M.S. in Computer Science

Mission Statement

The mission of the M.S. program offered by the Department of Computer Science is to develop independent thinkers who can provide leadership in the computing industry or academia, with deep insights in the fundamentals of computer science, a broad perspective in the established and emerging fields of computing, and expertise in fields of their choice.

Program Description

The objectives of the program are twofold: (i) to develop highly qualified professionals capable of adapting with ease to the dynamic field of computing; and (ii) to prepare students interested in pursuing doctoral studies in computer science or related fields. The program provides a strong foundation and breadth in computer science, in theory, hardware, and software, along with a focus and a specialization in the students preferred area of interest. In addition to the fundamental courses in algorithms, programming languages, and operating systems, the students must select one course in theory and one in systems. Elective courses are offered in cutting edge areas such as data mining and machine learning; networks and network security; distributed, parallel, and mobile computing; computer graphics and computer vision; artificial intelligence; and bioinformatics. In addition, a software management course is offered for interested students and students who are in leadership positions in the industry. The graduate courses are tailored to help students narrow down their area of specialization and develop expertise in that area. The program ends in a capstone experience which can be either in the form of a project or of a masters thesis. This is a 30-credit program.

The program provides flexible course delivery methods to meet diversified needs of students. Students can complete degree requirements all on-site, or all online, or using hybrid learning approach. Distance Learning (DL) courses are offered in 7-week rotations, in addition to the regular graduate courses that allow face-to-face interaction. Each DL class is equivalent to its regular version.

Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a bachelors degree from an accredited institution.
  2. An undergraduate minimum grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  3. Achievement in General (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing) GRE scores.
    Note: Applicants without GRE may be admitted if they meet all other admission criteria. They may enroll in graduate courses if they meet individual course prerequisites. To continue in the program students must demonstrate GRE achievement before completing 6 semester hours of graduate study.

Prerequisite Requirements

  1. Discrete Mathematics
  2. Programming Principles and Techniques
  3. Algorithms and Data Structures
  4. Computer Architecture
  5. Operating Systems
  6. Calculus II (Integral Calculus and Analytical Geometry)

Students may satisfy any or all of the listed prerequisites by completing equivalent courses at Hofstra or an accredited institution. With the permission of the Graduate Program Director, eligible students may elect to sit for proficiency examinations. Applicants without undergraduate computer science degrees may be admitted as provisionally matriculated students if they meet all admission criteria except for the required prerequisites. They can enroll in graduate courses if they meet individual course prerequisites and satisfy the general requirements before completing 12 semester hours of graduate study. This condition is automatically lifted as soon as the prerequisites or their equivalents are satisfactorily completed.

Program Requirements

The M.S. in Computer Science requires the satisfactory completion of a 30-semester-hour program, including either a 6-semester-hour thesis (courses CSC301 & CSC302) or 3-semester-hour capstone project (CSC300).

One graduate course is 3 semester hours.

The M.S. in Computer Science requires the satisfactory completion of three fundamental required courses, two elective breadth required courses from the list below, two thesis courses or one capstone project course, and depending on the capstone experience, three or four elective courses. Full-time students can complete the program in four semesters. Part-time students usually complete the program in six or seven semesters. Courses taken in other departments as electives require written departmental approval. At least 27 semester hours must be in graduate computer science courses. Up to 3 semester hours of graduate courses in areas outside of computer science may be taken with the written approval of the Graduate Program Director. At least 27 semester hours must be completed in residence at Hofstra. A minimum 3.0 average with a grade of C or better in all courses is required.

Required Fundamental Courses - Total Semester Hours: 9

  1. CSC 204 Algorithm Design and Analysis (3 s.h.)
  2. CSC 252 Programming Language Concepts (3 s.h.)
  3. CSC 256 Advanced Operating Systems Design (3 s.h.)

Required Breadth Courses - Total Semester Hours: 6

Chose one course from the Theory and one course from the Hardware sections listed below.

  1. CSC202 Computability (3 s.h.)
  2. CSC205 Combinatorial Algorithms (3 s.h.)
  3. CSC207 Advanced Data Structures (3 s.h.)
  4. CSC208 Formal Languages, Grammars and Automata (3 s.h.)
  1. CSC282 Real-Time Systems (3 s.h.)
  2. CSC284 Computer Communication Networks and Distributed Processing (3 s.h.)
  3. CSC286 Computer Architecture I (3 s.h.)
  4. CSC 288 Network Security (3 s.h.)

To complete the 30-credit program requirement, students select from the computer science graduate offerings (which include up to two independent study courses). For the complete list of graduate courses see the Hofstra University Graduate Bulletin.

Required Capstone Experience:

CSC 301 & CSC302 Thesis or CSC300 Independent Project.

The capstone experience (thesis or a project) should be in the chosen area of specialization. Students must have completed 18 semester hours of computer science graduate course work prior to starting their thesis or masters project. Students should contact the graduate director as soon as they complete 18 credits, and discuss a possible topic and elective courses that would prepare them for the capstone thesis or masters project. A student must have a thesis/project adviser and a thesis/project committee prior to registering for a thesis or a project. A thesis/project proposal on approval from the advisor must be submitted to the graduate director. Both the thesis and the project include a written body of work and a presentation. The thesis is much larger in scope and depth than the project and it has a substantial writing component. It prepares students for doctoral studies. A student defends a thesis at an individual one-hour presentation, whereas a project is presented in a 15-minute presentation as a part of a departmental colloquium.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of all program requirements.
  2. A minimum of grade point average of 3.0 in overall graduate course work.