M.S. Program

Computer Science Departmental degree requirements for the master’s degree, which are in addition to those established by the College of Engineering and the Graduate School, are as follows for Plan I and Plan II students.

Master of Science–Thesis Option (PLAN I): 30 Credit Hours

Each candidate must earn a minimum of 24 semester hours of credit for coursework, plus a 6-hour thesis under the direction of a faculty member. Unlike the general College of Engineering requirements, graduate credit may not be obtained for courses at the 400-level.

Degree Requirements Effective Fall 2011

Credit Hours
The student must successfully complete 30 total credit hours, as follows:

  • 24 hours of CS graduate-level course work
  • 6 hours of CS 599 Master’s Thesis Research: Thesis Research.
  • Completion of at least one 500-level or 600-level course in each of the four core areas (applications, software, systems and theory). These courses must be taken within the department and selected from the following:
    • Applications: CS 528, CS 535, CS 557, CS 560, CS 609, CS 615
    • Software: CS 503, CS 507, CS 515, CS 516, CS 534, CS 600, CS 603, CS 607, CS 614, CS 630
    • Systems: CS 526, CS 538, CS 567, CS 606, CS 613, CS 618
    • Theory: CS 500, CS 570, CS 575, CS 601, CS 602, CS 612
  • No more than 12 hours from CS 511, CS 512, CS 591, CS 592, CS 691, CS 692 and non-CS courses may be counted towards the coursework requirements for the master’s degree. Courses taken outside of CS are subject to the approval of the student’s advisor.

Additional Requirements

  • The student will select a thesis advisor and a thesis committee. The committee must contain at least four members, including the thesis advisor. At least two members are faculty of the Computer Science department, and at least one member must be from outside the Department of Computer Science.
  • The student will develop a written research proposal. This should contain an introduction to the research area, a review of relevant literature in the area, a description of problems to be investigated, an identification of basic goals and objectives of the research, a methodology and timetable for approaching the research, and an extensive bibliography.
  • The student will deliver an oral presentation of the research proposal, which is followed by a question-and-answer session that is open to all faculty members and which covers topics related directly or indirectly to the research area. The student’s committee will determine whether the proposal is acceptable based upon both the written and oral presentations.
  • The student will develop a written thesis that demonstrates that the student has performed original research that makes a definite contribution to current knowledge. Its format and content must be acceptable to both the student’s committee and the Graduate School.
  • The student will defend the written thesis. The defense includes an oral presentation of the thesis research, followed by a question-and-answer session. The student’s committee will determine whether the defense is acceptable.
  • The student will complete an oral comprehensive exam. This exam is scheduled with the Department Head prior to the semester in which the student intends to graduate.
  • Other requirements may be specified by the Graduate School and by the College of Engineering.

Degree Requirements Prior to Fall 2011

Credit hours

The student must successfully complete 30 total credit hours, as follows:

  • 6 hours of CS 599 Master’s Thesis Research
  • 24 hours of CS graduate-level course work with a grade of A or B, including the following courses completed at The University of Alabama:
    • At least 3 hours of theory courses (CS 500 Discrete math, CS 601 Algorithms, CS 602 Formal languages, CS 612 Data structures)
    • At least 3 hours of software courses (CS 600 Software engineering, CS 603 Programming languages, CS 607 Human-computer interaction, CS 614 Compilers, CS630 Empirical Software Engineering)
    • At least 3 hours of systems courses (CS 567 Computer architecture, CS 606 Operating systems, CS 613 Networks, CS 618 Wireless networks)
    • At least 3 hours of applications courses (CS 535 Graphics, CS 560 or 591 Robotics, CS 591 Security, CS 609 Databases)

Additional Requirements

  • The student will select a thesis advisor and a thesis committee. The committee must contain at least four members, including the thesis advisor. At least two members are faculty of the Computer Science department, and at least one member must be from outside the Department of Computer Science.
  • The student will develop a written research proposal. This should contain an introduction to the research area, a review of relevant literature in the area, a description of problems to be investigated, an identification of basic goals and objectives of the research, a methodology and timetable for approaching the research, and an extensive bibliography.
  • The student will deliver an oral presentation of the research proposal, which is followed by a question-and-answer session that is open to all faculty members and which covers topics related directly or indirectly to the research area. The student’s committee will determine whether the proposal is acceptable based upon both the written and oral presentations.
  • The student will develop a written thesis that demonstrates that the student has performed original research that makes a definite contribution to current knowledge. Its format and content must be acceptable to both the student’s committee and the Graduate School.
  • The student will defend the written thesis. The defense includes an oral presentation of the thesis research, followed by a question-and-answer session. The student’s committee will determine whether the defense is acceptable.
  • The student will complete an oral comprehensive exam. This exam is scheduled with the Department Head prior to the semester in which the student intends to graduate.
  • Other requirements may be specified by the Graduate School and by the College of Engineering.

