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Computer Science and Engineering M.S.

Introduction

The Computer Science and Engineering Department offers a master of science (M.S.) degree program. An M.S. student can graduate by pursuing either Thesis Plan I or Capstone Plan II. Students in either plan complete a total of 48 credits as follows: 13 credits of core requirements, 15 credits of breadth requirements, 15 credits of elective requirements, and 5 credits of capstone course requirements.

The normative time for graduation with Thesis Plan I is two academic years for a full-time student. This option is appropriate for students interested in advanced studies and in carrying out independent research, as well as for those students contemplating pursuit of a Ph.D. degree. The normative time for graduation with Capstone Plan II is one to two academic years for a full-time student. This option is appropriate for students interested in advanced studies to better prepare themselves for the information technology workforce.

Students in the M.S. program are not guaranteed any form of financial support from the department. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they have sufficient funds for completing the M.S. degree program. Although obtaining an internship is not part of the program’s requirements, most M.S. students manage their finances by working as interns at companies in the Bay Area during the summer months.

Requirements

Course Requirements

CSE 200Research and Teaching in Computer Science and Engineering

3

CSE 201Analysis of Algorithms

5

CSE 210AProgramming Languages

5

CSE 220Computer Architecture

5

Thesis Plan I

Each student is required to take 48 credits as follows:

  1. A core requirement must be met by taking CSE 200, Research and Teaching in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), and any two out of the following three courses: CSE 201, Analysis of Algorithms; CSE 210A, Programming Languages; and CSE 220, Computer Architecture. Each student must complete CSE 200 in their first year.
  2. One course each from three different breadth categories for a total of three courses (15 credits)—see the Breadth Requirements webpage.
  3. Students must take 5 credits of CSE 299, Thesis Research, in order to fulfill the Thesis Plan I capstone course requirement. Up to 10 credits of CSE 299 may be counted toward the degree requirements.
  4. All remaining courses must be regular, 5-credit graduate courses (not 2-credit seminars). Courses that do not count toward the 48 credits requirement include all courses numbered CSE 296 and all courses in the CSE 280 and CSE 297 series.
  5. Up to 10 credits from courses taught by departments other than CSE may be counted toward the degree requirements. The student must obtain the graduate director's authorization to count a course from outside of Baskin Engineering.
  6. Upper-division undergraduate UC Santa Cruz CSE courses may be taken as a graduate student to strengthen a student's knowledge base. At most, 5 credits of UC Santa Cruz upper-division undergraduate CSE courses may be counted toward the 48 credits requirement if they were not already used toward an undergraduate degree requirement.

Capstone Plan II

Each student is required to take 48 credits as follows:

  1. A core requirement must be met by taking CSE 200, Research and Teaching in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), and any two out of the following three courses: CSE 201, Analysis of Algorithms; CSE 210A, Programming Languages; and CSE 220, Computer Architecture. Each student must complete CSE 200 in their first year.
  2. One course each from three different breadth categories for a total of three courses (15 credits)—see the Breadth Requirements webpage.
  3. Students must take 5 credits of CSE 297, Independent Study, or CSE 247, Projects in Artificial Intelligence. CSE 297 may be taken more than once; however, only 5 credits of CSE 297 will be counted toward the required 48 credits to fulfill the capstone course requirement.
  4. All remaining courses must be regular, 5-credit graduate courses (not 2-credit seminars). Courses that do not count toward the 48-credit requirement include all courses numbered CSE 296, and all courses in the CSE 280 and CSE 299 series.
  5. Up to 10 credits from courses taught by departments other than CSE may be counted toward the degree requirements. The student must obtain the graduate director's authorization to count a course from outside of Baskin Engineering.
  6. Upper-division undergraduate UC Santa Cruz CSE courses may be taken as a graduate student to strengthen a student's knowledge base. At most, 5 credits of UC Santa Cruz upper-division undergraduate CSE courses may be counted toward the 48 credits requirement if they were not already used toward an undergraduate degree requirement.

