Computer Science MS

Program Purpose

Students in the Master of Science program in the Computer Science Department are prepared to be technical problem solvers, are competent in the state of the art, and have mastered a particular aspect of Computer Science. All students are active in at least one of the Department's research labs and work closely with a faculty advisor in the completion of their M.S. thesis. Consequently, they are able to engage in further research where computers will have a significant impact. M.S. graduates are an asset to their employers as they demonstrate increased insight into solving problems, and are able to manage and complete significant projects. Graduates are prepared with a solid background in both theoretical foundations and practical training for the lifelong learning necessary in this fast-moving field.

Curricular Structure

The Master of Science program in Computer Science aids students who are looking for advancement in their professional careers as leaders of software development teams, quantitative analysts, system architects, or researchers. Students develop skills in critical thinking and analyzing results. Students complete the following:

While in the M.S. program, students are expected to make steady and satisfactory progress toward their degree. Progress reviews take place three times  each year. Students who fail to make appropriate progress are dropped from the program.

Graduate Catalog


Learning Outcomes

Community Research Skills

Students participate in the local research culture and contribute according to common community standards.


Courses that Contribute: C S 618 C S 653 C S 656 C S 660 C S 673 C S 676 C S 699R
Linked to BYU Aims: Competence, Lifelong learning
Professional Preparation

Students fulfill an approved study list that prepares them for their career.


Courses that Contribute: C S 611 C S 655 C S 660 C S 665 C S 670 C S 673 C S 676 C S 678
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly
Mastery of Topic

Students develop independent mastery of an advanced topic.


Courses that Contribute: C S 611 C S 653 C S 655 C S 656 C S 660 C S 665 C S 670 C S 673 C S 676 C S 678
Linked to BYU Aims: Gospel knowledge, Competence
Effective Reading Skills

Students demonstrate an ability to read and understand the current literature.


Courses that Contribute: C S 611 C S 618 C S 656 C S 660 C S 665 C S 670 C S 673 C S 676 C S 678
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively
Effective Writing and Communication

Students are able to write and communicate ideas well.


Courses that Contribute: C S 618 C S 660 C S 665 C S 670 C S 673 C S 676 C S 699R
Linked to BYU Aims: Competence

Evidence of Learning

The standard evaluation of exams, quizzes, projects, and homework are used to evaluate the students' advancement in course subjects, and how well the courses are fulfilling their objective. There are standard course evaluations for each of the courses offered every term or semester.

Direct Measures

  1. Comprehension:
    1. Successful completion of courses on an approved study list demonstrates greater breadth in Computer Science.
    2. The thesis proposal includes a rigorous literature search, which demonstrates the ability to read and understand current literature.
  2. Contribution:
    1. Completion of thesis research demonstrates ability to do current research.
  3. Communication:
    1. The written thesis proposal and presentation, written thesis, and thesis defense demonstrate a student's ability to write and communicate ideas.

Indirect Measures

  1. Comprehension: End-of-semester student evaluations of each course
  2. Contribution: Placement in position of influence or admission into competitive PhD program

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement

Direct Measures

  1. Comprehension: M.S. students are reviewed three times each year by the graduate coordinator to monitor the successful completion of coursework and the satisfactory completion of the thesis proposal. In addition, a thesis committee of at least three faculty members is established for each Master's student. This committee evaluates the thesis proposal to ensure that the student is prepared for the research being proposed.
  2. Contribution: The student's committee maintains close contact with the student throughout the research process. This ensures that the research is significant, makes a contribution, and that the student makes consistent progress.
  3. Communication: The committee reads and evaluates the thesis proposal and participates in the thesis defense to ensure that the student meets the Communication goals outlined above. Research papers that are produced as a by-product of the student's research are peer-reviewed by external reviewers as an additional validation of student learning and productivity.

Indirect Measures

  1. Comprehension: Student evaluations of each course are reviewed by the respective instructor and the department chair every semester, and areas of concern are forwarded to the graduate coordinator and graduate committee as appropriate. Copies of these reviews are stored online by the university.
  2. Contribution: The department monitors jobs taken and/or PhD programs entered by our graduates in order to assess the success of reaching the contribution goal stated above. This information is used in discussions of the success and impact of the graduate program.

Review and Improvement Process

The graduate curriculum committee meets on a regular basis to review the graduate program and to resolve issues. This includes reviewing the feedback provided through direct and indirect measures as well as making sure the program stays current with fast-moving changes in technology. The graduate secretary keeps minutes for each meeting, which are stored in our document repository.