Computer Science (MS)

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Computer Science

The Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science provides students a strong foundation in the core computer science areas, together with advanced study of specialized topics in computing. Students work closely with faculty members and may select to complete either a thesis or project. The thesis option entails three semesters' study under the direction of a faculty member in which the student gains an understanding of an area of current research and contributes to the state of the art in that area. The thesis option is chosen by students seeking to be involved in the Department's research efforts. The project option provides an application-oriented experience completed in a single semester and is typically a software project supervised by one the department's faculty members.
Many successful students enter the program with Bachelor's degrees in other disciplines. The department offers a series of graduate courses designed to facilitate students' transition to graduate study in computer science from undergraduate study in other disciplines. The exact sequence of courses is determined individually by the department after review of the student's undergraduate transcript and relevant work experience.
  • Why UTRGV?

    • Ranked #79 among 300+ national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018
    • Accredited, cutting edge degree program
    • Experienced, dedicated faculty
    • Affordable tuition (ranked #1 in net price among natinal universities by Washington Monthly in 2018 and #3 most affordable university in America 2018 by BestValueSchools.com)
    • Demonstrated student success in research, professional certification and career advancement
  • Admission Requirements

    Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at www.utrgv.edu/gradapply. The university application fee of $50 ($100 for International Applicants) can be paid online by credit card or electronic check (in the online application). All application fees are nonrefundable.

    Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to gradapps@utrgv.edu or mailed to:

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    The Graduate College
    Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

     
    *Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB/TSC, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.

    Review and submit all Program Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a bachelor’s degree in another field and courses and/or experience that prepare the applicant for graduate work in Computer Science or Information Technology.
    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
    • Letter of Intent detailing professional goals and reasons for pursuing the graduate degree.
    • Resume.
    • GRE General Test. GRE test scores are valid for 5 years. A waiver of the GRE requirement will be granted to applicants who show proof of completing a graduate degree (master’s or doctoral).

    Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.

    Additional requirements for international applicants:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.
    • Financial   Documentation  showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
    • Immigration  documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.

    UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS FROM U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:

    • SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.

  • Program Contact

    Program Coordinator: Dr. Zhixiang Chen

    Phone: (956) 665-3520

    Office: Edinburg Campus, EENGR 3.264A

    E-Mail: zhixiang.chen@utrgv.edu

  • Deadlines

    Deadlines:

    Applications will be accepted year round and prospective students are encouraged to apply at least 2 months before classes start to ensure a timely application review.  Applying early will also give prospective students the best opportunity to be considered for scholarships and other possible funding opportunities.

    *Note: This program only admits applicants during Fall, Spring, Summer I and Summer II semesters.

  • Course Requirements

    Required Courses 12
    CSCI 6174: Open Problems in Computer Science and Information Technology 1
    CSCI 6175: Seminar in Computer Science (must be taken twice) 2
    CSCI 6323: Design and Analysis of Algorithms 3
    CSCI 6335: Advanced Computer Architecture 3
    CSCI 6339: Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science 3
    Choose one of the following options:
     
    Coursework Option
     
    Designated Electives 18-24
    CSCI 6326: Numerical Methods 3
    CSCI 6333: Advanced Database Design and Implementation 3
    CSCI 6334: Advanced Operating Systems 3
    CSCI 6336: Programming Languages and Compilers 3
    CSCI 6340: Advanced Software Engineering 3
    CSCI 6345: Advanced Computer Networks 3
    CSCI 6350: Advanced Artificial Intelligence 3
    CSCI 6351: Expert Systems 3
    CSCI 6354: Performance Evaluation 3
    CSCI 6355: Bioinformatics 3
    CSCI 6356: Parallel Computing 3
    CSCI 6360: Advanced Computer Graphics 3
    CSCI 6361: Computer Visualization 3
    CSCI 6363: Human Computer Interaction 3
    CSCI 6364: Advanced Digital Forensics 3
    CSCI 6365: Network Management and Security 3
    CSCI 6366: Data Mining and Warehousing 3
    CSCI 6367: Digital Image Processing 3
    CSCI 6368: Computer Vision 3
    CSCI 6370: Topics in Computer Science 3
     
    Free Electives 0-6
    CSCI 6180: Problems in Computer Science 3
    CSCI 6303: Principles of Information Technology Systems 3
    CSCI 6307: Foundations of Systems in Computer Science 3
    CSCI 6312: Advanced Internet Applications Programming 3
    CSCI 6314: E‐Commerce Systems and Implementation 3
    CSCI 6315: Applied Database Systems 3
    CSCI 6316: Design for Information Technology Systems 3
    CSCI 6318: Cybersecurity and Forensics 3
    CSCI 6381: Independent Research and Study 3
     
