All Master's students must keep an eye on the end game. Be aware that there are some things to be done just before you graduate.  To learn more, go to our Timeline page.

Courses-only Track Students

Courses-only students do not need to take a Comprehensive Exam. As a courses-only student (or en-route courses-only student), please remember that your MS Program of Study GPA (including the provisional courses) must be 3.0 or above to obtain your MS degree.

Thesis-Track Students

The Graduate School requires that all thesis track Master of Science (MS) students at MSU take two examinations: a Defense of Thesis, and a Comprehensive Examination just prior to graduation. In accordance with graduate school policy, the Computer Science Department has settled on the following examination structure for thesis-track students.

  • The Defense of Thesis component has two parts: public and private
  • To satisfy the public part the student must hold a seminar that is announced and open to the public, and in which the results of the thesis are presented.
  • Within one week of the public seminar, the student must take a private, oral examination that satisfies both the private component of the Defense of Thesis and the Comprehensive Examination.
  • The private oral examination will be attended minimally by all members of the student's Master's graduate committee and may be attended by other members of the faculty.
  • The oral examination will have two components: questions about the thesis (to satisfy the Defense of Thesis component) and questions about subject matter on the student's program of study (to satisfy the Comprehensive Examination component).
  • Carefully note, however, that students must be prepared to answer computer science specific questions that naturally arise during the examination of their thesis, providing them the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to synthesize knowledge of computer science and apply it to their thesis. Thus, it is strongly recommended that students review their coursework and knowledge of the computer science fundamentals underlying their thesis. For example, questions about the time complexity/computability issues involved in their work are likely to arise, as are questions about the content-specific nature of their work.

NOTE: You know the semester in which you intend to graduate. You should begin reviewing your course material, preparing your talk, and getting ready for your defense of thesis in timely fashion without any prompting from the faculty.