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Graduate Program

Guidelines for Computer Science Master's Project

Students completing a Master’s degree in Computer Science have the option of completing a thesis or a project. A Master’s thesis is an original research contribution, and usually requires multiple semesters to complete. More details are available at http://www.cs.rpi.edu/academics/grad/msthesis.html. In contrast, a Master’s project may be completed in one semester, and is not necessarily an original research contribution. Students completing a Master’s project may register for either CSCI-6970 Professional Project or CSCI-6980 Master’s Project. The scope of the project is the same whether the student registers for CSCI-6970 or CSCI-6980. The differences are that 1) All credits for CSCI-6970 are taken in one semester, while credits for CSCI-6980 may be taken either in one semester or over multiple semesters, and 2) CSCI-6970 is graded A, B, C, or F, while CSCI-6980 is graded S or IP.

A Master’s project is conceptually advanced, going beyond work that would be done in an undergraduate research project. The workload for completing a project is similar to the workload for a full semester 3-4 credit course.

Master’s projects are completed under the guidance of a project advisor. The project advisor must be someone who has a permanent teaching appointment to the Computer Science Department. Students may also collaborate with a research supervisor who does not fit this description, as long as there is also a project advisor who does meet the criteria and bears ultimate responsibility for supervising the project.

Before starting the project, the student, in consultation with the project advisor, will prepare a project proposal. Project proposals are typically 1-2 pages. It is strongly recommended that dates when particular milestones will be completed are included, as well as grading criteria.

All Master’s projects must be presented as posters at Computer Science Department poster sessions. Poster sessions will be held in November and April, early enough to allow students to incorporate feedback from the poster sessions into their final projects.

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