Computer Science

College of Engineering and Applied Science

2013-2014 Catalog

Graduate Study

The Department of Computer Science offers graduate work leading to the master of science degree in computer science and the doctor of philosophy in computer science.

Program Specific Admission Requirement

Applicants must meet the minimum standards of the university.

Acceptance will be based on the student's academic records.

High performing undergraduates in computer science can elect for Quick Start admission to the graduate program, allowing the sharing of up to six credit hours of 5000-level coursework toward the completion of both the B.S. and the graduate degree programs.

For the master's degree and the Ph.D. program, the following courses or their equivalent are considered preparatory for graduate work in computer science: COSC 3020, COSC 4100 or 4200, COSC 4740, and COSC 4780 or 4785. Students admitted to the program must show proficiency in these courses.

An applicant whose previous studies are in a field significantly removed from computer science may be admitted to the regular master's degree or the Ph.D. program on the condition that he or she take additional courses to remove deficiencies in his or her computer science background.

Admission to the master's degree program or the conferring of a master's degree will not constitute a de facto admission to the Ph.D. program.

The curriculum is divided into four areas of study. These areas represent current areas of interest and expertise on the part of the faculty and are subject to change.

Computer Theory includes the theoretical and structural study of algorithms, automata, computability, computational complexity, information, formal languages, models, mathematical logic, recursive functions and sequential machines.

Parallel Computing and Systems includes the design, development and evaluation of computing machines, computing languages, language processors, operating systems and special purpose systems. It is further concerned with the analysis of complex problems into subparts that can be handled by multiple processors located at one or more sites and coordinated so as to produce a complete solution.

Mathematical Computation and Modeling includes numerical solution of algebraic equations and systems of equations, numerical differentiation and integration, interpolation, optimization and linear programming, matrix computation, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, numerical solution of differential equations and approximation theory.

Machine Intelligence is concerned with endowing machines with such manifestations of human intelligence as vision, spoken language recognition, knowledge representation, task planning, the application of search procedures to problem solving, question answering, inference, and the dispensing of expert knowledge and advice.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

All students must complete COSC 5050 (Research Writing for Computer Science).

At least 15 hours applied to the degree program must be in courses offered by the computer science department, not including the 14 hours of courses considered preparatory and not including seminars, individual projects, COSC 5050 or reading courses. Courses cross listed with computer science department courses will be considered computer science department courses.

No more than 6 hours from the 4000 level preparatory coursework may be counted toward the total credit requirement. At most 2 hours from the 4000 level preparatory coursework may be counted toward an area requirement. All required preparatory coursework will be listed on the program of study with the corresponding increase in total hours required.

The student must complete at least one 5000-level computer science course, not including seminars, individual projects or reading courses, offered by the computer science department in the following areas: a) Computer Theory and b) Parallel Computing and Systems.

The student must complete at least 6 hours of courses in each of two areas of study. These two areas will be called major areas. The 6 credit hours in each of two areas of study must be completed from the current list of courses designated to satisfy the area of study requirements. "Current list" is defined to mean the list in effect when the student enters the graduate program or any succeeding list.

Master's Program

Each Master's student will have a supervising committee of at least three members appointed. The committee will consist of at least two members of the computer science faculty and at least one non-COSC faculty member. In reviewing the student's program of study, the committee should ensure that at least 15 hours are applied at the 5000-level, not including seminars, COSC 5050 and Independent Study or Research.

Both Plan A and Plan B students are required to formally defend their papers before their graduate committees.

Plan A (thesis)

The student must complete a minimum of 29 hours of courses, including at least two COSC 5000 seminars.

The student must complete a minimum of 4 hours of 5960, Thesis Research.

At least two-thirds of the coursework (20 hours) must consist of computer science department courses.

The students must give a public colloquium on their research prior to their formal defense. All defenses must be open and announced three weeks in advance.

Plan B (non-thesis)

The student must complete a minimum of 33 hours of courses, including at least two COSC 5000 seminars, and present a paper as described in the general requirements for Plan B.

At least two-thirds of the coursework (22 hours) must consist of Computer Science Department courses.

The graduate examination, which serves as the Ph.D. qualifying examination, will also be administered to Plan B master's students, who will be required to pass two areas in order to receive their degrees. Passing criteria will be determined by the student's graduate committee. 

Doctoral Program

Each doctoral student will have a supervising committee of at least five members appointed. The primary functions of this committee are to suggest coursework, to administer the preliminary and final examinations, and to oversee and evaluate the research of the candidate. The committee will consist of at least three members of the computer science department faculty and at least one non-COSC faculty member. The standards that this committee should consider when recommending programs of study are outlined in the following sections.

A total of at least 72 credit hours must be completed. A minimum of 42 of these credit hours must be taken as coursework. At least 21 hours must be taken at the 5000 level (COSC 5050 and seminars may not be applied to this requirement). Each doctoral student must participate in at least four graduate seminars. A minimum of 12 hours of dissertation research must be taken.

A program of original and innovative research will be undertaken by the candidate. At the end of this program, the candidate will document this research in a dissertation. The dissertation will present the details and results of the candidate's research in addition to providing a critical comparison with related published works.

Each successful doctoral student must pass three examinations. These include a qualifying examination, a preliminary examination, and a final (dissertation) defense.

The departmental graduate examination will serve as the Ph.D. qualifying examination. This examination will be given once each year during the spring semester, and should be taken no later than the fifth semester of graduate study. The graduate examination will test knowledge and reasoning skills based on the upper-division preparatory courses as well as on graduate courses in the core areas. Ph.D. students will be required to answer questions from the undergraduate core courses but will be given greater flexibility to select questions from the graduate courses.

A preliminary examination will consist of a presentation and defense of the proposed dissertation research. This examination is intended to motivate the candidate to review relevant literature extensively prior to pursuing the original and innovative portions of the research. If the nature of the proposed research and methodology are deemed to be both appropriate and significant by the supervisory committee, then the committee will approve the research direction after having administered this examination.

The final examination (dissertation defense) will consist of an oral presentation by the candidate of his/her research and the results that were derived. At this examination, the candidate is expected to defend the research as being original and contributory to the discipline of computer science.

All Ph.D. candidates must satisfactorily complete COSC 5050 (Research Writing for Computer Science).

Information concerning timeline and deadlines for meeting doctoral degree requirements is available from the department office.

Academic Dishonesty

For cases in which a graduate student has admitted to an act of academic dishonesty or has been found culpable through university procedures according to University Regulation 6-802, the graduate committee will meet with the student and faculty member(s) involved to assess the severity of the act. Both the faculty member(s) and the student will be afforded the opportunity to present views and information relevant to the act. The graduate committee may then take action by recommending that the student be terminated from graduate study in the department (for flagrant violations) or that a letter of reprimand be sent to the student with a copy sent to the Office of the Registrar.

Computer Science (COSC) Courses

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