CS Program

Student in computer lab

 

This Advising Guide describes the School’s requirements for the Master of Science, Master of Engineering and Ph.D. degrees. These requirements are in addition to those of the Graduate School. They may be modified or extended by the student’s M.S., M. Eng., or Ph.D. committee. For further information, consult the Graduate School Bulletin, the University General Bulletin, and the Schedule of Classes. Questions concerning advanced degree requirements should be directed to the CS Graduate Student Coordinator of the School of EECS.

Every new graduate student will be assigned a research group and academic advisor based on the students' interests. This academic advisor will advise the student until the student has found a faculty member who has agreed to serve as the student's major professor. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with faculty members and find a major professor. New students are strongly encouraged to attend research group meetings, reading groups, and seminars to get to know the faculty and graduate students in the school.

 

Master of Science (M.S.) Degree Requirements


  1. At least 45 hours of graduate level courses.
  2. At least two courses each out of three areas from the following list:
  • Theoretical Computer Science: CS515-517, CS52X
  • Artificial Intelligence: CS53X
  • Computer Systems: CS57X, CS54X, ECE57X
  • Programming Languages: CS58X
  • Software Engineering: CS56X
  • Computer Vision and Graphics: CS55X
  • An area approved by the committee

At least a 3.0 GPA must be achieved over these six courses.

  1. A coherent set of 3 or more courses giving preparation and support for the student’s thesis or project. The selection of courses will be made in consultation with, and must be approved by, the student’s major professor.
  2. At least a B grade (or equivalent) in the following courses at the graduate or undergraduate level:
  • Theory of Computation (equivalent of CS321)
  • Analysis of Algorithms (equivalent of CS325)
  • Operating Systems (equivalent of CS411) or Computer Architecture (equivalent of CS472)
  • Translators (equivalent of CS480) or Programming Languages (equivalent of CS381)
  1. At most 6 credits of courses numbered 50x (so-called “blanket-numbered” courses) other than the credits for the paper in #6 below are permitted on a master's program. Major Advisor approval is required to register for Blanket Credits. Use the "Blanket Courses" form found here http://eecs.oregonstate.edu/graduate-students/forms to get approval.
  2. Thesis or Project:
  • Thesis Option: A written paper that represents a modest research contribution. The student must list 9 credits of CS 503 on the MS program.
  • Project Option: A project that demonstrates the student's mastery of the art and science of computer programming and a written paper that describes the project. The student must list 6 credits of CS 506 on the MS program.
  1. Attendance at the weekly EECS Colloquium during each term of the first year of graduate studies. Students receive 1 unit of credit for attending the colloquium by registering for CS 507 Section 1. However, CS507 cannot be used on a student’s graduate program. To satisfy this requirement, students attend colloquia, submit the attendance form, and receive 3 terms of pass (P).
  2. A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 for all courses taken as a graduate student and all courses on the graduate program.
  3. File a program of study by the end of the second term of study, or before 18 graduate credit hours are completed. Each M.S. student obtains a Master’s Program form from the Graduate School, fills it out, has it approved by his/her major professor, and turns in the form to the Graduate Student Coordinator for the EECS associate director's approval. This program is a tentative plan and can be updated or changed.
  4. A final oral exam on the student's thesis. A final oral exam may be scheduled only after all other requirements are satisfied.

For M.S. thesis option, the committee consists of at least four (4) graduate faculty members: two in the major field, one in the minor field if a minor is included, and a Graduate Council Representative. When a minor is not included, the fourth member may be from the graduate faculty at large The Graduate Council representative will be chosen from a list supplied to the student by the Graduate School.

For the M.S. project option, the committee consists of three (3) graduate faculty members: two in the major field and one may be from the graduate faculty at large.

All members of the student’s committee must approve the scheduling of the final oral exam. Notice of oral exams should be posted and distributed to all faculty and graduate students at least one week prior to the exam. Except in unusual circumstances, these exams will be held during the normal academic year (fall, winter, or spring quarters). For scheduling, use the Event Schedule Form.

  1. Time limit. All work toward a M.S. degree including transferred credits, course work, and thesis, must be completed within seven years.
  2. A graduate minor is not required (as of 2/14/02). See the Graduate School Bulletin for details.
 

