2015-2016 Graduate Course Catalog 
    May 17, 2022  
2015-2016 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Computer Science, MS

Program Director

Susan Older, 4-181 Center for Science and Technology, 315-443-4679, Fax 315-443-2583; sueo@ecs.syr.edu


Thomas Barnard, Howard A. Blair, Tomislav Bujanovic, Stephen J. Chapin, Biao Chen, C.Y. Roger Chen, Shiu-Kai Chin, Jun Hwan (Brandon) Choi, Wenliang (Kevin) Du, Sara Eftekharnejad, Ehat Ercanli, Makan Fardad, James W. Fawcett, Prasanta Ghosh,  Jennifer Graham, Mustafa Cenk Gursoy,  Robert Irwin, Can Isik,  Andrew Chung-Yeung Lee, Jay Kyoon Lee, Yingbin Liang, Duane L. Marcy, Kishan G. Mehrotra, Chilukuri K. Mohan, Jae C. Oh, Susan Older, Vir Phoha, Qinru Qiu,  James S. Royer, Jeffrey Saltz, Tapan K. Sarkar, Fred Schlereth, Q. Wang Song, Sucheta Soundarajan, Jian Tang, Yuzhe (Richard) Tang, William C. Tetley, Pramod K. Varshney, Senem Velipasalar, Li Wang, Hong Wang, Yanzhi Wang, Heng Yin, Edmund Yu, Reza Zafarani

Master of Science Programs

For students who want to expand their technical expertise beyond their undergraduate major, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) offers master of science (M.S.) degrees in computer engineering, computer science, and electrical engineering. EECS has a long and distinguished record of graduate education, with many of our graduates placed in key positions in industry. Graduates from our master’s programs are well represented in such corporations as IBM, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, and Intel. In all of these degrees, students have the option of completing the M.S. degrees by taking only courses, or by combining coursework with a master’s thesis.

Students who are contemplating continuing their studies at the Ph.D. level are encouraged to complete an M.S. degree with the thesis option. Students enrolled in the non-thesis option in one of these M.S. programs may finish the M.S. degree in one year if they choose. To accomplish this, students must take courses in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students may also complete the degree in a less intensive fashion over three or four regular semesters.

Furthermore, students have the opportunity to have an industrial experience as part of their programs of study by working in an industrial setting for a block period of three to four months. Students may work up to a maximum two blocks during their master’s program of study under the curriculum practical training (CPT) option.

Professionals having a baccalaureate degree in fields other than computer engineering, computer science, or electrical engineering who are seeking a career change may take advantage of an opportunity to obtain an M.S. degree in one of these fields by combining suitable remedial undergraduate coursework with the regular program of graduate study.

Admission Requirements

Each of these master’s programs has its own admission committee that evaluates the overall academic record of an applicant. Each of these committees uses the following guidelines during the evaluation process:

  • GRE Verbal score of 150 or better (using New GRE Score System);
  • GRE Quantitative score of 155 or better (using New GRE Score System);
  • GRE Analytical (multiple choice) score of 650 or better, or a score of 3.5 or better in the new Analytical Writing;
  • for international students: TOEFL computer-based score of 223 (Internet-based score 85; paper-based score 563) or better;
  • grade point average (GPA) of 3.0/4.0 or better.

Each candidate must submit a coherent program of 10 graduate courses (30 credits), which must be passed with a grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better. Students also need to satisfy a minimum cumulative total GPA of 2.8 in all graduate courses taken at Syracuse University. In each of the core courses, the student must achieve a grade of B- or better. No more than 6 credits of 500-level courses may be included in the program. However, CIS 551  cannot be included in any M.S. in computer science program of study. The Graduate School requires that master’s programs be completed within seven years and that the student maintain a satisfactory rate of progress toward completion of degree requirements at all times. Within this program the student may elect to prepare and defend a master’s thesis, in accord with the rules of the Graduate School, for up to six of the required 30 credits.

Computer Science Core

All candidates for the M.S. in computer science must complete the computer science core:

Final Examinations and GPA Requirements

Candidates are required to complete the final examinations in all core courses with an average grade of 2.667 (B-) or better.

English Proficiency Requirement

Students whose native language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency, both written and oral, in the English language. Students found to be deficient will be strongly advised to take remedial courses outside the degree program. Students with inadequate background in discrete mathematics and data structures may be required to take remedial courses, and those remedial courses cannot be counted toward the 30 credits required for the master’s degree. The program must include a minimum of 18 credits of CIS courses and 8 courses at the 600-level or higher. Where applicable, students are required to complete stated prerequisites before enrolling in advanced courses. Responsibility for seeing that prerequisites are met rests with the student. To maintain full-time status in the EECS department, students must register for 9 credits per semester. Part-time students must complete at least 6 credits per academic year. Other program regulations may exist. Students are expected to follow all program regulations.

