Computer Science / Master of Science
The Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) program provides graduate-level preparation for students in one of today’s most high-demand fields, Computer Science. The degree provides the necessary background and experience in the development of various computational systems, including large-scale databases, distributed systems, secure applications, and intelligent systems. It provides students with the ability to research and implement the latest technologies and apply them to problems in computer science. Additionally, students can choose a concentration to specialize in the areas of cyber security, intelligent systems, or software development. A graduate of the MSCS program will be prepared for a wide range of careers where Computer Science is applied, including work in industry or the government, or for further graduate study.
Experts in Computer Science can find employment in a virtually every organization and industry sector, as every organization uses the technologies created by Computer Scientists. This program aims to prepare specialists who can develop software and hardware systems that meet today’s needs and address tomorrow’s challenges. Because Computer Science is a broad discipline, the program also gives students an opportunity to specialize in one of three extremely important fields: cyber security, software development, and intelligent systems. Each concentration consists of a minimum of 15 credit hours of coursework. Since programming, systems, and computational theory underlie everything a Computer Scientist does, all students will take a shared core of 12 credit hours of coursework to ensure that they have a solid understanding of these topics. All students will also take five credit hours related to computer science research: two credit hours toward the beginning of their coursework to acquaint students with literature review and experimental design in Computer Science, and three credit hours toward the end of their coursework in which students develop a Masters’ Thesis.
Students without undergraduate coursework in Computer Science or a related field will take up to four courses (13 credit hours) to provide the required foundation for them to pursue advanced study. These courses will teach students how to program, how computers process instructions, and how computer systems are managed through operating systems.
Some courses are cross-listed with undergraduate courses. Students with prior academic credit in those undergraduate courses may not receive credit for the corresponding graduate courses. When a graduate course is cross-listed with an undergraduate course, graduate students will perform an additional term project that will ask them to extend or apply the content presented in the course.
To be accepted for admission into the program, a student must present the following credentials:
- A baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education.
- A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- An application for graduate admission, accompanied by an application fee.
- Professional resume.
- Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended.
- A two-page statement of purpose.
- Two letters of recommendation.
- Undergraduate coursework in discrete mathematics, programming and algorithms.*
Please note: International students are required to have a TOEFL test score greater than 550 (computer-based 213; Internet-based 79).
*Students without sufficient background can still be accepted, but may need to complete up to 13 hours of additional courses (see Foundation Coursework section).
Under certain circumstances, students who do not meet one or more of the requirements for full admission may be admitted to the program on a provisional basis. Provisional admission is most commonly offered to applicants who earned an undergraduate GPA less than 3.0. Students admitted with provisional status will be considered for full admission only after they have attempted nine credit hours in the program and earned a GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0. Provisionally admitted students who have not attained a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 after attempting nine credit hours of MSCS coursework will be dismissed from the MSCS program.
A student-at-large is not a degree candidate. In order to be admitted as a student-at-large, the applicant must submit official documentation of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education and complete a modified application form. The decision to admit an at-large student to graduate courses belongs to the Graduate Program Director, whose decision is based on an evaluation of the applicant’s undergraduate coursework and possibly an interview. However, should the student decide to apply for full admission status at a later time, but within 5 years of course completion, only a maximum of 9 semester hours of graduate coursework completed as a student-at-large can be applied toward an advanced degree, and only courses with grades of B or better will count toward the degree.
Transfer of Graduate Credit
A student entering the MSCS program with appropriate prior graduate coursework in computer science may have a maximum of 9 credit hours applied to the MSCS degree. Course credits eligible for transfer consideration must meet the following criteria:
- All transfer credit must have been earned prior to matriculation in the MSCS program.
- The coursework must have been completed at a regionally-accredited graduate school.
- A minimum grade of B must have been earned for the course.
- The coursework must have an equivalent in the MSCS curriculum.
- Courses from outside the United States will be considered if they are evaluated as graduate level by the Office of Admission of the Commission on Accreditation of the American Council on Education.
- Credit for prior learning is not awarded for graduate courses.
[Students designated by the Computer and Mathematical Sciences Department as having been participants in good standing in the undergraduate Fast Track program offered by Lewis University and who have fulfilled all the requirements for Fast Track delineated in the undergraduate catalog may apply up to 9 credits towards the Master of Science in Computer Science.]
International students are required to meet all the admission requirements for full or provisional admission and also the admission requirements specified in the General Information section of this Catalog entitled "Entering International Students."
Grade Point Requirement
A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation. Only grades attained in Lewis University graduate courses will be used to determine the GPA. A grade less than C- will not count toward degree requirements.
Any student admitted to the MSCS program whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. While on academic probation, the student must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or better in the courses taken during each semester. If a student does not meet this minimum semester GPA requirement in the courses taken during any semester on academic probation, he or she will be dismissed from the program. After a one¬-semester hiatus, the student may petition the Graduate Program Director in writing to resume studies. The Graduate Program Director, in consultation with the Graduate Council, will make the final decision on whether to allow the student to resume studies. If consent is granted to resume studies in the MSCS program, the student will resume studies on academic probation. Once a student’s GPA meets or exceeds 3.0, the student will be released from academic probation. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required to graduate.
Time Limitation for Completing the Program
A student must complete all graduation requirements within 7 years from completion of the first graduate course taken at Lewis University. Students remain under the requirement of the catalog in effect at the time of matriculation unless they discontinue attendance for two consecutive years or more, in which case they will follow the catalog in effect upon their return.
To complete the MSCS degree, a student must earn a minimum of 32 credit hours but may need to earn 45 credit hours, depending whether the student must take foundation courses. The foundation coursework consists of 13 credit hours, but may be waived for students with sufficient background. The core curriculum for the degree consists of 14 credit hours and the concentrations require at least 15 additional credit hours in a specific area of computer science. A student may pursue only one concentration. In addition, students must take 3 credit hours of CPSC 69700 to complete a Master’s Thesis.
Computer Science Core (14)
Take one course from each of the three core areas (programming, systems, and theory). Choose one core area to take an additional course. Students are required to take the following course within the first 14 credit hours of the program:
Core Programming Options (3-6)
Core Systems Options (3-6)
Core Theory Options (3-6)
Elective Curriculum Courses (15)
Students will choose five courses from the list below, for a total of 15 credit hours. A student may choose to pursue a concentration, which he will earn by taking four of his five elective courses from that concentration’s list. A student may not count a course as both a Core Curriculum Course and as an Elective Curriculum Course. A student may not take a course for credit if he has already taken the cross-listed course or its equivalent.
Software Engineering Concentration (15)
Cyber Security Concentration (15)
Intelligent Systems Concentration (15)
Foundation Coursework (12)