Master of Science in Computer Science

The program is professionally oriented and designed to prepare students for employment in industry or government. Courses emphasize practical concerns and the relevant theoretical background. The program will provide appropriate background for diverse tasks such as developing scientific and engineering applications, developing system software, developing safety or security critical systems, solving computationally hard problems, and developing distributed applications. While not intended as preparation for subsequent entrance to a Ph.D. program, this goal is not precluded. After specific course requirements are met, students may select appropriate electives to suit their individual interests within the program. Anticipated areas of interest include software engineering, systems programming, computer network and security, and artificial intelligence.

Degree Conferred: M.S.

Program Requirements for Admission

Requirements More Information
GPA A minimum GPA of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale).
Education
  • A baccalaureate degree in Computer Science or a related field from an accredited institution.
  • While a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science is not required, admission without deficiency requires that an applicant has completed the following courses or approved equivalents. If these courses are not taken before admission to the program, they may be taken at Penn State Harrisburg, but the student will receive at most 3 credits toward the M.S. degree for these courses.
    • analysis of algorithms (CMPSC 463)
    • operating systems (CMPSC 472)
    • database design (CMPSC 430)
    • linear or matrix algebra (MATH 430)
  • In addition, the following courses are required for admission without deficiency. If these courses or approved equivalents are not taken before admission to the program, they may be taken at Penn State Harrisburg, but no credit from these courses will be applied toward the M.S. degree.
    • calculus, one year (MATH 140 and 141)
    • discrete mathematics (MATH 315)
Supporting Materials
  • Three letters of reference, at least one of which is from an academic source.
  • A letter outlining significant work experience and academic and career objectives.
  • At the discretion of the program, students may be required to provide scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and/or the GRE subject test in computer science.
  • GRE test scores are required for those indicating interest in an assistantship.

 

Application Deadline

Semester Deadline
Fall May 31
Spring September 30
Summer February 28

Application Process

Gather supporting materials and begin the standard graduate application.

The Curriculum

A total of 30 graduate credits (400 level or above) is required for the Master of Science in Computer Science. Students are required to take the following courses: COMP 505, 511, 512, and 519. Additionally, students are required to complete either a thesis or a paper as described below. Students who believe that they have completed a course substantially similar to one of the specific course requirements may apply to have their previous work evaluated for possible exemption from that requirement. If the exemption is granted, another approved course shall be taken in place of that required course. The remaining 18 credits must be completed according to one of the following options:

  1. Thesis Option: Research into a specific computer science problem, development of a scholarly written paper, and an oral defense. This option requires: 6 credits of COMP 600, 3 additional credits from approved 500-level electives in computer science, mathematics, engineering, and information systems courses, and 9 credits from approved 400-and 500-level electives in computer science, mathematics, engineering, and information systems courses.
  2. Paper Option: In-depth study of a specific computer science problem, development of a written paper or project, and an oral defense. This option requires: 3 credits of COMP 594, 9 credits from approved 500-level electives in computer science, mathematics, engineering, and information systems courses, and 6 credits from approved 400- and 500-level electives in computer science, mathematics, engineering, and information systems courses.

A maximum of 9 transfer credits will be allowed for course work completed as a graduate student at another institution.

Prescribed Courses

15-18 credits

  • COMP 505 THEORY OF COMPUTATION (3). Prerequisite: CMPSC 463
  • COMP 511 DESIGN AND ANALYSIS OF ALGORITHMS (3). Prerequisites: CMPSC 463
  • COMP 512 ADVANCED OPERATING SYSTEMS (3). Prerequisite: CMPSC 472
  • COMP 519 ADVANCED TOPICS IN DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (3). Prerequisites: MATH 315, CMPSC 430
  • COMP 594 MASTER'S STUDIES (3) or COMP 600 THESIS RESEARCH (1-6). Prerequisites: A minimum of two of the 500-level computer science required courses or permission of the program

