed directly to the master’s degree program and complete both degrees with a reduction in overall credits required. See: BS/MS in Computer Science

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