Graduate Requirements

Effective Fall 2004 - Present

The Computer Science Department (CS) offers a graduate program leading to the master of science (M.S.) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Students can choose between two types of M.S. degrees -- project track and thesis track. Graduate students in these programs acquire core knowledge by taking graduate courses in computer algorithms and programming languages, and then proceed to a thorough study of their selected area of specialization.

Requirements for the Master's Degree: Project Track

Course Requirements

Each student is required to take 50-units as follows:

  • CMPS 200 (3 units)
  • CMPS 201 ( Analysis of Algorithms: 5 units )
  • CMPS 203 ( Programming Languages: 5 units )
  • CMPS 296 (2 units; Master's project )
  • A base requirement in computer architecture must be met by taking CMPE 110 (grade B or above) or CMPE 202 or equivalent elsewhere (approval required).
  • One course each from three different breadth categories for a total of 3 courses (15 units).
  • All remaining units must be regular 5-credit graduate courses from: CS, within the SOE (with advisor's approval), or outside the SOE (with advisor's and Grad Director's approval). Courses that do not count include all courses numbered 200, 280, 296, 297, and 299.
  • At least 30 units must be in CS.
  • Two upper-division undergraduate CS courses (other than CMPS 101) or a graduate course (not seminars) in related disciplines outside the list of approved graduate course list may be substituted for one graduate course when necessary to strengthen a student's preparation for graduate studies with prior approval from the student's advisor and the graduate director.

Project

Completion of a Master's Project is required for the Master's degree. In consultation with the advisor, the student forms a Master's Project Reading Committee of at least two faculty members (including the advisor), each of whom is provided a copy of the project report. The final project must be accepted by the review committee before the award of the Master of Science degree.

Requirements for the Master's Degree: Thesis Track

Course Requirements

Each student is required to take 48-units as follows:

  • CMPS 200 (3 units)
  • CMPS 201 ( Analysis of Algorithms: 5 units )
  • CMPS 203 ( Programming Languages: 5 units )
  • A base requirement in computer architecture must be met by taking CMPE 110 (grade B or above) or CMPE 202 or equivalent elsewhere (approval required).
  • One course each from three different breadth categories for a total of 3 courses (15 units).
  • upto 10 units of CMPS297 ( Independent Study ) or CMPS299 ( Thesis Research ).
  • All remaining units must be regular 5-credit graduate courses from: CS, within the SOE (with advisor's approval), or outside the SOE (with advisor's and Grad Director's approval). Courses that do not count include all courses numbered 200, 280, 296, 297, and 299.
  • At least 28 units must be in CS.
  • Two upper-division undergraduate CS courses (other than CMPS 101) or a graduate course (not seminars) in related disciplines outside the list of approved graduate course list may be substituted for one graduate course when necessary to strengthen a student's preparation for graduate studies with prior approval from the advisor and the graduate director.

Thesis

Completion of a Master's Thesis is required for the Master's degree. To fulfill this requirement, the student submits a written proposal to a faculty member, usually by the third academic quarter. By accepting the proposal, the faculty member becomes the thesis advisor. In consultation with the advisor, the student forms a Master's Thesis Reading Committee with at least two additional faculty members, each of whom is provided a copy of the proposal. The student gives a public presentation of the completed research and produces a written thesis. The final thesis must be accepted by the reading committee before the award of the Master of Science degree.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

Course Requirements

Each student must plan and successfully complete a coherent program of study covering the basics of Computer Science and other areas related to their research. The students's advisor has primary responsibility for ensuring the adequacy of the program, which must include at least 58 units as follows:

  • CMPS 200 (3 units)
  • CMPS 201 (Analysis of Algorithms: 5 units)
  • CMPS 203 (Programming Languages: 5 units)
  • A base requirement in computer architecture must be met by taking CMPE 110 (grade B or above) or CMPE 202 or equivalent elsewhere (approval required).
  • One course each from three different breadth categories for a total of 3 courses (15 units).
  • upto 10 units of CMPS297 ( Independent Study ) or CMPS299 ( Thesis Research ).
  • All remaining units must be regular 5-credit graduate courses from: CS, within the SOE (with advisor's approval), or outside the SOE (with advisor's and Grad Director's approval). Courses that do not count include all courses numbered 200, 280, 296, 297, and 299.
  • At least 33 units must be in CS.
  • Graduate courses (not seminars) in related disciplines outside the list of approved graduate course list may be substituted when necessary to strengthen a student's preparation for graduate studies with prior approval from the advisor and the graduate director. Course selection should form a coherent plan of study and requires advisor approval. Undergraduate courses may not be used to satisfy Ph.D. course requirements.
  • Each student is required to complete at least one quarter of Teaching Assistantship. This requirement can be met after advancement to candidacy. Certain exceptions may be granted for students with extensive priorteaching experience or those who cannot be employed by university.

