Graduate Program/Students Frequently Ask Questions

Prepared By
Professor G. Alaghband & Graduate Committee


The latest version of the MS Handbook provides complete information regarding the Master Degree in Computer Science.

Questions:


Question:
Where can I get more information about the graduate program?

Answer:
The latest version of the MS Handbook and other information regarding the Master’s program in computer science can be viewed on-line at the following website:
CS Graduate Program.

The right panel of the screen provides a number of informational links for program information, transfer of credits, thesis guidelines, etc.

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Question:
My undergraduate degree was not computer science. What undergraduate courses do I need to take before I am admitted to the graduate program?
 
Answer:
A formal evaluation is only done after student has submitted an application for admission. However, the MS Handbook gives a list of the required course that we expect students to have to enter the graduate program. The requirements are as follows:
 

Admission Requirements
 

Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution comparable to the University of Colorado. They need to have sufficient programming experience and mathematical maturity to understand advanced courses.

Qualified applicants holding a degree outside Computer Science, Computer Engineering or equivalent fields may need to take additional undergraduate courses before starting the graduate program.

 Admission decisions are based on prior academic performance, letters of recommendation, English proficiency if applicable, as well as the applicant's written statement of purpose.

 
Additional requirements include:
 
(1)   10 credit hours, on the semester basis, of university- level Calculus; and
(2)
   at least one math course beyond Calculus, such as Advanced Calculus,
Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Probability, Statistics, or Combinatorial Analysis.
 
Students lacking some of these requirements, whose background is otherwise satisfactory, might be admitted with the understanding that the certain undergraduate courses have to be completed after admission.

 

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Question:
My graduate admission is conditional. I have been asked to take a number of undergraduate courses as prerequisite to my graduate studies. Can I take these courses from another institution?

Answer:
The Graduate Committee will evaluate your academic credentials based on the material you submit with your application. Their decision is based on the UCD computer science program. Once you receive your admission letter, you must complete all your course work in the Computer Science program at UCD. Prior to applying, however, you may take courses from other institutions and submit your additional transcript for evaluation. It is highly advised that you review the course contents for equivalency.

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Question:
What is the minimum GPA requirements for admission to graduate program?
 
Answer:
Applicants should have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0.
 
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Question:
Do I need to take the GRE?
 
Answer:
GRE score is not required.
 
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Question:
I am a foreign student. What are the language proficiency requirements?
 
Answer:

Applicants whose native language is not English must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam and must score above 525 (paper) or 197 (computer) or 71 (internet based) or 6.0 on the IELTS.  Applicants whose native language is not English are not required to take the TOEFL test if they have completed a baccalaureate or graduate-level degree program at an English-speaking college or university or have completed at least 2 semesters at a college or university in the United States as a full-time student and obtained a “B” average (3.0 GPA) or higher.

 
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Question:
Can I transfer courses from my previous institution?
 
Answer:
A maximum of nine semester hours of graduate course work may be transferred into the program based on department approval. In principle, core courses must be taken from CSE department at UCD Transfer forms are available on-line at CS Graduate Program.
 
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Question:
What are the MS program requirements?
 
Answer:
For the complete program description, requirements, total credit hours, etc. see the MS Handbook.
 
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Question:
I am interested in doing a thesis project. What are the research areas of the faculty that I may work under?
 
Answer:
The MS Handbook, provides  the list of our Department faculty along with their overall area of interest. You may visit each faculty’s websites and/or contact them directly with your questions.
 
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Question:
How do I make an appointment with a graduate advisor?
 
Answer:
Please call Ms. Francis Moore at the Computer Science and Engineering Office at:  303-556-4314
 
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Question:
Can I meet with an advisor to discuss admission criteria?
 
Answer:
If you would like to meet with an advisor for an informal evaluation, please call the CSE office for an appointment and make sure to bring the required background document. Evaluation of your background for admission is handled formally by the admission advisor when they have your submitted material.
 
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Question:
Can I take courses from School of Business and apply them toward MS. Degree in Computer Science?
 
Answer:
The general answer is no. Students are encouraged to follow the MS. Handbook very carefully. CS courses are designed for the computer science degree. Similar (titled) courses from other schools normally have a different area of emphasis than computer science. Petitions submitted for approval of such a course must provide detailed justification for the request.
 
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Question:
Will I be admitted for next semester if I apply now?
 
Answer:
The process for application review does not start until your application packet has been completely received by the CSE Department. Once the application is complete, the graduate committee will review it and makes a recommendation. The Committee review normally takes between two to three weeks during academic year. Summer advising and reviews are handled somewhat different. Official deadline to receive completed application for admission consideration for the following semester is as follows:
          Fall admission          Applications must be completed by April 15 of the previous semester
            Spring admission      Applications must be completed by November 5 of the previous semester
 
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Question:
I have had some industry experience in certain area(s), but my letter of admission indicates that I must take certain courses in that area. How can I request to waive these prerequisite courses?
 
Answer:
The University cannot give Academic credit for industrial experience. If you believe you have had academic courses that satisfy certain prerequisites, then you need to submit a formal petition, with supporting documents (i.e. transcripts, course description,..) to the Computer Science and Engineering office. A graduate advisor will examine your petition and will make a recommendation accordingly.
 
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Question:
How and where do I submit petitions?
 
Answer:
You can submit a petition on-line from the following website: CS Graduate Program
Be sure to submit the supporting document. You can submit the hard copies ate the CSE office located in NC2605.

 
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Question:
Who do I contact if I need information regarding the contents and/or syllabus of specific courses?
 
Answer:
You need to contact the professor in charge of teaching the course.
 
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Question:
What should I do about courses with prerequisites that I have not formally taken and my admission letter did not require me to take?
 
Answer:
In general you are responsible to take all prerequisite courses for a course prior to being allowed to take the course in question. However, if you can present a special argument then the professor in charge of teaching each course will be the person to waive the prerequisites for you. Present your case to the professor and if permitted you may take the course.

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Question:
My letter of admission indicates that I must take several undergraduate courses as prerequisite to the graduate program. Can I wave some of these course?
 
Answer:
In order to wave a required undergraduate prerequisite course, you must file a formal petition. You must also provide documentation such as (course descriptions, transcripts, etc.) that will support your argument for having studied the material in other academic courses. A graduate advisor will review your petition and once a final decision is made you will be notified.

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Question:
Answer:
Please see the list of Full-Time Faculty in  MS Handbook.

Question:

Answer:
Only full-time faculty of the Computer Science Department can be major advisor on Independent Study and Thesis projects. This means that they must sign off on your paper work and will be your major advisors. You may collaborate with a faculty with graduate faculty appointment under the supervision and agreement of your major advisor.

Question:
What can I do if I receive a B- or lower grade in a core course?

There are several core courses that the student can choose from. Students may take additional core courses and apply the required number of core courses with grade B or better towards their graduation.
Note that in computer science,  students must receive a B or better in core courses. According to the Graduate school rules graduate courses with grades below B- cannot be applied toward the completion of the graduate degree while maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.0.