Master of Engineering (M.Eng) Degree Requirements


Students who elect the M.Eng degree are not considered for financial support.

  1. At least 45 credit hours of graduate-level courses approved by the student’s graduate committee
  2. At least two courses each out of three areas from the following list:
  • Theoretical Computer Science: CS515-517, CS52X
  • Artificial Intelligence: CS53X
  • Computer Systems: CS57X, CS54X, ECE57X
  • Programming Languages: CS58X
  • Software Engineering: CS56X
  • Computer Vision and Graphics: CS55X
  • An area approved by the committee

At least a 3.0 GPA must be achieved over these six courses.

  1. At least a B grade (or equivalent) in the following courses at the graduate or undergraduate level:
  • Theory of Computation (equivalent of CS321)
  • Analysis of Algorithms (equivalent of CS325)
  • Operating Systems (equivalent of CS411) or Computer Architecture (equivalent of CS472)
  • Translators (equivalent of CS480) or Programming Languages (equivalent of CS381)
  1. At most 6 credits of courses numbered 50x (so-called “blanket-numbered” courses). Major Advisor approval is required to register for Blanket Credits. Use the "Blanket Courses" form found here http://eecs.oregonstate.edu/graduate-students/forms to get approval.
  2. Attendance at the weekly EECS Colloquium during one term of the first year of graduate studies. Students receive 1 credit for attending the colloquium by registering for CS 507 Section 1. However, CS507 cannot be used on a student's graduate program. To satisfy the requirement, students attend colloquia, submit the attendance form and receive one term of pass (P).
  3. A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 for all courses taken as a graduate student and all courses on the graduate program.
  4. File a program of study by the end of the second term of study, or before 18 graduate credit hours are completed. Each M.Eng. student obtains a M.Eng. Program form from the Graduate School, fills it out, has it approved by his/her major professor, and turns in the form to the graduate student coordinator for the EECS associate director’s approval. This program is a tentative plan and can be updated or changed.
  5. A final oral exam. A final oral exam may be scheduled only after all other requirements are satisfied. The M.Eng. committee consists of 3 designated graduate faculty members from the School of EECS. All members of this committee must approve the scheduling of the final oral exam. Except in unusual circumstances, these exams will be held during the normal academic year (fall, winter, or spring quarters). For scheduling, use the Event Schedule Form.

Notes for M.S. and M.Eng.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements


  1. At least 108 graduate credit hours beyond the student’s baccalaureate degree.
  2. The graduate level Algorithms course, CS515, and the graduate level course Theory of Computation, CS517.
  3. At least three courses each out of three areas from the following list:
  • Theoretical Computer Science: CS52X
  • Artificial Intelligence: CS53X
  • Computer Systems: CS57X, CS54X, ECE57X
  • Programming Languages: CS58X
  • Software Engineering: CS56X
  • Computer Vision and Graphics: CS55X
  • An area approved by the committee

In addition to these required courses, it is normally expected that Ph.D. students will have approximately 14 additional hours of non-blanket-numbered coursework on their Ph.D. program (for a total of 58 hours). Students planning to teach computer science are strongly advised to take the theoretical computer science concentration (52x) and to take at least one graduate course in each area listed above.