    Capstone Requirement
    Written Comprehensive Exam
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 36
     
    Project Option
     
    Designated Electives 15-21
    CSCI 6326: Numerical Methods 3
    CSCI 6333: Advanced Database Design and Implementation 3
    CSCI 6334: Advanced Operating Systems 3
    CSCI 6336: Programming Languages and Compilers 3
    CSCI 6340: Advanced Software Engineering 3
    CSCI 6345: Advanced Computer Networks 3
    CSCI 6350: Advanced Artificial Intelligence 3
    CSCI 6351: Expert Systems 3
    CSCI 6354: Performance Evaluation 3
    CSCI 6355: Bioinformatics 3
    CSCI 6356: Parallel Computing 3
    CSCI 6360: Advanced Computer Graphics 3
    CSCI 6361: Computer Visualization 3
    CSCI 6363: Human Computer Interaction 3
    CSCI 6364: Advanced Digital Forensics 3
    CSCI 6365: Network Management and Security 3
    CSCI 6366: Data Mining and Warehousing 3
    CSCI 6367: Digital Image Processing 3
    CSCI 6368: Computer Vision 3
    CSCI 6370: Topics in Computer Science 3
     
    Free Electives 0-6
    CSCI 6180: Problems in Computer Science 3
    CSCI 6303: Principles of Information Technology Systems 3
    CSCI 6307: Foundations of Systems in Computer Science 3
    CSCI 6312: Advanced Internet Applications Programming 3
    CSCI 6314: E‐Commerce Systems and Implementation 3
    CSCI 6315: Applied Database Systems 3
    CSCI 6316: Design for Information Technology Systems 3
    CSCI 6318: Cybersecurity and Forensics 3
    CSCI 6381: Independent Research and Study 3
     
    Capstone Requirement 3

    CSCI 6390: Master’s Project

    Written Comprehensive Exam

     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 36
     
    Thesis Option
     
    Designated Electives 15-18
    CSCI 6326: Numerical Methods 3
    CSCI 6333: Advanced Database Design and Implementation 3
    CSCI 6334: Advanced Operating Systems 3
    CSCI 6336: Programming Languages and Compilers 3
    CSCI 6340: Advanced Software Engineering 3
    CSCI 6345: Advanced Computer Networks 3
    CSCI 6350: Advanced Artificial Intelligence 3
    CSCI 6351: Expert Systems 3
    CSCI 6354: Performance Evaluation 3
    CSCI 6355: Bioinformatics 3
    CSCI 6356: Parallel Computing 3
    CSCI 6360: Advanced Computer Graphics 3
    CSCI 6361: Computer Visualization 3
    CSCI 6363: Human Computer Interaction 3
    CSCI 6364: Advanced Digital Forensics 3
    CSCI 6365: Network Management and Security 3
    CSCI 6366: Data Mining and Warehousing 3
    CSCI 6367: Digital Image Processing 3
    CSCI 6368: Computer Vision 3
    CSCI 6370: Topics in Computer Science 3
     
    Free Electives 0-3
    CSCI 6180: Problems in Computer Science 3
    CSCI 6303: Principles of Information Technology Systems 3
    CSCI 6307: Foundations of Systems in Computer Science 3
    CSCI 6312: Advanced Internet Applications Programming 3
    CSCI 6314: E‐Commerce Systems and Implementation 3
    CSCI 6315: Applied Database Systems 3
    CSCI 6316: Design for Information Technology Systems 3
    CSCI 6318: Cybersecurity and Forensics 3
    CSCI 6381: Independent Research and Study 3
     
    Capstone Requirement 6
    Thesis
    CSCI 7300: Master’s Thesis I 3
    CSCI 7301: Master’s Thesis II 3
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 36

    Course Descriptions

    CSCI 6174: Open Problems in Computer Science and Information Technology               [1‐0]

    A survey of current research areas in computer science. Topics are discussed in an informal seminar setting.

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6175: Seminar in Computer Science              [1‐0]

    Presentation and analysis of literature in a selected area. May be repeated for credit as topics vary. A total of six hours may be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements.

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6180: Problems in Computer Science              [1‐0]

    An area of computer science is examined under the direction of a faculty member prior to enrollment in master’s thesis or project courses.

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6303: Principles of Information Technology Systems              [3‐0]

    An introduction to information technology and computer systems. Specific topics provide an overview of databases, knowledge‐based systems, e‐commerce, software engineering, software tools, programming, and Internet.

