MS Policies and Requirements

 

View graduate admission requirements

General Catalog requirements for MCSC

Degree Requirements

It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand all of the degree requirements for the master’s program. All LSU Graduate School regulations and procedures also apply. Master's degree programs must be completed within five years, but full-time students should be finished in 21 months. Coursework completed at LSU that is more than five years old can be validated by the student’s graduate committee, usually through examination. Typically, MS students cannot receive financial aid from the department for more than 21 months.

The degree is a thesis/non-thesis degree requiring a thesis/special project. The MS program offers a core concentration in computer science, a concentration in computational science, and a concentration in systems science.

In any case, 37 hours of credit at the graduate level must be earned, including 12 hours of credit for the thesis (CSC 8000) or six hours for a non-thesis project (CSC 7090). The curricular requirements include:

  • A core requirement of nine credit hours, with three hours in each of the three core areas.
  • For non-thesis option: at least 21 additional hours, exclusive of any type of independent study (CSC 7999) credit.
  • For thesis option: at least 15 additional hours, exclusive of any type of independent study (CSC 7999) credit.
  • Earned credit in the graduate seminar course, CSC 7800.

For each concentration and option, at least half of the courses (including both core and electives taken) must be at the 7000 level. The student must submit a written MS thesis/project report and pass the final exam in which he/she defends the MS thesis/project in front of the advisory committee.

Coursework

All MS students must complete at least three courses (for a total of nine credit hours) from each category below.

Algorithms

Course Number Course Description Credits
CSC 4890 Introduction to Theory of Computation 3
CSC 7300 Algorithms 3

Programming Languages

Course Number Course Description Credits
CSC 4101 Programming Languages 3
CSC 4103 Operating Systems 3
CSC 7101 Programming Language Structures 3
CSC 7103 Advanced Operating Systems 3

Databases

Course Number Course Description Credits
CSC 4402 Intro to Database Management Systems 3
CSC 4444 Artificial Intelligence 3
CSC 7333 Machine Learning 3
CSC 7402 Advanced Database Systems 3
CSC 7442 Data Mining 3


The student must pass each core course with a minimum grade of B-. If the student receives a grade lower than B-, the course must be repeated or a different core course must be taken. These core courses are typically offered once a year, and the student must take at least one core course in his/her first semester, making sure to meet with the graduate advisor to ensure he/she is on track to complete required coursework.

The student must also enroll in CSC 7800: Research Seminar (three credits) during the first year.

The thesis option (CSC 8000) requires 12 credit hours, whereas the project option (CSC 7090) requires six credit hours. The student must form an advisory committee and get the approval of the committee chair (major professor) prior to beginning the thesis/project work.

Electives

The program offers three concentrations: core computer science, computational science, and systems science. Students must select a concentration and complete either a thesis or a project. Elective requirements are dependent on the concentration and thesis/project option chosen.

All students are automatically enrolled in the Core Computer Science concentration with a project option and must fill out a Plan of Study form by their first year to change their concentration and thesis/project option, if desired.

A maximum of six credit hours of interdisciplinary electives from other departments is allowed for the Core Computer Science concentration. A maximum of 12 credit hours of interdisciplinary electives from other departments is allowed for the Computation Science and Systems Science concentrations.

Please note that credit hours in CSC 7999: Independent Study will not count towards the degree.


Thesis/Project Requirements

The student must form a graduate advisory committee consisting of a professorial faculty from the CSE Division as the chair (major professor) and two other members. Before beginning thesis/project work, the student must obtain the approval of the committee chair (major professor). Work on the thesis/project must begin by the third semester or earlier and must span two consecutive semesters. The student must submit a written thesis/project report and pass the final oral exam in which he/she will defend the thesis/project in front of the advisory committee.

Thesis Requirements

  • Five electives (15 credit hours) must be chosen from the student’s area of concentration.
  • A total of 12 credit hours (six per semester) must be completed in CSC 8000.

Project Requirements

  • Seven electives (21 credit hours) must be chosen from the students’ area of concentration.
  • A total of six credit hours (three per semester) must be completed in CSC 7090.

Continuity and Residency Requirement

All MS students must maintain continuous registration for courses and project/thesis hours as specified in his/her plan of study. In order to alter his/her plan of study (e.g., by substituting courses for those listed on the form), the student must obtain approval from the graduate advisor. If a student cannot pass each of three core courses with a grade of B- or higher after a second attempt, he/she will be dropped from the program. In order to fulfill the residency requirement, the student must complete two successive semesters of full-time course work upon approval of the plan of study.

Advisory Committee

The student must form a graduate advisory committee consisting of a professorial faculty from the CSE Division as the chair (major professor) and two other members. The advisory committee for the project/thesis work must be formed by the end of first year. Work on the thesis/project must begin by the third semester or earlier and must span two consecutive semesters. Before beginning thesis/project work, the student must obtain the approval of the committee chair (major professor). The student must submit a written thesis/project report and pass the final oral exam in which the student will defend the thesis/project in front of the advisory committee. The student must register only for three credit hours in CSC 7090 or six credit hours in CSC 8000 each semester. Registration for additional hours in CSC 7090 and CSC 8000 is allowed only with approval by the committee and the graduate advisor.

Final Examination (Project/Thesis Defense)

It is expected that the MS student is able to conduct independent project/research on a significant problem in the field of computer science. For this reason, each student must prepare project/thesis report describing original, independent work and submit it to his/her advisory committee. The student defends the work in a public oral examination (called the MS Final Exam or MS Defense) before his or her advisory committee.

Other students and faculty may attend the seminar. Final approval by the full advisory committee and approval by the LSU Graduate School constitute completion of the requirements for the master’s degree. The student must submit his/her report to the committee at least two weeks before the exam date. The room, time, and date of the exam, and the title and abstract of the MS project/thesis, must be announced in at least three working days in advance before the exam. Failure to follow this policy is sufficient cause for postponement of the exam.