Computer Science and Information Systems

Jiang B. Liu,
Graduate Program Coordinator

Jiang B. Liu, Young Park,
Graduate Advisors

The Department offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science in computer science and Master of Science in computer information systems. These courses of study are designed to prepare students for professional careers in the field of computing and information processing or for further study and research.

Computer science is the study of theoretical and algorithmic foundations used in software engineering and development. Students are taught how to gather and analyze requirements, design and develop software, and devise new innovations and applications in computing. Computer information systems is a discipline that focuses on information technology and a wide variety of scientific and business applications; the mathematical requirements for computer information systems are not as rigorous as they are for computer science because there is less focus on theoretical foundations.

Students can concentrate their study on specific applications such as software engineering, computer security, computer gaming, Web applications development, intelligent systems, and databases.

Computer science and computer information systems graduates are employed by a variety of industries and non-profit organizations as software engineers and developers, Web application developers, software test engineers, network analysts and administrators, system analysts, data analysts, and database developers and administrators.

In addition to satisfying all the Graduate School requirements for the degree, all candidates for the master’s degree must satisfy the following departmental requirements:

  1. At least 33 hours of graduate-level coursework. The course CS 502 does not count as part of the total hours needed.
  2. No “D” grades can be counted in the completion of requirements for the degree.
  3. Every student must pass a written comprehensive examination that will be based on the core requirements for the program pursued.


Interested and qualified students are offered the option of writing a master’s thesis. Students selecting this option are encouraged to choose an advisor and topic as early as possible in order to plan the thesis development and any needed supporting coursework. The following policies apply to theses:

  1. A minimum grade point average of 3.5 in computer science and computer information systems graduate courses is required for students enrolling in CS 699 (Thesis).
  2. No student may register for CS 699 until 9 hours of graduate courses have been completed in the department.
  3. Six credit hours of CS 699 are required and, upon completion, the thesis must be defended in an oral examination. No grade will be given for CS 699 until after the oral defense.
  4. A written outline of the thesis project and a tentative schedule must be submitted to and approved by the graduate coordinator and the chair prior to the registration for CS 699.

Admission requirements and graduation requirements specific to computer science and computer information systems are given below. In addition, applicants must submit GRE General Test scores taken within the last five years. The applicant may request a GRE waiver under certain circumstances. Note that prospective students who do not meet the conditions for admission may be admitted conditionally, in which case the department will prescribe a program for the removal of such admission conditions. Conditional status must be removed prior to graduation.

Computer Science

In addition to meeting all the general requirements of the Graduate School and of the department as stated above, candidates for the master’s degree in computer science must satisfy the following requirements.

  1. At least 27 of the 33 hours required must be in computer science courses. At most, six hours may be earned in approved courses other than those labeled CS.
  2. To satisfy the core (breadth) requirement, four courses must be taken, one from each pair given below. (either by taking the course or showing evidence of the completion of an equivalent course elsewhere): CS 520 or CS 625; CS 590 or CS 591; CS 514 or CS 612; CS 561 or CS 670.
  3. To satisfy the depth requirements, the student must take two courses from one of the following three tracks:

    Systems/Net-Centric: CS 531, CS 532, CS 635;
    Software Engineering: CS 592, CS 593, CS 690;
    Intelligent Systems/Information Retrieval: CS 562, CS 563, CS 570.

For admission into the computer science program, a student must have completed discrete mathematics, at least two semesters of calculus, matrix or linear algebra, and at least one semester of calculus-based statistics; must have at least 15 hours of computer science coursework including knowledge of one structured or object-oriented programming language, elementary data structures, assembly language, advanced data structures, and introductory computer architecture; and must have approval of the department.

Computer Information Systems

In addition to meeting all the general requirements of the Graduate School and of the department as stated above, candidates for the master’s degree in computer information systems must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. At least 21 of the 33 hours required must be in computer information systems or computer science courses.
  2. A minimum of 9 hours must be taken in courses outside the department. These courses must form a coherent program in an applications area and must be approved by the graduate coordinator.
  3. The following core requirements must be met (either by taking the course or by showing evidence of having completed an equivalent course elsewhere): CIS 571, CIS 572, CIS 588, CIS 607, CS 592, and CS 670. (CS 531 and CS 590 are recommended).


The admission requirements for the computer information systems program are one semester of calculus, one semester of calculus-based statistics, two semesters of accounting, one semester of finance, two semesters of programming and data structures in a structured or object-oriented programming language, and one semester of data communications.