Department of Computer Science
Dr. Todd Ashby, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics
Dr. Sean Hayes, Chairperson of the Department
Dr. Yu-Ju Lin, Director of the Computer Science Graduate Program
Faculty: Dr. Sean Hayes, Dr. Yu-Ju Lin, Dr. Valerie Sessions, and Dr. Paul West
Offices are located in Ashby Hall Suite 206. The College of Science and Mathematics offers the Master of Science degree in Computer science.
Purpose and Objectives
The Master of Science in Computer Science degree is designed to provide an advanced understanding of the technical fundamentals of computer science - architecture, database, networking, and software engineering. The nonthesis program of study is designed to enhance professional development for those currently working in the field while providing advanced skills and knowledge to those seeking employment in the field. The thesis program of study provides the basis for further advanced study in the field. Reflected in the programs of study is a commitment to the highest ethical, intellectual and social values.
The objectives for the Masters of Science in Computer Science program is to develop graduates who shall:
- Demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to further their career in computer science and/or obtain an advanced degree.
- Exhibit effective communication skills, both oral and written.
- Recognize the need for lifelong learning and participate in professional organizations.
- Practice their profession ethically and recognize societal and global needs from a Christian worldview perspective.
- Develop a Biblically based decision making process that will be the foundation for Christ-like leadership in the Computer Science or Information Technology field.
Programs of Study
The Master of Science in Computer Science consists of one of two degree tracks, a thesis track and a nonthesis track. Required in the thesis track are a minimum of thirty-three (33) hours of credit which are as follows: eighteen (18) hours of core courses, nine (9) hours of computer science elective coursework, and a thesis which requires a minimum of six (6) hours. Required in the nonthesis track are thirty-three (33) hours, of which eighteen (18) hours are core courses and fifteen (15) hours are computer science electives.
Master of Science in Computer Science (Non-Thesis Track) (33 hours)
Master of Science in Computer Science (Thesis Track) (33 hours)
Levels of Instruction
Graduate courses are numbered at the 500 and 600 level and may include online and blended classroom delivery.
Graduate students must perform at a substantially higher level of academic rigor to receive graduate credits. This higher performance involves additional practical and/or research activities approved and supervised by the assigned faculty member.
Admissions Process and Requirements of the Master of Science in Computer Science
Students accepted into the Computer Science Master’s program must meet the requirements for regular or provisional admission. Provisional students are classified as follows: nondegree, undergraduate, and international. The following admission requirements apply to all candidates:
Regular admission requires that the student has met ALL of the following requirements:
- The applicant has submitted a completed Application for Admission to the Graduate School with the required fee payment.
- The student has earned a baccalaureate degree in computer science or related field from an accredited senior institution.
- The student has provided the Graduate School with official transcripts from ALL institutions where undergraduate or graduate courses have been taken.
- The student has provided the Graduate School with two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the student’s work or academic record. Recommendations from family members are NOT acceptable.
- The student has provided the Graduate School with a personal letter of work experience no more than 500 words outlining his or her academic and career goals.
- No single criterion will be decisive. Each item will be considered in relation to the applicant’s total qualifications. Although Charleston Southern University has preferred levels for such criteria, each application is evaluated on an individual basis.
A GRE score report is not required at the time of admission, and will only be requested in order for the Graduate Committee to determine whether the applicant has the potential to successfully complete the program.
After preliminary review of the application and submission of all required documents, an applicant may be requested to complete an evaluative admission interview conducted by the Director of the Computer Science Graduate Program. This interview may be completed either in person or by telephone, and will assist in evaluation of the applicant’s level of maturity, interpersonal skills, career focus, motivation and discussion on thesis or non-thesis track studies.
Provisional admission may be granted to a student who has a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution but has not met all requirements for regular admission. Requirements for provisional admission are as follows:
- Provisional admission can be given only upon the specific recommendation of the Director of the Computer Science Graduate Program once the appropriate documents have been received by the Graduate School.
- A student may take a MAXIMUM of nine graduate hours in the Computer Science Master’s program under provisional or nondegree admission. Once the student has taken nine graduate hours, no further graduate coursework may be undertaken until the student has met the following criteria:
- The student must have a completed admissions file in the Graduate School.
- The student must show a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on the first nine (9) credit hours of graduate course work at Charleston Southern University.
- The Director of Graduate Studies in Computer Science must recommend the student for regular admission.
Note: Financial Aid is not available to students under Provisional Admission.
Nondegree Graduate Student
Admission as a nondegree graduate student may be granted when the student has earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution but does not desire to work toward a graduate degree or is enrolled in another university and desires that credit for courses taken at CSU be transferred to the graduate school in which the student is seeking a degree. Financial Aid is not available to nondegree students.
Regulations Governing Nondegree Graduate Students: A nondegree student must present a transcript demonstrating an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Even though a nondegree graduate student has been admitted to the university, the student has not been admitted to any department or to any degree program. No more than nine (9) credit hours earned while classified as a nondegree graduate student will be accepted toward a Master of Science in Computer Science degree at Charleston Southern University. A student must, therefore, gain regular admission to the program before completing more than nine (9) credit hours of study for additional hours to be counted toward a master’s degree. Regular admission is based on criteria above.
