Master of Science in Computer Science

Lamar University Department of Computer Science offers an MS degree in computer science. The Curriculum is designed to prepare those who aspire to careers related to networking, database design and intelligent systems. It is an excellent program for those who have a background in computer science, but it is designed so that those without such a background can still complete the requirements for the degree within 2 years.

Both thesis and non-thesis options are available. The objective of the master's degree is to produce professional computer scientists capable of contributing technically to the basic core areas of computer science as well as to application areas. A mixture of course, laboratory and research work in the program is designed to place graduates at the forefront of technical excellence.

There is no transcript evaluation fee for international students applying to the MS program in computer science.

College of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Applicants (International Students only). Submit official transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions attended with an original signature of a school official or an original school seal. If transcripts are in a language other than English, an official translation from the school, recognized translator or translation verified by a United States Embassy or Consulate must accompany the native language transcript. Transcripts should arrive in a sealed envelope, directly from the sending institution or recognized translator. Faxed, emailed, and/or notarized scanned copies will not be accepted. Your transcripts will be evaluated within the College.

Graduate Computer Science Program Mission Statement

I. Graduate Computer Science Program Mission Statement

The graduate program in Computer Science upholds and strengthens the mission of Lamar University by providing excellence in instruction, innovation in research and scholarship, and service to the university, the profession, and to the public. The goals of the graduate program in Computer Science are

  • discovering and disseminating new knowledge in the field of computer science through research and scholarship
  • preparing next-generation scholars capable of conducting basic research and extending the current knowledge base in the discipline in a multicultural world
  • preparing innovators who can communicate their ideas and who understand their responsibilities as computer science professionals in a global society

The graduate program complements and strengthens the undergraduate program in Computer Science by providing advanced coursework in Computer Science and by encouraging creative thinking in research and scholarship.

II. Graduate Computer Science Program-Level Objective

The objectives of the Graduate Computer Science Program are that all students will:

  1. possess a breadth of knowledge in Computer Science, combined with a depth of knowledge in at least one focus area;
  2. possess the skills and knowledge to enable them to be committed to lifelong learning in Computer Science;
  3. be knowledgeable about the theoretical foundations of computing and have strong practical application experience;
  4. be able to make a professional presentation and be able to write a professional paper in Computer Science as part of a team;
  5. understand and respect the professional standards of ethics expected of a computer scientist and be knowledgeable concerning the history of the computing field.
  6. Be able to analyze and compare the relative merits of alternative software designs, algorithmic approaches, and computer system organization, with respect to a variety of criteria relevant to the task (e.g. efficiency, scalability, security)
III. Graduate Computer Science Program-Level Outcomes

Upon completion of the M.S. in computer science, the graduate will:

  1. possess a more thorough understanding of subjects covered in the undergraduate curriculum;
  2. have taken courses in graduate computer science to acquire a breadth of knowledge of advanced topics;
  3. be able to solve complex problems using advanced computing techniques and algorithms;
  4. be able to use current tools and technologies to implement problem solutions;
  5. have conducted research in at least one area of computer science or have developed at least one significant piece of software;
  6. have searched for and read current literature in a specialty area of computing;
  7. have designed, implemented, and tested at least one large project as part of a team;
  8. be able to explain how various areas of computing are related;
  9. have made a professional presentation to a learned audience;
  10. possess a theoretical foundation in each of the areas of Computer Science in which the student has taken courses;
  11. possess a good understanding of the professional and ethical standards of the computer science discipline.

Graduate Computer Science Program-Level Objectives

The objectives of the Graduate Computer Science Program are that all students will:

  1. possess a breadth of knowledge in Computer Science, combined with a depth of knowledge in at least one focus area;
  2. possess the skills and knowledge to enable them to be committed to lifelong learning in Computer Science;
  3. be knowledgeable about the theoretical foundations of computing and have strong practical application experience;
  4. be able to make a professional presentation and be able to write a professional paper in Computer Science as part of a team;
  5. understand and respect the professional standards of ethics expected of a computer scientist and be knowledgeable concerning the history of the computing field.
  6. Be able to analyze and compare the relative merits of alternative software designs, algorithmic approaches, and computer system organization, with respect to a variety of criteria relevant to the task (e.g. efficiency, scalability, security)

Admission to the Graduate Program

Students seeking admission to this program must meet all general requirements of the College. Additional requirements are as follows:

  1. A student must have a minimum score of 153 on the quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  2. For applicants whose native language is not English, a TOEFL score of at least 6.5 is required and at least 6.0 for Bridge admission.
  3. Demonstrable knowledge of programming in a high-level language and operating systems is required. Leveling courses are available for those who have deficiencies in their background.
  4. At least 15 hours of mathematics including differential and integral calculus, discrete mathematics and two other courses selected from statistics, linear algebra, abstract algebra, numerical analysis, and differential equations.

