Last Update: 9 May 2007

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Degree Requirements

  1. Maintain continuous registration (you must be registered during the semester in which you expect your degree), and
  2. Complete 30 hours of graduate credit (subject to certain constraints when receiving 2 master's degrees; see Graduate School Policies and Procedures), and
  3. Fulfill a minimum UB residency requirement of 24 credit hours, and
  4. Take one core course from each of the following four areas:
  5. Get at least average B in the four courses above, and at least B- for each of the four courses above.
  6. Take at least two other CSE500 level courses and at least one CSE600 level course
  7. Complete one of the following:
    1. An M.S. thesis
    2. An M.S. project. This can be either
      • an independent M.S. project approved by a supervising faculty; or
      • a 600 level CSE course containing a project component, with grade at least B$+$ for the course and the project. To take this option, you should register for 3 credits for the 600-level course, and 0 credit for project guidance. (``Project Guidance'' does not yet exist in the course catalog. Until it is official, you may register for 3 credits for the 600-level course and ignore the ``Project guidance'' requirement).


Transferring Credits

Since only 24 of the 30 credit hours must be taken at UB CSE department, you may transfer up to 6 graduate credits from outside the CSE department, subject to the approval of GAC. Only those graduate courses relevant to CSE and completed with grades of B or better are eligible for consideration as transfer credit. If you transfer a course that is the equivalent of a CSE course, you may not take the equivalent CSE course here.

To transfer courses, you need to complete a ``Transfer Credit Form'' (available outside 232 Bell), attach the transcript, the syllabus of the course being transferred and other relevant information, and submit them to the Director of the GAC for approval.

Waiving Requirements

If you have already taken a course similar to a required core course, you may apply to the GAC for a waiver of that core course. Such waivers will be granted by the GAC after evaluation of your transcript (including the syllabus of the course proposed to replace the core course) and discussion with you, in consultation with the faculty members who teach that course. Normally, demonstrating that you received grade(s) of B or better in one (or more) courses covering the same material will suffice.

If you have had a 400-level analog of a core course at UB that is double-listed as 4/5xx, such as CSE4/572, then you may apply to the GAC for a waiver for the corresponding 500-level core course.

To petition for a waiver of a core course, you must complete a "Petition for a Waiver of a Core Course Form" (available outside 232 Bell), attach other relevant information, and submit them to the Director of the GAC for approval.

Having a core course waived does not exempt you from the requirement of 24 credits of CSE courses at the 500- or 600-level. However, it does allow you to replace one of the 500-level core courses with another 500-level CSE course or with a 600-level CSE course that would satisfy the 3-credit CSE 600-level course requirement.

Because it takes time for the waiver process to go through the GAC, you should initiate the process at least one semester before the course desired to be waived is offered. In addition, it is to your advantage to discuss such waivers with relevant faculty members and solicit their support in writing before petitioning the GAC.

"Double Dipping"

If you have received a graduate degree from another department at UB, or are in the process of receiving one, then only up to 6 credits can be used to satisfy your master's degree requirements in computer science and engineering from another degree program.

If you have already taken any of the required core courses and used them towards a graduate degree from another department at UB, and if having done so puts you above the 6-credit limit, then you must replace those excess core courses as described in waiving, paragraph 4, above.

For example, if you used CSE505 and CSE590 for a master's degree in Mathematics, then you may also use them for the master's degree in Computer Science and Engineering, but you may not use any other courses from your Mathematics master's program for the Computer Science and Engineering master's, since that would exceed the 6-credit limit. If you also used CSE521 for your Mathematics master's, and if you also use the first two for your Computer Science and Engineering master's, then you may not use CSE521 for your Computer Science and Engineering master's, and you must replace CSE521 with another 500- or 600-level CSE course.

No course can be ``triply'' counted. For example, if you have taken CSE521 for your M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering, then you can not use CSE 521 for your CSE degrees.

Independent Study

You may also receive credit for independent study (CSE700) under a faculty member. No later than the end of the second week of the semester in which you are registering for independent study, you must submit to the Director of GAC for approval a one-page description that is approved and signed by the faculty member directing the independent study. The one-page description should outline the work that you will perform for your independent study. (Cf. Independent Study; see Appendix.)


The normal course requirements for an entering student with no background in computer science and engineering at the graduate level consist of the 12 credits of required core courses, two other CSE 500-level courses, one CSE 600-level course, and 9 credits of electives (among them, 6 credits may be approved graduate courses transferred from outside UB, or from other departments at UB).

If you want to choose the elective courses in departments outside Computer Science and Engineering, you should choose courses related to CSE and do so under the guidance of your advisor.

Internship Option

You may choose the ``Internship Option'' for your M.S. degree program. If a student chooses this option, you are required to complete one semester of Internship and register for CSE598 (Internship). One credit for CSE598 can be counted towards the M.S. degree.

Grade Requirements

In the program submitted for graduation, you must have 30 graduate credits with at least a 3.0 average in right combination of courses. No more than 2 Cs and no Ds or Fs are allowed in the 30 hours you use for the M.S degree. The ``U'' grade indicates failure and cannot be counted towards the required 30 credits.

An S/U grade will not affect your GPA. Seminars are normally graded as S/U. UB Graduate School requires that no more than 25% of the required credits in a student's graduate program (excluding courses taken as thesis and project research) shall be graded on an S/U basis.