Graduate credits accepted for transfer from other accredited institutions must be completed within the (6) year period allowed for a master’s degree. Only coursework completed with a grade of “B” or better will be considered for transfer credit. Only nine (9) hours are accepted as transfer credit, a maximum of six (6) hours in either the core or elective computer science courses. The student must provide catalog descriptions of the courses to be considered for transfer credit to the Director of Graduate Studies in Computer Science for approval. A student desiring to take a graduate course at another accredited institution must secure permission to do so in advance from the Director of Graduate Studies in Computer Science and the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.
Each student admitted to the program is assigned an academic advisor. Prior to registration, the advisor will discuss with students the upcoming course offerings and determine the program of study. Graduate students are eligible to complete online registration once this advising conference is completed. The conference may be in person or via the internet or telephone to facilitate advising for students who are not in the Charleston area. Graduate students are provided with a course checklist and are responsible for degree progress checks with their advisor.
The student must maintain an overall 3.0 GPA. To graduate, the student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Furthermore, thesis-track students must have successfully defended the thesis.
Probation and Suspension
A student is automatically placed on probation if the student’s GPA falls below a 3.0. If the GPA is not raised to 3.0 upon completion of the next full semester (summer, fall, or spring) in which the student attempts coursework, the student shall be suspended from the program and may reapply for admission one term (fall, spring, or summer I & II) from the date of suspension. The GPA is calculated only on graduate work completed at Charleston Southern University. Students who enter the program on a probationary status must have a GPA of at least 3.0 at the completion of their first semester or they will be immediately suspended from the program. A suspended student may reapply for admission one term (fall, spring, or summer I & II) from the date of suspension.
Whenever a student has accrued three (3) or more grades of “C” in their program of study, the student shall be suspended from the program. A suspended student may reapply for admission one term (fall, spring, or summer I & II) from the date of suspension. However, if a student has earned their third grade of “C” in their final semester, they will be allowed to graduate if they have met all other program requirements. Any student who is suspended from the program may appeal to the Admissions Committee of the Graduate Council.
If a student earns a grade of “F” in any core course, (1) that course must be retaken at Charleston Southern University, (2) a grade of “B” or better must be earned upon completion of the retaken course, and (3) a student may take courses in addition to the failed course at the time the failed course is retaken.
If a student earns a grade of “F” in any core course that is not offered again within two regular semesters of the term in which the F was earned, the student must apply to repeat this course as an Independent Study and is responsible for the additional costs of an Independent Study. Such requests must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies in Computer Science one semester in advance. The course must be retaken at Charleston Southern University and a grade of “B” or better must be earned upon completion of the Independent Study. A student may take courses in addition to the Independent Study.
If a student earns a grade of “F” in any elective course that is not offered again within two regular semesters of the term in which the F was earned, the student can replace the failed elective course with another elective course with a grade of “B” or better.
After earning one “F,” regardless of the GPA, the student is notified that he/she is on academic probation and that a subsequent grade below a “B” shall result in expulsion from the program.
The MSCS student must have completed the program with an overall 3.0 GPA in the Computer Science core and elective work. Students must apply for graduation according to the deadline date for each term see the Academic Calendar. A graduation fee applies for all graduates.
Students completing the thesis track must successfully defend his/her thesis.
To earn a Master of Science in Computer Science from Charleston Southern University (CSU), a student must form a graduation committee and pass either a Written Final Examination (Option A) or a Thesis Review (Option B).
Option A: Written Final Examination
The final examination committee consists of at least three members. Candidates shall choose committee members from within the Department of Computer Science who are closely related to their field of study. All members of the committee must participate in the creation of the final examination. The comprehensive written final exam will be given at the end of the final semester of study.
A satisfactory exam will have a test score above 70 points. A student will be dismissed from the program if he/she fails to pass the exam after three attempts.
Option B: Thesis Review (Thesis Track only):
A student who chooses the thesis track must pass a thesis review before the graduation. The thesis review committee consists of at least three members but is no larger than five members. The candidate shall choose committee members from within the Department of Computer Science who are closely related to their field of study and one member from outside of the department. The candidate must turn in the committee form to the Director of Graduate Study no later than two weeks prior to the date scheduled for the thesis review.
- Must represent the major field on the examination committee.
- May serve as chair for the final examination.
Co-advisor (if any):
- May represent the major field or the outside/minor field.
- May serve as chair for the final examination.
External committee members
Occasionally, there is not sufficient expertise among the CSU faculty to examine the candidate’s work if he/she has a very narrow or specific research focus. In these instances, the student may consider a request for an expert outside of CSU to serve as a member of their examination committee. If interested, the student shall discuss the possibility of including an external committee member on the examining committee with his/her advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies.
A professor who leaves CSU may continue to be on the committee and may serve as co-chair, but may not continue as chair.
Validation of Credit
All credits earned at Charleston Southern University or accepted by transfer will remain valid if the master’s degree is completed within six (6) calendar years from the time the student registers for the first course that applies toward the degree.