Masters of Science Overview
The purpose of the Master of Science program is to provide advanced training in computer science to prepare students for positions in industry and government and for further graduate study. The program is designed to accommodate students with training in diverse scientific and engineering disciplines, and in this regard the graduate program relies on the undergraduate program to provide the necessary course work for graduate students with deficiencies in their computer science backgrounds.
Optional Emphasis- Computational Science and Engineering
The Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) emphasis focuses on the integration of techniques and methodologies from Computer Science and Mathematics, for the solution of state-of-the-art, large-scale problems from science and engineering. The emphasis is offered in the Departments of Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, and Geological Sciences. Students electing the CSE emphasis pursue a Master's or Ph.D. degree in their home department and take core and elective CSE courses. For more information please visit the CSE website, http://www.cse.ucsb.edu.
Requirements for Masters of Science
The Master of Science degree program may be completed with a thesis, with a comprehensive examination, or with a project.
- 42 units of upper-division (excluding 193 level courses) or graduate courses (200+, 595, 596, 598) that are approved by a Computer Science Faculty Advisor must be completed.
- A major area must be chosen from three major areas -- Theory, Systems, and Applications. Four CS graduate courses (200 level) should be taken from the major area and one CS graduate course (200 level) must be taken from each of the other two areas. The same course cannot be used to satisfy both major area and breadth requirements.
- The grade in each major area course must be at least a B.
- At least two units and at most six units of 595 seminar units must be included in the unit requirements.
- The study plan must be approved by the faculty advisor.
Upon entry into the graduate program, students are assigned a faculty advisor who guides them through their graduate career. In consultation with his/her faculty advisor, each student prepares a study plan which details the courses that will be taken in order to fulfill the course requirements. The study plan may be changed at any time with the approval of the student's faculty advisor and the graduate advisor. While the rules of the Graduate Division describe the conditions under which a student may withdraw from a course, the Department imposes the additional condition that if a student withdraws from a course that affects the study plan, then a new study plan must be prepared prior to withdrawal.
An approved study plan must be on file to complete the M.S. The study plan form can be found here.
Your choice to complete your Master's Degree with a thesis, Exam, or Project determines your additional requirements.
Additional Requirements for Thesis
The student must submit an acceptable thesis, completed under the supervision of a Computer Science permanent faculty member, and approved by a thesis committee composed of 3 permanent faculty members of the Computer Science Department. At most 12 units of 596 and 598 can be used towards unit requirements.
A public defense of the thesis is required.
Additional Requirements for Comprehensive Examination
Besides the six courses required for all plans, twelve additional units of coursework must be completed with 100 (excluding 193) and 200 level courses. Of these, eight units must be at the 200 level.
The comprehensive examination will be offered twice a year, in the eighth week of the fall and spring quarters. Each student will list four graduate courses: a question from each of these courses will be asked on the examination. Three questions need to be correctly answered in order to pass. If a student does not pass, s/he may take the exam the next time it is offered. Only two attemps will be allowed.
Additional Requirements for Project
The project plan requires more coursework than the thesis plan but less research, establishing a useful intermediate position between the other two plans. Beyond the major area and breadth courses common to all plans, the project plan's course requirements include two additional 200 level graduate courses. In addition to these course requirements, the student must complete:
- six units of 596 directed research.
- a project under the supervision of a Computer Science permanent faculty member. The project must be approved by a Project Committee consisting of two permanent faculty members of the Computer Science Department. Approval is based on the project's deliverables:
- a report
- a 30-minute public presentation describing the project.