Students who have degrees in disciplines other than Computer Science enter the program with a variety of backgrounds. In such cases a student's application is evaluated to determine which foundational courses the student must take in order to gain admittance to the MS program in Computer Science. During the time that the foundational courses are being made up, a student may be enrolled as a non-degree graduate student. Upon successful completion of the foundational courses, the student will then be admitted into the regular MS degree program in Computer Science.

Foundational Courses

The following table lists foundational subjects and their equivalent MSU courses:


  • Grades earned in foundational courses DO count for maintaining satisfactory progress towards the Master's degree. Thus, you must be certain to do well in these classes in order to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average during each semester and to keep your cumulative grade point average above a 3.0, even while taking foundational courses.
  • Students who have foundational courses to make up may begin taking courses at the 400 and 500 level that count towards the MS degree as soon as they complete any prerequisite foundational courses. In other words, a student is not required to wait until completing all foundational courses before he or she begins to take courses that count towards the MS degree, as long as all prerequisites for such courses have been taken.
  • Students who are required to take foundational courses must also complete the full requirements for the thesis or courses-only track in addition to competing the foundational courses.
  • No foundational course can be listed on page two of the Master's Program of Study form. In other words foundational courses do not count towards thesis, or master track credit requirements. Instead, foundational courses must be listed on page three of the Program of Study under "List any courses required by the department that do not count towards degree requirements" section.
  • Students may challenge any foundational course using the MSU's formal challenge procedure. The Math department outlines a more detailed course challenge policy.
  • Students may satisfy CSCI/ESOF foundational courses by taking a higher level course in the same sequence with instructor's permission and earning at least a B-. For example, a student with a CSCI 338 foundational course may request to take CSCI 538. If the instructor admits the student to CSCI 538 and the student earns at least a B- the department will waive the CSCI 338 foundational course. Prior to enrolling in the higher level course, the student must submit the Request to Waive a Foundational Course form to the Master's Program Coordinator, Dr. Wittie.