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Departments & Programs

Department of Computer and Information Science
Graduate programs

Master of Science

This program leads to a Master of Science degree from Purdue University. Many courses are offered in the late afternoon or evening to accommodate working students.

The Department offers three options for Master of Science students: Thesis, Project, and Course Only. Each option requires 30 completed credit hours. Thesis students complete a research project that counts for 6 or 9 credit hours of the 30 required credits. Project students complete a project, usually of a more practical nature related to their work or academic interests, counting for 3 or 6 of the 30 required credits. Course Only option students take 30 credit hours of course work, and select an area or areas of concentration. No thesis or project work is required.

Application for Admission

Submit applications for admission to the graduate program directly to the Department of Computer and Information Science by May 1 for the following Fall semester and September 15 for the following Spring semester. To be considered for departmental graduate assistant positions for the following Fall semester, all application materials must be received by January 15. Financial support is generally not available for Spring applicants. Apply early because it may take up to six months to complete the application process.

Students interested in advanced study or students who are required to complete preparatory courses and are waiting on application processing may take courses as graduate nondegree students. However, no more than 12 graduate credit hours earned as a nondegree student may be counted toward a graduate degree program.

See the department’s Web site (www.cs.iupui.edu) for additional information on requirements and application deadlines. For guidelines and online applications, follow the link to the IUPUI Graduate Office on the department’s Web site.

General Admission Requirements

The applicant to the graduate program must have a four-year bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Students with three-year degrees may be required to complete additional course work in order to be eligible for admission.

The applicant’s record should demonstrate strong individual accomplishments, include recommendations from independent references and exhibit outstanding achievement as indicated by the grade point average for each degree over his or her entire academic record. An applicant is expected to have a GPA of at least a 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test is optional for admission, but required to be eligible for financial aid.

All applicants should have a background in the following core areas of computer science:

  • software development experience in a high-level language
  • data structures and algorithms
  • systems (operating systems, compilers, and programming languages)
  • theory (discrete math and theory of computation)
  • hardware (computer architecture)

In addition, applicants should have a strong background in mathematics, including calculus, linear algebra, and numerical computations.

All applicants whose native language is not English must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 550 on the paper-based test, or 79 on the Internet Based Test (iBT), or have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) band score of 6.5.

Provisional Admission

Those students who do not satisfy the admission requirements may request provisional admission only to the graduate program if they satisfy the following requirements:

  • possess a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • have taken MATH 16500 
  • have taken CSCI 24000 or equivalent experience or credit

If provisional admission to the graduate program in computer science is granted, the student will be required to satisfy the stipulations of the admission, which may include satisfactorily completing one or more courses, before admission without provisions is granted.

Degree Requirements

To receive the Master of Science degree, the applicant must be admitted as a graduate student without provisions and complete 30 semester credit hours of study in CSCI courses numbered 500 or above.  Of the 30 required hours, students must select 1 course each from 4 different "foundational" categories for a total of 12 credit hours.  There are 6 categories from which to select the 4, as listed below:

  1. Networking and Security -- CSCI 53600, CSCI 55500
  2. Databases and Intelligent Systems -- CSCI 54100, CSCI 54900, CSCI 57300
  3. Visualization and Graphics -- CSCI 55000, CSCI 55200, CSCI 59000 (Image Processing)
  4. Software Engineering -- CSCI 50600, CSCI 50700, CSCI 59000 (Software Quality Assurance)
  5. Theory -- CSCI 52000, CSCI 56500, CSCI 58000
  6. Systems -- CSCI 50300, CSCI 50400, CSCI 53700

Existing M.S. students may choose to continue in the current requirements, or may officially switch to the new requirements by submitting a petition to the department's Graduate Committee.

Each student is required to submit to the graduate committee for approval an initial plan of study during the first year in the program. This is prepared in consultation with the faculty advisor. Before the semester of expected graduation, the student’s formal plan of study must be submitted to, and accepted by, Purdue University Graduate School. Each student must register in CAND 99100 for 0 credits during the final semester before graduation.

Credit for Courses from Outside the Department

Credit for graduate courses taken at other institutions may be transferred with the approval of the graduate committee and the Graduate School if the courses have not been used for other degree requirements. Transfer credits are normally limited to 6 credit hours and are restricted to courses in which the grade is B or higher. Up to 6 credit hours of graduate credit from a closely related discipline may be used to substitute for the elective courses, subject to approval by the department before enrollment.


The student’s graduate examination committee will examine the student’s project or thesis and general proficiency in computer science. Grades of A and B are expected; up to 6 credit hours of C may be included, provided an overall GPA of 3.0 (B) is maintained. Other grades are unacceptable.

Programs of Study

The department offers three programs of study within its M.S. program: the Research Program, the Applied Program, and the Course Only option.

Research Program

The objective of the Research Program is to help students develop a general knowledge of computer science, depth in a specific area, and an ability to do independent research. The student learns research techniques by working in close cooperation with a faculty member while doing the thesis research. In addition to the two core courses and 6 to 9 credit hours of thesis work, the student completes a sufficient number of electives from the department’s graduate level courses to satisfy the requirement of 30 credits hours total.

Applied Program

The objective of the Applied Program is to develop skills and knowledge of the computer science fundamentals and an ability to apply these to practical problems. In addition to the two core courses, it requires at least two courses in a specialization, 3 to 6 credits of work in the M.S. Project course, CSCI 69500, and a sufficient number of electives from the department’s graduate courses to complete the requirement of 30 credits hours. The course work is designed to provide breadth of knowledge to the professional as well as specialized knowledge in the areas that the project will require. The project normally involves at least two semesters of intensive work on an application of the course material to a problem of practical importance. This might be a project from the student’s work environment, internship, or a faculty member’s work. Its objective is generally more immediately practical than the thesis in the Research Program. The student carries out the project under the supervision of a faculty member.

The Applied Program offers a menu of courses from which the individual selects one or more specializations to prepare for the proposed project. To define a specialization, the graduate advisor and student identify in the plan of study two or more courses that provide depth in a cohesive theme.

Course Only Option

The Course Only option is meant for students who desire practical knowledge and skills in a range of specializations in computer science. It offers a menu of courses from which the individual selects one or more specializations to define a concentration area. The program provides both depth and breadth of knowledge in the discipline, and is ideal for students who are not planning careers exclusively in research.

Doctor of Philosophy

Students interested in research in certain areas and who qualify may be admitted to pursue a Ph.D. degree. Information on the general nature of the program appears in the “Graduate Programs” section of the School of Science part of this bulletin. Consult the department’s Web page (www.cs.iupui.edu) for more specific information on how this might be arranged.