Computer Science (MS)

The Master of Science degree in Computer Science is designed to provide intensive preparation in both concepts and techniques related to computer science. This MS program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours for the thesis option or 33 credit hours for the non-thesis option. Upon completing the program, a student should have the theoretical knowledge and practical skills for immediate employment in positions related to computer science and also be well prepared for further advanced studies (e.g., doctoral programs) in computer science and related fields.

[ Program Educational Objectives | Student Outcomes | Admission RequirementsDegree Requirements | Graduate Assistantship ]

[1] Program Educational Objectives

Graduates of the program are expected to attain the following abilities within a few years of graduation:

  • Grow as mature professionals and be able and willing to take leadership roles with advanced knowledge of computer science and its applications in inter- and cross-disciplinary fields;
  • Be able to identify meaningful computing problems and to conduct application-driven research work independently or within an academic, industrial, or other environment in a professional, legal, and ethical framework;
  • Be able to apply theories, principles, and concepts with technologies to creatively design, develop, and verify computational solutions that integrate available software and hardware systems to solve problems in a variety of application domains; and
  • Keep current in the field through lifelong professional development to advance careers and to contribute to society.

[2] Student Outcomes

Students in the program are expected to know and be able to do the following by the time of graduation:

  1. Analyze a complex computing problem and to apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions;
  2. Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program’s discipline;
  3. Communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts;
  4. Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles;
  5. Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program’s discipline; and
  6. Apply computer science theory and software development fundamentals to produce computing-based solutions.

[3] Admission Requirements

The candidate must meet the Graduate School general requirements for admission to graduate study. Requirements and applications can be found on the Graduate School website. International students seeking admission may complete the form at International Admissions. The preferred application date is March 1 for summer and fall admission and October 1 for spring admission.

In addition, applicants are evaluated by the Computer Science Graduate Admission Committee based on the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in Computer Science or a closely related field. A degree is considered closely related if its curriculum includes equivalent coursework for a minor in Computer Science at UCA. For other applicants, leveling courses (see below) or proficiency exams will be required before the student can be admitted to the graduate program in Computer Science. As noted, an applicant has the option of demonstrating proficiency in a given course through an exam proctored by the department in lieu of taking a leveling course.
  • At least two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s scholastic aptitude
  • A statement of purpose
  • A resume

Leveling courses are the required courses in our minor program in Computer Science, namely CSCI 1470 (Computer Science I), CSCI 1480 (Computer Science II), and CSCI 2320 (Data Structures). Students who need leveling courses should apply as post-baccalaureate (post-bacc) students. Upon completion of the aforementioned courses, post-bacc students may apply for admission to the graduate program in Computer Science.

[4] Degree Requirements

Thesis Option: The thesis option requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, including 24 hours of Computer Science coursework and six hours of thesis (CSCI 6V99). The student must complete a thesis under the supervision of their thesis supervisor and committee. A majority of the committee members must approve the thesis. The thesis must present a research study that makes a significant contribution to scientific knowledge. A public presentation and defense of the thesis will be required.

Non-Thesis Option: The non-thesis option requires 33 credit hours of Computer Science coursework. A maximum of six credit hours may be transferred from another college/university towards the degree with the approval of the chair. Transferred credits will not be included in the UCA grade point average. Thesis course credit may not be applied towards completion of the non-thesis option.

Both Options: A minimum of 15 credit hours of 6000-level courses and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 is required for graduation.

[5] Graduate Assistantship

Graduate assistantships are available to students with full admission status. The application for graduate assistantship is available online. Considerations when awarding graduate assistantships are based not only on an applicant’s credentials but also on available resources and the number of applicants. Normally, graduate assistantship support for students in this program is limited to two years.

General Requirements for Graduate Study

Graduate Bulletin: Program Information

Graduate Bulletin: Course Descriptions