Plan A Master's Degree


Degree requirements

The Plan A (or thesis-based) M.S. requires at minimum 21 credit hours of coursework and 10 credit hours of thesis coursework for a total of 31 credit hours. During the first two semesters, you will focus on coursework and during the second half of your program, you will focus on research for your master's thesis.  The Plan A thesis consists of a final written report and oral exam.

Degree requirements

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

  • At least 21 regular coursework credits, 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 21 regular coursework credits, which may include related courses from programs other than computer science (graduate level courses in the College of Science and Engineering) or courses for a graduate minor
  • 10 thesis credits

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.
CSCI 8777 - Plan A thesis credits

Students pursuing a Plan A M.S. must complete 10 credits of CSCI 8777: Plan A Thesis Credits. To gain access to this course, students should submit a request through the Declaration of Advisor and Plan B course/Plan A Thesis Access Request form to verify you are working with a faculty advisor.

If you will be pursuing Plan A thesis credits over multiple semesters, you must submit a separate request for each term. 

Thesis committee

An M.S. thesis degree committee consists of three faculty members who have formal graduate education responsibilities. Two must be from the Computer Science program (which includes a student’s advisor who also serves as the chair) and one from an outside program. The outside committee member typically represents a related or minor field if declared. Once members have agreed to serve, the student must submit their names via the Examining Committee site. Committee members cannot be appointed until after a GPAS Planner has been approved and entered into the student’s record through GSSP. Your thesis committee will also serve as a reading committee for the thesis. The committee must approve the thesis is ready for defense and will administer the final oral examination.

Degree completion steps

The final semester of your program you will submit your GPAS Planner and assign your thesis committee while continuing your research on your chosen thesis topic. Following the approval of your GPAS Planner, you will gain access to the remaining forms and steps needed for your final defense. Once your research is complete you will defend your thesis and prepare for graduation.