One-Year M.S. Program in Computer Science

Students with a strong academic preparation may finish the master’s degree in computer science in one year if they choose to do so. To do this, they must start the program in the fall semester, take four courses in the fall semester, four courses in the spring semester, and two courses in the summer. Students may also complete the degree in a less intensive fashion over three or four semesters.

International students must be enrolled for at least nine credits (usually three courses) during the fall semester and at least nine credits in the spring semester (for a total of at least 18 credits per year).

Three-Year M.S. Plan

The baccalaureate degree in many fields outside computer science may not constitute adequate preparation for the mathematical and technical aspects of graduate study in computing. Students with such a background who nevertheless are seriously interested in a graduate degree in computer science may achieve the needed preparation by combining suitable undergraduate coursework with the regular program of graduate study requiring an additional year of coursework. Students beginning this work should have one year of calculus equivalent to MAT 295 and MAT 296, and at least one high-level programming language equivalent to CPS 196 Introduction to Computer Programming: C, or CPS 335 JAVA Programming for the Internet. (See Syracuse University Undergraduate Catalog for descriptions of MAT 295, MAT 296, CPS 196, CPS296, CPS 335.) The following three-year plan of combined undergraduate and graduate coursework provides the student with the preparation described above, needed for completion of the graduate courses for the M.S. Courses numbered below 500 do not carry graduate credit and constitute the intermediate preparation needed for graduate courses listed later in the plan. Requirements for the M.S. in computer science remain as described above.

First semester (Fall)

  • CIS 375 - Introduction to Abstract Mathematics
  • ECS 102 - Introduction to Computing
  • CIS 351 - Data Structures

Second Semester (Spring)

  • CIS 252 - Introduction to Computer Science
  • CIS 352 - Programming Languages: Theory and Practice
  • CIS 341 - Computer Organization and Programming Systems
  • CIS 342 - Introduction to Systems Programming

Third Semester (Fall)

Fourth Semester (Spring)


*Those who cannot take CIS 486 in the Fall semester may take CSE 486 in the Spring semester

Fifth Semester (Fall)

Sixth Semester (Spring)

  • Two elective graduate courses

Exemption Examinations

Exemption examinations are given in certain of these courses so that the student may determine whether he/she already has equivalent knowledge of the subject material.


The graduate advisor is guided by the following admission requirements, which are intended to be the equivalent of the level of competency attained by a holder of the B.S. in computer science from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Academic Competency Requirements

Candidates are expected to possess competency in the following areas at a level equivalent to at least one of the indicated courses to each area. When an applicant’s record indicates deficiencies in any of these areas, the graduate advisor will require that appropriate remedial courses be taken. Graduate level courses taken for remediation may be included in an M.S. program to the extent permitted by other requirements.

(1) Higher-Level programming

  • CIS 351 - Data Structures
  • CIS 352 - Programming Languages: Theory and Practice
  • CIS 453 - Software Specification and Design
  • CIS 454 - Software Implementation

(2) Assembly Language Programming/Systems

  • CIS 341 - Computer Organization and Programming Systems
  • CIS 486 - Design of Operating Systems

(3) Mathematics

  • CIS 375 - Discrete Mathematics

(4) Theoretical Computer Science

  • CIS 473 - Computability Theory

(5) Algorithms and Computational Techniques

Combined B.S./M.S. Degree in Computer Science

This combined degree program is designed for students who want to consecutively complete the bachelor’s and the master’s degree in computer science. The program may be completed in five years with students taking two master’s degree courses in their senior year. Up to 3 credits may be shared between the two programs of study, so that the M.S. requires only 27 additional credits.

Admission to this program, usually requested in the junior year, will be based on academic progress.

Students are accepted for graduate study after completion of the third year of study but are not fully matriculated as graduate students until bachelor’s degree requirements have been met. The undergraduate degree is awarded before completion of the graduate degree. Graduate courses taken in the fourth year of study count toward fulfillment of both undergraduate and graduate degree requirement. The graduate courses are included in the undergraduate tuition and appear only on the undergraduate record, and grades calculate only toward the undergraduate GPA. A block of transfer credits labeled as “transferred from SU undergraduate record” appears on the graduate record, if needed, and applies credit hours toward the graduate degree.

Concurrent M.S. Degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics

Master of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics

In collaboration with the Mathematics Department in the College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offers concurrent M.S. degrees in computer science and mathematics. Students complete a total of 51 credits, 30 in mathematics and 21 in computer science. Students who want to pursue this program should have a solid background in undergraduate mathematics, and knowledge of programming in high-level languages and of algorithms and data structures adequate for graduate study in computer science.

For further information, please contact the Graduate Enrollment Management Center, 315-443-4492, grad@syr.edu

Current EECS students: please contact the EECS Graduate Records Office, 315-443-2655, cvsalang@syr.edu