M.S. and M.A. Programs
The Department offers courses, curriculum, and research leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Computer Science. Dr. Ye Zhao (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Director of CS Graduate Studies and Advisor to graduate students. Additional information on our graduate program can be obtained by e-mailing questions to email@example.com.
Students entering the graduate program must have successfully completed high-level algebra, geometry, and calculus coursework (equivalent to the following Kent State courses: MATH 12002, MATH 12003, MATH 21001). In addition, it is strongly recommended that students will have successfully completed coursework in computer science including programming, data structures, abstraction, operating systems, combinatorial analysis and discrete structures, (equivalent to the following Kent State courses: CS 13011, CS 13012, CS 23001, CS 23022, CS 33211, CS 35101, CS 46101). Highly qualified students lacking preparation in certain standard areas may be considered for admission.
Admission to the Department is done through the Admissions Office at Kent State University.
The Master's programs require a total of 32 graduate-level credit hours in computer science (courses outside CS must be approved by the advisor and Graduate Coordinator). Of the 32 required credit hours, 12 credit hours should consist of one course each from 4 of the 5 categories available. You can find the timeline here.
Master of Science
The Master of Science degree in Computer Science provide students with an educational and research environment to develop career paths through necessary training with emerging technologies. Graduates have the technical knowledge and skills necessary for success within the information and high technology industries.
The Computer Science Masters program includes three optional concentrations: Computer Data Science, Computer Engineering, and Computer Security. Students selecting one of these concentrations must complete 12 credit hours of electives from its corresponding category.
- The Computational Data Science concentration prepares students to process big data. In a spectrum of real-world applications, the collected data (from such sources as mobile devices, GPS, sensor/RFID networks, Internet, social media, etc.) is so large and complex, the traditional data processing tools cannot efficiently and effectively handle it. This concentration focuses on algorithms development, machine learning, computation techniques, network and computing infrastructure and software.
- The Computer Engineering concentration prepares students to meet the need of computer engineering professionals in the industry for designing and managing emerging smart devices and computer-integrated physical systems with programmable intelligence. Students learn the hardware-software co-design principles and theory, architecture of the associated software and hardware, devices and sensors communication protocols and the interfaces to effectively design, build and evolve such smart devices and computer-driven intelligent physical systems.
- The Computer Security concentration exposes students to a wide range of topics on the security of computer systems. Students study the vulnerabilities in software and networks and develop algorithms and software to protect data, using digital encryption coding, protected databases and protected computer networking techniques.
- The Non-Thesis Option concentration is available for students who do not plan to complete a PhD in Computer Science and, instead, are pursuing a professional career that does not involve research and desire an individualized plan of study.
Students who are seeking academic careers or positions in research and development may complete a thesis instead of selecting a concentration.
Candidates for the Master of Science with a non-thesis option must successfully complete 32 credit hours of graduate courses in CS excluding Research (CS 69098) and including 2 credit hours of Master's Seminar (CS 69191). (Seminar may incorporate a project and a final examination on the project.) Of the remaining 30 credit hours, at least 18 credit hours must be at the 60000 level or above, and only 12 credit hours may be at the 50000 level. The Master of Science (non-thesis option) is available to students who do not plan to complete a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and are pursuing a professional career that does not involve research. It is strongly recommended that students who plan to matriculate to the PhD program take the thesis option track.
To fulfill the degree requirement, candidates for the Master of Science (non-thesis option) degree must make a public presentation of a project work. The presentation will take place either in Master’s Seminar, in a graduate course requiring project presentations, or the presentation is made to a Master’s Project Examination Committee that includes the advisor and at least one other graduate faculty member. If the presentation is made in the Master’s Seminar, the Master’s Seminar Presentation Form must be filled out and submitted to CS Graduate Office. In all other cases, the Master’s Project Presentation Approval Form needs to be filled out and submitted to CS Graduate Office.
Candidates for the Master of Science with a thesis option must successfully complete 24 credit hours of graduate courses in CS, of which at least 10 credit hours must be at the 60000-level, and only 12 credit hours can be at the 50000-level. In addition, 2 credit hours of Master's Seminar (CS 69191) are required. Only 3 total credit hours of Research (CS 69098) may be counted toward the degree, however, students are permitted to take this course multiple times. Students must write and defend a Master's thesis for which 6 credit hours are earned in Thesis I (CS 69199) and Thesis II (CS 69299).
Candidates for the Master of Science degree with a thesis option must write and defend a suitable master's thesis for which 6 credit hours are earned in CS 69199 Thesis I. A Master's thesis committee must be formed that includes the advisor and at least two other graduate faculty members. The thesis topic and committee must be approved by the advisor and graduate coordinator. The final version of the thesis must be approved by the advisor, committee and graduate coordinator.