    Prerequisites: Knowledge of a high level programming language and consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6307: Foundations of Systems in Computer Science              [3‐0]

    In‐depth analysis of operating systems, computer architecture, and distributed processing, focusing on principles of organization and applications across systems.

    CSCI 6312: Advanced Internet Applications Programming              [3‐0]

    Course covers theoretical and practical methods and techniques for programming on the Internet with a focus on the Web server side. Students will be able to develop highly interactive Web‐based applications.

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6314: E‐Commerce Systems and Implementation              [3‐0]

    Presents the principles E‐commerce implementation, examining specific examples in depth. Students implement a working prototype site as class projects.

    Prerequisites: CSCI 6302 and consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6315: Applied Database Systems              [3‐0]

    Course covers the application of a modern database system. Concepts covered include relational model, normalization, structured query language, Internet data formats, and server and client side technologies. The course is targeted at students who are interested in the development of application programs using a database system such as Oracle, or Microsoft SQL.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6302 or equivalent.

    CSCI 6316: Design for Information Technology Systems              [3‐0]

    Provides design techniques for information technology systems, including web and mobile technologies. Students complete projects focusing on the critique of existing systems and design of new application systems.

    CSCI 6318: Cybersecurity and Forensics              [3‐0]

    Computer security fundamentals and standard of good practice, and Incident response strategies will be presented. Topics will include analyzing volatile and nonvolatile data, collecting network based evidence, forensic analysis techniques, web, email and registry activity reconstruction, and study of available tools.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6303.

    CSCI 6323: Design and Analysis of Algorithms              [3‐0]

    Advanced topics in data structures and algorithms, including dynamic programming and classification of algorithms. Applications of various algorithms and data structures will be discussed and implemented.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305, or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6326: Numerical Methods              [3‐0]

    The topics include root finding, interpolation and numerical differentiation, polynomial interpolation, estimating derivatives, numerical integration, problems of linear equations, approximation by spline functions, and smoothing of data.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 3333 and MATH 2414 or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6333: Advanced Database Design and Implementation              [3‐0]

    Focuses on distributed database systems. Includes file allocation, directory systems, deadlock detection and prevention, synchronization, query optimization, and fault tolerance. The course will include one or more programming projects demonstrating implementation of concepts introduced.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305, or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6334: Advanced Operating Systems              [3‐0]

    An in‐depth treatment of operating systems concepts. Major course topics include process and processor management, primary and secondary storage management, system performance, network considerations (both local area and wide area) and system security. A significant programming project involving concurrent resource management is required.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6307, or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6335: Advanced Computer Architecture              [3‐0]

    Covers trends and measuring and reporting of improvements in computer technology; instruction set principles, hardware techniques for instruction level parallelism (ILP) as applied to reduced instruction set architecture (RISC) such as dynamic scheduling and thread‐level parallelism; loop unrolling and enhancing loop level parallelism; memory hierarchy mapping and miss rate reduction techniques and performance calculations; and interconnection network and clusters related issues. This course is equivalent to ELEE 6335.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6307.

    CSCI 6336: Programming Languages and Compilers              [3‐0]

    Formal and applied methods of program and language description, including denotational, operational and axiomatic semantics.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305 or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6339: Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science              [3‐0]

    Examines classes of languages and abstract machines including finite state automata, pushdown automata, Turing machines and the Chomsky hierarchy of formal languages, including regular sets, context‐free languages, context‐sensitive languages and recursively enumerable languages.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305, or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6340: Advanced SoftwareEngineering              [3‐0]

    An overview of the software engineering process, including software project management, system and software requirements analysis, structured analysis, object‐oriented analysis, design and implementation of software. Data‐flow, object‐ oriented, user interface and real‐time design methods. Software quality assurance and testing methods. Use of CASE tools. Will include a major design project.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305 or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6345: Advanced Computer Networks              [3‐0]

    In‐depth study of theory, design, implementation and performance of computer and communications networks. Current network types, including point‐to‐point, satellite, packet switch, local area and wide area networks, are studied, as well as evolving technologies such as ATM. Provides an introduction to queuing analysis and includes network programming projects.

    CSCI 6350: Advanced Artificial Intelligence              [3‐0]

    Issues of knowledge representation, including a survey of important knowledge‐based systems. Current research issues, including neural networks, object‐oriented programming in AI, natural language understanding, device understanding, and perception.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305 or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6351: Expert Systems              [3‐0]

    This course covers the theoretical and practical principles of modern expert systems construction. Topics include logic and reasoning, knowledge representation, rule‐ based reasoning, inexact reasoning, ontologies, and knowledge acquisition.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6350 or departmental approval.

