Masters/Doctoral Seminar


  • This course is a graduation requirement for all Master's and Doctoral students. It is a forum to discuss computer science-related academics and research. The course is organized as a number of lectures on giving presentations, writing papers, and other aspects of performing research and pursuing a graduate degree, along with a number of invited research talks and colloquia (including those in the departmental Colloquium Series). Additionally, some students in the class will be giving presentations on their current work.
  • Seminar's student mentoring part includes also discussions on such topics as CS graduate program requirements, what means to be a good graduate student, what means to be a good researcher, picking an advisor, funding available for graduate students, career opportunities for CS graduates, CS publishing venues, library skills, teaching skills, preparing and giving research presentations, etc…

When to take and how many credit hours are required

  • Master's students must take seminar in their 1st year of study for 2 credit hours. It is highly recommended to take it during student's 1st semester of study.
  • PhD students must take seminar in their 1st semester for 2 credit hours and again for additional 1 credit hour at least one full term before graduation and no more than two years after entering the program.
  • The course may be taken multiple times but only two credits count towards the master's degree for master's degree students and only three credits count toward the doctoral degree for doctoral students.

Requirements and Grading

  • There are two grading options for this course:
    • Letter Grading (A, B, C, …). Students choosing this option will be graded on attendance, class participation, and a presentation. The presentation must take place during the Masters/Doctoral Seminar. This is the normal option for students making a presentation.
    • S/U Grading. This is an option for students not making a presentation, e.g., for Master's students or for repeat enrollment in the seminar. Students choosing this grading option MUST notify the course instructor by the end of the first week of class.
  • Master's students are required to take at least two credit hours of Seminar for completion of their degree, and MAY make a presentation of project work or research for a letter grade. Master's students not making presentations can get only S/U grade based on their attendance and class participation. Master's (non-thesis) students, who took Master's Seminar in earlier semesters and did not make a presentation at that point, have an opportunity to make a presentation in later semesters. They do not need to register again but can make a presentation if free presentation time slots are available.
  • Doctoral students are required to take at least three credit hours of Seminar for completion of their degree, and to make at least two presentations of project work or research.
  • For presentations to be counted towards the degree requirement the students must download and fill out the Master/Doctoral Seminar Presentation Form. This form must be submitted to the Seminar instructor at the time of the talk, along with the abstract and a copy of the presentation.