Jul 23, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Computer Science, M.S.C.S.

College of Engineering  
Department: Computer Science and Engineering 

Also offered as a Bachelor’s/Master’s Pathways  


The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers a thesis and non-thesis option for the degree of Master of Science in Computer Science (M.S.C.S.) The thesis option requires students to pursue a more concentrated range of topics. The non-thesis option offers students some experience in many areas of computer science. There is considerable freedom in the choice of the courses.

The breadth of subjects which are part of computer science together with the immense diversity of its applications, make it imperative that students in the Master’s major maintain close contact with the Graduate Director, or, if choosing the thesis option, with their major professor in order to achieve a coherent plan of study directed towards a specific goal. In particular, election of courses should only be made with prior consultation and approval of the Major Professor or the Graduate Director.

Major Research Areas:
An excellent selection of courses and laboratories support graduate studies in algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining, computer architecture, graphics, networks, computer vision, distributed systems, embedded systems, expert systems, formal verification, image processing, pattern recognition, robotics, databases, software engineering, computer security, compilers, programming languages, and VLSI design and CAD.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • The GRE is required – minimum of 164 (81st percentile)Q; 150 (44th percentile)V  . If a candidate is admitted to the M.S. major and later decides to join the Ph.D. major, the GRE requirement must be met by the candidate as part of the application process. The GRE will be waived for M.S. degree applicants with an undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited United States university.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Statement of purpose.
  • Resume.
  • PDF of unofficial GRE Scores.
  • PDF of unofficial transcripts.
  • PDF of English proficiency, if needed.
  • The applicant must also have mathematical preparation equivalent to that obtained from courses in Calculus through Differential Equations; knowledge of computer science and computer engineering, including logic design, computer architecture, data structure, operating systems and algorithms. The majority of students accepted to the Major possess an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Mathematics. However, students who hold an undergraduate degree in a related field are encouraged to apply.

*For applicants who have successfully completed USF’s Pathway to Computing Graduate Certificate, only Pathway transcripts are required.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum hours: 30 hours

  • Core Requirements - 9 Credit Hours
  • Electives - 12 Credit Hours
  • Non-thesis Option - additional 9 Credit hours of electives
  • Thesis Option - 9 Credit Hours Minimum

Core Requirements (9 Credit Hours)

Successful completion with a letter grade “B” or better of the three core graduate-level courses is required.

Electives (12 Credit Hours Minimum)

Students in the non-thesis option complete a minimum of 21 Credit hours.
Students in the thesis option complete a minimum of 12 credit hours.

With prior permission from the Graduate Director, students can take a maximum of 3 hours of Independent Study or Internship, a maximum of three (3) hours of one-hour seminar courses, and up to one graduate level course (3 credit hours) outside of the department.

Students must select at least 12 hours from the list of available graduate elective courses in consultation with the Graduate Director or individual advisor.

Non-thesis students need to take a minimum of 6 credits from the list of electives that are software related in the following topic areas: advanced algorithms, compilers, databases, parallel computing and distributed systems, computer security, data mining, machine learning, programming languages, or software engineering, as determined by the Graduate Director and documented in the Plan of Work.


Thesis Option (9 Credit Hours Minimum)

The thesis option requires nine (9) credit hours of thesis in computer science related problems, as determined by the Major Professor and documented in the Plan of Work.

Non-Thesis Option (9 Credit Hours Minimum)

The non-thesis option requires an additional nine (9) credit hours of graduate level electives for a total of 21 credit hours of electives selected in consultation with the Graduate Director.

Comprehensive Exam

For students taking the thesis option, the requirement for a comprehensive exam is satisfied by the successful completion and defense of the thesis.  Non-thesis option students must pass the comprehensive exam in the semester prior to the semester of graduation.

Bachelor’s/Master’s Pathway

Also available as a Bachelor’s/Master’s Pathway