Boon Thau Loo, Phd,
CIS/MSE Program Chair
Office: Levine 605

CIS Department Contact:

Mike Felker
CIS Graduate Coordinator
Office: 158 Levine
Phone: 215-898-9672




CIS Graduate Advising

Student Resources List

CIS Graduate Student Handbook

SEAS Graduate Student Handbook

Forms: CIS

Forms: SEAS

CIS Courses

CIS Research Areas

Master of Science in Engineering in Computer & Information Science (CIS/MSE) Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

The MSE degree requires completion of ten course units that satisfies all of the following requirements:

  • Seven CIS courses - At least seven of the ten course units required for the degree must be CIS courses. These seven courses include four core courses and three CIS elective courses described below.
    • Four Core courses - Four from the following nine core courses:
      • CIS 500 Software Foundations
      • CIS 501 Computer Architecture
      • CIS 502 Analysis of Algorithms
      • CIS 505 Software Systems
      • CIS 511 Theory of Computation
      • CIS 555 Internet & Web Systems
      • CIS 520 Machine Learning or CIS 519 Introduction to Machine Learning or CIS 521 Artificial Intelligence (only one can be used to fulfill the CIS/MSE core requirement)
      • The four core courses must include:
        • at least one of either CIS 501 or CIS 505 or CIS 555
        • at least one of either CIS 502 or CIS 511
    • Three CIS elective courses
      • Any CIS courses numbered from CIS 500 to CIS 700
      • At most one CIS 700 class can be included
  • Three CIS or non-CIS elective courses

Advanced study in a specific area of computer science is encouraged. Besides coursework, students may pursue Independent Studies to increase their depth of knowledge in a specific area. Students are also encouraged to submit a master's thesis (see below) which may count as two course units of Masters Student Thesis Research, CIS 597.

Master's Thesis

A student wishing to complete a master's thesis may enroll in two course units of CIS 597/Masters Thesis Research, which count as electives towards the ten credits needed for the CIS/MSE degree.The student first chooses a thesis advisor, who must belong to the CIS Graduate Group, proposing a suitable thesis topic. The thesis advisor and student discuss and determine the topic, scope, etc. of the thesis. The advisor and student also determine one other faculty member to be a reader for the thesis. Once the advisor, reader, and topic have been chosen, the student should email Mike Felkers who will provide a google doc master's thesis approval form which can be shared with the thesis advisor, reader, and CIS Master's chair, Prof. Boon Thau Loo, for approval. The advisor and reader will evaluate the thesis and make the determination of its suitability as a research document. An oral presentation of the thesis is required. This can take the form of a public presentation open to all CIS faculty and students to attend, or in lieu of that, a conference presentation or poster presentation (decided by the thesis adviser). Once the final thesis document is approved, it is signed by the advisor, reader, and CIS Master's chair. Information re: thesis formatting and submission of the thesis to the SEAS Research and Academic Services Office can be accessed here. A copy of the approved version of the thesis should be emailed to the CIS Master's chair.

Cumulative GPA Requirement

A minimum GPA of 2.7 for master's students must be maintained in order to be considered in good academic standing. If this minimum is not maintained, academic probation or dismissal from the program will be invoked. A 2.7 final GPA must be achieved to graduate in all situations. (Effective Fall 2007 class). Students are permitted to graduate with an F grade in a course; however, no grade lower than a C- will be counted towards the degree. In particular, a C- grade or better must be achieved in the core courses or they must be retaken.

Graduation Checklist for MSE Students

  • Watch for email announcements regarding applying for graduation.  Information on applying for a degree/graduation can be found here.
  • If needed, master's thesis instructions should be obtained early on in the writing stage. You should make your advisor aware of the need for a timely reading and signature before graduation.
  • Check that your academic record is cleared of Incompletes, No Grade Reported, and Unsatisfactory Progress. and that your GPA meets the requirements..
  • Students who graduate in August or December may participate in the following May Commencement; a student graduating in August may participate in the May Commencement prior to graduation - contact Mike Felker for information.
  • Make sure that your bursar's bill is cleared before the end of the final semester.
  • Students are allowed a maximum of seven years to complete the MSE degree program.