Computer and Information Science (MS)

Offered On Campus Only

The Master of Science in Computer and Information Science provides a general computer science education emphasising both theoretical and applied aspects. Graduates have been very successful both in the workforce and further Ph.D. level study.

The Computer and Information Sciences department is one of the largest within SUNY Poly. The twelve full-time faculty have diverse areas of expertise and support three graduate and four undergraduate programs while pursuing research and scholarly activities in their respective areas of interest. Many faculty and students maintain a close working relationship with researchers at the Rome Research Site of the Air Force Research Laboratory located about ten miles west of the campus.

The program regularly offers a variety of courses in programing language and software engineering, systems and architectures, algorithms and theory, and artificial intelligence and modeling. Courses are complemented by a number of state-of-the-art laboratories that employ a variety of computing environments. The program is also supported by extensive library holdings. Hundreds of journal titles maintained by the Cayan Library directly support the graduate program in computer science.

The Master’s program in Computer and Information Science is designed for students seeking a quality education in preparation for employment, career advancement, or further graduate study. It is designed to provide a broad overview of the major areas of the discipline, coupled with a specialization in at least one of the following areas: software engineering, systems & architectures, algorithms & theory, and artificial intelligence & modeling. Course offerings stress the principles and problem-solving methodology required by computing professionals working in industry, business and education.

The MS program accommodates both full-time and part-time students. Full-time students can complete the program within an 18 month period. Part-time completion will vary based on total number of credits taken each term. A program of study will be developed with the program coordinator which responds to student needs and the department’s plan for course scheduling.

Career Paths
The MS in Computer Sciences allows students to advance their careers and increase their depth of understanding in this dynamic and growing field. Our graduates go on to rewarding careers in the field with job titles such as Computer Scientist, Software Engineer, Senior Programmer, Systems Administrator, Research Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Technical Consultant. Some of the local companies that our graduates join include Assured Information Security, BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI, ITT Industries, and Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Lab Facilities
The Computer Science Department maintains its own academic computing network tailored to support our programs and provide an open environment for student experimentation and exploration. Departmental servers support the Computer Science Department and student web sites (, central file storage, remote access, databases, software repositories, streaming video, and student project virtual machines. Our computing environment is managed by professional staff and student administrators. Students interested in the fields of network or systems administration who desire an opportunity to further develop their skills prior to graduation should stop by our workroom.

Eight labs are available to students containing a mix of operating systems and hardware and interconnected on a high speed network. Primary departmental classroom PC labs are updated annually to ensure the latest hardware is available for instruction.

DogNET UNIX Lab (Kunsela C012) – provides access to UNIX workstations. Twenty-Five workstations running the Gentoo Linux operating system can be found in the C012 classroom lab, provide access to many programs for software development, Internet access, multimedia applications, publishing, etc. This lab, used for computer science courses in programming languages, operating systems, networking, web development, and system administration, is open for general use when not being used for classes.

DogNET special projects lab (Donovan 1190) – provides a large assortment of workstations to support student research and projects. Any student may request workspace and networked hardware to complete a course or individual project.

MS Windows Lab (Kunsela C014 & C122) – provides access to the MS Windows operating system and software. The C014 classroom lab contains twenty-five workstations and is open for use when classes are not in session. The C122 open lab contains 6 workstations and is ideal for small groups working collaboratively on projects. These labs support instruction and experimentation in object-oriented programming, client-server and distributed computing (networking, system administration and interoperability with other platforms), collaborative computing (web development, videoconferencing, multimedia). Programming environments supported include SUN Java, Visual Studio NET (C#, J#, C++, Visual Basic), Fortran90, Prolog, LISP, ML-ObjectCaml, APL. Application software includes Microsoft Office, Sharepoint, Publisher, Visio, Matlab, Maple and several Adobe titles.

Kunsela 24 Hour Open Lab (Kunsela B118) – provides access to resources found in other Computer Science labs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while classes are in session. Current hardware includes ten MS Windows workstations, two Gentoo Linux workstations, and a multimedia station with flatbed scanner and blu-ray writer.

 Pre-Requisite Courses and Background

  • Computing Fundamentals
  • Computer Organization (Machine Structures)
  • Object Oriented Programming
  • Data Structures
  • Discrete Math
  • Calculus
  • Statistics/Probability

The need for completion of pre-requisite coursework is determined in consultation with the Graduate Admissions Office and the program coordinator.

Program Requirements
The M.S. in Computer and Information Science consists of 33 credit hours. Three must include:
Area Courses: (12 credit hours)
Depth Courses: (9-12 credit hours)
General Electives(6 credit hours)
Thesis/Project: (3-6 credit hours)

Area Courses (12 credit hours)
Complete one course in each of the following four areas:

Software Engineering

  • CS 510 Programming Languages
  • CS 511 Formal Methods
  • CS 512 Software Engineering
  • CS 518 Special Topics in Software Engineering

Systems & Architectures

  • CS 520 Computer Architecture
  • CS 521 Operating Systems
  • CS 522 Computer Networks
  • CS 523 Parallel Computing
  • CS 524 Distributed Systems
  • CS 528 Selected Topics in Systems

Algorithms & Theory

  • CS 530 Algorithms & Complexity
  • CS 531 Automata, Computability and Formal Languages
  • CS 532 Cryptography and Data Security
  • CS 538 Special Topics in Algorithms

Artificial Intelligence & Modeling

  • CS 540 Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 541 Databases
  • CS 542 Machine Learning
  • CS 543 Systems Theory
  • CS 548 Special Topics in AI and Modeling

Depth Courses (9-12 credit hours)
Complete two additional courses from one of the four areas above and one additional course from a different area. A fourth course from any area is required if a project is elected instead of a thesis.

Note: Computer Science graduate courses that are not assigned to one of the areas above (e.g., bridge courses (CS 500, CS 502, CS 503, CS 505), CSC 507, CS 598, CS 599) cannot be applied to the depth requirement.

General Electives (6 credit hours)
Two graduate courses selected from:
(a) graduate computer and information science courses (with the CS prefix) other than bridge courses (not CS 500, CS 502, CS 503, or CS 505)
(b) other graduate courses that are pre-approved by the CS Department via the submission of an Academic Petition (each petition shall include the student’s justification and supporting documentation (syllabus, catalog description, etc.) for accepting the relevant course; the CS Department will consider each petition on a case-by-case basis.

Thesis/Project (3-6 credit hours)
CS 598 Project (3 credits) OR
CS 599 Thesis (6 credits)

Guidelines and requirements for the project or thesis are provided to students by their faculty adviser.

Degree Requirements Overview & Program Notes

  • Unless otherwise noted, all graduate courses are 3 credit hours.
  • All students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher to graduate.
  • Over the course of their studies, students can only apply two “C” grades in courses taken toward the degree.
  • Students may transfer up to six credit hours, if applicable, from another graduate program.  Note: All transfer courses must be approved by the CS Dept; courses are usually submitted for transfer consideration prior to matriculation.
  • Students may repeat at most two courses in which a “C” grade or less was received.
  • Students must maintain continuous registration, equal to or greater than one credit while working on their final thesis or project. Once an MS Computer Science student has taken 3 credits of CS 598 or 6 credits of CS 599, they may maintain continuous registration by enrolling in CMT 600. This may be taken for up to six semesters, at which time it is expected that all program requirements will have been met. Students must be registered at SUNY Polytechnic Institute during the term they intend to graduate.