Requirements and Regulations

The Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE) offers the Ph.D degree and two master's degrees; the Master of Science (MS, with a required thesis) and the MS (non-thesis). All degrees are designated with the major of computer science and software engineering.

Degree requirements are prescribed by the graduate school as well as CSSE. Graduate school policy, requirements, and degree deadlines may be found in the Auburn University Bulletin and at the Graduate School web site. The following sections describe additional requirements specific to CSSE.


1 Requirements common to all CSSE degrees

1.1 Admission requirements

Please see the Graduate Admissions link.  

1.2 Skill expectations

CSSE graduate courses are based on the assumption that students have demonstrated knowledge in the areas listed below. Students are generally not admitted into the CSSE program if they are missing more than two of the areas. Students that do not have the full complement of foundational courses are responsible for taking those courses (and earn a grade of "B" or better) in their first semester of graduate work. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the graduate program.    

  • C, C++, or Java
  • Data structures
  • Analysis of Algorithms
  • Discrete Structures
  • Operating Systems
  • Computer Organization
  • Software Design

1.3 Minimum enrollment requirements

All graduate students must enroll for a minimum of three credit hours per semester when attending school. Students who have formally defended their research in a previous semester and are only awaiting graduation are exempt from this requirement. Students should not use university resources or expect faculty assistance without being enrolled in a course.

Students who have assistantships (GRA or GTA) and who have not finished their coursework must register for enough hours to be considered full time. Students who have assistantships and who have finished their formal coursework must register for at least three semester credit hours, more if so designated by the source of their funding (adviser, GPO or department chair).

1.4  Plan of study

All students are required to prepare a plan of study where they designate a major professor, advisory committee, courses applied to the degree and transfer courses. The plan of study should be completed at the time a student selects a major professor (see below for details). The plan of study is available from the Graduate School


2 Requirements specific to Master's degrees

2.1 Course requirements

2.1.1  MS  (non-thesis)

The MS (non-thesis) degree requires a minimum of 33 graduate semester credit hours. The following courses are required:

  • COMP6700/6706 Software Process
  • COMP6710/6716 Software Quality Assurance
  • COMP7270/7276 Advanced Algorithms
  • COMP7500/7506 Advanced Operating Systems
  • COMP7300/7306 Advanced Computer Architecture
  • COMP7980/7976 Master of Software Engineering Project  (three semester hours)
  • COMP7xx0/7xx6 7000-level software engineering course of choice

The remaining four courses are at the discretion of the student and major professor. All courses in the degree must be taken for a grade. The exception is COMP7980/7986, the MS (non-thesis) Software Engineering Project, which is offered only in pass/fail format. Students who have taken COMP5700 and COMP5710 are exempt from COMP6700/COMP6706 and  COMP6710/6716.   

A project demonstrating mastery of software engineering is required for the MS (non-thesis) degree. The project includes both software and a written report.  A proposal supporting the project must be approved by the student's advisory committee before work on the project may start. The format for the proposal and the project report are determined by the student's major professor. The project report must be given the department's graduate program office upon completion for filing as a technical report.

2.1.2  Master of Science (MS)

The Master of Science degree (MS) requires a minimum of 30 graduate semester credit hours. The following courses are required:

  • COMP7270/7276 Advanced Algorithms
  • COMP7500/7506 Advanced Operating Systems
  • COMP7300/7306 Advanced Computer Architecture
  • COMP7990         Research and Thesis (4 - 6 semester hours)

The remaining courses are at the discretion of the student and major professor. All courses in the degree must be taken for a grade. The exception is COMP7990, Research and Thesis, which is offered only in incomplete/complete format.

A thesis is required for the MS degree. A written proposal supporting the thesis must be approved by the student's advisory committee before work on the thesis may start. The format for the proposal and the thesis are determined by the student's major professor.

2.2  Repeating courses

  • Students who have taken a 5000-level course at Auburn University may not take the 6000-level equivalent for credit.
  • Master's students may not take more than three credit hours ofDirected Study (COMP7930 or COMP8930).
  • Special Topics, COMP7970/7976/8970, may be repeated provided each entails a change in topic.
  • The MS (non-thesis) Project, COMP7980/7986, may be repeated, but only three credit hours count toward the M.Sw.E degree.
  • Thesis and Research, COMP7990, may be repeated, but only a maximum of six credit hours count toward the MS degree.
  • COMP7980/7986 may not be used as credit for the MS degree; COMP7990 may not be used as credit for the MSwE degree.

2.3 Course transfer

Upon recommendation of the student's advisory committee, a maximum of six semester hours of graduate work completed outside CSSE may be applied toward the master's degree requirements. This includes courses taken in other departments at Auburn University and course work from another university. Only graduate-level courses which resulted in a grade of "B" or better are eligible for transfer. 

2.4 Advisory committee

The student's graduate study shall be directed by a committee of at least three faculty members, one of whom is designated as the major professor. The major professor and at least one committee member must be a resident member of the CSSE department and a member of the graduate faculty. Committee members are selected by the student with the concurrence of the major professor. Committee members selected from outside Auburn University must submit a curriculum vitae to the departmental graduate program officer (csegpo at auburn.edu) before the committee can be approved. Master's students should choose an advisory committee within the first 18 hours of graduate study.  

2.5 Final Master's examination

All students earning the MS degree or the M.Sw.E degree must pass a comprehensive oral examination at the conclusion of their studies. At a minimum, the student presents his/her thesis or project and addresses questions from the advisory committee. At the discretion of the student's committee, the examination may cover material relating to courses the student has taken. Final examinations are open to the public. Students should give an abstract of the thesis or project to the departmental secretary at least one business day in advance of the examination for dissemination to the CSSE graduate student body.


