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On-site or online, the graduate programs in Computer Science are interdisciplinary programs offered jointly by the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science. The computer science program provides you with an education beyond the fundamentals and explores advances in computational theory, programming languages, software systems, hardware integration and information technology. You take courses in both departments on a wide-variety of topics, ranging from the theoretical to the applied. If you have an undergraduate background with an appropriate computer science context, then feel free to apply and expand your knowledge.

 

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Computer Science Curriculum

MS and PhD Curriculum

The Department of Computer Science offers both a PhD and a Master of Science (MS) program. The MS program has two options: a research-based thesis option, as well as a more professionally-oriented non-thesis option. Both programs can be done in person or online.

The PhD program and the thesis option of the MS program are designed to increase your fundamental knowledge and to give you guidance and experience in research. You achieve this by taking advanced courses, participating in seminars, and carrying out and reporting on a research project.

In the non-thesis option of the MS program, the research project is replaced by two additional courses and a project in which you apply the knowledge acquired in your courses to the solution of a significant problem.

Courses offered by the Department cover a wide range of topics. In all cases, you benefit from our small class sizes and close interaction with your professors.

-Forbes Top 25 STEM Colleges
MS in Computer Science: Thesis Option

Foundation course – 3 credits

  • CS547 Computer Algorithms

Programming-intensive courses – choose two, 6 credits

  • List includes courses in machine learning, deep learning, software design and development, computer vision, image understanding, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, mixed reality, and operating systems.

Advisor-approved electives – choose three, 9 credits

  • 1 research-focused course in Computer Science
  • 1 Computer Engineering course relevant to Computer Science
  • 1 Computer Science elective course

Seminar – 2 credits 

Thesis – 10 credits

MS in Computer Science: Non-Thesis Option

Foundation course – 3 credits

  • CS547 Computer Algorithms

Programming-intensive courses – choose two, 6 credits

  • List includes courses in machine learning, deep learning, software design and development, computer vision, image understanding, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, mixed reality, and operating systems.

Advisor-approved electives – choose five,  15 credits

  • 1 Computer Engineering course relevant to Computer Science
  • 4 Computer Science elective courses

Project – 6 credits 

PhD in Computer Science

36 credit hours of classroom and instructional laboratory coursework

Foundation courses – 4 courses 

Research-oriented courses – 4 courses 

Breadth requirements – 1 course per Group:

  • Group A – Theory and Algorithms
  • Group B – Computer Systems and Networks 
  • Group C – Languages and Software Development
  • Group D – Artificial Intelligence and Applications

Electives – sufficient to meet 36 credit coursework requirement

Seminar – 6 semesters

Candidacy and Dissertation

Computer Science MS Curriculum

Computer Science Degree Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for the MS degree that are established by the University, students must satisfy the following set of requirements:

  • The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate level work. At least 20 credit hours must be earned in residence at Clarkson. Each student’s program of study must be approved by an advisory committee.
  • Students who are not fully prepared to pursue graduate work in computer science may be required to take the course CS511 Foundations in Computer Science. In addition, students with very little or no background in computer science may be required to take undergraduate computer science courses, for which graduate credit will not be given.
  • Two options are available for the MS in Computer Science, thesis-based and project-based. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the programs. 

 

Elective Courses

Includes programming courses, if not used to meet the programming-intensive course requirement.

  • CS541 Introduction to Automata Theory and Formal Languages
  • CS542 Computational Complexity
  • CS549 Computational Learning
  • CS555 Computer Networks
  • CS556 Cryptography
  • CS557 Computer and Network Security
  • CS558 Formal Methods for Program Verification
  • CS560 Database Systems
  • CS565 Mobile Robotics and Human-Machine Interaction
  • CS566 Blockchain Technologies
  • CS569 Quantum Information and Computation
  • CS571 System Administration and Network Operations
  • CS575 Computer Ethics and Society
  • CS547 Advanced Algorithms
  • CS649 Current Issues in Machine Learning
  • CS653 Automated Reasoning
  • CS654 Current Issues in Computer Networking Research
  • CS657 Advanced Topics in Computer Security
  • CS662 Advanced Topics in Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces
  • CS668 Natural Language Processing
  • CS673 Advanced Topics in Computer Vision
  • CS675 Fairness, Accountability and Transparency in AI and Automated Systems
Computer Science PhD Curriculum

University Requirements: 

  • A minimum of 90 credit hours earned for graduate courses numbered 500 and higher, including at least 36 credit hours of classroom and instructional laboratory coursework (this is above the university minimum of 24) 
  • A minimum of 6 credit hours of research seminar.
  • A maximum of 30 credit hours of graduate transfer credit from an MS degree with grades of a B or higher may be accepted toward the PhD degree.
  • At least three full academic years of study beyond the baccalaureate degree.
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in courses used to meet graduation requirements.
  • Graduate students must complete the PhD candidacy procedure within two years of full-time study after admission to the PhD program.
  • Doctoral candidates must complete an original research project submitted as a written thesis to be orally presented and approved before a committee of at least five faculty members. At least four members must be Clarkson faculty, of assistant professor rank or higher, and possess a doctoral degree. At least one committee member must be from a department other than the candidate’s major department. An external examiner with appropriate credentials from outside the university may serve as one of the five committee members. The thesis must also be approved by the dean of the graduate school and a copy deposited in the university library.
  • All work for the PhD degree must be completed within seven years after admission to candidacy.