Additional Courses

After specific course requirements are met, appropriate selection of electives enables students to meet individual interests. Students in the Computer Science graduate program at Penn State Harrisburg must take at least 21 or 24 (depending on the option) of the required 30 graduate credits at the 500 level. Certain 400-level courses may be counted toward the remaining hours. These additional courses include:

Computer Science (COMP)

  • CMPSC 425 ADVANCED OBJECT-ORIENTED PROGRAMMING (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 122
  • CMPSC 426 OBJECT-ORIENTED DESIGN (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 425, CMPSC 462
  • CMPSC 428 PROGRAMMING IN ADA (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 121
  • CMPSC 436 COMMUNICATIONS AND NETWORKING (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 312
  • CMPSC 438 COMPUTER NETWORK ARCHITECTURE AND PROGRAMMING (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 312, CMPSC 425
  • CMPSC 441 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 122, MATH 315
  • CMPSC 452 NUMERICAL ANALYSIS I (3) Prerequisite: MATH 220
  • CMPSC 457 COMPUTER GRAPHICS ALGORITHMS (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 122, MATH 220
  • CMPSC 460 PRINCIPLES OF PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 312, CMPSC 462, CMPSC 469
  • CMPSC 469 FORMAL LANGUAGES WITH APPLICATIONS (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 360, MATH 315
  • CMPSC 470 COMPILER CONSTRUCTION (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 312, CMPSC 425, CMPSC 462, CMPSC 469
  • CMPSC 487W SOFTWARE ENGINEERING AND DESIGN (3) Prerequisite: ENGL 202c, CMPSC 425, CMPSC 462
  • CMPSC 497 SPECIAL TOPICS (1-9) (This course may or may not count toward graduate credit; it depends on the specific topic)
  • COMP 513 FORMAL METHODS FOR SOFTWARE ENGINEERING (3) Prerequisite: CMPSC 487W, COMP 511, or permission of the program.
  • COMP 516 ADVANCED PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES (3). Prerequisite: COMP 460
  • COMP 517 COMPUTER SECURITY (3). Prerequisite: MATH 315
  • COMP 520 ADVANCED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (3). Prerequisite: CMPSC 463 or permission of the program
  • COMP 524 EVOLUTIONARY COMPUTATION (3). Prerequisite: COMP 511 or permission of the program
  • COMP 545 COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE (3). Prerequisite: CMPSC 312
  • COMP 596 INDIVIDUAL STUDIES (1-9).
  • COMP 597 SPECIAL TOPICS (1-9).

Mathematical Science (MA SC)

  • MATH 412 FOURIER SERIES AND PARTIAL DIFFERTIAL EQUATIONS (3). Prerequisites: MATH 230 or MATH 231; MATH 250 or MATH 251
  • MATH 425 INTRODUCTION TO OPERATIONS RESEARCH (3). Prerequisite: MATH 141 and MATH 220
  • MATH 431 LINEAR ALGEBRA AND DISCRETE MODELS II (3). Prerequisite: MATH 430
  • MATH 450 MATHEMATICAL MODELING (3). Prerequisites: MATH 315 and MATH 430 or MATH 405 or MATH 412

Information Systems (INFSY)

  • INFSY 570 SOFTWARE ENGINEERING IN THE ANALYSIS AND DESIGN OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS (3). Prerequisite: INFSY 535

Both the graduate coordinator and the student’s academic adviser must provide approval before 400-level courses not listed above may be applied toward credit in the Computer Science graduate degree program.

Transfer Credits and Course Substitutions

Students who believe that they have completed a course substantially similar to one of the specific course requirements may apply to have their previous work evaluated for possible exemption from that requirement. If the exemption is granted, another approved course shall be taken in place of that required course. A maximum of 9 transfer credits will be allowed for course work completed as a graduate student at another institution.

Grade-Point Average

A minimum grade-point average of 3.0 must be earned for course work approved by the program taken as a graduate student.


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