MS Program in Computer Science: FAQs
Q: What are the
educational goals of the program?
To make you a
better thinker, a better programmer, a better language
designer, and to give you a good understanding of current
technology. Our philosophy is to require you to master
core topics and then let you specialize in application
areas of your interest.
Q: Can this help my career?
You will gain a broad and deep understanding of
many aspects of computer science,
choosing among such fields as security and cryptography, graphics,
scientific computing, programming languages, databases, networking, and
distributed systems, to name a few.
This may enable you to become a design lead in a
complex multi-faceted project.
Q: What are the
basic requirements for the degree?
These are fully
outlined in MS Requirements.
However, here are the basics:
- You must take 12 courses.
- You must pass a
qualifying exam called the M.S. Core Comprehensive Examination (Core Exam).
or, if you qualify, do a Master's Thesis
(this is explained fully in the detailed
- You must maintain at
least a B average (3.0) in each semester, and
successfully complete at least 2/3 of the courses in which
- You must take at least one course each in two of the following four subject
areas -- graphics, scientific computing, artificial intelligence, or databases.
- You must take at least one course that involves a substantial programming project
(not just a series of small programming exercises). that includes an extensive
discussion of good programming practice and software engineering principles.
- You must do all
of this within 5 years.
Q: How can I get involved in research?
The best way is to find a professor whose
coincide with yours.
Often this will be a professor whom you have gotten to know during
Then contact that professor and see whether you can
find a project of mutual interest. The project can be done for credit, as
an independent study (G22.3813), if you and the professor agree.
Q: Is there a
recommended course of study?
Yes. Because of
the Core Exam, four of the courses should be from the
core curriculum: Fundamental Algorithms (G22.1170),
Programming Languages (G22.2110), Compilers (G22.2130),
and Operating Systems (G22.2250). These courses along
with material listed in the syllabus and reading
list are the recommended preparation for
the exam. If you think you know this
material, then you may need not take these courses. To
check, please take a look at previous Core
If you take the
core curriculum, then we recommend that you take
Programming Languages (G22.2110) before
Further course advice can be found in the Course Roadmap
Q: When should I take
the Core Exam?
All students, especially interntaional students on two-year visas, are
strongly urged to take the Core Exam near the end of their first year. This
will allow time for a second and final attempt in your second year.
background in math is a little weak. Is there anything I
should be careful about?
Algorithms is somewhat mathematical (recurrence
equations, proofs, etc.). So, please take the Discrete
Math course before or concurrently with Fundamental
Algorithms. Also, please be sure to have enough time to
handle that course and to attend the weekly problem
I am from a natural science department and would like to learn
programming and algorithmic skills. What should I take?
PAC I and II unless you have done serious programming.
Discrete math (grad in summer), fundamental algorithms, programming
languages, possibly database I.
In addition, courses such as computational biology and scientific
computing may be helpful depending on your discipline.
Q: I'm on a
foreign student visa. What special conditions apply to
- Report to the OISS with immigration documents.
Register on time. Students who fail to register or
register late will be reported to the Immigration Service
as not attending and this could result in revocation of the visa.
If you will not be taking courses in the fall or spring semester,
you must leave the country.
- Report any change in local address.
- Maintain full-time status (12 credits per semester is full-time; 9 credits per semester
qualifies a student for full-time equivalency).
See Obtaining Full-Time Equivalency for details
on obtaining FTE when you are registering for 9 credfits.
- If you have medical reasons for not taking a full-time course load,
you must apply for approval from the OISS (see http://www.nyu.edu/oiss).
Q: I know
there is no financial aid for master's students, but
is there some way for me to earn some money to help
pay the tuition as an international student on a student
You are eligible
for jobs within the university. These include grading
and other jobs, although they are by no means sufficient
for funding your education or meeting your living expenses.
It is also possible to take up to 2 paid internship courses
(provided you still take 10 computer science or math courses)
while you are completing your master's degree.
If you want to
work at a summer job, your work may qualify for curricular
practical training, as a 3 credit independent study
project. This would be separate from your post-completion
practical training. For OISS approval, the department
must be convinced that the proposed project has
significant educational value related to computer
How can I get into Ph.D. program?
MS students who wish to enter the Ph.D. program must submit a
new complete application and are considered together with all the
applicants to the Ph.D. program. There is no special mechanism for
transferring from the MS to the Ph.D. program
Q: How can I transfer from the MS to the MSIS program?
See Transferring to MSIS
Is there anything I can do to advertise my skills
to potential employers?
Yes, you can subscribe to the mailing list
firstname.lastname@example.org. Directions are posted at
In addition, you can post your resume through
the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
and set up a resume that is accessed
by many employers. You can also visit the Wasserman Center for Career Development Additional Resources List.
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