Ph.D. students who have satisfied the requirements for the master's degree are eligible to receive a master's degree.

Examinations and Dissertation

To continue in the Ph.D. program, students must pass a preliminary examination in their chosen research area by the end of their third year. Preliminary examinations are held during the first three weeks of each spring quarter; students must petition the graduate committee for an examination in their chosen area two weeks before the end of winter quarter. Examination committees consist of four faculty members, two chosen by the student and two by the graduate committee. The format of this oral examination is up to the examination committee; the examination will typically evaluate both general knowledge of the chosen area and specific understanding of selected technical papers. The preliminary examination requirement is waived for students who advance to candidacy by the end of their third year.

Each student is required to conduct a body of research culminating in the writing of a Ph.D. dissertation. The dissertation must show the results of in-depth research, be an original contribution of significant knowledge, and include material worthy of publication. Where appropriate, research internships with companies, government labs or elsewhere are recognized (and may be required) as an integral part of the research leading to the dissertation. As the first step, a student submit a written dissertation proposal to a SOE faculty member. By accepting the proposal, the faculty member becomes the dissertation supervisor. The dissertation proposal is publicly and formally presented, in an oral qualifying examination given by a Qualifying Exam Committee approved by the graduate committee and the graduate council. The student must submit his or her written dissertation proposal to all members of the committee and the graduate assistant one month in advance of the examination.

Students are advanced to candidacy after they have completed the course requirements, passed both the preliminary and qualifying examinations (or just the qualifying examination if passed prior to the end of the student's third year in the program), cleared all Incompletes from their records, have an appointed Dissertation Reading Committee and have paid the filing fee. Students who have not advanced to candidacy by the end of their fourth year will be placed on academic probation.

In case a student changes his/her thesis supervisor after advancement to candidacy, he/she will be required to pass another qualifying examination following the same procedure by submitting a thesis proposal and having it approved by a qualifying exam committee by making a public presentation of the thesis proposal. This requirement can be waived only if the student submits a waiver request in writing stating that the thesis proposal and the scope of the project remains the same and is approved by the ex-advisor, new advisor and all the new qualifying examination committee members.

Each Ph.D. candidate submits the completed dissertation to a reading committee at least one month prior to the dissertation defense. The appointment of the Dissertation Reading Committee is made immediately after the qualifying exam and is necessary for advancing to candidacy. The candidate presents his or her research results in a public seminar sponsored by the dissertation supervisor. The seminar is followed by a defense of the dissertation to the reading committee and attending faculty, who will then decide whether the dissertation is acceptable or requires revision. Successful completion of the dissertation fulfills the final academic requirement for the Ph.D. degree.

Transfer Credit

Up to 3 SOE courses fulfilling the degree requirements of either the MS or Ph.D. degrees may be taken before beginning the graduate program through the concurrent enrollment program.

Ph.D. students who have previously earned a master's degree in a related field at another institution may substitute courses from their previous university with approval of the advisor and the graduate committee. Courses from other insitutions may not be applied to the MS degree course requirements.

Petitions should be submitted along with the transcript from the other institution or UCSC extension. For courses taken at other institutions copies of the syllabi, exams, and other course work should accompany the petition. Such petitions are not considered until the completion of at least one quarter at UCSC.

A total of at most three courses may be transferred from concurrent enrollment and other institutions.

Review of Progress

Each year, the faculty reviews the progress of every student. Students not making adequate progress towards completion of degree requirements (see Graduate Handbook for policy on satisfactory academic progress) are subject to dismissal from the program. Students with academic deficiencies may be required to take additional courses. Full-time students with no academic deficiencies are normally expected to complete the degree requirements at the rate of at least two courses per quarter. Full-time students must complete CMPS 201, CMPE 202, and CMPS 203 within two years and normally must complete the all course requirements within two years for the MS and three years for the PhD.

Students receiving two or more grades of below B or U (fail) in School of Engineering (SoE) courses are not making adequate progress and will be placed on academic probation for the following three quarters of registered enrollment. Withdrawing or taking a leave of absence does not count as enrollment. Part time enrollment is counted as a half quarter of enrollment.

Should any Computer Science graduate student fail an SoE course while on probation, the Computer Science Department may request the Graduate Dean to dismiss that student from the Graduate Program. If after being removed from probation, the student again fails an SoE course, he or she will return immediately to academic probation.

Graduate students experiencing circumstances or difficulties that impact their academic performance should contact their advisor and the graduate director immediately. Students may appeal their dismissal.