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Computer Science

College of Engineering and Applied Science

2019-2020 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.  The Department also offers a graduate minor in computer science.


Program Specific Admission Requirement

Applicants for a graduate degree in computer science are expected to have completed undergraduate courses in Algorithms and Data Structures (COSC 3020 equivalent), Theory of Computing (COSC 4100 or 4200 equivalent), Operating Systems (COSC 4740 equivalent), and Programming languages or Compilers (COSC 4780 or 4785 equivalent). Applicants to the doctoral program must have completed a bachelor's degree in computer science or a closely related discipline at an accredited university or college.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. GRE scores are required with minimums of 40th percentile for the verbal score and 65th percentile for the quantitative score. Our strongest students tend to have scores substantially above these minimums, with quantitative scores often around the 90th percentile or higher.

Students whose native language is not English must also complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 550 on the paper-based TOEFL; 213 on the computerized test including a 58 or better in section 1-Reading; 80 for the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) including a score of 23 or better in section 1-Reading or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test with a 6.5 score or better.

You must submit to the online application system contact information for three references that can evaluate your potential for graduate study in computer science. If you wish to pursue a Ph.D., the letters should address your ability to pursue quality original research. Letters should also evaluate your oral and written communication skills.

If you meet the minimum criteria and would like to formally apply for admission you will also need to submit the following information during the completion of your application via the application portal:

Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities (minimum GPA or equivalent 3.0 on a scale of 4.0) for all degrees attained. International applicants must submit copies of individual semester transcripts, consolidated transcripts will not be accepted.

Copy of GRE scores a minimum percentile of 40% on verbal and 65% on quantitative portions of the exam. The majority of admitted students tend to have scores substantially above these minimums.

Contact information for three recommendation letters (applicants should follow-up with recommenders to ensure this requirement is fulfilled; applications will not be processed further until all recommendations have been received).

International students will also need to submit a copy of TOEFL scores, or IELTS scores.

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.


M.S. Program

Each M.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.

 

Plan A (thesis)

A total of at least 31 credit hours must be completed. The student must complete a minimum of 27 hours of courses, including the CORE & BREADTH REQUIREMENTS. At least 19 credit hours must be COSC courses. All COSC courses must be at the 5000 level. Courses from other departments, including no more than 6 hours of 4000-level courses, may be included with the approval of the supervising M.S. committee. 

Plan A students are required to formally defend their theses before their supervising committees. All defenses must be open and announced at least two weeks in advance.  The thesis must be distributed to the committee at least two weeks in advance of the defense. If the student does not pass the defense, the committee will instruct the student as to what needs to be accomplished (and by when) to pass.

Plan B (non-thesis)

The student must complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of courses, including the CORE &  BREADTH REQUIREMENTS. At least 22 credit hours must be COSC courses. All COSC courses must be at the 5000 level. Courses from other departments, including no more than 6 hours of 4000-level courses, may be included with the approval of the supervising M.S. committee.

UW Coursework Requirements for M.S. Transfer Students:  M.S. transfer students must complete at least 21 credit hours at the University of Wyoming. At least 12 credits of the CORE & BREADTH REQUIREMENTS must be taken at the University of Wyoming. No more than one class per category of breadth may be counted towards this 12-credit total. The algorithms course credits may be counted toward this 12-credit total. 

 

Summary of Credit Requirements

Plan A

Plan B

PhD

Core: COSC 5110

3

3

3

Breadth: theory course, AI course, two systems courses

12

12

12

Additional courses

12

18

27

Thesis/Dissertation (COSC 5960/5980)

4

0

12

Other credits (may include courses or COSC 5960/5980)

0

0

18

Total

31

33

72

 

Ph.D. 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 qualifying, 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.

 

Coursework Requirements: A total of at least 72 credit hours must be completed.  A minimum of 42 of these credit hours must be taken as coursework, including the CORE & BREADTH REQUIREMENTS. A minimum of 12 hours of COSC 5980 (Dissertation Research) must be taken. All COSC courses must be at the 5000 level. Courses from other departments, including no more than 12 hours of 4000-level courses, may be included with the approval of the supervising Ph.D. committee. All course requirements MUST be completed or enrolled with satisfactory midterm progress prior to scheduling the Ph.D. Final Examination.

