Thesis Option

If the thesis option is selected, the student must:

  1. complete a minimum of six credit hours of CSE 8000, Thesis Research/Thesis.
  2. propose research within his/her area of interest.
  3. defend the thesis research to his/her Graduate Committee at a formal presentation at the time of the comprehensive examination.
  4. insure that at least half of the twenty-five hours in the program of study exclusive of thesis are at the full graduate level (numbered 8000-level or 9000-level).

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.


The thesis (research) option of the computer science Masters degree program requires that the degree candidate successfully undertake an independent research project and present the results of the research in a defensible thesis document.

For students electing this option, the following steps must be followed:

  1. The student develops a thesis proposal with the major professor containing:
    • a. Introduction to the research being proposed.
    • b. Review of the relevant research in the area.
    • c. Hypothesis, research goals/questions, research relevancy, proposed research methodology/procedures, and publication plan.
  2. The major professor schedules a research proposal session with the students Graduate Committee and gains Committee approval of the proposed research.
  3. Upon completion of the research, the student submits a draft copy of the thesis document to each member of his/her Graduate Committee. This draft copy is must be distributed to the committee members at least one week prior to the planned date of the presentation. All suggestions and concerns should be resolved under the direction of the major professor.
  4. When the student is ready to defend the thesis and be examined, the major professor schedules the presentation and examination. The thesis presentation is open to all students and faculty. The presentation is followed immediately by an oral examination of the student that is open only to the members of the student's Graduate Committee (and the research director). The committee signs the Report of Examination Result form indicating whether the student has passed or failed.
  5. The major professor forwards the Report of Examination form and one copy to the Office of Graduate Studies by the deadline posted in the Graduate Academic Calendar in the Graduate Studies Bulletin.
  6. Once the student has made all changes to the thesis document requested by the committee members and the committee members and the Graduate Coordinator have signed the approval page, the student submits a signed copy of the approval page to the departmental office. Approval of the thesis proceeds from the committee, to the Graduate Coordinator of the Department, and thence to the Dean of Engineering. After all approvals are obtained, the student must submit an electronic copy of the thesis to the Library for final approval.

Thesis Format Requirements

The thesis proposal and thesis must carefully follow the format specified in the latest edition of the Standards for Preparing Dissertations and Theses available from the Office of Graduate Studies, and departmental requirements.

Milestones for Master's Students

By the end of your second semester:

  • Choose a major professor.
  • Select your graduate committee in consultation with your major professor.
  • Get your graduate committee approved (special form).
  • Define a preliminary program of study in consultation with your major professor.
  • Get your preliminary program of study approved by your major professor, your committee, and the graduate coordinator (special form).

At least one semester prior to the semester in which you plan to graduate:

  • Write your thesis proposal and present it to your committee (formal presentation). Give the final draft of your thesis proposal to your committee at least one week prior to your presentation.

During the semester in which you plan to graduate:

  • Get your formal program of study approved (special form).
  • Complete your thesis. Schedule your defense. Give the final draft of your thesis to your committee at least one week prior to your defense.
  • File an Announcement of Thesis Defense form with the Office of Graduate Studies one week prior to the defense. Students are required to announce the defense of their thesis one week prior to their presentation stating the time, date, the room, and the title of their thesis, and an abstract. This notice should be announced using email directed to faculty and graduate student aliases ( and
  • Defend your thesis to your committee (formal presentation), including a comprehensive examination (special form). Get your committee members to sign your thesis (signature page).
  • Submit your thesis to the Graduate Coordinator.
  • Submit a signed copy of the thesis approval page to the departmental office.
  • Submit your thesis to the office of the Dean of Engineering.
  • Submit your thesis to the Library electronically.

See the Office of Graduate Studies calendar for the deadlines for (1) the first submission of a thesis to the Library for approval and (2) the final submission of a thesis to the Library. These dates are typically about two weeks apart, with the final date being about one month prior to graduation. Your thesis must first be approved by your major professor, then by your other committee members, then by the graduate coordinator, and then by the Engineering Deans office before it is submitted to the Library. See and