MS Degree in Engineering Science (Computer Science)

MS Degree in Engineering Science (Computer Science)

GO TO Graduate Academic Program Information Revised: January 19, 2014



The MS degree program in Engineering Science (Computer Science) is one of the graduate degree programs of the School of Engineering administered through the Graduate School of the University of Mississippi. Students in this program must satisfy all requirements and follow all procedures established by the Graduate School and School of Engineering. In addition, the Department of Computer and Information Science (CIS) specifies the following requirements and procedures.


A student must be recommended for admission to the MS degree program by the Department of Computer and Information Science. To be admitted into the MS degree program a student should:

  1. Possess a Bachelor's degree or equivalent
  2. Have a B average on all undergraduate work (3.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  3. Submit a competitive score on the General GRE
  4. Submit a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL (for international students)
  5. Satisfy the undergraduate core requirement, which requires completion of previous courses equivalent to the following University of Mississippi courses:
    • Computer Science I (CSci 111)
    • Computer Science II (CSci 112)
    • Computer Science III (CSci 211)
    • Computer Organization and Assembly Language (CSci 223)
    • Models of Computation (CSci 311)--or Fundamental Concepts in Computing (CSci 500)
    • Introduction to Operating Systems (CSci 423)--or Fundamental Concepts in Systems (CSci 501)
    • Algorithm and Data Structure Analysis (CSci 433)--or Fundamental Concepts in Algorithms (CSci 502)
    • Organization of Programming Languages (CSci 450)--or Fundamental Concepts in Languages (CSci 503)
    • Unified Calculus and Analytic Geometry I (Math 261)
    • Unified Calculus and Analytic Geometry II (Math 262)
    • Discrete Mathematics (Math 301)
    • Applied Modern Algebra (Math 302)


  • CSci 111-112-211 is currently an introductory computer science and programming sequence that uses the Java programming language. CSci 112-211 includes at least one semester of introductory data structures and algorithms content. We can accept similar courses that use other programming languages (e.g., C++) , but we expect admitted students to be familiar with object-oriented programming techniques when they join the program.
  • CSci 311 (Models of Computation) is an introductory theory course that covers automata theory and formal languages.

The graduate catalog defines the following three types of degree-seeking admissions:

  1. Full Standing Admission: Students who meet all the admission requirements may be admitted in full standing.
  2. Conditional Admission: Students who meet most (but not all) the admission requirements may be admitted conditionally. The conditions of admission will be stated in the admission letter. Students with such an admission status may take graduate-level courses counted toward the MS degree requirements. However, the specified conditions for admission must be met within one semester of enrollment; otherwise, the student's admission status will be changed from conditional admission to qualifying for admission (see below). The student must remain at the qualifying for admission status until his or her admission conditions are met. It is every student's responsibility to satisfy his or her conditions for admission as soon as possible after acceptance.
  3. Qualifying Admission: Students who have a number of deficiencies may possibly be admitted in a qualifying for admission status. Graduate students in this status are restricted to enrolling in courses at the undergraduate level (400 level and below) which may not be counted toward the MS degree requirements. On admission, students with qualifying for admission status are typically required to take designated undergraduate-level courses at the University of Mississippi to satisfy the undergraduate core requirements. The student must maintain a grade point average of B or better (with no grade lower than a C) on those designated undergraduate-level courses. At the time of completion or near completion of those designated undergraduate-level courses, the student may petition the Graduate Committee of the Department of Computer and Information Science to be promoted to full standing admission.

Note: Conditional Admission makes a student eligible to be considered for appointment to a graduate assistantship; Qualifying Admission does not. However, students in Conditional status might be ineligible to receive other forms of financial aid from some sources (e.g., Federally guaranteed loans).

Admission FAQs

Application Deadlines

The application deadline for admission and financial aid decisions are:

  • April 1, for summer term and fall semester admissions and financial aid
  • October 1, for spring semester admissions and financial aid

The applications available on those dates will be processed as promptly as possible, within one month of the closing date. Admission decisions will be based on the space available and the criteria and preferences explained elsewhere. Applications received after the deadline will be considered if space is available, but such applications will normally not be considered until the next appropriate application deadline.

Research Requirements

Students must choose one of the following research options and complete the stated degree requirements.

  • Project option:
    • 30 semester credit hours of approved graduate coursework, of which 3 hours must be earned from an independent study research project (by enrolling in Engr 693)
    • A written project paper
    • A final public oral examination over the work in the research project's area.

    The MS project can be a survey of results in a particular research area, a design and implementation of a known idea, or a thorough study of a research problem. The student must register for 3 hours in the Engr 693 section assigned to the student's research advisor during the final semester of the program; Engr 693 is a graded course that should only be taken once. The student must prepare the research paper according to Department requirements.

  • Thesis option:
    • 30 semester credit hours credit of approved graduate coursework, of which 6 hours must be earned from a thesis (by enrolling in Engr 697)
    • A written thesis
    • A final public oral examination over the work in the thesis area

    The student must register for the Engr 697 section assigned to the student's research advisor for 6 hours during the program; Engr 697 is an ungraded, variable credit course for which the student may register repeatedly until the thesis is complete. The student must prepare the thesis according to the Graduate School requirements and schedule.

