Plan C Master's Degree


Degree requirements

Plan C is the coursework-only track where students spend the duration of their time attending class to complete the degree. No committee or advisor of record is required for this plan. Any paperwork or electronic forms that require advisor or DGS signature/approval should be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinators.

Through completing the required coursework for the degree, students must also complete a total of 100 hours of significant project coursework. Students satisfy this requirement by completing at least two courses from the list of approved courses below. Courses on this list will simultaneously count for their associated program requirement and the project coursework requirement.

Each student must complete 31 credits of graduate-credit coursework, including:

  • 16 graduate credits from 5xxx or 8xxx courses with a CSCI designator
    • 9 credits (3 courses) breadth courses (no courses may be transferred from an outside institution to meet breadth requirements)
    • 6 credits of advanced CSCI coursework from the following list.
      • CSCI 5105 Introduction to Distributed Systems
      • CSCI 5125 Collaborative and Social Computing
      • CSCI 5127W Embodied Computing: Design & Prototyping
      • CSCI 5161 Introduction to Compilers
      • CSCI 5204 Advanced Computer Architecture
      • CSCI 5521 Machine Learning Fundamentals
      • CSCI 5525 Machine Learning: Analysis and Methods
      • CSCI 5527 - Deep Learning: Models, Computation, and Applications
      • CSCI 5552 Sensing and Estimation in Robotics
      • CSCI 5561 Computer Vision
      • CSCI 5608 Fundamentals of Computer Graphics II
      • CSCI 5708 Architecture and Implementation of Database Management Systems
      • CSCI 5715 From GPS, Google Maps, and Uber
      • CSCI 5751 Big Data Engineering and Architecture
      • CSCI 5802 Software Engineering II
      • Any CSCI 8xxx-level class (not CSCI 8001, 8002, and 8970, and only up to 3 credits of 8991/8994)
      • Note: Students may “double dip” if a course is eligible for both the breadth and advanced course categories, but must still complete at least 16 CSCI credits for their degree. 
    • 1 credit of CSCI Colloquium (CSCI 8970)
  • Other graduate-level credits to reach a total of at least 31 credits, which may include related field courses from programs other than computer science (graduate level courses in the College of Science and Engineering) or courses for a graduate minor.

Things to remember

  • All CSCI courses counting towards degree requirements must be taken A-F if the A-F grading basis is offered.
  • All major credits must be 5xxx or above.
  • Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25 for courses counting towards degree requirements and no courses with a grade below a C- can be included.
Project coursework
  • To satisfy the Plan C project course requirement, students must complete two courses from the list below.  These courses have been identified by our faculty to have a significant written report or oral presentation component to them as part of the class assignments.  Students do not need to do any additional work outside of what is listed in the course syllabus to apply it toward the project coursework requirement.
  • Courses: 
    • CSCI 5115 - User Interface Design, Evaluation, and Implementation
    • CSCI 5117 - Developing the Interactive Web
    • CSCI 5127W - Human-Centered Design of Ubiquitous Computing Systems
    • CSCI 5204 - Advanced Computer Architecture
    • CSCI 5221 - Foundation of Advanced Networking
    • CSCI 5231 - Wireless and Sensor Networks
    • CSCI 5271 - Introduction to Computer Security
    • CSCI 5471 - Modern Cryptography
    • CSCI 5481 - Computational Techniques for Genomics
    • CSCI 5511 - Artificial Intelligence I
    • CSCI 5525 - Machine Learning
    • CSCI 5527 - Deep Learning: Models, Computation, and Applications
    • CSCI 5551 - Introduction to Intelligent Robotic Systems
    • CSCI 5552 - Sensing and Estimation in Robotics
    • CSCI 5561 - Computer Vision
    • CSCI 5608 - Graphics II
    • CSCI 5609 - Visualization
    • CSCI 5611 - Animation and Planning in Games
    • CSCI 5619 - Virtual Reality and 3D Interaction
    • CSCI 5707 - Database Systems
    • CSCI 5980 - Multi-view 3D Geometry in Computer Vision (Spring 2018)
    • CSCI 5991 - Independent Study
    • CSCI 5994 - Directed Research
    • CSCI 8115 - Human Computer Interaction and User Interface Technology
    • CSCI 8205 - Parallel Machine Organization
    • CSCI 8211 - Advanced Networking & Applications
    • CSCI 8314 - Sparse Matrix Computations
    • CSCI 8363 - Linear Algebra in Data Exploration
    • CSCI 8442 - Computational Geometry and Applications
    • CSCI 8551 - Intelligent Agents
    • CSCI 8701 - Overview of Database Research
    • CSCI 8715 - Spatial Databases
    • CSCI 8735 - Advanced Database Systems
    • CSCI 8980 (Special Topics) Verify with Instructor
    • CSCI 8980 - Physics-Based Animation
    • CSCI 8980 - Special Adv. topics in CS: Spatial Temporal data mining
    • CSCI 8991 - Independent Study
    • CSCI 8994 - Directed Research
    • CSCI 5980/8980 - Think Deep Learning (Fall 2020)
  • Projects are independent research, design, development, theory, or practice activities, completed alone or in groups, and graded for credit by a faculty member authorized to teach courses for graduate credit within a course taken by the student for degree credit. A course project may fulfill either one-half of the requirements (a half-project of 50-99 hours of average expected effort) or the full requirement (a full-project of 100 or more hours of average expected effort). Ordinary assignments where all students in the class complete the same work do not count towards project credit. We define "average expected effort" as the instructor's estimate of the number of hours of effort required per student for a typical graduate student to complete a project earning a grade of B. It is the instructor's responsibility to indicate in the course syllabus whether the course fulfills project requirements, and if so whether the project is a half-project or a full-project. In most cases, half-project courses will be 3-credit courses where the project accounts for at least half the course grade; full-project courses will usually be independent or directed study projects taken for 3 credits (CSCI 8994 is the preferred course number).
  • Written reports must be at least 2000 words (or several components within the same course totaling at least 2000 words), must report either on a project (as defined above) or on some separate research effort, and may be completed individually or in groups.
  • Oral presentations must be at least 5 minutes long (at least 10 minutes for group presentations), and must present research (the student's or that of others) or project work by the student.
  • Many of our graduate level courses will qualify as Plan C courses and the student should check with the instructor if it is not indicated in the syllabus but seems to contain the requisite research component.
  • If a course is not listed on the pre-approved list, the instructor should send an email to the Graduate Program Coordinators at csgradmn@umn.edu to certify that their course aligns with the Plan C project course requirements. The course will then be added to the list.
Degree completion steps

At the beginning of their final semester, students should submit their GPAS Planner.  Following approval of your GPAS Planner, you will gain access to the remaining steps needed to graduate.