Computer Science

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. —Confucius

Computer Science—MS, PhD

Fast Facts

  • Three faculty members and an alumnus have received NSF CAREER Awards.
  • Our graduates are employed in a range of industries, including Absoft, Barracuda Networks, Ford, Rockwell Collins, QLogic, Signature Research, Texas Instruments, and more.
  • Graduate students have received the Google Anita Borg Scholarship and a NASA-Harriet G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship Award.
  • Research projects in compilers, computer architecture, computer science education, and parallel computing have received funding of over $1 million each.

Learn more about the Computer Science programs.

Graduate Programs in Computer Science

Graduate student research in the Department of Computer Science spans the breadth of computing, from systems to human-computer interaction. Research in compilers and computer architecture focuses on increasing the efficiency of computations through more effective communications across the hardware/software boundary. A new parallel programming paradigm is being implemented in Unified Parallel C (UPC) to address issues in high-performance computing, allowing solutions to some of computing’s grand challenge problems such as weather forecasting and air pollution modeling. Research into security is focused on ensuring privacy.

The University offers state-of-the-art research equipment that includes: an IBM Systems p5 dual 4-core system, multiple clusters with various types of interconnection networks, Appleand PC-based graphics systems, an nVisor-based augmented virtual realty system, a Pioneer 3 AT vision-equipped MobileRobot, a mobile usability testing lab, a 32-processor HP SC-40, a 40-processor Cray T3E, a 12-processor Sun Enterprise 4500, and Internet2 access.

Current Michigan Tech undergraduate students can earn a MS degree with just a single year of study beyond the BS through the Accelerated Master's Program.

Master's Degree: Thesis Option

This option requires a research thesis prepared under the supervision of the advisor.  The thesis describes a research investigation and its results. The scope of the research topic for the thesis should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

The minimum requirements are as follows:

Course work (minimum)20 credits
Thesis research6–10 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

 

Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

Master's Degree: Report Option

This option requires a report describing the results of an independent study project. The scope of the research topic should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

Of the minimum total of 30 credits, at least 24 must be earned in course work other than the project:

Course work24 credits
Report2–6 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

 

Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

Master's Degree: Course Work Option

This option requires a minimum of 30 credits be earned through course work. Research credits may be used on a case-by-case basis following the approval of the graduate program director. 

A graduate program may require an oral or written examination before conferring the degree and may require more than the minimum credits listed here:

Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)18 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

PhD Requirements

To complete a doctoral degree, students must complete the following milestones:

  • Complete all course work and research credits (see credit requirements below)
  • Pass Qualifying Examination
  • Pass Research Proposal Examination
  • Prepare and Submit Approved Dissertation
  • Pass Final Oral Defense

The minimum credit requirements are as follows:

Total Credit Requirements 
MS–PhD (minimum)30 credits
BS–PhD (minimum)60 credits

 

Individual programs may have higher standards and students are expected to know their program's requirements. See the Doctor of Philosophy Requirements website for more information about PhD milestones and related timelines.