Letter Grade Policy

With the exception of CSE 200 and all courses in the CSE 280 and CSE 297/CSE 299 series, all graduate courses and upper-division courses must be taken for letter grade. Only courses with a letter grade of B- or higher can be counted toward the M.S. degree requirements. This policy includes courses used for this degree that are sponsored by other departments. To ensure they will receive a letter grade, students should check that they have selected the letter grade option no later than the 15th day of instruction each quarter for each class in which they are enrolled.

Other Requirements

Students in Thesis Plan I must complete an M.S. thesis, while students in Capstone Plan II must complete an M.S. project.

Thesis Plan I

After the student has completed some coursework in the proposed area of research and become acquainted with the faculty conducting research in that area, a student electing Thesis Plan I submits a written proposal to a faculty member, usually by the third academic quarter. If the faculty member determines they are able to advise the student's thesis, they collaborate with the student to further develop the scope of the student's research and refine the proposal. By accepting the proposal, the faculty member becomes the student's faculty/thesis advisor. In consultation with the advisor, the student forms a Master's Thesis Reading Committee with at least two additional faculty members, each of whom is provided a copy of the proposal. Exceptions to the committee structure may be granted by the graduate program director and/or by the graduate dean. Changes in the membership of the committee, once appointed, may only be made with the approval of the graduate dean.

Members of a Master's Thesis Reading Committee must meet the following criteria:

  1. The first member must be a Senate CSE faculty member.
  2. The second member must be a Senate UC Santa Cruz Baskin Engineering faculty member (may be CSE as well).
  3. The third member must be a UC Santa Cruz Baskin Engineering faculty member or a recognized expert in the student's research area, as judged by the graduate program director and the Graduate Division Dean. In the event that the outside member is not from UCSC, the outside member's CV must be submitted along with the exam committee nomination form.

Additional members may be added to the committee. Students should consult their advisors about the membership of their committee.

By the end of the second week of the quarter in which a student plans to graduate, the student must submit a formal nomination of their Master's Thesis Reading Committee to the Graduate Division for approval. The required form for nominating a Master's Thesis Reading Committee is located on the Graduate Division's website. A final draft of the thesis must be provided to the members of the Master's Thesis Reading Committee for review at least 30 days before the last day of the quarter in which the student plans to graduate. The final thesis must be accepted by the Master's Thesis Reading Committee before the M.S. degree is awarded. Once the final thesis has been approved, the student must submit a PDF copy of the signed title page and a PDF copy of the thesis to their graduate advisor by the deadline listed in the Academic Calendar. The student must also submit the original signed title page of the thesis to the Graduate Division by the deadline indicated in the Academic Calendar. Finally, an approved PDF copy of the thesis should be submitted through the ProQuest dissertation site. Formatting guidelines for the master’s thesis can be found on the Graduate Division’s website.

CSE 299AThesis Research

5

Capstone Plan II

The M.S. project is an individual or a team-based project supervised by a faculty advisor and approved by a Master's Project Reading Committee composed of the faculty advisor and a faculty member from Baskin Engineering.

Members of a Master's Project Reading Committee must meet the following criteria:

  1. The first member must be a Senate CSE faculty member.
  2. The second member must be a Senate UC Santa Cruz Baskin Engineering faculty (may be CSE as well).

Master's Project Reading Committees are nominated by completing a Master's Project form and are approved by the graduate director.

A team consists of up to five members. Projects can either be proposed by the team or the team may bid on projects proposed by faculty members. It is also possible to have industry-sponsored or government-sponsored projects, in which case the industry/government supervisor can be invited to be an optional third member on the Master's Project Reading Committee.

The final project must be accepted by the Reading Committee before the M.S. degree is conferred.

