Purdue University - Department of Computer Science - Master's Program Skip to main content

Master's Program

Successful completion of the master's program requires:


Course and Grade Requirements

Up to six semester-hours of credit for graduate courses taken at other institutions may be transferred with the approval of the Graduate Committee and the Graduate School. The grades must be A or B or the equivalent. Application for transfer is made when the plan of study is submitted for approval. Students may ask the Graduate Committee to accept equivalent graduate courses taken at other institutions in lieu of at most two of the above courses. Requests must be submitted to the CS grad office within the first six weeks of the fall or spring semester.  Follow the link below for instruction on course transfer:

Instructions on Course Transfer (PDF)

Courses used to fulfill the requirements for other degrees (at Purdue or elsewhere) are not eligible for use on master's plans of study. The sole exception is that courses used for a doctoral degree may be used on a master's plan of study provided the doctoral plan of study does not include any course used for any other master's degree.

For the Non-Thesis Option
For the Thesis Option
For the ISCP Concentration

Back to top

Plan of Study

Courses used to fulfill degree requirements must be listed on a plan of study and submitted for approval by the Graduate Committee and the Graduate School well before the final session. Grades in the A range (A+, A, A-) or B range are expected, but one or two grades in the C range may be accepted if they are compensated by grades in the A range (regardless of + and -). Other grades are unacceptable. The GPA of the courses on the plan must be at least 3.0. CS 69800, Research M.S. Thesis, is not listed on the plan of study.

Master's programs typically take three or four semesters. The practical maximum load is four courses per semester and two in the summer session. Students with assistantships rarely take more than three courses per semester and one in the summer session. Completing a master's program within twelve months is sometimes possible for well-prepared, industrious students.

Follow the link below for instructions on how to file a plan of study:

Instructions for Filing a Plan of Study

Graduation Deadline Calendar: https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/about/calendar

Back to top

Advisory Committee

For students in a non-thesis master's program, the role of the advisory committee will be fulfilled by the chair of the graduate committee.

For students in a thesis master's program, the advisory committee consists of the supervisor of the research plus two or more other faculty members agreed upon by the student and the supervisor. Qualified faculty from other departments may serve on the committee but may not form a majority of it.

Back to top

Ethics Requirement

All MS students must fulfill an ethics requirement.  This is currently to be fulfilled by attending/viewing the ethics lecture of the CS 59100 Research Seminar for First-Year Graduate Students once during the first year.  The seminar is offered only in the fall semester.  An announcement of the date, time, and place of the lecture is sent out ahead of time.  Attendance is taken at the lecture.  MS students are not required to register for the seminar, but they must attend/view the ethics lecture.

Thesis MS students must also pass the Responsible Conduct of Research Training – Faculty, Postdoctoral, and Graduate Course on-line test at www.citiprogram.org and forward the certificate to the Graduate Office at csgrad@purdue.edu with the subject "Ethics Requirement". (Go to www.citiprogram.org; Register with Purdue University as your Organization Affiliation.

Non-thesis MS students must also pass the responsible conduct of research (RCR) for Undergraduate Students on-line test at www.citiprogram.org and forward the certificate to the Graduate Office at csgrad@purdue.edu with the subject "Ethics Requirement". (Go to www.citiprogram.org; Register with Purdue University as your Organization Affiliation.

Further information on Responsible Conduct of Research: http://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/research/rcr/index.html

Back to top

Communication Requirement

All MS students that entered after spring 2008 must demonstrate effectiveness in communication.

For students using the thesis option, this will be assessed in the normal course of their program.

For students using the non-thesis option this can be assessed on the basis of presentations and papers in courses. Students should ask faculty members from whom they have taken a course and in whose judgment they have demonstrated effectiveness in communication to inform the graduate office by sending an e-mail to csgrad@purdue.edu with the subject "Communication Requirement". Otherwise, the student must write a technical essay at the beginning of the final semester and submit it to the chair of the Graduate Committee for evaluation. A research paper may also be used if the student is the sole author.

Back to top

Changes in Requirements

These requirements apply to all students entering or reentering the Department of Computer Sciences at West Lafayette ("the Department") as degree-seeking graduate students in the summer session of 2013 or later. 2008 master's degree requirements

Students are governed by the degree requirements in effect when they enter the Department as degree-seeking students. Students who wish to take advantage of subsequent changes may apply to the Graduate Committee to be governed by all degree requirements in effect at a specified subsequent time. Choosing features from different sets of requirements is not permitted.

For students re-entering, the date of the most recent re-entry determines the degree requirements.

The above requirements for the master's program may change without notice.

Back to top

Areas and Courses Table

Area Course(s)
Algorithms CS 58000, 58800 (offered as 59000RA F20)


CS 57900

Complexity CS 58400
Databases CS 54100, 54200 64100
Data Mining

CS 57300, 54701a, 57700b, 57800c

Distributed Systems CS 50500
Geometric Modeling, Visualization, and Graphics CS 53000, 53100, 53500d, 58600
Numerical Computing CS 51400d, 51500, 52000 61400, 61500d
Parallel and Distributed Computing CS 52500, 60300
Security CS 52600, 52700e, 52800e, 55500 62600, 65500
Simulation and Modeling CS 54300, 54400
Software Engineering CS 51000
Systems I (Compilers and Programming Languages) CS 50200, 56000, 56500 66100
Systems II (Networks and Operating Systems) CS 50300, 53600 63600, 63800

a.  CS 54701 was CS 59000 008, Information Retrieval, in spring 2009

b.  CS 57700 was CS 59000 NLP, Machine Learning Meth, in spring 2015, spring 2016, and fall 2017

c.  CS 57800 was CS 59000 005, Statistical Machine Learning, in fall 2009 and CS 59000 MLO, Statistical Machine Learning, in spring and fall 2011

d.  when taught by a professor whose primary appointment is in Computer Sciences

e.  CS 52700 and CS 52800 may only be included on an MS plan of study if CS 52600 is also included

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2021 3:11 PM

Department of Computer Science, 305 N. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Phone: (765) 494-6010 • Fax: (765) 494-0739

Copyright © 2020 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact the College of Science.