Professional Master's Program: Degree Requirements & Curriculum

Degree Requirements

To obtain the M.S. degree, students in the PMP should complete at least 30 credits, with an average grade of at least B, distributed as follows:

  • Fifteen credits must be received for core graduate-level courses: CS courses numbered 700-889. Specific offerings of CS courses 837, 838, and 880 are counted as core classes only with approval of the Graduate Advising Committee.
  • All remaining credits must be received for courses at 400 level or higher.
  • CS 799 (Master's Research) and CS 790 (Master's Thesis, in case the student elects to write a Master's thesis) can only be taken at most three times, for a total of at most six credits, which count toward the 15 credit requirement above.
  • At most three credits can be received for attending CS seminars offered by various groups in the department, or department-wide colloquiums. One credit can be earned per semester for attending at least two seminar lectures.

Many CS courses have research-intensive project components. PMP students can elect to do instead a project that studies research papers in depth, surveys a cutting-edge topic, or examines how to apply what they learn to their daytime work. In addition, PMP students have the option of conducting independent studies, under the supervision of our faculty. As mentioned earlier, independent studies in the form of CS 799 or CS 790 (in the case the student elects to write a Master's thesis) can be taken up to six credits, which count toward the 15 credits of core courses. Based on the above requirements, below is a sample course plan that allows a working professional to complete the PMP in two years:

  • Year 1, fall: CS 564, CS 577
  • Year 1, spring: CS 784, CS 770, attending seminars for 1 credit
  • Year 1, summer: CS 799 (3 credits of independent study)
  • Year 2, fall: CS 540, CS 799 (3 credits of independent study), attending seminars for 1 credit
  • Year 2, spring: CS 764, CS 760, attending seminars for 1 credit

In this course plan, the student takes three 500-level courses, four 700-level non-799 courses, independent studies (CS 799), and three 1-credit CS seminars. Alternatively, the student may do an internship during the summer of Year 1 and it can be counted toward the credits of CS 799. This is just a sample; other course plans are possible. Note that taking CS 799 in the summer of Year 1 and the fall of Year 2 means working on an independent study with a professor, possibly with weekly meetings, mutually determined by the student and the professor. There are no lectures to attend for this course. When taking CS 799, the student can study and write an in-depth survey on a research topic that is relevant to his or her work, or examine how the course materials can be applied to his or her everyday work.

Prior Coursework and Sufficiencies

A student may apply up to 14 credits of prior course work to meet PMP requirements and must complete at least 16 credits in the PMP (to meet the current residency requirement). We will also allow students the option to take sufficiencies of theory courses CS 520 and CS 577. Taking sufficiencies means taking the exams of the course; you are considered passing the course and earning credits for it if you pass the exams.

Advising Requirements

At the start of the program, students will need to submit a tentative plan of study that needs to be approved by a graduate advisor. Students will meet with a graduate advisor early in each fall semester to discuss a plan of study for the academic year.

Course Offerings

We will consider offering a subset of our CS courses in the evenings, to ensure that those students who cannot take time off work to attend our regular daytime courses can attend these evening courses. Currently we do not offer online courses, but will consider them as the program grows.