CSE 297AIndividual Study or Research

5

Transfer Credit

Courses from other institutions may be substituted for equivalent courses at UC Santa Cruz (with the approval of the graduate director) but may not count toward the 48-credit requirement. For example, an equivalent Computer Architecture course taken elsewhere may be used in lieu of CSE 220. However, the student will need to replace it with 5 credits of another graduate elective course. As another example, a student may substitute an equivalent graduate course for CSE 260 and count that for a breadth requirement, but may not count that course toward the 48-credit requirement. Petitions should be submitted along with the transcript from the other institution. For courses taken at other institutions, copies of the syllabi, exams, and other coursework should accompany the petition. Such petitions are not considered until the completion of at least one quarter at UC Santa Cruz. At most, a total of three courses may be transferred from other institutions.

Up to 10 credits of graduate courses fulfilling the degree requirements of the CSE M.S. degree may be taken before beginning the graduate program as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate student or through the UCSC Open Campus/Concurrent Enrollment program. Students in the CSE Bachelor’s/Master’s Contiguous Pathway Program may additionally count CSE 200 taken as an undergraduate student toward the CSE M.S. degree requirements, and should refer to the CSE Bachelor’s/Master’s Contiguous Pathway Program Statement for guidance on qualified credits that can be taken as an undergraduate and counted toward the CSE M.S. degree requirements. To petition to transfer credits completed previously at UC Santa Cruz, students should contact their graduate student advisor in their first quarter of the CSE M.S. program. If a student took courses through the UCSC Open Campus/Concurrent Enrollment program, transcripts from UCSC Extension should be included with the petition.

Only courses completed before the start of the graduate program that fulfill the letter grade policy of the CSE M.S. program will be considered. The letter grade policy is as follows: With the exception of CSE 200, CSE 296, and all courses in the CSE 280 and CSE 297/9 series, all graduate courses and upper-division courses must be taken for a letter grade. Only courses with a letter grade of B- or higher can be counted toward the M.S. degree requirements

Academic Progress

Each year, the faculty reviews the progress of every student. Normative academic progress for master's students includes selecting a capstone plan (Thesis Plan I or Capstone Plan II) and identifying a faculty advisor by the end of the third quarter. Many students complete the program in four quarters, and all full-time students are expected to complete the degree within six quarters.

Students without adequate academic preparation may be required to take additional courses. Full-time students are normally expected to complete the degree requirements at the rate of at least two courses per quarter. Full-time CSE students must complete their core requirements (CSE 200 and two of the three following courses: CSE 201, CSE 210A, and CSE 220) within one year and normally must complete all course requirements within two years for the M.S.

Students receiving two or more unsatisfactory grades (U or a letter grade below B-) in Baskin Engineering courses are not making adequate progress and will be recommended for academic probation for the following three quarters of registered enrollment. Taking a leave of absence does not count as enrollment, and it does not extend the degree timeline. Part-time enrollment is counted as a half quarter of enrollment.

Students not making adequate progress toward completion of degree requirements (see the Graduate Student Handbook to review the policy on satisfactory academic progress) may be recommended for academic probation. Students who violate the terms of their academic probation are subject to dismissal from the program.

Should any CSE graduate student fail a Baskin Engineering course while on probation, the CSE Department may request the graduate dean dismiss that student from the graduate program. If after being removed from probation the student again fails a Baskin Engineering course, they will return immediately to academic probation.

Graduate students experiencing circumstances or difficulties that impact their academic performance should contact their faculty advisor and the graduate director immediately. Students may appeal their dismissal.

Applying for Graduation

All candidates for a degree must submit an Application for Master's Degree to the Graduate Advising Office by the date stated in the Academic and Administrative Calendar for the quarter you wish to receive the degree. Failure to declare candidacy by the deadline means that you cannot be considered a candidate until the next term.

A student is required to be registered or on Filing Fee Status, whichever is applicable, during the quarter in which the degree is conferred. Students should consult their graduate student advisor to determine which option fits their situation. For more information about applying for graduation, visit the Baskin Engineering Graduate Studies website.