All MSCS students are required to complete one of three tracks:
- Thesis option
- Project option
- Coursework-only option
The thesis option is a research project that must answer a significant research question. The projects must result in a working algorithm or system. The coursework-only option is two additional courses.
Thesis and project options must be approved by a student's supervisory committee, which is comprised of three faculty. To get your project approved, you will need to write a project proposal listing your description of your project, specifically:
- The purpose or problem that the project is meant to address,
- The approach you plan to employ,
- The research that justifies your approach,
- The criteria that determines when the project is complete.
It is recommended that you use the Project Proposal Form as a starting point for your proposal. However, you may use any format that is approved by your committee.
All projects require a supervisory committee consisting of your advisor (who will serve as chair) and two other MSCS faculty who hold a Ph.D. or equivalent. Your advisor will be assigned to you when you are accepted into the program, but this assignment may be changed by mutual consent (see the advisors page). The second and third committee members will be selected by you and your advisor. You may petition the graduate director for one of the members of your supervisory committee to be outside of the MSCS Ph.D. faculty if you can show the they are an expert in the subject matter.
Once your advisor is comfortable with your proposal, you will need to schedule an oral presentation of your project proposal and invite all the MSCS Faculty. At a minimum, your supervisory committee should attend.
If, after the presentation, your committee approves your project, your committee will sign the proposal. Once you have submitted the signed proposal to program director, you will be allowed to register for either CS 6010 (for design projects) or CS 6020 (for research projects).