VCU Bulletins

Computer Science, Master of Science (M.S.)

Graduate program director
Tom J. Arodz, Ph.D.
Assistant professor
tarodz@vcu.edu
(804) 827-3989

Additional contact
Krzysztof J. Cios, Ph.D.
Professor and chair, Department of Computer Science
kcios@vcu.edu
(804) 828-9671

Program website: computer-science.egr.vcu.edu/graduate

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

Computer and Information Systems Security, Master of Science (M.S.)
Computer Science, Master of Science (M.S.), accelerated Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with a concentration in computer science

Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.

Admission requirements

Computer Science, Master of Science (M.S.)
Degree:

M.S.
Semester(s) of entry:
Fall


Spring
Deadline
dates:

Jun 1 (Feb 15 for financial assistance)

Nov 15
Test requirements:
GRE – General

International students require TOEFL

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School and the School of Engineering, applicants to the M.S. program in computer science must satisfy the requirements outlined below.

Acceptance of an applicant is based upon the recommendation of the graduate committee with approval of the program chair and the associate dean for graduate studies.

Undergraduate education in computer science or in a related discipline or completion of Post-baccalaureate Undergraduate Certificate in Computer Science is highly preferred.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university.  These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program mission

The program is designed to develop research skills and educate CS students to be major contributors in the computing industry. The graduate program in computer science provides state-of-the-art education through the use of didactic and research courses to those students who wish to further their knowledge and careers within the computing industry. The program emphasizes continuing self-development and broadening the knowledge of individuals currently engaged in science, technology and engineering-related fields. It also prepares persons who have completed undergraduate majors in these fields for entry into a career in the numerous areas that use computing technology. Both the theoretical and applied aspects of computer science are emphasized in this program.

Program goals

The goal of the Master of Science in Computer Science program is to provide students with a graduate education that prepares them for current and future challenges in the field of computer science. The major goal is to educate graduates who will possess the ability to formulate, analyze and solve problems, analytically and/or experimentally (in software and hardware), in computer science and industry. The master’s program will:

  1. Provide students with training in state-of-the-art on different areas of computer science and the computing industry
  2. Provide students with professional preparation for their future careers
  3. Prepare students to tackle current and future challenges in the field of computer science

Student learning outcomes

  1. Apply advanced knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering – Graduates will demonstrate an ability to apply advanced knowledge of mathematics, science and/or engineering.
  2. Problem analysis, design and implementation on computer systems – Graduates will demonstrate an ability to analyze problems and to design and implement solutions on computer systems.
  3. Communicate effectively – Graduates will demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively.

Degree requirements

In addition to the VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students may choose either a thesis or non-thesis degree program. The thesis option is suggested for students who have a strong research interest or those who wish to pursue a Ph.D. For students not in the accelerated B.S.-M.S. program, at most, six non-CMSC credit hours may be applied toward the degree. Students in the accelerated B.S.-M.S. program should refer to the rules described in the bulletin.

Non-thesis option

A minimum of 30 credit hours, including:

  1. At least two courses from the theory foundation area (CMSC 501, CMSC 526, CMSC 620/CISS 624, CMSC 621), one of which must be CMSC 501; at least two courses from the systems foundation area (CMSC 502, CMSC 506, CMSC 608, CMSC 618, CMSC 622); at least two courses from the applied computer science foundation area (CMSC/CISS 609, CMSC 630, CMSC 635, CMSC 678).
  2. At least 15 credit hours of CMSC courses at the 600 level or greater

Up to 30 percent of a student’s non-research graduate-level credit hours can be transferred into the M.S. program from another college or university with approval of the program and the Graduate School.

The number of credit hours that may be transferred by students pursuing an M.S. in Computer Science through the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program is limited by CGEP policy to 50 percent of the required credit hours. All transfer credit hours must be approved by the graduate committee using the graduate course transfer form.

For students not in the accelerated B.S.-M.S. program, courses that are transferred are subject to the following rules:

  1. These credit hours must not have been applied to any other degree; however, they may have been taken as part of a post-baccalaureate graduate certificate program.
  2. No more than six credit hours in graduate-level courses taken at VCU before admission to the M.S. program may be counted toward the M.S. degree.

At most, three credit hours of CMSC 697 or CMSC 692 may be applied toward the degree.

