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 California State University, Fullerton



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Master of Science in Computer Science

The Program objectives of the master's degree in Computer Science are:

  • To prepare you for the increasingly sophisticated application of computers to the needs of industry and society;

  • To prepare you for research, teaching, and further graduate studies in computer science;

  • To prepare you for leadership roles in your industry career.

  • To provide you with graduate level course work in computer science that supplements the curriculum in other disciplines.

The program currently offers courses in seven special tracks:

  • Software Engineering

  • Database & Web Programming

  • Computer Networks & Security

  • Distributed Systems

  • Machine Intelligence

  • Bioinformatics

  • Computer Graphics & Multimedia

If you wish to take courses without a degree objective, and meet the prerequisites, you may enroll through Open University (Extended Education) if there is space available in the class.

Before completing more than 9-units of study plan eligible course work (not including any prerequisite courses), you must have a 30-unit Study Plan approved. Each course on the study plan must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.

Graduate Standing

You must have taken a fundamental core of undergraduate courses before being admitted to classified standing. These courses are required for classified standing and for admission to 500-level courses. Appendix A of the Graduate Handbook shows the worksheet used to assess, plan, and record your prerequisites.

If you have received a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from a university in the United States whose program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), all prerequisites except the University Writing Requirement are waived.

Undergraduate Prerequisite Courses

  • Computer Science Courses

    • CPSC 121 (Programming Concepts)

    • CPSC 131 (Data Structures Concepts)

    • CPSC 240 (Computer Organization and Assembly Language)

    • CPSC 323 (Programming Languages and Translations)

    • CPSC 335 (Problem Solving Strategies)

    • CPSC 351 (Operating System Concepts)

    • CPSC 362 (Software Engineering)

  • Mathematics Courses

    • Math 150A and Math 150B (Analytic Geometry and Calculus)

    • Math 270A and Math 270B (Discrete Math and Linear Algebra)

    • Math 338 (Statistics)

University Writing Requirement

Before you can be classified as a graduate student, you must demonstrate your ability to write proficiently in the English language, usually by taking and passing the Examination in Writing Proficiency (EWP). You may use CPSC 311 (Technical Writing) to substitute for this examination, in either of these two cases:

  • If you have already taken CPSC 311 and passed with a grade of B or better.

  • If you have taken the EWP and did not pass, you may take CPSC 311 and pass with a grade of B or better. If you receive a grade of B- or lower, you may take CPSC 311 again.

There is no limit on the number of times you can take CPSC 311 to satisfy the University Writing Requirement and no limit on the number of times you can take the EWP.

Conditionally Classified Standing

If you have not completed the prerequisite courses, you may be admitted to the program as conditionally classified. You will remain conditionally classified until all requirements for Classified Standing are satisfied.

Classified Standing

When you successfully complete all of the prerequisite courses and meet the University Writing Requirement, you may be classified. You must make an appointment with an advisor and prepare a formal study plan. Classified Standing is subject to Study Plan approval by the Computer Science faculty advisor, the Graduate Coordinator and the CSUF Graduate Studies office.

Graduate Study Plan

Before completing more than 9 units of study plan eligible course work (not including any prerequisite courses), you must have a 30 unit Study Plan approved. Each course on the study plan must be completed with a grade of "C" or better. Appendix B of the Graduate Handbook shows the study plan form.

These four courses are required on your Study Plan:

  • CPSC 440 Computer System Architecture

  • CPSC 462 Software Design

  • CPSC 589 Seminar in Computer Science

  • CPSC 597 Project or CPSC 598 Thesis

One of the following software engineering courses must appear on your Study Plan:

  • CPSC 541 Systems and Software Standards and Requirements

  • CPSC 542 Software Verification and Validation

  • CPSC 543 Software Maintenance

  • CPSC 544 Software Process Definition

  • CPSC 545 Software Design and Architecture

  • CPSC 546 Software Project Management

  • CPSC 547 Software Measurement

  • CPSC 548 Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues for Software Engineers

Your Study Plan cannot include any course that was already credited toward your bachelor's degree. If you have taken any of the above required courses for your bachelor's degree, you must take other courses in their place.

You must take five additional courses; at least three of these courses must be at the 500-level. The elective courses are grouped to seven tracks. You are strongly encouraged to have at least two different tracks included on the Study Plan.

Graduate Seminar

You are encouraged to take the Graduate Seminar (CPSC 589) when you take your first 500-level course. It will expose you to a wide range of current topics in the field and enable you to select a project or thesis topic.

Project / Thesis

To complete the graduate program, you must complete either CPSC 597 Project or CPSC 598 Thesis.

Before enrolling in CPSC 597 or 598, you must submit a CPSC 597 / 598 Project Proposal form to the Computer Science Department Office. This form must be signed by a supervising full time faculty member and by a second faculty reviewer no later than the last day of instruction of the preceding semester. Permission to enroll in CPSC 597 or 598 will be withheld if you submit a proposal after this deadline.

You will not be able to register on-line for these courses until the Computer Science Department Office grants permission to do so. You should call to verify that this has been done.

Independent Graduate Research

You may take CPSC 599 Independent Graduate Research to fulfill part of your electives. This course allows you to pursue topics of special interest beyond those of a regular course. It cannot cover the same topic as your project or thesis.

You must submit an Application For Independent Study to the department office, which will supply the form. The application must include a study plan and objectives, and must be approved by a supervising full time faculty member and by the department chair.

You may take up to three units per semester, and apply a maximum of three units towards the degree. The University allows a maximum of six units, but the Computer Science Department allows only three units.

You will not be able to register on-line for this course until the Computer Science Department Office grants permission to do so. You should call to verify that this has been done.

Transfer Credit

At least 21 semester units must be taken in residence. Transfer credits and Cal State Fullerton extension credits are not residence units.

No more than 9 units of transferable course work can be accepted from another institution and applied to the 30 required units on the Study Plan.

Continuous Enrollment

You must remain enrolled for every semester of your graduate program. If circumstances require, you may apply for a Leave of Absence. The form may be obtained from Admissions and Records, and is submitted to the University Graduate Office. If you don't enroll for courses each semester of your graduate program, and you haven't been granted a Leave of Absence, you will be dropped from the graduate program and you will have to reapply for admission.

Duration of Study

All study plan courses should be completed within 10 semesters. If you find that this is not possible, you must file for a two-year extension.

Applying for Graduation

You should file a Request for Graduation Check with the University Graduate Office (MH-103) one semester before your expected date of graduation. The Graduation Check and your Graduate Study Plan will be sent to the Computer Science Department in the latter half of that semester. The Graduate Coordinator will determine if your study plan has been satisfactorily completed, and will send a recommendation to the University Graduate Office, who will then inform you of the results. If you change your study plan after filing your Request for Graduation Check, you must file a Change of Graduate Study Plan form, which you can obtain from the Computer Science Department. If you don't keep your study plan up to date, your graduation could be delayed.

More information about the program can be found in the Graduate Handbook.