Degree Requirements

To satisfy the requirements for the master’s degree, you must complete 30 credits, as described below, with an overall average of B. In addition, a B average is required across the 6 core courses, as indicated below. The master’s curriculum has 2 components: 18 credits of core elective courses and 12 credits of general elective courses.

Core Courses

Core electives are organized into 3 core areas: Computer Systems, Programming/Software, and Theory. Students must take at least 6 core elective courses, with 2 courses coming from each of the core areas.

Systems Core Area

Theory Core Area

Programming/Software Core Area

Additionally, the rule below applies for these 4 courses:

You are required to take the course unless you have taken an equivalent course (at either the graduate or undergraduate level) with a grade of B or higher. If you have taken an equivalent course and received a B grade or higher, you may not take the course at Polytechnic as part of this master’s program without special permission.


In addition to the core electives, you are required to take 4 general elective courses but have considerable flexibility. The only restriction is that no more than 2 of the courses may be taken from outside the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. In particular:

  • Master’s thesis (6 credits) and/or independent study courses may be part of a student’s 4 elective courses
  • Any of the courses in the 3 core areas may be chosen as electives.
  • Graduate-level courses from outside of the department (at most 2) may be chosen as electives.
  • Any CS graduate course not included in the core areas may be chosen as electives.

These courses include:

Preparatory Courses

We offer 2 preparatory bridge courses for students who do not have a working knowledge of a high level, general-purpose programming language:

Master's Thesis

Exceptional students may elect to write a master's thesis, for which no more than 6 credits may be earned toward the degree. Such students should find an appropriate adviser who has agreed to monitor the thesis research. Such research need not be original, but should adequately demonstrate the student's proficiency in the subject material. An oral defense of the master's thesis with at least three professors in attendance is required.

(see overview)