    CSCI 6354: Performance Evaluation              [3‐0]

    Methods and concepts of system performance evaluation are introduced and discussed. Topics include stochastic processes, measurement techniques, monitor tools, statistical analysis of performance experiments, simulation models, analytic modeling and queuing theory, and workload characterization.

    Prerequisites: MATH 4337 or equivalent background in probability, or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6355: Bioinformatics              [3‐0]

    Examines the creation and development of advanced information and computational techniques for problems in the biosciences, including biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, and medicine. Presents advanced concepts and techniques of bioinformatics and computational biology tools to solve problems in topics such as sequence alignment, gene and motif finding, restriction mapping, microarray data analysis and gene expressions.

    Prerequisites: CSCI 6305 or consent of instructor

    CSCI 6356: Parallel Computing              [3‐0]

    Studies models, architectures, languages, and algorithms of parallel computing. Topics include parallel computing models, algorithm designs, software tools, parallel architectures, and performance evaluation.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6323 or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6360: Advanced Computer Graphics              [3‐0]

    Advanced topics, including illumination models, three dimensional graphics and efficient algorithms, as well as graphics hardware. The role of user interfaces in software systems. Programming project required using windowing system and graphics standard such as Open GL.

    Prerequisite: SCI 6305 or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6361: Computer Visualization              [3‐0]

    Visualization systems augment quantitatively based systems for presentation of data in a manner facilitating understanding and insight. This course provides an in‐depth study of the theory, design, and implementation of computer‐based visualization systems. In addition to scientific visualization, visualization of semantic information is also examined.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6307.

    CSCI 6363: Human Computer Interaction              [3‐0]

    Presents theory of human‐computer interaction, as well as development methods for interfaces, such as user‐centered design, prototyping, and participatory design. Course presents evaluation and testing techniques, such as heuristic evaluation, the cognitive walkthrough, and usability testing, as well as user‐interface programming and ethical and societal issues.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6302 or equivalent.

    CSCI 6364: Advanced Digital Forensics              [3‐0]

    An introduction to the science, technology, procedures, and laws of acquiring and analyzing evidence from digital media and computing devices. Current forensics tools will be surveyed, and case studies will be assigned and presented in class.

    Prerequisites: CSCI 6345.

    CSCI 6365: Network Management and Security              [3‐0]

    This course covers topics in the administration of a secure network. Topics covered include: proper planning and installation of a network operating system, administrations of groups, users and resources, challenges and vulnerabilities, authentication and authorization, public key encryption, key management, and Internet protocol security architecture.

    CSCI 6366: Data Mining and Warehousing              [3‐0]

    As a multidisciplinary field, draws on work from areas including database technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural network, statistics, information retrieval, and data visualization. Theoretical and practical methods will be presented on knowledge discovery and systems design and implementation.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305.

    CSCI 6367: Digital Image Processing              [3‐0]

    This course covers the basic techniques used in acquiring, processing and displaying of digital images and video. Topics include image acquisition, spatial and frequency domain representation, image filtering, image compression, image analysis, morphological image processing and image understanding. Efficient implementation of image processing algorithms in a structured computer language is emphasized.

    Prerequisites: MATH 2414 and CSCI 3333 or departmental consent.

    CSCI 6368: Computer Vision              [3‐0]

    This course covers the fundamental and advanced ideas of developing computerized procedures to extract numeric and symbolic information from images. Key ideas include image formation, acquisition, calibration, object recognition, video understanding, stereo imaging, optical flow and classification methods. System implementation and applications in communications, medicine, robotics and manufacturing are introduced.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6367.

    CSCI 6370: Topics in Computer Science              [3‐0]

    In‐depth study of specific issues in computer science. Subject matter varies from semester to semester. May be repeated when subject matter changes. A total of six hours may be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements.

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6381: Independent Research and Study              [3‐0]

    Independent study of an area of current research allowing students to work with faculty in performing research, participating in ongoing faculty research, or reading in depth on a topic.

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6390: Master’s Project              [3‐0]

    Specification, design, completion and documentation of a programming project employing current practice in computer science.

    Prerequisite: CSCI 6380 and consent of instructor.

    CSCI 7300: Thesis I              [3‐0]

    Thesis research. May be repeated. A total of six hours of CSCI 7300 and 7301 may be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements. Enrollment in this course or CSCI 7301 is required each term in which the thesis is in progress.

    CSCI 7301: Thesis II              [3‐0]

    Thesis research. May be repeated. A total of six hours of CSCI 7300 and 7301 may be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements. Enrollment in this course or CSCI 7300 is required each term in which the thesis is in progress.