The M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers two graduate degrees: the Master of Science (M.S.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

Admission to the Graduate Programs

First year students may be admitted into either the M.S. or the Ph.D. program. Normally, students with a master's degree in computer science and engineering (and some other students upon the recommendation of the GAC) are admitted directly into the Ph.D. program.

Admission to the Ph.D. Program from the M.S. Program

Any M.S. student (whether or not they have completed all course requirements for the M.S.) who has completed the core course requirements specified in the Ph.D. Qualifying Process and who has made arrangements with a major professor (see Major Professor) may apply to the GAC for admission to the Ph.D. program. This must be done before the end of the student's 2nd year. (See the Appendix for the appropriate application form.)

M.S. students who have not completed the core course requirements specified in the Ph.D. Qualifying Process by the end of their 2nd year or have not made an arrangement with a major professor by the end of their 2nd year will not be admitted to the Ph.D. program.

Summary of Degree Requirements

This section contains a summary of the requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. (See the chapters on The Master of Science Program and The Doctor of Philosophy Program for the details).

M.S. Degree Requirements

  1. Complete 30 hours of graduate credit, which include
  2. Complete one core course from each of the following four areas:
    1. Complexity Theory/Algorithms
      • CSE531 Analysis of Algorithms
      • CSE596 Introduction to the Theory of Computation
    2. AI
      • CSE563 Knowledge Representation
      • CSE567 Computational Linguistics
      • CSE572 Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence
      • CSE573 Introduction to Computer Vision and Image Processing
      • CSE574 Introduction to Machine Learning
      • CSE5xx Introduction to Pattern Recognition (currently CSE655 to be renamed as a 500-level course).
    3. Software Systems
      • CSE505 Fundamentals of Programming Languages
      • CSE521 Introduction to Operating Systems
      • CSE562 Database Systems
      • CSE580 Introduction to Computer Graphics
    4. Hardware Systems
      • CSE589 Modern Networking Concepts
      • CSE590 Computer Architecture
      • CSE552 VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) Testing
      • CSE597 Introduction to VLSI Electronics
  3. One of the following is required:
    1. Complete an M.S. thesis
    2. Complete an M.S. project. This can be either
      • an independent M.S. project approved by a supervising faculty; or
      • a 600-level course containing a project component with a grade of at least B+

(For details, see The Master of Science Program).

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

(For details, see The Doctor of Philosophy Program).


Upon admission you are assigned an advisor. This person is not necessarily your ``major professor'' for the M.S. project or thesis or the Ph.D. dissertation (as defined for Masters Students or Ph.D. Students). When you have come to an agreement with a major professor, that person will become your advisor as well. You may request a change of advisor at any time. All students and advisors are urged to meet at least once each semester to review the student's progress and course of study.