Non-thesis Option

If the non-thesis option is selected, the student must:

  1. complete two additional graduate level courses exclusive of thesis (six credit hours) in his/her area of interest; insuring that at least fifteen hours of the courses in the program of study are at the full graduate level (numbered 8000 or 9000). One of the two additional courses may be Directed Project (CSE 8080) if the student's major professor (or another member of the student's graduate committee) agrees to direct the project. The purpose of a Directed Project is to independently complete a challenging professional project.
  2. stand for an oral comprehensive examination. Students who complete a Directed Project present the results of the directed project to his/her Graduate Committee at the time of the comprehensive examination.

Comprehensive Examination

Students must perform satisfactorily on an oral comprehensive examination. If the student is in the thesis option or is completing a Directed Project, the Masters comprehensive examination is held in conjunction with the students project presentation or thesis defense.

When a student is nearing graduation, if the students GPA is less than 3.0 at the end of the most recently completed term, then the M.S. Comprehensive Examination must be postponed until the current GPA is at least 3.0. Then the student must enroll for at least one hour during the term in which the Examination is given.

The exam must be scheduled at least one week before it is given. Students are required to make a comprehensive and detailed review of all graduate course work taken toward the degree in preparation for the oral examinations. Passing a final oral exam for a Master's degree candidate will require a majority affirmative vote of the candidate's committee members present or their appointed representative. A candidate who fails the comprehensive examination on the first attempt must wait at least two months before attempting the examination a second time. The date and time of each comprehensive examination attempt is subject to the Committee's approval. A second failure terminates the candidate from the program.

Milestones for Master's Students

By the end of your second semester:

  • Choose major professor.
  • Select graduate committee in consultation with major professor.
  • Get graduate committee approved (special form).
  • Define preliminary program of study in consultation with major professor.
  • Get preliminary program of study approved (special form).

For students who are completing a Directed Project, at least one semester prior to the semester in which you plan to graduate:

  • Write project contract and have it approved by committee.

During the semester in which you plan to graduate:

  • Get formal program of study approved (special form).
  • For students who are completing a Directed Project, write a project report and get approved by your major professor; give the final draft of your report to your committee at least one week prior to your presentation.
  • Stand for the comprehensive examination. If the student is completing a Directed Project, the project results are presented to the committee at the time of the comprehensive exam.
  • For students who are completing a Directed Project, submit signed copy of approval page of the project report to departmental office.

Your project report must first be approved by your major professor, and then by your other committee members. A copy of the approval page with all of the necessary signatures must be submitted to the Computer Science departmental office no later than the date listed in the Graduate Studies Bulletin for reporting final exam results to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Directed Project Format Requirements

The report must follow the same format as theses and dissertations, as specified in the latest edition of the Standards for Preparing Dissertations and Theses available from the MSU Office of Graduate Studies, and departmental requirements, except that the approval page should include the signatures of the student's Graduate Committee only.

A copy of the original project contract should be included in an appendix. Deliverables of the project (user guides, design documents, etc.) can be included as appendices, but normally will be separate documents. The format of any deliverables (user guides, technical manuals, etc.) not included as appendices shall be as appropriate for the client of the project. Deliverables included as appendixes must follow the same form and format as the report.