Computer Science, MS < Case Western Reserve University (2024)

Degree:Master of Science (MS)
Field of Study:Computer Science

Program Overview

MS in CS has three tracks: aCourse-Focused track, aProject-Focused track, and aThesis-Focusedtrack. Although all of the three optionsrequire 30 credit hours, they are structured differently to achieve differentobjectives. The Course-Focused track prepares students foradvanced industry employment andshould be treated as a terminal MS degree in CS. The Project-Focused track if for students who seek opportunities for completing an applied project, for example within the context of an established collaboration with industry. TheThesis-Focusedtrack is mainly for students who have interests in research. Therefore, the three tracks have different requirements inadmission, advising, and course work.


Graduate students shall be admitted to the MS degree program upon recommendation of the faculty of the CS program. Requirements for admission include a strong record of scholarship in a completed bachelor's degree program in computer science and related areas, and fluency in written and spoken English. The University requires all foreign applicants to show English proficiency by achieving a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the internet-based examfor the thesis-focused or the project-focused track. For the course-focused track, a minimum TOEFL score of 80 is required. For students who are expected to have any professional student to student interaction, e.g., as a teaching assistant, a lab instructor, or a tutor, a minimum TOEFL score of 90 is required. It is required that all students submit original copies of GRE scores, with the exception of CWRU students applying to the BS/MS program.

The MS program requires students to have substantial knowledge of undergraduate computer science material. Applications from students with a bachelor's degree in fields other than computer science may be granted admission on a provisional basis. Students should have knowledge equivalent to that in the courses:

  • CSDS233
  • CSDS310
  • Any one course listed as an undergraduate Computer Science Breadth Requirement

Students deficient in one or more of these areas (admission with provision) may be required to satisfy this requirement by taking the corresponding courses listed above. These courses cannot be counted towards their MS requirement. However, a student taking and passing a course that subsumes one of the requirements automatically demonstrates knowledge of the material in the required course; e.g. taking CSDS410demonstrates knowledge of the material in CSDS310. Such graduate level courses will be used to satisfy their MS requirement.

Applicants lacking the required background are encouraged to explore the Computer Science pathway options. Additional information on the Computer Science pathway can be obtained by contacting the department.


Course registration can be performed through the SIS system. Each semester before registration, students should update any personal information that may have changed by logging onto the SIS and editing the appropriate information. All registration holds must be lifted in order to successfully complete the registration process.


Each MS student will be assigned an academic advisor, who will assist the student in formulating an academic program. A student in the thesis-focused or project-focused track is expected to pick a research advisor in the programby the end of their first semester. The research (co)advisor must be a faculty member of the university whose status is tenured, tenure-track, non-tenure-track, emeritus, or research faculty. Faculty with other status are not eligible to serve as a student (co)advisor. If the primary affiliation of the research advisor is not with the Computer Science program, the student must have a research co-advisor in Computer Science. The research advisor will supervise the student's thesis or project and also serves as the academic advisor. Each student, in consultation with their advisor(s), must submit a Planned Program of Study preferably before completing 9 credit hours of coursework. This should specify all courses and thesis/project work that will be counted toward the 30 credit hour requirement.

Graduate Policies

For graduate policies and procedures, please review the School of Graduate Studies section of the General Bulletin.

Program Requirements

Pathway and Course-Focused Tracks

The Pathway track requires completion of 34.5 credit hours of approved coursework. The Course-Focused MS degree program requirements consist of the completion of 30 credit hours of approved coursework. Both Pathway and Course-Focused tracks require satisfactory completion of a comprehensive exam, i.e., passing the course ENGR600 with a grade of “P”. ENGR600 is satisfactorily completed by achieving a grade of B or higher in each one of three courses in the student's depth area.

Project and Thesis Tracks

The Project-Focused track requires 24 credit hours of coursework and6 credit hours of projectCSDS695.

The Thesis-Focused track requires 18 credit hours of coursework and 12 credit hours of thesisCSDS651. A BS/MS student is required to choose the thesis-focused track initially.

Both the Thesis-Focused and the Project-Focused track require a formal written report, as well as a final oral examination by a committee of at least three faculty members, two of whom must be primarily affiliated with the CS program. The research advisors and co-advisors are committee members. For Project-Focused track students, the oral examination fulfills the Comprehensive Examination requirement of the School of Graduate Studies.