Coursework Requirements

The following coursework requirements apply to both the research project and thesis options.

  • Each student must complete the MS core coursework requirement; that is, the student must successfully complete the following courses with a grade of B or better:
    • CSci 533 Analysis of Algorithms
    • CSci 523 Operating Systems or CSci 561 Computer Networks or CSci 530 Computer Architecture and Design
    • CSci 525 Compiler Construction or CSci 555 Functional Programming or CSci 556 Multiparadigm Programming or CSci 531 Artificial Intelligence or CSci 658 Software Language Engineering or another programming-intensive course approved by the Department's Graduate Committee

    The Department's graduate faculty encourages students to take Engr 694 Research Methods if they plan to choose the thesis option or to continue their studies toward the PhD degree. 

  • In addition to the thesis or MS project courses, each student must complete at least 9 semester credit hours of regular computer science courses at the 600-level or above. A regular computer science course is a course that (a) is taught by a computer science faculty member on a computer science topic, (b) is publicized and offered to all graduate students who meet the prerequisites, and (c) has a regular weekly meeting time with organized lectures or activities. These courses typically have CSci, Engr, or EngS prefixes.
  • In addition to the thesis or MS project courses, a student may count up to two non-regular courses (6 hours) toward their degree. A non-regular course is an independent study course or any other course that does not meet the requirements stated above for regular courses.


The following procedures apply to both the research project and thesis options.

  • CSci courses numbered lower than 510 do not count toward the 30 hours required for the MS degree. (In particular, CSci 500, CSci 501, CSci 502, and CSci 503 cannot be counted toward the MS degree requirements. These are transition courses required as conditions for full-standing admission into the program.)
  • No more than 6 semester credit hours may be transferred from outside the Department and applied toward the MS degree requirements. 
  • The Department assigns each student a temporary academic advisor upon the student's admission into the program
  • All students must consult their academic advisors to obtain approval for their course schedules each semester.
  • Each student must maintain a minimum graduate overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on the 4-point scale until the degree is complete. Should a student's overall GPA fall below 3.0, the student can make up the deficiency during a probation period of nine semester hours (one semester for full-time students). 
  • After entering the program, each student should seek to identify a permanent advisor; this CIS graduate faculty member will supervise the student's research and become his or her academic advisor. The student must obtain a permanent advisor by the time he or she completes 18 of the 30 credit hours required for the degree. The student must then file a Declaration of Permanent Advisor form with the Department's Graduate Committee (via the Department secretary).
  • Upon completing 18 of the 30 hours required for the degree, a student must present a Research Proposal Form to the Department's Graduate Committee (via the Department secretary). (Note: The Department's intention is that a full-time student prepare this form by the beginning of the third semester of study.)
  • Failing to satisfy this requirement makes the student ineligible for financial support from the Department.
  • This form identifies which research option the student has chosen, the graduate faculty member who will supervise the student's research and chair the MS committee (usually the permanent advisor), and at least two other graduate faculty members who have agreed to serve on the committee. The proposal includes a short description of the research and a schedule for its completion. The signatures of the committee members denote their acceptance of the line of research proposed by the student.
  • The Department's graduate faculty understands that the research proposal is preliminary and subject to modification. If a significant deviation is necessary, the student should file a new Research Proposal Form by the end of the first week of the semester in which the student expects to graduate. The new form should explain the changes to the plan; it must be approved by each member of the student's MS committee.
  • The MS committee chair must be a member of the full-time or emeritus graduate faculty of the CIS Department. At least two of the committee members must be members of the full-time or emeritus graduate faculty of the Department. The Department expects that most of the committee members will have taught a course that the student took.
  • A student must file the Application for Graduate Degree (GS8) form with the Graduate School early in the semester in which he or she plans to complete the degree. Failure to submit this form by the published deadline will result in a delay in graduation.
  • A student must request a final public oral examination (which consists of a presentation of the project or thesis to the MS committee, followed by a question and answer period) once the research and writing are complete. The student must file the Authorization of the Final Oral/Written Examination (GS7) form) with the Graduate School 14 days prior to the anticipated date of the oral examination. No student will be allowed to take the final oral examination while he or she is in conditional standing or a probation period.
  • The date and time of the oral examination will be announced to the University community. The presentation will be open to the public. Only members of the student's MS committee will determine whether or not the student passes the examination. Any student who fails the final oral examination twice will be dropped from the MS program. 
  • A copy of the thesis or project paper in its final draft form shall be submitted to each committee member seven days before the scheduled date for the oral examination.
  • An electronic copy of the thesis or project paper shall be archived in the Department. A thesis student must also submit the MS thesis manuscript as required by the Graduate School. 
  • A student may request an exception to these requirements or procedures using the Department's Exception to the Curriculum Form. The Department's Graduate Committee will consider the request and approve it, deny it, or refer it to the Department's full graduate faculty for decision.

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