The student must develop a Master’s Plan of Work that is approved by the advisor and Graduate Coordinator. The Plan of Work must ensure that the student completes one course each from 4 of the 5 categories. The Plan of Work must be filled out and submitted to the Graduate Coordinator within one year of entrance to the program, but can later be modified with approval from the advisor and Graduate Coordinator.
Students will have the option to change tracks only once prior to the last semester of their residency in the program, provided they fulfill all the requirements for that option. Students who take research courses cannot transfer them to non-thesis option track. Students who fail one option cannot use the alternative option for graduation.
All students writing a thesis are required to file a Notification of Approved Thesis Topic form, which is to be signed by members of the Thesis Committee, the CS Graduate Coordinator, and the Department Chair, and then submitted to the Division of Research and Graduate Studies.
Although a detailed thesis prospectus is not required, a paragraph should be attached to the thesis topic form that includes a clear statement of the problem to be undertaken and the procedure or methodology to be used in the research.
The CS Graduate Coordinator, in consultation with the CS Graduate Studies Committee as necessary, will review the composition of the proposed committee for appropriate balance, and the topic for strength and suitability as a Master's topic.
The Thesis Committee
This committee is composed of graduate faculty members and is appointed by the CS Graduate Coordinator, in consultation with the CS Graduate Studies Committee as necessary, when the candidate has developed an appropriate thesis topic and has an approved advisor. This committee will consist of a minimum of:
- The advisor, who will act as Chairman of the Committee
- Two additional members from the candidate's department.
The advisor and at least two of the remaining three must be members of the Graduate Faculty who have been approved to direct theses. If a co-advisor is desired, he or she should be included in the above members. If, for warranted reasons, it is desirous to have a person on the committee who does not meet the above qualifications, special permission must be obtained from the Division of the Research and Graduate Studies.
Responsibilities of the Thesis Committee: This committee is responsible for the progress of the candidate's thesis and will keep in touch with his or her research. When the advisor believes the thesis is ready for preliminary approval, it will be circulated in easily legible form among the members of the Committee.
The Final Examination
The Thesis Advisor will act as the Moderator at the Oral Defense. His or her duties are to preside and to moderate. He or she should see to it that all participants act in a civilized, polite, and proper manner. He or she should be familiar with the procedures of the Oral Defense, and he or she has the authority to suspend the examination should a situation arise which would not be conducive to a fair examination.
The Final Oral Defense
- The Advisor will designate the time and place of the Final Oral Defense and notify all members of the Thesis Committee. The Oral Defense is open to any member of the University wishing to attend, and therefore, a facility adequate to meet this requirement should be provided. The Oral Defense should be scheduled to allow a minimum of ten days for all of the Thesis Committee to look over the thesis. In the absence of the Thesis Advisor, the Oral Defense may not be held. If it is a matter of long-term absence or enduring illness of the Advisor, the Chairperson of the department, in consultation with the appropriate administrator, should make appropriate arrangements for a substitute.
- The Final Oral Defense will be open to the University community. Notification of the time and place of the Oral Defense should be provided to the CS Graduate Secretary so that it may be announced in a suitable venue. Copies of the abstract of the thesis should also be provided to the CS Graduate Secretary, and be available in the candidate's department prior to the Oral Defense to familiarize members of the Graduate Faculty with the methodology and findings.
- The candidate will open the Oral Defense with a brief presentation of his or her findings, after which the members of the Thesis Committee will question the candidate in an order to be determined by the Advisor. When, in the opinion of the Advisor, members of the Thesis Committee have had an adequate opportunity to question the candidate, the Advisor may open the examination to appropriate questions from others present.
- Questions dealing with the substance, meaning, and usefulness of the research in the thesis are of greatest propriety. Questions or comments dealing with matriculation or grammatical minutiae, spelling, etc., are out of order; such comments should be written out and privately submitted to the Advisor.
- If, in the opinion of the Advisor or upon motion duly passed by a majority of the Committee, it is deemed desirable to discontinue the Oral Defense, the Advisor may recess the Oral Defense until a time mutually agreeable to the Advisor, the candidate, and the Thesis Committee.
- When the questioning has run its course, the Advisor will adjourn the Oral Defense and the room will be cleared of everyone except the members of the Thesis Committee. Parliamentary procedure will be observed to determine the success or failure of the candidate, with the Advisor acting as chairman.
- The candidate should be evaluated both (a) upon the overall quality and significance of his or her thesis, and (b) upon the oral defense of his or her findings. A candidate passes the Oral Defense if he or she passes with no more than one dissenting vote.