 

UW Coursework Requirements for Ph.D. Transfer Students:  Ph.D. transfer students must complete at least 24 credit hours at the University of Wyoming. At least 12 credits of the CORE & BREADTH REQUIREMENTS must be taken at the University of Wyoming. No more than one class per category of breadth may be counted towards this 12-credit total. The algorithms course credits may be counted toward this 12-credit total. 

 

Program: 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 relevant previously-published works.

 

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

 

Qualifying Exam Criteria: The student must complete the CORE REQUIREMENT and pass a closed oral examination on a research area administered by the supervising committee. Although closed to the public, faculty members of the Department of Computer Science are welcome to attend.  The exam must be announced to the faculty at least two weeks in advance.  The research area will be chosen in consultation with the committee. The student must demonstrate background knowledge of the state of the art in the area and preliminary work. This will involve, but is not limited to, presenting material and answering questions covering the relevant area knowledge. The format of the exam will be defined by the committee prior to the exam to allow for sufficient preparation. This examination is intended to motivate the candidate to review relevant literature extensively prior to pursuing the original and innovative portions of the research. Qualifying exam criteria must be completed within the first two years of enrollment in the Ph.D program. If the student does not pass the qualifying exam, the committee will instruct the student as to what needs to be accomplished (and by when) to pass. The closed oral examination requirement may be waived for a student who has completed an M.S. degree in COSC at UW if their M.S. presentation was at a research level that demonstrated background knowledge of the state of the art in the area, at the discretion of the supervising Ph.D. committee.

 

Preliminary Exam Criteria: Prior to scheduling the Preliminary Examination, the student must be making satisfactory progress towards completion of their course requirements, including the BREADTH REQUIREMENTS. A Preliminary Examination will consist of a presentation and defense of the already-completed portion of the dissertation research and the research that is proposed to complete the dissertation. The Preliminary Examination must be open and announced at least two weeks in advance. The preliminary examination must be completed within two years of enrollment in the Ph.D program (within three years of enrollment for students who do not have an M.S. degree). This examination is intended to motivate the candidate to make significant progress on work towards their Ph.D. dissertation and propose milestones for completion. If the nature of the proposed continued research and methodology is deemed to be sufficiently original and innovative by the supervising committee, then the committee will approve the research direction after having administered this examination. If the student does not pass the preliminary exam, the committee will instruct the student as to what needs to be accomplished (and by when) to pass.

 

Option for M.S. degree en route to Ph.D.: After completing the Qualifying Exam and Preliminary Exam, a Ph.D. student may additionally earn an M.S. degree after completing the remaining M.S. course requirements, including the BREADTH REQUIREMENTS. COSC 5980 may be substituted for COSC 5960 in the M.S. requirements at the discretion of the supervising committee. The M.S. degree will be granted only after completion of the preliminary exam. For an M.S. degree to be granted prior to completion of the preliminary exam, the student should enroll in the M.S. degree program and complete the remaining M.S. requirements.

 

Final Exam Criteria: Prior to scheduling the Ph.D. Final Examination (often referred to as a “defense”), all course requirements, including the BREADTH REQUIREMENTS, MUST be completed or enrolled with satisfactory midterm progress. 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. The Final Examination must be open and announced at least two weeks in advance. The dissertation must be distributed to the supervising committee at least two weeks in advance of the Final Examination. If the student does not pass the final exam, the committee will instruct the student as to what needs to be accomplished (and by when) to pass.

 

Time to degree for part-time students: Exceptions to the completion deadlines for the Qualifying Exam and Preliminary Exam may be made for part-time students at the discretion of the supervising committee

 

COMPUTER SCIENCE CORE REQUIREMENTS:

COSC 5110 (Analysis of Algorithms) must be completed with a grade of B or better. A grade of B- is not sufficient. Students are strongly encouraged to take COSC 5110 the first time it is offered after enrollment.

 

COMPUTER SCIENCE BREADTH REQUIREMENTS: 

Students must earn a grade of B or better in one class from the Theory category, one class from the Artificial Intelligence category, and two classes from the Systems category. A grade of B- is not sufficient. Thus there must be 12 credits taken to satisfy the breadth requirement. A list of courses in each category is available from the Department. Although some courses may be listed under multiple categories, a course may only count once towards the breadth requirement.

  

COMPUTER SCIENCE GRADUATE MINOR: 

Requirements for a graduate minor in Computer Science are as follows:

  • COSC 5110 (Analysis of Algorithms)
  • 9 additional credits of 5000-level computer science courses

All 12 credits must be completed with a grade of B or better. A grade of B- is not sufficient.

 

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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