If at any time your GPA slips below 3.0 or you are not otherwise making satisfactory progress toward the degree (as determined at the semesterly review of all graduate students by the faculty), you will be put on probation. (See the section on probation for details).

Approval of Course of Study

Approval of the full course of study for your degree is given by the signature, on the Application to Candidacy form, of the Chair of the Department or Director of Graduate Studies. It is your responsibility to determine if your program is acceptable. If you have any doubts whether your program is likely to be approved, discuss them with your advisor and/or the Director of Graduate Studies as soon as possible.

For a summary of these requirements, see the Appendix.


  1. There is no foreign-language requirement for the M.S. degree.
  2. There is no full-time residency requirement for the M.S. However, if you are a full-time student, you must satisfy all requirements for the M.S. degree by the end of your 4th semester in residence.
  3. It is a UB policy that M.S. students may be given tuition scholarship only for 30 credit hours, regardless of the number of the M.S. degrees they receive. For example, you may have already received an M.S. degree from the UB Mathematics Department and received tuition scholarship for 30 credits for that degree. If you are admitted to CSE M.S. program, you will not be given additional tuition scholarship for the credits required for your CSE M.S. degree. In this case, even if you are offered a TA, RA or GA position, you will only receive the stipend, but not tuition scholarship.

The Master's Thesis and Master's Project

Major Professor

If you choose to complete an independent project or a thesis for your M.S. degree, it is your responsibility to come to an agreement with a major professor, i.e., an advisor for your project or thesis. Only members of the Graduate Faculty of the University (i.e., marked by `*' in the list of faculty, above) who are either tenured or tenure-track faculty of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, or Research or Adjunct faculty members of the department are eligible to supervise M.S. theses or to direct independent M.S. projects. The department cannot guarantee that you will be successful in coming to an agreement with a major advisor.

If you write a thesis, it must be approved by two faculty members (including your major professor) and, by Graduate School regulations, defended by oral examination. An independent M.S. project needs only be approved by your major professor.

In both cases, your work must also be approved by either the Director of Graduate Studies or the Chair of the Department. Before beginning work on the independent master's project or thesis, you should complete an Application to Candidacy and have it signed by your advisor or major professor, the second faculty member responsible for approving the thesis (if applicable), and the Director of Graduate Studies or the Chair of the Department. If you received, or are in the process of receiving, a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) from any other department at UB, you must submit a copy of all Applications to Candidacy for those degrees, together with any amendments, before your Application to Candidacy for a degree in CSE can be approved.

Master's Thesis

M.S. Thesis involves doing research on a topic of mutual interest to the Advisor and the student. It is expected that the thesis work should be of publishable quality. The contents can be:

The format of the master's thesis is:

The amount of time spent on the M.S. Thesis should be equivalent to 6 credits. Up to 6 credits of CSE800 (Thesis Guidance) maybe counted towards the 30 credits required for M.S. degree.

An oral public defense of M.S. Thesis is required. The oral defense is attended by the candidate's major professor, the second faculty member responsible for approving the thesis, and other interested CSE faculty members.

The Graduate School requires two bound copies of every master's thesis. The two copies should be bound in boards covered with black imitation leather, with the title and your name imprinted in gold on the front, and your last name, your degree, and the year of conferral of the degree in gold on the spine. The Graduate School can provide the addresses of local companies that do satisfactory and inexpensive binding. See the information under Title Page Format of dissertation in Disstertation for more information. A booklet entitled "Instructions for Preparing Theses and Dissertations" is available in the Office of the Graduate School.

Master's Project

If you chose to complete a project (whether an independent project or one associated with a 600-level CSE course), you must complete a "Master's Project Form" (available outside 232 Bell).

Independent Project:
The contents of an independent master's project should be like that of a thesis but less complex. An initial specification of the project will be given to the student who is then expected to develop a more complete specification of the project and also implement the resulting specs. Both these activities must be carried out in consultation with the faculty supervisors. The student is also expected to make regular progress reports during the project.

The format of the writeup for the master's project should be like that of a thesis except that (3) and (5) may be shorter; no historical background or listing of open questions is needed.

Project Associated with a 600-level CSE course:
In this case, the faculty member who teaches the 600-level course acts as the Major Professor and signs the required forms. The format and write-up of the project is determined by that faculty member.

Publication of Project or Thesis

Since master's projects and theses require the joint effort of you and your major professor (possibly other members of the faculty), you should make no arrangements for publication without consulting your major professor. Publication in the departmental Technical Report series does not preclude later publication by other methods (see Technical Reports).

Degree Forms

It is your responsibility to file all necessary forms with the Graduate School for obtaining your degree, including the Application to Candidacy (ATC) form. The ATC form must be typewritten. See Degree Forms for a description of these forms.

You must be registered during the semester in which you expect your degree. See Appendix for submission deadlines.

FormNumber of Copies
Application to Candidacy1 to Department
M FormPrepared by Graduate Secretary
Master's Thesis2, bound, to Graduate School; Departmental Technical Report (see Technical Reports for on-line submission instruction).
Master's Project1 to project advisor & others as advisor requires

You should keep a copy of all forms you submitted for later reference.

If you received, or are in the process of receiving, a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) from any other department at UB, you must submit a copy of all Applications to Candidacy for those degrees, together with any amendments, before your Application to Candidacy for a degree in Computer Science can be approved.