- All members of the Thesis Committee will sign the Report of Final Examination form, recording their votes. Committee members may vote "yes" or "no", but they may not abstain.
The Advisor and Department Chairperson must sign the "Report of Final Examination" form, which is then forwarded to the Division of Research and Graduate Studies with a copy given to the CS Graduate Coordinator.
Calendar for Graduation
See Calendar for Graduation online or on the Graduate Bulletin Board.
Style Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations
Style Guide and Instructions for Preparing Dissertation and Theses for Electronic Submission are available from Graduate Affairs of the College of Arts & Sciences. In addition, the ACM Publications Guidelines and IEEE Author Digital Tools of help for students in their first effort in technical writing.
Theses and Dissertation Templates
- Latex Thesis Package provides an elegant layout that includes templates to make thesis writing easier.
- Thesis and Dissertation Abstract Template (.doc)
- Thesis and Dissertation Template(.doc)
Books on Technical Writing
A good book on good composition, style, and content organization for technical writing is The Elements of Style by W. Strunk Jr. and E. White published by Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc. of London. You can check out a copy to read (it is very short) from the Graduate Office (room 341 in our Department).
We have also arranged for the University Bookstore to stock the following books on technical writing in computer science:
- Writing for Computer Science: The Art of Effective Communication, Justin Zobel, Springer Verlag, 175 pages.
- Bugs in Writing: A Guide to Debugging Your Prose, Lyn Dupre, Addison Wesley, 645 pages.
The two books have complementary strengths. The book by Zobel is a short guide to writing technical papers or documents in computer science and is easy to read. The one by Dupre is also easy to read (and considered delightful by some reviewers) and gives multiple examples of many DOs and DON'Ts in technical prose in CS. Dupre's book focuses more on "good English writing style" than on appropriate organization of material in CS technical writing, and it provides multiple examples of good and bad techniques that are not obvious to someone reading a short guide to CS Technical Writing. In contrast, the Zobel book is a better short guide and focuses more on the job of organizing and presenting material when writing a CS thesis / dissertation / research paper. Both books have been recently updated and republished and sell for about $20 each.
Additional information on technical writing can be found at the following site:
Master of Arts
Candidates for the Master of Arts degree are required to enroll for three credit hours in CS 69098 Research under the direction of a graduate faculty member and to develop a Master’s Project. A Master’s Project committee must be formed that includes the advisor and at least two other graduate faculty members. The committee and project topic must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator. The student must present and defend the project to the committee.
Summary: Complete 32 credit hours of CS graduate courses, of which 20 hours or more must be at the 60000 level or above (with a limit of just 12 hours permitted at the 50000 level.) The 32 credits required includes 2 credit hours of Master's Seminar (CS 69191), a Master's Plan of Work, 4 credit hours of algorithms and Programming I (CS 61002), 4 credit hours of Algorithms and Programming II (CS 61003), 4 credit hours of Operating Systems & Architecture (CS 61004) and 3 credit hours of Research (CS 69098). Of the remaining 15 computer science elective credit hours, a student may take at most 6 credit hours of 60000 level courses outside of the computer science discipline with prior approval from the student's advisor and the graduate coordinator.
Combined B.S. / Masters Program
A combined B.S./Master's program allows Kent State University undergraduate computer science students early admission into graduate school. Students in a combined program are able begin taking graduate level coursework while still at the undergraduate level. Kent State undergraduate students in computer science who have met the following requirements are eligible for the combined B.S./Master's program.
- Achieving a grade point average of 3.5 after 60 semester hours, or
- Achieving a grade point average of 3.4 after 75 semester hours, or
- Achieving a grade point average of 3.3 after 90 semester hours, or
- Achieving a grade point average of 3.2 after 105 semester hours.
To enter this program, a student must:
- Apply to the graduate program in the normal manner
- Fill out the Combined Baccalaureate / Master's Program forms from Graduate Program Forms that includes:
On these forms, the student must :
List the hours completed to date and current undergraduate GPA
List the undergraduate courses remaining for the B.S. degree and the projected date each will be taken
Indicate the projected date for first graduate enrolment (when the first graduate course will be taken)
The completed form should then be given to the CS Graduate Secretary for signature by the CS Graduate Coordinator, Department Chair, and Undergraduate and Graduate Deans.
All students admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences are subject to time limits for completion of their degree. Time limits are described in more detail in the Graduate Schools Catalog, but, in general, a Master's degree must be completed within six years.
Students may request, in writing, an extension of one year over the listed time limits. Such requests should be sent to the CS Graduate Coordinator. Departments must notify the College of Arts and Sciences if such an extension is granted. Requests of more than one year over the time limit must be approved by the College.