Students not satisfying both conditions 1 and 2 will not be admitted to the M.S. program in Computer Science. Those students who satisfy both conditions 1 and 2 but who are deficient in other areas may be provisionally admitted to the program and may enroll in graduate-level courses.

Computer Science Scholarships

Scholarships are generally offered on the basis of the quantitative portion of the GRE exam and are given at the time the Department reviews the applicant’s application. We do not consider need as one of the reasons for giving aid. The only criteria are GRE scores, undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA), and academic background. Thus, the financial statement that applicants are required to give Lamar University as part of the application process has no influence on whether we offer the student a scholarship or not.

Admission to Candidacy

After removal of all deficiencies and upon completion of an additional 12 hours of graduate credit, the student is required to submit a formal degree plan to the Computer Science Graduate Adviser and the Dean of the Graduate School. Every student must submit a G3 form to the Graduate Studies office before she/he completes the final nine hours of graduate credit in the degree plan.

Admission to candidacy is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School after the degree plan has been approved.

Degree Requirements

Prerequisite knowledge

New Students must demonstrate adequate knowledge of Operating Systems and Programming in C/C++/JAVA before beginning the graduate program. We typically require 2 prerequisite courses. Both the courses do not have to be necessarily taken before you begin to take courses toward your degree. Rather, the prerequisites are usually taken concurrently with classes on your degree plan. The two prerequisites are as follows:

  • COSC 4302: Operating Systems
  • COSC 4304: Foundations of Programming

Students may be excused from a Prerequisites course if they are able to pass a competency exam given on the content of the associated course. Before each semester a competency test is given for each prerequisite course by the Computer Science Department for a fee of $75 per examination. Each examination may be taken only once but examinations do not have to be taken before the first semester of enrollment. The tests can be taken later in the student's program, but courses requiring one or more of the two prerequisite courses, mentioned above cannot be taken unless either the prerequisite course has been completed successfully or the corresponding competency test has been passed.

You may take these courses at other accredited universities, and we will accept those transfer credits. If you have already taken these courses at an accredited university, you do not need to take them again. You only need to show your transcript when you arrive. Keep in mind, however, that the same course titles may not indicate the same course content. In particular, we find that very few incoming students who have not already studied in the U.S. know C++ very well and that almost none of them can program multithread applications in a UNIX environment.

In addition, to the prerequisites, our M.S. program requires either 9 courses and a thesis or 11 courses and a one-semester project. In both cases, an oral defense is required in addition to a written report. If you are a full-time student taking nine credit hours(i.e. three courses) during the Fall and Spring semesters and one course during each of the two five-week summer sessions, you will finish all of your work within two years.

M.S. Core Course Requirement (6 courses; 16 semester hours)

Students in the master's program in Computer Science are required to establish competence in several areas considered basic to the field of Computer Science. At least 28 hours of graduate work in computer science and a thesis or project are required for a master's degree in Computer Science. In order to qualify for the master's degree, the student must have a 3.0 GPA in all computer science courses and must earn a grade of B or better in each of the core courses. The Core Requirement consists of the indicated number of courses.

Beginning Spring 2009, graduate students will be required to choose one of the following electives: Simulation, Model Checking, Real-Time Systems, or Advanced Computer Architecture.

Specialization Areas and Courses

Students in the master's program in Computer Science are encouraged to specialize at least in two of the designated seven areas of specialization. They have to complete at least 6 credit hours in each of the areas to complete their specialization. So they have to complete a total of 12 credit hours from the courses mentioned in the specialization areas(6 hours from each area).