  1. A thesis involving at least 36 credits (CS 603). The Ph.D. thesis should represent a significant contribution publishable in a recognized journal.
  2. At least a B grade (or equivalent) in the following courses at the graduate or undergraduate level:
  • Theory of Computation (equivalent of CS321)
  • Analysis of Algorithms (equivalent of CS325)
  • Operating Systems (equivalent of CS411) or Computer Architecture (equivalent of CS472)
  • Translators (equivalent of CS480) or Programming Languages (equivalent of CS381)
  1. At most 15 hours of blanket-numbered courses (CS 50x, are permitted on a Ph.D. program. In addition, Masters thesis hours (CS 503) may be permitted by the student’s committee. Students may not register for CS 603 Ph.D. Thesis until they pass their preliminary exam. Major Advisor approval is required to register for Blanket Credits. Use the "Blanket Courses" form found here http://eecs.oregonstate.edu/graduate-students/forms to get approval.
  2. At least 18 credit hours in each declared minor. There is no requirement to declare a minor, however.
  3. Residence requirement: At least 36 graduate OSU credits must be completed while enrolled as a full-time student (at least 9 credits/term). These terms of full-time enrollment do not have to take place consecutively.
  4. Attendance at the weekly EECS Colloquium during each term of the first year of graduate studies. Students may receive 1 unit of credit for attending the colloquium by registering for CS 507 Section 1. However, CS507 cannot be used on a student's graduate program. To satisfy the requirement students attend colloquia, submit the attendance form, and receive 3 terms of pass (P).
  5. A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 for all courses taken as a graduate student and all courses on the graduate program.
  6. Successful completion of Ph.D. qualifier which tests the student’s course background and the ability to read, understand, analyze and synthesize material from research papers.
  7. Successful completion of the preliminary examination which tests the student’s readiness to start research on a particular topic and his or her breadth of knowledge in Computer Science.
  8. Satisfactory performance in the final oral exam. The final oral exam must be taken within 5 years after the oral preliminary examination.
  9. Normally both the preliminary exam and the final oral exam are open to faculty and students. Notice of such exams shall be posted and distributed to all faculty and graduate students at least one week prior to the exam. Except in unusual circumstances these exams will be held during normal academic year (fall, winter and spring quarters). For scheduling use the Event Schedule form.

Model Ph.D. Program Process

Note: This is a “model,” where the need for flexibility is understood.

Ph.D. Program Committee Meeting

The doctoral program leading to a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science is administered primarily by the student's Ph.D. committee. It is the student’s responsibility to organize his or her doctoral committee with the advice of his or her major professor. The committee must consist of at least five (5) faculty members: the major professor, at least two other members of the School of EECS who represent the student’s areas of study, faculty member from the student’s minor department and/or other related departments, and a Graduate Council representative. The Graduate Council representative will be chosen from a list supplied to the student by the Graduate School.

The Ph.D. committee, in consultation with the student, is responsible for preparing the student’s doctoral program, administering the required examinations, and reporting the student’s progress to the School. This committee has considerable freedom in defining a doctoral program, being subject only to the rules of the Graduate School as described in General Regulations - Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate Bulletin and the CS Ph.D. Degree Requirements listed in this Advising Guide. The Doctoral Program form should be filed by the end of one calendar year if a student joins the PhD. Program with a M.S. degree and by the end of the fifth quarter of enrollment if the student joins the program with a B.S. degree.

Please schedule your PhD Program Meeting with EECS and the Graduate School at least two weeks before your event.  Here is the link to the scheduling form:  http://eecs.oregonstate.edu/graduate-students/forms

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

For a traditional September start, the student must take this exam before November 15th of the second year if he/she joins the Ph.D. program with a M.S. degree, and before November 15th of the third year if he/she joins the Ph.D. program with a B.S. degree (adjusted accordingly for students not starting in September).

The qualifying exam serves two purposes: 1. Demonstration of research ability, and 2. Demonstration of mastery of subject matter.

  1. Demonstration of the research ability. The student’s advisor with the consultation of the committee assigns a research topic to the student. Within a month after the topic is formally approved by the committee, the student must submit a paper on the given topic. The paper may be based on:
  • comprehensive review of existing literature in an area
  • the student’s current or prior original research
  • or some combination as stipulated by the committee

The Ph.D. committee has the discretion to allow previously completed research papers, including jointly authored papers, if the student’s contribution to the paper warrants such recognition. The intent of the paper requirement is to evaluate the student’s skills to do Ph.D. level research, including the ability to perform a literature review, understand and synthesize research topics, conduct independent and collaborative research as is typically done in the chosen discipline, and communicate the findings in a scholarly fashion. The student must present the paper to the committee and answer the committee’s questions during the qualifying exam.

  1. Demonstration of mastery of subject matter. At least two weeks prior to the qualifying exam, the student’s advisor assembles a set of topics or questions from the student’s Ph.D. committee. The topics and the questions may be selected by the committee based on the student’s course work and/or research area. Some of the questions may require written responses, in which case they should be completed within a week after the questions are given. Optionally, the committee might provide feedback on the student’s written responses. The questions during the qualifying exam will be based on the topics/written questions given in advance.

