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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. 

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 April 1 for the following Fall semester and September 15 for the following Spring semester. To be considered for the University Fellowship award for the following Fall semester, all application materials must be received by January 15

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. 

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 required for all applicants, however there is no specific minimum score requirement that must be met.

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 sufficient proof of English proficiency via either TOEFL or IELTS test. For TOEFL, applicants must have an overall score of at least 80 on the Internet Based Test (iBT) with section minimums of 19 Reading, 14 Listening, and 18 Speaking & Writing. For IELTS (Academic test only), applicants must have an overall band score of 6.5, with section minimums of 6.5 Reading, 6.0 Listening & Speaking and 5.5 Writing.

International applicants who have received a degree in the U.S. are exempted from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement only if the degree was awarded within the last 3 years.

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 55700
  4. Software Engineering -- CSCI 50600, CSCI 50700, CSCI 50900
  5. Theory -- CSCI 52000, CSCI 56500, CSCI 58000
  6. Systems - CSCI 50200, CSCI 50300, CSCI 50400, CSCI 53700

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 and at least 1 credit hour of a fee-bearing course 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. Non-departmental courses are limited to 3 credits (1 course) for course-only students, selected from a pre-approved list.  Up to 3 additional credits (for a total of 6) may be allowed for M.S. Thesis or M.S. Project students for courses related to research area; prior approval of the Advisory and Graduate Committees are required for registration.


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 or 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 CSCI 69800 M.S. 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.

Master of Science in Computational Data Science

This degree program is offered through the Departments of Computer & Information Science and Mathematical Sciences of the IUPUI School of Science. The objective of the program is to prepare students to enter the workforce in the rapidly advancing field of data science, an interdisciplinary domain that cuts across computer science and statistics, by providing a solid, comprehensive background in the related topics of theory and their applications.

This program will provide the skills necessary that will enable students to be flexible and competitive in today's job market by gaining deep understanding of theory, implementation (e.g., algorithms and appropriate computing languages), as well as the inherent "nature" of different data modalities, such as classification and prediction challenges on specific data (e.g., sparse and/or incomplete data).

Curriculum Requirements

The curriculum requires 30 credits in total that can be completed in three semesters. There are 9 credits for core courses in Computer Science, 6 credits for Statistics core courses, 12 credits for elective courses from Computer Science and/or Statistics, and 3 credits for the capstone course. The students must chooe at least two electives from Computer Science and at least two electives from Statistics.

Successful completion of the program requires a minimum plan of study GPA of 3.0, the minimum grade in any course is C and the maximum number of courses with grades of C or C+ is two.

Core Courses:
CSCI 59000   Introduction to Data Science
CSCI 57300   Data Mining
CSCI 57800   Statistical Machine Learning
STAT 51200   Applied Regression Analysis
STAT 52900   Applied Decision Theory and Bayesian Analysis
Capstone Courses:
CSCI 69500   MS Capstone Project
STAT 59800   Topics in Statistical Methods


Elective courses:
CSCI 52000   Computational Methods in Analysis
CSCI 54100   Database Systems
CSCI 55200   Advanced Graphics & Visualization
CSCI 58000   Algorithm Design, Analysis & Implementation
CSCI 59000   Large-Scale Machine Learning
CSCI 59000   High Performance Computing
STAT 51400   Design of Experiments
STAT 52000   Time Series and Applications
STAT 52300   Categorical Data Analysis
STAT 52400   Applied Multivariate Analysis
STAT 52501   Generalized Linear Models
STAT 53600   Introduction to Survival Analysis

The course sequence is crucial for successful completion of this program. Students should consult with the departmental advisor.

General Admission Requirements for MS in Computational Data Science

Prerequisite coursework and/or degrees:

4-year Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics or related fields. 4-year Bachelor's degree in any other area of study will be considered on a case-by-case basis, based on the coursework and corresponding grades in the applicant's transcripts, as well as on the overall potential of successfully completing this program.

GPA: Scores on the Graduate record Exam (GRE) must be submitted for admission consideration.

English Proficiency Requirements: All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit scores for TOEFL or IELTS. An overall TOEFL IBT score of 80 or higher, or an IELTS band score of 6.5 or higher is required. Applicants submitting TOEFL scores must also meet the following section minimum requirements in addition to the minimum Total requirement: 18 Writing, 18 Speaking, 14 Listening, 19 Reading.

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.

Research Orientation Requirement

Students in their first year must take a 1-credit Pass/Fail seminar course (CSCI-C591) and, as part of this course, they must also complete the "Physical Science Responsible Conduct of Research" course online and provide the certificate of completion.

