MS in Computer Science

Total units required for MS: 30

Program Description

The Computer Science Department offers Master's Degree programs in Computer Science and Software Engineering, Certificates of Advanced Study for students enrolled in the Computer Science program, and a Master's Degree joint program in Computer Engineering.

The primary goal of each of these programs is to prepare students to serve as effective professional computer specialists in a society which increasingly depends on computer usage and technology.

A secondary goal is to prepare interested students for research, teaching, or further study toward the Ph.D. in Computer Science. The programs also enable individuals with background in other areas to obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to enter and advance in employment in computer-related industries.

Completion of the Master of Science in Computer Science requires advanced coursework in a minimum of three of the following areas: computer architecture/computer engineering, database management systems, information assurance and security, intelligent systems, networks and communications, software engineering, and systems software.

Teaching associateships are occasionally available for qualified graduate students; these students assist in instruction of undergraduate courses, supervision of laboratory work, and aid faculty members in research projects. Interested persons should apply in the Department office.

Due to the large number of graduate students in Computer Science who are employed, most graduate level courses are offered in the late afternoon or evening.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student requires:

  • a baccalaureate degree;
  • a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 units attempted;
  • GRE general test;
  • mathematical preparation including two semesters of calculus and one semester of calculus-based probability and statistics corresponding to Sacramento State courses:
    MATH 30Calculus I4
    MATH 31Calculus II4
    STAT 50Introduction to Probability and Statistics4
  • Computer Science lower-division preparation including programming proficiency, discrete structures, machine organization, and UNIX and PC-based program development environment proficiency corresponding to Sacramento State courses (see the following) and as evidenced by a pass on the graduate student placement test or a baccalaureate degree in Computer Science;
    CSC 15Programming Concepts and Methodology I3
    CSC 20Programming Concepts and Methodology II3
    CSC 28Discrete Structures for Computer Science3
    CSC 35Introduction to Computer Architecture3
    CSC 60Introduction to Systems Programming in UNIX3
  • Computer Science advanced preparation as evidenced by a 3.25 GPA in the following Sacramento State upper division Computer Science courses or their equivalent elsewhere:
    CSC 130Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis3
    CSC 131Computer Software Engineering3
    CSC 132Computing Theory3
    CSC 134Database Management Systems3
    CSC 137Computer Organization3
    CSC/CPE 138Computer Networks and Internets3
    CSC 139Operating System Principles3

Applicants with deficiencies in the admission requirements area are advised to remove any such deficiencies before applying.

Admission Procedures

Applicants must complete a university application and a separate departmental application by the posted application deadline dates for the term applying. For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website:

  • an online application for admission;
  • two sets of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State; and
  • official GRE general test scores.

Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree

Units Required for the MS:  30

Minimum Cumulative GPA:  3.0.  No grade below "C" may count toward the degree.

Note: Only those courses completed within seven years prior to date of graduation will satisfy course requirements.

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • completed at least 12 units of graduate level (200 series) Computer Science courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA; and
  • taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver.

Students must have been advanced to candidacy before they can register for Master's thesis or project. Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with a Computer Science graduate advisor. The completed form must be signed by the Graduate Coordinator or the Department Chair and is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Program Requirements

Required Courses (13 Units)13
CSC 201Programming Language Principles3
CSC 204Data Models for Database Management Systems 13
CSC 205Computer Systems Structure 13
CSC 206Algorithms And Paradigms3
CSC 209Research Methodology1
Breadth Requirement (9 Units)
Select one course from three of the following areas:9
Computer Architecture/Computer Engineering
Microprocessor Systems Architecture
Computer-Aided Systems Design and Verification
Hierarchical Digital Design Methodology
Advanced Computer Architecture
Database Management Systems
Bioinformatics: Data Integration and Algorithms
Database System Design
Information Assurance and Security
Computer Security
Cryptography Theory and Practice
Computer Forensics
Network Security
Intelligent Systems
Knowledge-Based Systems
Artificial Intelligence
Machine Learning
Networks and Communications
Computer Networks
Distributed Systems
Advanced Data Communication Systems
Software Engineering
Software System Engineering
Software Engineering Metrics
Software Requirements Analysis and Design
Advanced Software Engineering Project Management
Software Verification and Validation
Software Architecture
Formal Methods in Secure Software Engineering
Human-Computer Interface Design
System Software
Advanced Operating Systems Principles and Design
Performance Modeling and Evaluation
Computer Security
Principles of Compiler Design
Restricted Electives (3-6 Units)
Select 3-6 units 23 - 6
Culminating Requirement (2-5 Units)
Select one of the following:2 - 5
Master's Thesis 3
Master's Project 3
Total Units30-33
1

Students whose undergraduate preparation has covered a significant amount of the material in CSC 204 or CSC 205 may be given a waiver by the Department from taking one or more of these courses. In this case, for each course waived with department approval, the student must take three additional units of Restricted Electives.

2

Prior to taking an elective course, students must obtain approval from their advisor, and either the Graduate Coordinator or the Department Chair.

Students should choose their electives according to the following guidelines:

  1. One of the following upper division courses: CSC 148, CSC 155, CSC 159/CPE 159, CSC 165, CSC 176, CSC 177 as long as they have not been used towards another degree. (A maximum of 6 undergraduate units may be used in any graduate program.)
  2. Any 200-level CSC courses not already used to satisfy the Breadth Requirement, with the exception of CSC 295 and CSC 299. Students not required to take CSC 204 or CSC 205 must, for each course waived, take an additional three units in this category.
  3. Related 200-level courses from outside the Computer Science Department may only be taken with prior department approval and may not have been used in another program.
3

Students are required to make an oral presentation of their master's project or conduct an oral defense of their master's thesis. The recommended department-level deadline in each semester for submitting an MS project or thesis signed by the committee chair and its members to the Graduate Coordinator's office is 10 weekdays prior to the University deadline.