Option I ( Thesis )
  1. Completion of the core requirements.
  2. Students may take one or two courses outside of computer science with the approval of the department chair. At least a "B"(3.0) grade point average must be maintained in course work. At most three "C" grades are permitted in course work, and each "C" must be balanced by an "A" in another computer science graduate level course. Students may not count courses taken in other departments to balance "C" grades made in the Computer Science Department.
  3. Completion of COSC 5390 and COSC 5391 and submission of an acceptable thesis.
  4. Completion of a total of 34 graduate semester hours.
  5. Successful oral defense of the thesis. If a failure occurs, the defense may be repeated. A second failure will cause the student to be dropped from the degree program in Computer Science.
Option II ( Non-thesis )
  1. Completion of the core requirement.
  2. Students may take one or two courses outside of computer science with the approval of the department chair. At least a "B"(3.0) grade point average must be maintained in course work. At most three "C" grades are permitted in course work, and each "C" must be balanced by an "A" in another computer science graduate level course. Students may not count courses taken in other departments to balance "C" grades made in the Computer Science Department.
  3. All non-thesis students must take and satisfactorily complete COSC 5369. This course consists primarily of a significant research project and the submission of a written professional report.
  4. Completion of a total of 37 hours in graduate level courses.
  5. Successful completion of a comprehensive examination, which may be written, oral, or a combination of both upon determination of the Computer Science faculty. This comprehensive exam will cover the five core areas and may also include a programming component.
Final projects and thesis leading to the M.S. degree can be chosen from the following areas:
  • Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks.
  • Computational Complexity.
  • Computational Geometry.
  • Computer Architecture.
  • Data Mining.
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms.
  • Distributed Systems.
  • Evolutionary Computing.
  • Embedded System.
  • Game Development.
  • Machine Learning.
  • Mobile Computing & Applications.
  • Networks.
  • Parallel and Large-Scale Computation.
  • Real-Time System.
  • Robotics and Intelligent Systems.
  • Software Engineering.
  • Symbolic Computation.
  • Web-based Computing.

Thesis or Non-Thesis Option

The Department of Computer Science offers both a thesis and a non-thesis master's degree. Here are some factors to consider while deciding which option is best for you.

The Non-thesis Master's Degree

A non-thesis master's degree can be completed in less time than a thesis master's. The final project usually takes one or two semesters, while the thesis takes at least two semesters.

Most students can complete the non-thesis course requirements in four long semesters by maintaining a moderate-to-high course load (9-12 credit hours/semester). Most part-time students can complete the degree in about four years (one course per term, including summers).

Another advantage of the non-thesis option is you usually can plan your program and predict when you will complete your degree. Completing a thesis can be a more variable endeavor.

The Thesis Master's Degree

The time to complete a thesis master's degree varies, but it usually takes longer than a non-thesis degree.

Full-time students typically take 28-30 months to complete their course work, plan and carry out their thesis research, and write their thesis. Part-time students take four years or more.

So, why choose to take the extra six months to complete a thesis master's degree? Here are some possible reasons.

You want to work on a more ambitious project than typically encountered in the classroom.

Depending on your thesis topic, you may gain specialized skills and knowledge that makes you more attractive to certain employers. A thesis may be especially valuable if you hope to work for research or cutting-edge development companies.

Any company, however, should appreciate your ability to complete a nontrivial project and to present your work orally and in writing (critical skills in the industry).

You want to work closely with faculty and network with potential colleagues.

You will be supervised by one of the faculty, and depending on the research project-you might work with other research staff and faculty members. They may be able to bring your work to the attention of colleagues who could hire you.

And because they have worked with you over several months, they can tell potential employers more about your abilities than the fact that you got an "A" in their class.

You plan to get a Ph.D. later.

  • A master's thesis gives you a chance to try your hand at research, the central task in earning a Ph.D., and see whether you enjoy it. Moreover, completing a master's thesis demonstrates research experience and strengthens your application to Ph.D. programs.

You like a challenge.

  • While completing a master's thesis, you learn how to understand the research literature in your field, how to write for a scholarly audience, and how to present your work in writing and as a lecture. In addition, you will learn more about your topic than you would ever learn in a classroom.

You hope to get funding for your thesis research.

  • Some research projects may have funding for specific work that could constitute a suitable thesis. A student who is willing to tackle such a project for their thesis might be able to arrange partial funding (e.g., tuition waiver) for part or all of the research phase of the thesis.

It should be emphasized, though, there are no guarantees of funding even if you write a thesis.

Should you write a thesis? Only you can answer that. Most students choose the non-thesis option, understandably. But for others, a thesis master's degree is a worthwhile investment.

