MS Program in Computer Science: FAQs
Q: What are the
educational goals of the program?
The MSCS program is designed to make you a better thinker, a
better programmer and a better
language designer. It will also provide you with a good understanding
of current technology. Our
philosophy is to require you to master foundational topics and then
let you specialize in
application areas of your interest.
Q: How will 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
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:
- Complete 36 credits of approved coursework.
- Complete the three foundational courses, which are CSCI-GA 1170
Algorithms, CSCI-GA 2110 Programming Languages and CSCI-GA 2250
Systems and achieve at least a B- (2.7) or better rolling gpa in the
- Maintain at least a B (3.0) cumulative grade point average
(gpa) in each semester and
successfully complete at least 66% of the credits attempted.
- Pass one course in two of the following four designated
application areas: Computation
for Science and Society; Graphics; Intelligent Systems and Databases.
- Complete a designated capstone course with a grade of B (3.0) or
subject to DGS approval, a student may complete an approved
thesis or an
approved capstone advanced lab.
- All of the above must be completed within 5 years.
Q: Can you send me pamphlets or brochures about the program?
We no longer create paper informational materials, but please browse our
website or email
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any specific questions not answered on our
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 a class. You can contact the
professor to see if
you can find a project of mutual interest. The project can be done for credit,
as an independent
study, if you and the professor agree and the Director of Graduate Studies
(DGS) approves it.
Another option is to do a master's thesis with a full-time faculty member. An
counts for 6 credits of course work. You can learn more about the requirements
for a thesis at the
MS Thesis Authorization Form
background in math is a little weak. Is there anything I
should be careful about?
CSCI-GA 1170 Fundamental Algorithms is somewhat mathematical
proofs, etc.). So, it would be suggested to take CSCI-GA 2340
Discrete Math before or
concurrently with Fundamental Algorithms. Also, please be sure to
have enough time to handle
that course and to attend the weekly problem sessions. Please note
that the graduate level
offering of Discrete Math is only offered in the summer.
I am from a natural science department and would like to learn
programming and algorithmic skills. What should I take?
You should take CSCI-GA 1133 PAC I in the fall and CSCI-GA 1144 PAC II in
unless you have done serious programming. It is also recommended to take
Discrete Math in the summer, when it is offered at the graduate level. In
addition, courses such
as computational biology and scientific computing may be helpful depending on
Q: Do you accept part-time students?
Yes, we allow part-time students. Most of our Computer Science master's
courses take place in
the evening, either 5:10-7:00pm or 7:10-9:00pm, to allow people who work
full-time to attend
Q: How many courses a semester should I take?
Typically, full-time students take three courses (9 credits) a semester. When
international students on an F1 visa must remember to request full-time
equivalency. Most part-
time students will take one course (3 credits) a semester. This is the course
load that the
Computer Science Department recommends for our students.
It is possible for students to take more credits a semester than what is
recommended by the
department i.e. a full time student taking 4 courses (12 credits) or a
part-time student taking 2
courses (6 credits a semester). Ultimately, it is up to the individual student.
However, we do not
recommend taking the heavier course load in your first semester. We encourage
students not to
push themselves so much in their first semester, as students are still
transitioning to graduate
level coursework and in many cases adjusting to living in the New York City
area, and in some
cases adjusting to living in the United States.
Q: What kind of courses do you offer?
You can review our graduate course list archive to see what courses have been
offered in recent years.
Q: Do international students have to be full-time students in the
No, international students on an F1 visa are not required to be full-time
students in the summer semester. International students on an F1 visa only need
to be full-time students in the fall and spring semester. Furthermore, students
are not required to take any courses in the summer, if they prefer not to
enroll in the summer.
Q: How long does it take to complete the degree program?
Most full-time students complete the degree in two years. The time to degree
varies more for part-time students, depending on how many classes they take a
semester and if they take courses in the summer. The Graduate School of Arts
and Sciences gives students 5 years to complete their master's degrees.
International students should be aware that they might have other time
Q: I have already taken the foundational courses (CSCI-GA 1170Fundamental
Algorithms, CSCI-GA 2110 Programming Languages and CSCI-GA 2250 Operating
Systems) during my undergraduate studies. Do I have to take them again at the
Yes, we require our MSCS students to take the three foundational courses, as
they are being taught at a higher level at the graduate level.
On rare occasion, an entering student may be
granted an exemption from one or more of these courses. To obtain such an
exemption, a student
must meet with the DGS at the beginning of the student's first semester at NYU.
requesting an exemption must provide clear documentation showing that his or
coursework is the equivalent of the corresponding foundational course and, upon
approval of the
DGS, must pass a placement exam at the start of the first semester. The
placement exam will be
as challenging as the final exam in the corresponding course. If the student
passes the placement
exam, then the student does not need to take the corresponding foundational
course and can
select an alternate course instead. Please note that the student does not earn
any course credit by
passing the placement exam. If the student does not pass the placement exam,
then the student
must take the corresponding foundational course.
If you are a transfer student and wish to transfer one of the foundational
courses, you should
request an appointment to petition to take the placement exam. If the DGS
approves you to take
the placement exam and you pass the placement exam, then you can apply to
corresponding course, assuming you meet the transfer of credit stipulations. If
you are not
approved to take the placement exam or if you do not pass the placement exam,
then you will
have to take our foundational course and cannot transfer the corresponding
Q: I'm on a
foreign student visa. What special conditions apply to
- New students must report to the OGS and attend a mandatory check-in within
10 days of arriving in the United States.
- Be sure to register on time each fall and spring semester. Students who
fail to register or register late will be reported to the Immigration Service
as not attending, which 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 on Albert.
Students on an F1 visa must maintain full-time status (12 credits per semester
9 credits per semester qualifies a student for full-time equivalency). See
Time Equivalency for details on obtaining FTE when you are registering for 9
If you have medical reasons for not taking a full-time course load, you must
approval from OGS.
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. These positions are advertised on our
departmental opportunities mailing list. Please refer to the link below for how
to sign up for that list:
Other on-campus and off-campus opportunities are also distributed through the
departmental opportunities mailing list.
Additionally, students can search for on campus and off campus employment
through the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development.
It is also possible to take up to two paid internship courses for credit,
provided a student qualifies and is approved. Additionally, international
students can apply for Pre-Completion OPT, for authorization to work a paid job
off campus. Please refer to the link below for more information:
Student can also review the links below for useful information on financing
your graduate education.
NYU Financial Aid and Scholarships
Graduate Financial Aid
Q: 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
Q: Can I transfer from one of the department's master's program into the other
See Applying for a Department Transfer
Q: What is the difference between the MS in Computer Science
offered by NYU Poly and the MS is Computer Science offered by NYU
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences?
These are two different degree programs. One is offered through the NYU
Polytechnic School of Engineering in Brooklyn, New York and the other is
through the Department of Computer Science at that Washington Square campus at
NYU. You apply
for admissions separately, and their requirements are independent of each
You can review the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering program at the link
NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Program
Q: Can we take classes at NYU Poly?
You can take these courses with the approval of the Director of Graduate
Studies and count them towards your electives for courses taken at other NYU
departments outside of the Courant Institute.
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