Thesis option

Students will have to satisfy the following:

  1. A minimum of 24 non-thesis credit hours, including
    1. At least two courses from the theory foundation area (CMSC 501, CMSC 526, CMSC 620/CISS 624, CMSC 621), one of which must be CMSC 501; at least two courses from the systems foundation area (CMSC 502, CMSC 506, CMSC 608, CMSC 618, CMSC 622); at least two courses from the applied computer science foundation area (CMSC/CISS 609, CMSC 630, CMSC 635, CMSC 678)
    2. At least 12 credit hours of CMSC courses at the 600 level or greater
  2. Six credit hours of CMSC 697 Directed Research

Up to 30 percent of a student’s non-research graduate-level credit hours can be transferred into the M.S. program from another college or university.

The number of credit hours that may be transferred to VCU from other participating institutions by students pursuing an M.S. in Computer Science through the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program is limited by CGEP policy to 50 percent of the required credit hours.

All transfer credit hours must be approved by the graduate committee using the graduate course transfer form.

For students not in the accelerated B.S.-M.S. program, courses that are transferred are subject to the following rules:

  1. These credit hours must not have been applied to any other degree; however, they may have been taken as part of a post-baccalaureate certificate program.
  2. No more than six credit hours of graduate-level courses taken at VCU before admission to the M.S. program may be counted toward the M.S. degree.

Students seeking to take a research credit course [CMSC 692 Independent Study (maximum three credit hours) or CMSC 697 Directed Research (maximum 6 credit hours)] must find a faculty adviser willing to supervise the research.

In order to advance to master’s candidacy, the student must have: (1) completed required course work; (2) have a minimum 3.0 GPA in graduate course work; (3) have no more than six semester credit hours or 20 percent of total semester hours attempted (whichever is greater) at C or below level (C, D, F); and (4) be in compliance with the time to degree, which is 6 years for a master’s degree.

The student will produce a written thesis in the format specified by the VCU Graduate School and will publicly defend the thesis before a committee consisting of the thesis adviser, at least one other faculty member from the computer science program and a faculty member from outside of the computer science program.

Curriculum requirements

Non-thesis option

Courses Credit hours
   
Foundational area: theory 6
CMSC 501 Advanced Algorithms (required) 3
   
Choose at least one of the following:  
CMSC 526 Theory of Programming Languages 3
CMSC 620/CISS 624 Applied Cryptography 3
CMSC 621 Theory of Computation 3
   
Foundational area: systems (choose at least two of the following) 6
CMSC 502 Parallel Algorithms 3
CMSC 608 Advanced Database 3
CMSC 622 Network and Operating Systems Security 3
   
Foundational area: applied computer science (choose at least two of the following) 6
CMSC/CISS 609 Advanced Computational Intelligence 3
CMSC 630 Applied Signal and Image Analysis 3
CMSC 635 Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining 3
CMSC 678 Statistical Learning and Fuzzy Logic Algorithms 3
   
Additional CMSC course work 9
Note: At least 15 credit hours of all CMSC courses must be at the 600 level or greater.  
   
Research 3
CMSC 692 Independent Study or CMSC 697 Directed Research (At most, three credits of CMSC 697 or CMSC 692 may be applied toward the degree.) 3
   
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Thesis option

Courses Credit hours
   
Foundational area: theory 6
CMSC 501 Advanced Algorithms (required) 3
   
Choose at least one of the following:  
CMSC 526 Theory of Programming Languages 3
CMSC 620/CISS 624 Applied Cryptography 3
CMSC 621 Theory of Computation 3
   
Foundational area: systems (choose at least two of the following) 6
CMSC 502 Parallel Algorithms 3
CMSC 506/EGRE 526 Computer Networks and Communications 3
CMSC 608 Advanced Database 3
CMSC/CISS 618 Database and Application Security 3
CMSC 622 Network and Operating Systems Security 3
   
Foundational area: applied computer science (choose at least two of the following) 6
CMSC/CISS 609 Advanced Computational Intelligence 3
CMSC 630 Applied Signal and Image Analysis 3
CMSC 635 Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining 3
CMSC 678 Statistical Learning and Fuzzy Logic Algorithms 3
   
Additional CMSC course work 6
Note: At least 12 credit hours of all CMSC courses must be at the 600 level or greater.  
   
Research 6
CMSC 692 Independent Study* and/or CMSC 697 Directed Research
* At most, three credits of CMSC 697 may be applied toward the degree.)
 
   
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Degree candidacy requirements

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Graduation requirements

Other information

Student handbook is available on the School of Engineering website.

 

 

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Last update: 12/18/2014

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