Master of Science–Non-Thesis Option (PLAN II): 30 Credit Hours

Each candidate must earn a minimum of 30 semester hours of credit for coursework, which may include a 3-hour non-thesis project under the direction of a faculty member. Unlike the general College of Engineering requirements, graduate credit may not be obtained for courses at the 400-level.

Degree Requirements Effective Fall 2011

The student must successfully complete 30 total credit hours, as follows:

  • Completion of at least one 500-level or 600-level course in each of the four core areas (applications, software, systems and theory).
    • Applications: CS 528, CS 535, CS 557, CS 560, CS 609, CS 615
    • Software: CS 503, CS 507, CS 515, CS 516, CS 534, CS 600, CS 603, CS 607, CS 614, CS 630
    • Systems: CS 526, CS 538, CS 567, CS 606, CS 613, CS 618
    • Theory: CS 500, CS 570, CS 575, CS 601, CS 602, CS 612
  • No more than 12 hours from CS 511, CS 512, CS 591, CS 592, CS 691, CS 692 and non-CS courses may be counted towards the coursework requirements for the master’s degree. Courses taken outside of CS are subject to the approval of the student’s advisor.
  • The student may elect to replace 3 hours of course work with 3 hours of CS 598 Research Not Related to Thesis: Non-thesis Project. This course should be proposed in writing in advance, approved by the instructor, and a copy placed in the student’s file. The proposal should specify both the course content and the specific deliverables that will be evaluated to determine the course grade.

Additional Requirements

  • The student will complete an oral comprehensive exam. This exam is scheduled with the Department Head prior to the semester in which the student intends to graduate.
  • Other requirements may be specified by the Graduate School and by the College of Engineering.

Degree Requirements Prior to Fall 2011

Credit hours

The student must successfully complete 30 total credit hours of CS graduate-level course work with a grade of A or B, as follows:

  • The following courses will be completed at The University of Alabama:
    • At least 3 hours of theory courses (CS 500 Discrete math, CS 601 Algorithms, CS 602 Formal languages, CS 612 Data structures)
    • At least 3 hours of software courses (CS 600 Software engineering, CS 603 Programming languages, CS 607 Human-computer interaction, CS 614 Compilers, CS630 Empirical Software Engineering)
    • At least 3 hours of systems courses (CS 567 Computer architecture, CS 606 Operating systems, CS 613 Networks, CS 618 Wireless networks)
    • At least 3 hours of applications courses (CS 535 Graphics, CS 560 or 591 Robotics, CS 591 Security, CS 609 Databases)
  • The student may elect to replace 3 hours of course work with 3 hours of CS 598 Research Not Related to Thesis: Non-thesis Project. This course should be proposed in writing in advance, approved by the instructor, and a copy placed in the student’s file. The proposal should specify both the course content and the specific deliverables that will be evaluated to determine the course grade.

Additional Requirements

  • The student will complete an oral comprehensive exam. This exam is scheduled with the Department Head prior to the semester in which the student intends to graduate.
  • Other requirements may be specified by the Graduate School and by the College of Engineering.

Timetable for the Submission of Graduate School Forms for an MS Degree

This document identifies a timetable for the submission of all Graduate School paperwork associated with the completion of an M.S. degree

  • For students in Plan I students only (thesis option) after a successful thesis proposal defense, you should submit the Appointment/Change of a Masters Thesis Committee form
  • The semester before, or no later than the first week in the semester in which you plan to graduate, you should “Apply for Graduation” online in myBama.
  • In the semester in which you apply for graduation, the Graduate Program Director will contact you about the Comprehensive Exam.

For more information

For additional information about the master of science program, contact Dr. Susan Vrbsky or your thesis advisor.