Track Transfer

If a student wishes to switch from one track to another, the following requirements apply:

  • Deadline. In each semester, students must request to switch track one week before the date at which Drop/Add ends, as stated in the academic calendar.
  • Pathway, Course-only, or Project to Thesis. A course-only student may request to switch to the Thesis track only if they (1) have already taken at least 9 credit hours of letter graded CSDS courses and (2) has a GPA of 3.5 or higher and (3) has a TOEFL score of 90 or higher and (4) has the recommendation of a CDS advisor or (co)advisor.
  • Pathway or Course-only to Project. A Pathway or Course-only student may request to switch to the project track only if they (1) have a TOEFL score of 90 or higher and (2) has the recommendation of a CDS advisor or (co)advisor.
  • Thesis to Project, or Thesis or Project to Course-only. Such a transfer needs approval from the student's advisor and the department chair.
  • Petition. If a student fails to satisfy the transfer requirements, a petition may be submitted by a CDS advisor or (co)advisor to the department chair. In no case may petitions be submitted by non-CDS faculty members or by students.

Students should consult with their academic advisor and/or department to determine the detailed requirements within this framework.

Course Requirements

For all four tracks, at least 18 credit hours of coursework must be at the 400 level or above.

Students in the Pathway track are required to take CSDS410 in their first semester, and to pass

  • By the end of the second semester, CSDS401
  • By the end of the first academic year or before 18 credit hours of coursework
    • CSDS410
    • Any one course that is either listed as an undergraduate Computer Science Breadth Requirement or subsumes a computer science breadth course

Students failing the conditions above will be separated from further study in Computer Science. CSDS401 cannot be counted toward the Course-focused, Project, or Thesis tracks.

All students are required to have specialized knowledge in at least one of the following depth areas, by taking at least three graduate-level classes from that area. The list of acceptable classes is shown below. For Research or Project-focused tracks, the chosen area shouldcorrespond to the student’s thesis research area or project in general.CSDS600 classes will also qualify in this category with approval from the student’s CDS advisor. The remaining classes can be (i) any other class from the classes listed below, or (ii) any letter graded CSDS class (see note below), or (iii) at most two graduate-level classes other than those in category (i) and (ii) (such as non-letter-graded graduate CSDS classes or graduate classes in other departments).

(Note: The School of Graduate Studies and the Case School of Engineering limit the number of undergraduate courses that can be taken for credit by Masters students.)

Students should discuss their courses with their advisor every semester prior to registration. Students must achieve a grade point average of 3.0 or higher; it is computed for all of the letter-graded courses on the student's academic program.

Depth areas:​
Course List
Code Title Hours
Algorithms & Theory Courses:
CSDS410Analysis of Algorithms3
CSDS440Machine Learning3
CSDS455Applied Graph Theory3
CSDS456Data Privacy3
CSDS477Advanced Algorithms3
MATH408Introduction to Cryptology3
Artificial Intelligence Courses:
CSDS440Machine Learning3
CSDS442Causal Learning from Data3
CSDS455Applied Graph Theory3
CSDS465Computer Vision3
CSDS491Artificial Intelligence: Probabilistic Graphical Models3
CSDS496Artificial Intelligence: Sequential Decision Making3
CSDS497Artificial Intelligence: Statistical Natural Language Processing3
CSDS499Algorithmic Robotics3
ECSE484Computational Intelligence I: Basic Principles3
Bioinformatics Courses:
CSDS410Analysis of Algorithms3
CSDS435Data Mining3
CSDS440Machine Learning3
CSDS456Data Privacy3
CSDS458Introduction to Bioinformatics3
CSDS459Bioinformatics for Systems Biology3
SYBB412Survey of Bioinformatics: Programming for Bioinformatics3
Computer Networks & Systems Courses:
CSDS425Computer Networks I3
CSDS427Internet Security and Privacy3
CSDS428Computer Communications Networks II3
CSDS438High Performance Data and Computing3
CSDS444Computer Security3
ECSE414Wireless Communications3
Databases & Data Mining Courses:
CSDS433Database Systems3
CSDS435Data Mining3
CSDS440Machine Learning3
PQHS471Machine Learning & Data Mining3
STAT426Multivariate Analysis and Data Mining3
Security & Privacy Courses:
CSDS427Internet Security and Privacy3
CSDS444Computer Security3
CSDS428Computer Communications Networks II3
CSDS456Data Privacy3
CSDS493Software Engineering3
MATH408Introduction to Cryptology3
Software Engineering Courses:
CSDS425Computer Networks I3
CSDS433Database Systems3
CSDS438High Performance Data and Computing3
CSDS442Causal Learning from Data3
CSDS444Computer Security3
CSDS448Smartphone Security3
CSDS493Software Engineering3
Computer Science, MS < Case Western Reserve University (2024)
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