Core Course Requirement

Students must satisfy this requirement by the end of their fourth semester by passing one theory core course and one systems core course and one course in an area of specialization with an average GPA of at least 3.5.  A core course that does not meet the grade and GPA requirements can be taken, at most, a second time.  Taking another course (in the same core area or in the same specialization area, or taking a course in another specialization area) would count as the second attempt.  The second attempt at satisfying the core course qualifications will be considered a probationary period for the student to remedy the shortcoming.  Students must declare the area of specialization ahead of time with the approval of their advisory committee.  The students who have not satisfied their core course requirements by the end of their fourth semester according to the conditions described above cannot proceed further in their PhD studies.  They will need to contact their advisor and their advisory committee.  The students will receive a letter of probation during their second attempt at completing a core course.  The students will be informed that they can be dismissed if they fail to be removed from probation.

The core courses and areas of specialization are defined as follows:

  • Theory core courses: CSCI 58000 (Algorithms) and CSCI 56500 (Programming Languages)
  • Systems core courses: CSCI 50300 (Operating Systems), CSCI 50400 (Computer Architecture)
  • Area Specialization courses:
    • Visualization, Image Processing and Machine Vision:  CSCI 55000, CSCI 55200, CSCI 55700, CSCI 55800
    • Data Communication and Networking: CSCI 53600, CSCI 59000 (Wireless Sensor Networks)
    • Distributed Computing: CSCI 53700, CSCI 59000 (Cloud Computing)
    • AI, Machine Learning, and Data Analysis: CSCI 54900, CSCI 57300, CSCI 57800
    • Databases: CSCI 54100
    • Software Engineering: CSCI 50600, CSCI 50700, CSCI 50900
    • Security: CSCI 55500, CSCI 59000 (Trustworthy Computing)

Students who are admitted into the program with deficiencies in CS background (because their degrees are in another discipline) must prove that the deficiencies are eliminated by the end of their qualifying process.  The areas (as described in the admissions requirements) are Data Structures, Computer Architecture, and Operating Systems.

Plan of Study
  • Advisory committee: Advisor + 2 or more other faculty.  The students must form their advisory committee by the end of their first year.
  • Overall course requirement: at least nine graduate level courses (including the two core and one specialization courses) with GPA>= 3.3. Other courses need to be 500 or 600 level courses.
    • A student receiving a grade lower than a B- in a course on the plan of study will have to repeat or replace the course.  If a course is repeated, only the most recent grade, even if lower, is used to compute the current GPA.
  • Policy for transferring courses from MS degree:
    • The MS courses taken in the department as part of the MS degree within the department count towards Ph.D. course requirements.
    • For students with graduate courses from another institution, the faculty will consider approving the transfer of up to 30 credits of graduate level courses from other institutions upon petition by the student.  The faculty will require a copy of the syllabus for each course considered for transfer and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.  Final approval of the course transfers will be made by the IUPUI Graduate Office.  The courses on the plan of study cannot have been used to satisfy requirements for an undergraduate degree nor can they cause the student's doctoral plan of study to include courses from more than one master's program.
Preliminary Exam
  • Students must pass a preliminary examination that tests competence in the student's research area and readiness for research on a specific problem.  The content of the examination is at the discretion of the examining committee.  Typically, the examination includes a proposal of thesis research, the student's preliminary research results, an oral presentation by the student on his/her thesis proposal, and any other relevant material if requested by the examining committee.  The form and content of the examination will be determined by the examination committee and will be communicated to the student by the committee chair, which normally is the student's advisor.
  • The examining committee consists of the student's Advisory Committee, and of an additional member, who is not on the advisory committee, who is determined by the Graduate Committee Chair.
  • The examination must be taken at least two semesters before the final examination of the thesis.  It is advised, however, that the student take the preliminary exam by the end of the third semester following the one in which the student completes the qualifying process.
Thesis and Final Exam/Defense
  • The thesis must present new results worthy of publication.
  • The student must defend the thesis publicly and to the satisfaction of the Examining Committee.
  • The Examining Committee consists of the Advisory Committee and one additional faculty member representing an area outside that of the thesis and who is assigned by the Graduate Committee Chair.
  • The students can only defend their thesis after at least two semesters following the completion of the preliminary exam.  The thesis defense should be completed by the end of the fourth semester following the one in which the student passes the preliminary examination.  The Graduate Committee may grant extensions.
Annual Reviews

Each doctoral student's academic and research progress is evaluated annually by their advisory committee.  Students receive written feedback and guidance to support their progress.