Additional Program Requirements and Procedures

Coursework: 
Students must complete a minimum of 36 credits of computer science-related coursework, including the following:

Foundations. Students must take four required courses across three areas: CS541 (theory), CS547 (theory), CS544 (systems) and CS545 (languages). A grade of B+ or better is required in each of these courses. A written exam option is offered for students who have taken equivalent courses at other institutions and for students who did not receive a B+ in the Clarkson course. Students who have taken equivalent courses at other institutions and pass the exam with a grade of B+ or better can replace the corresponding course with another CS course.

Research-Oriented Courses. Students must also complete a minimum of four 3-credit research-oriented 600-level CS courses. Research-oriented courses include a substantial research literature review and a research project/presentation component. The Computer Science PhD Committee will maintain a list of acceptable research-oriented courses. The 600-level CS Directed Study Courses are acceptable by permission of the Computer Science PhD Committee only when such courses satisfy the same standards as regular 600-level CS courses and include a substantial research literature review and a research project/presentation component. A grade of B+ or higher is required in two 600-level CS courses in order to advance to candidacy, and one of these must be a research-oriented 600-level course.

Breadth Requirement. Beyond the four required courses listed in Foundations, students must take one course from each of the following four groups. Courses used to satisfy this breadth requirement may also be used to satisfy the research requirements. The specific lists of courses may change, and students may petition the Computer Science PhD Committee to accept additional courses, including courses outside the department, in these groups:

  • Group A (theory and algorithms): 542, 546, 549, 556, 642, 656
  • Group B (computer systems and networks): 553, 555, 557, 563, 644, 654
  • Group C (languages and software development): 543, 550, 558, 560, 658
  • Group D (artificial intelligence and applications): 551, 552, 559, 561, 562, 659

Electives. Students must take additional courses as necessary to reach 36 course credits. Students are expected to take at least one graduate course in computer science or a related field each semester that they are enrolled in the computer science PhD program. This requirement may be waived in consultation with the student’s advisor or if the Computer Science PhD Committee decides it is in the student’s best interest to focus on completion of the thesis work.

Seminar. Students are required to attend and participate in the CS707 or 708 Seminar in Computer Science (1 credit) series during at least six semesters in residence in the PhD program. Participation is recommended during each semester in residence in the PhD program.

Candidacy. The doctoral candidacy procedure for the computer science program is portfolio-based.

Before advancing to candidacy, students must have completed the four required courses (CS541, CS547, CS544 and CS545) and two of the 600-level CS courses, at least one of which must be a research-oriented course. A grade of B+ or higher is required in each course.

Students prepare a portfolio consisting of a written statement of research interest and representative work from courses and seminars (e.g., exams, research papers, presentation materials). Student appear before the Computer Science PhD Committee for an oral defense of their portfolio. This oral defense and portfolio examination constitutes the comprehensive exam for candidacy in computer science.

To advance to candidacy, students must have also chosen a faculty advisor who believes they are prepared to begin original research in a mutually acceptable field of specialization.

Students must advance to candidacy within two years of full-time study after admission to the PhD program or be granted an extension by the Computer Science PhD Committee.

Thesis Proposal. Students must write a thesis proposal outlining their research plan and discussing related work and defend this proposal in an oral exam before the thesis committee.

In addition to the university requirements, at least three members of the committee must be from the Department of Computer Science.

Students must form their committee and pass the thesis proposal defense exam by the end of their third year of full-time study after admission to the PhD program or be granted an extension by the Computer Science PhD Committee.

Thesis Defense. The final step in completion of the doctoral program is the submission of a written thesis in conjunction with an oral thesis defense.

Candidates will normally present a 50-minute oral presentation of the thesis work at an advertised campus event followed by at least 10 minutes of public questions. After the end of the public session, candidates and their five-member thesis committee will gather in a closed session for final questions and presentation of corrections to thesis. Candidates will be then asked to leave the room for a final vote of approval. Following approval, candidates must complete the requested corrections to the written thesis and obtain final signatures. Candidates must provide all five thesis committee members with a copy of the thesis at least four full weeks before the public defense.

The thesis committee for the final defense is the same as that for the proposal defense. Any changes must be approved by the Computer Science PhD Committee in advance of the final defense.

A Note From Our Faculty

Clarkson is a small university but also a research university that has a great reputation with employers. Being part of this small community, students are able to have a personal connection with the faculty, which is harder to experience at larger universities.

Professor Alexis Maciel, Chair of Computer Science

Alexis Maciel
Admission

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Online Application Form
  • Resume.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation.
  • Official Transcripts.
  • GRE Test Scores.
    • Required. Waivers will be considered.
  • For International Applicants, an English Proficiency Test is required.
    • Minimum Test Score Requirements: TOEFL (80) and TOEFL Essentials (8.5), IELTS (6.5), PTE (56) and Duolingo English Test (115).

Prerequisites: A BS or equivalent degree in computer science or other closely related subject. Admission to the computer science program depends upon Computer Science Graduate Committee approval.

Why Study Computer Science at Clarkson?

Clarkson University has an excellent reputation in science and technology fields.

  • Career fair on main campus draws well-known employers from across the US
  • We have connections with several companies in North-East US
  • Career Center staff both on main campus and at CRC
  • Internships or co-ops may be available after one year of full time study

We have a strong focus in artificial intelligence (AI), a field that is currently sought after by many companies. Areas of expertise in the department span theory, artificial intelligence, software, graphics and visualization, systems, security, and networking.

Contact Us

To learn more, ask questions or apply, contact:

Graduate Admissions Team
graduate@clarkson.edu
518-631-9831