Degree Requirements (Be sure to also read the Requirements for Continuation page)

The Master of Science degree in Computer Science requires a minimum of 30 units of graduate courses with at least an overall 3.0 grade point average.

Course/Unit Requirements:

  • At least nine (9) units must be numbered 600 or above. Please use this 600 level course rotation scheme with their pre-requisites. 
  • Only courses numbered 500 or higher and up to nine (9) units of 400-level courses (CS/CIS) can be counted towards the Master's degree.
  • No course or equivalent which was taken as a requirement for the completion of a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science or related fields can be used to satisfy these requirements.
  • Not more than nine (9) units in approved extented learning (including Open University) and transfer courses may be used to satisfy the minimum units required for the degree. You must complete the Course Subsitution Form if you would like us to count 1) courses you plan to take at another university and 2) CSUSM Open Univesity or Extended Learning courses you took prior to your being admitted (which were not counted for another degree).
  • Given the nature of rapid development in Computer Science, all requirements should be satisfied within five years of initial acceptance into the program or course work must be repeated.

Course Sequence Requirement:

  • To keep track of your progress, you must complete the Advising Sheet (in MS Word format) at the end of each semester before advancing to candidacy.
  • Students are required to take the following graduate-level core courses:
    • CS 537
    • CS 542
    • CS 513
    • CS 571
  • Students are advised to complete the core courses before selecting their electives.
  • It is expected that the student and her/his advisor will work together closely to identify elective courses and choose possible research topics for the thesis or research project.  As soon as you have completed all pre-requisite courses and the 4 core courses, you must submit the name of the advisor to the Graduate Coordinator. No exceptions.

Masters Candidate Requirements:

  • You must  Advancing to Candidacy before working on the culminating experience. For culminating experience, students must do exactly one of the following:
  • Complete a Master's thesis: A thesis is the written result of a systematic study of a significant Computer Science problem. It defines, develops, and executes an investigation into a chosen problem area. The motivation, approach, and results of the investigation are communicated in a clear and logical fashion; it is grammatically correct, logically organized and technically sound. The finished product should evidence originality, and critical and independent thinking through documentation. The thesis must be planned, organized, executed, and completed while the student is enrolled in the Master's program. Guidelines on the preparation and official submission of the thesis can be obtained from the Graduate Coordinator's office. The final copies of the thesis are to be delivered to the committee members at least two (2) weeks prior to the oral defense of the thesis which must be held at least two weeks prior to the end of a regular semester.  Maximum of 6 units (CS699) can be counted towards the degree.
  • Complete a research project: A project is the written result of a comprehensive implementation or analysis of a particular computer system or problem encountered in the literature. The scope is more narrow. The project must be completed while the student is enrolled in the Master's program. Project submission forms can be obtained from the Graduate Coordinator's office. The final copies of the project are to be delivered to the committee members at least two (2) weeks before an oral presentation, which must be held at least two weeks prior to the end of a regular semester. Maximum of 3 units (CS698) can be counted towards the degree.