Students who are doing double degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) can combine their Ph.D. qualifying exam with their M.S. oral defense with approval by their two program committees.

After the exam the committee will have a confidential discussion on the performance of the student and make one of the following recommendations

  1. Pass
  2. Fail Research Paper. If 1st attempt, allow retake by May 15th of the same academic year.
  3. Fail Subject Questions. If 1st attempt, allow retake by May 15th of the same academic year.
  4. Fail both parts. If 1st attempt, allow retake by May 15th of the same academic year.
  5. Fail. Student should drop out from the Ph.D. program.

Please schedule your PhD Qualifying Exam with EECS.  You do NOT need to schedule this exam with the Graduate School.  Here is the link to the scheduling forms:  http://eecs.oregonstate.edu/graduate-students/forms

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Evaluation Form

The top half of the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Evaluation Form should be completed by the students and provided for each committee member, plus one (1) summary form, prior to the qualifying exam.

Ph.D. Preliminary Examination

This exam is generally taken around the beginning of the third year with timing to allow the committee to have input on the proposed research, and includes:

  1. Purpose:
    The purpose of both the written and the oral components of this exam is to guarantee that the student has obtained sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge to carry out the proposed research. This includes a thorough understanding of course work from the core areas on the student's program and of important articles in the thesis area.
  2. Procedure:
    The preliminary exam consists of: (i) Preparation of a thesis proposal, (ii) oral presentation of thesis proposal, (iii) oral examination. (The committee may give a written exam also.)

The sequence of events is as follows:

At least three weeks prior to the oral examination, the student submits a written thesis proposal to the committee. This proposal should already have been approved by the major professor working with the student.

The thesis proposal should succinctly describe (a) the topic to be investigated, (b) the significance and relevance of this topic, (c) the approach and methods to be used in the investigation, (d) a discussion of the feasibility of the proposed research, (e) an annotated bibliography listing all relevant publications that have been or will be read by the student, and (f) a timetable for carrying out the research and completing the degree. The student should realize that this proposal is a plan. It is often the case that the actual completed research is substantially different from the proposed research.

Two weeks prior to the oral exam, the committee and the major professor may prepare a written exam that will be given to the student. This exam is normally open-book, and the student is given a week to complete it. The questions involve reading and analyzing an article, comparing a number of approaches, etc., or other activities deemed appropriate by the committee.

One week prior to the oral exam, the student submits the completed written exam.

On the day of the oral exam, the student begins with a 30-minute presentation of the proposed research. This is followed by at least 90-minutes of oral examination of the student. At least 60-minutes of questions will cover the areas of the student's program.

For more information on the steps to schedule your PhD Oral Preliminary Exam (please schedule your event at least two weeks in advance) follow this link:  http://eecs.oregonstate.edu/graduate-students/resources

Ph.D. Final Oral Exam

  • Student presents Ph.D. research (open presentation)
  • Questions from the committee focus on presentation/thesis research

For more information on the steps to schedule your PhD Final Oral Exam (please schedule your event at least two weeks in advance) follow this link and scroll down the page:  http://eecs.oregonstate.edu/graduate-students/resources

Annual Review of Student Progress

The Computer Science faculty holds an annual review/action meeting during the spring term to review the progress of all students in the graduate program. At this meeting, the current status of all students is reviewed. For most students, this involves a routine review of the GPA requirement and the requirements to find a major professor and form a committee. For students who have completed their course work, however, this involves a discussion, by their advisor, of their research progress over the past year (development of thesis proposal, attainment of milestones listed in the proposal, etc.).

Students who are not making reasonable progress toward the degree are identified, and a minimum progress requirement is established for each of them. Students will receive a letter listing a set of actions that must be completed. Students whom are in trouble are also reviewed, and those students who have failed to complete the required actions are removed from the graduate program.

The best way for students to avoid problems at the review/action meeting is to make sure that your advisor knows what you are doing. It is recommended that all students meet with their advisors prior to the Review Meeting (as well as at other times throughout the year).

The purpose of the annual review of progress is to ensure that students are moving through the program. Graduate students have a tendency to become sidetracked working on interesting programming projects, consulting projects, etc., that interfere with their progress. It is also not unheard of for students to be exploited by their advisors. The Review/Action system is intended to prevent these problems.