Internships Positions for CS Students

Guidelines for Receiving Computer Science Co-Op/ Internship Credit

Computer Science Co-Ops and Internships are very important ways for students to gain experience while attending college. They can be rewarding and can lead to exciting careers. Real-world, practical experience can enrich an already top-notch curriculum.

Key Facts of the Course:
  • Students must enroll in the Career Development course (3 semester hours) each semester that they work full time up to a maximum of (4) semesters.
  • Enrollment requires completion of Pre-Screening Form and Learning Agreement.
For the (Course), credit can be earned for Co-Op/Internships under the following conditions:

Guidelines for Approval:

  • Students must apply and be approved to participate in the Internship program with the Director of Cooperative Education.
  • Undergraduate/Graduate students need a cumulative GPA of 2.75/3.00 or higher to enroll in the program and may need a higher GPA to be considered for employment.
  • Undergraduate/Graduate students must have completed a minimum of 60/18 academic credit hours.
  • Must attend Internship orientation with The Director of Cooperative Education.
  • Credit is not given for general work experience. It must be an Internship, not a job.
  • Duties and project descriptions will be provided by the employer.

The Co-Op Internship should be clearly related to a career field and it must be a valuable experience.

How to register for Class (COSC 4305 - Elective for Undergraduate Students; COSC 5360 - Elective for Graduate Students):

  • All the necessary forms are available below. The following pages further list all materials and forms that must be submitted to the Director of Cooperative Education by the specified deadline.

Research

The department has a broad-based research program. Current faculty research interests include parallel and distributed processing, artificial intelligence, data and knowledge bases, computational complexity, real-time embedded systems, operating systems, game development, and graphics.

The Computer Science department has six switched Ethernet laboratories attached to the 10-gigabit bandwidth campus network infrastructure through which Lamar University is connected to the Internet and World Wide Web. The equipment in the labs is abundant and available to all students. It is comprised of a diverse array of hardware and software running on HP and MAC workstations and servers, Intel-based PC, and AMD multiprocessors. The department offers image and video processing equipment for multimedia related classes and software for advanced courses and research in database, network simulation, symbolic computation, artificial intelligence, real-time embedded systems, and computer graphics can be readily accessed from our servers. Wireless access to the Internet is in place within the Maes Building, where Computer Science is currently housed. Lamar University is connected to Internet2.

The department enjoys a friendly working relationship with local and national companies. The department’s Industrial Advisory Council is composed of representatives from regional/state industries and high-tech firms.

Application Process

All applications for admission into the Lamar University M.S. program must include the following information:

  • 1. Cover letter. Specifically, indicate if you wish to be considered for admission. An attached resume is optional but suggested.
  • 2. Official transcripts. Request that official transcripts from all institutions for higher learning previously attended be sent directly to the following address along with any questions or requests.
  • 3. Application form.
  • 4. GRE scores (minimum of 153 GRE in the Quantitative section). Use code 6360 to send scores to LU. Request that your official GRE score report be sent directly to Lamar University at the address below:

For application materials and information about admission, housing. or financial aid, contact:

  • Office of Graduate Admissions Lamar University
  • P.O. Box 10078 Beaumont, TX 77710.
  • 409-880-8356. Fax:(409) 880-8414
  • gradmissions@lamar.edu

Non-United States citizens must also submit the following information:

  • 5. TOEFL Or IELTS scores. Request that your TOEFL Or IELTS scores be sent directly to the Office of the International Student Advisor, P.O. Box 10078, Beaumont, Texas 77710 E-Mail: gradmissions@lamar.edu
  • 6. The international form and any accompanying supplementary materials requested.

Deadlines to apply : (For full scholarship consideration, applicants should submit materials by the priority deadline. Applications received after the final deadline will be considered for the following semester. Applicants should submit materials as soon as possible to allow time for visa interview appointments at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, which may have wait times of days or weeks.)

  • For Fall (August)
    • Priority Deadline: April 15
    • Final Deadline: July 1
  • For Spring (January)
    • Priority Deadline: September 1
    • Final Deadline: December 1
  • For Summer (June)
    • Priority Deadline: January 15
    • Final Deadline: April 15

Lamar University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action educational institution and employer. Students, faculty and staff members are selected without regard to their race, color, creed, sex, age or national origin, consistent with the Assurance of Compliance with Title Vl of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Executive Order 11246 as issued and amended; Tale lX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Program taught in:
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Last updated July 25, 2019
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