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  • After consultation with his/her selected advisor, graduate students can choose to complete either a thesis or an independent project.
  • Interdisciplinary topics for both thesis and the non-thesis project reports are encouraged.
  • Both thesis and non-thesis projects are defended.

Independent Project (Non-Thesis Option)

  • The student must complete an independent project under a faculty advisor approved by the department.
  • Students enroll in CS 8980 (Non-Thesis Research) for at least 1 credit hour.
    • With the non-thesis option a maximum of 3 credit hours of research, reading, and/or problem courses (such as CS 8980, 8990, 8085) can be counted toward the 30-hour MS graduate requirements
  • Documentation of the project work is an extended report on a technically substantive research project that involves basic computer science and, possibly, one of its many application areas.
  • The project is presented to a faculty committee of at least 3 graduate faculty members and defended as part of a final oral exam.
  • The student’s faculty advisor assigns the CS 8980 course grade after the oral exam.
    • The course is graded on a pass/fail basis and cannot be used to increase the student’s overall GPA.

Thesis Option

  • The student must complete an independent project under a faculty advisor approved by the department.
  • Students enroll in CS 8990 (Thesis Research) for at least 3 hours of credit.
    • A maximum of 6 credit hours of CS 8990 can be counted toward the required 30 credit hours for the MS degree program.
    • With the thesis option, at most 9 credit hours of research, reading, and/or problem courses (such as CS 8980, 8990, 8085) can be counted toward the 30-hour MS graduate requirements.
  • A formal thesis is presented to a faculty committee of at least 3 graduate faculty members (1 of whom is a faculty member from another department) and defended as part of a final oral exam.
  • The student’s faculty advisor assigns the CS 8990 course grade after the oral exam.
    • CS 8990 is graded on a pass/fail basis and cannot be used to increase the student’s overall GPA.

According to the Graduate School, the MS thesis must:

  • be the student’s own work
  • demonstrate a capacity for research and independent thought
  • show the student’s ability to complete a project of a credible level of difficulty that draws on the knowledge and experience gained through graduate course work

The discovery or creation of new knowledge is not required as it is for the PhD thesis.