3 Requirements specific to doctoral degrees

3.1 Course requirements

The Ph.D degree requires a minimum of 66 graduate semester credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. Up to 30 graduate semester credit hours of coursework may be applied to the degree, thus reducing the total amount. The following courses are required:

  • COMP7270/7276 Advanced Algorithms
  • COMP7500/7506 Advanced Operating Systems
  • COMP7300/7306 Advanced Computer Architecture
  • COMP8990 Dissertation and Thesis (up to 18 semester hours)

The remaining courses are at the discretion of the student and major professor; however, at least 36 hours of graded graduate coursework taken beyond the baccalaureate degree must be in an area of computer science/software engineering. Eighteen hours of computer science/software engineering coursework must be at or above the 7000-level. All courses must be taken for a grade. The exception is COMP8990, Dissertation and Research hours, which are offered only in a incomplete/complete format.

3.2  Repeating courses

  • Students who have taken a 5000-level course at Auburn University may not take the 6000-level equivalent for credit.
  • Doctoral students may not take more than six hours of Directed Study (COMP7930 or COMP8930).
  • Special Topics, COMP7970/7976/8970, may be repeated provided each entails a change in topic.
  • Dissertation and Research, COMP8990, may be repeated, but only a maximum of 18 hours count toward the Ph.D degree.

3.3 Course transfers

Upon recommendation of the student's advisory committee, a maximum of 30 semester hours of graduate work completed outside CSSE may be applied toward the Ph.D. degree requirements. This includes courses taken in other departments at Auburn University and course work from another university. Only graduate-level courses which resulted in a grade of "B" or better are eligible for transfer. 

3.4 Advisory committee

The student's graduate study shall be directed by a committee of at least four faculty members, one of whom is designated as the major professor. The major professor serves as the chair of the committee and the primary person responsible for mentoring the student. The major professor and at least one committee member must be a resident member of the CSSE department and a member of the graduate faculty. Committee members are selected by the student with the concurrence of the major professor.

Students may elect to have two faculty members share the responsibility of chairing the advisory committee. In such cases, each faculty member is designated a co-chair. One co-chair must a resident member of the CSSE department and a member of the graduate faculty.The other co-chair may come from outside CSSE, but must be a member of the graduate faculty.  

Committee members selected from outside Auburn University must submit a curriculum vitae to the departmental graduate program officer (csegpo@auburn.edu) before the committee can be approved. Doctoral students should choose an advisory committee within the first 18 hours of graduate study.  

Doctoral students should choose an advisory committee within the first 18 hours of graduate study.    

3.5 Doctoral student publication deadlines

A major component of doctor work publication of research results through peer review process. Accordingly, each Ph.D student must meet the following expectations:

  • A Ph.D student must have submitted a (conference or journal) paper for review before the preliminary examination can take place.
  • A Ph.D student must have a minimum of two conference papers published or accepted for publication and one submission to a journal, or a journal paper published or accepted for publication, before the final dissertation defense can take place.

3.6  Doctoral examinations

3.6.1  Academic qualifying exam

Doctoral students have one year to take the following courses (Exception: Distance education doctoral students have two years to complete the courses if they are enrolling in three or fewer credit hours per semester):

  • COMP7500/COMP7506 (Advanced Topics in Operating Systems)
  • COMP7300/COMP7306 (Advanced Computer Architecture)
  • COMP7270/COMP7276 (Advanced Topics in Algorithms)

All doctoral students must be in good academic standing at the time the courses are completed. Students under graduate school academic sanctions are dismissed from the doctoral program.

Students are tested over material from the courses at the beginning of the fall semester following the completion of these courses. The exam is three hours in duration and consists of three distinct components, each component covering a specific course topic. No reference material is allowed in the exam, although examinees may use a nonprogrammable calculator.

Students with a score of 30 percent or less on any exam component are dismissed from the doctoral program. Students scoring more than 30 percent, but less than 70 percent on an exam component must retake that portion of the exam the following year. Such students are strongly encouraged to audit the course corresponding to the failed exam. Students earning less than 70 percent on any retested component are dismissed from the doctoral program.

Doctoral students passing all exam components on the first or second attempt are considered fully qualified to pursue further graduate studies.

Any student dismissed from doctoral students must wait at least five years before reapplying for admission.

3.6.2  General doctoral examination

Successful completion of a general examination (also referred to as the "preliminary examination") over the student's major and minor areas is required to become a Ph.D candidate. This milestone signals that the student is in the research phase of the degree and has selected an acceptable research topic.  The examination shall be administered by the student's advisory committee in accordance with the Auburn University Bulletin. Before this examination can be taken, the student must have:

  • Satisfied the academic qualifying process
  • Submitted a formal research proposal
  • Satisfied publication requirements

The portion of the examination during which the student presents a research topic is open to the public. The student should give an abstract of the research proposal to the departmental secretary at least one business day in advance of the examination for dissemination to the CSSE graduate student body.

3.6.3 Final doctoral examination

The final examination (also referred to as the "final defense") takes place at the conclusion of the student's research. Successful completion of the final examination is required of all students before earning the Ph.D degree. The examination will be administered by the candidate's advisory committee in accordance with the Auburn University Bulletin. Before this examination can be taken, the student must have satisfied all the other requirements for the degree.

This examination is open to the public. The student should give an abstract of the dissertation to the departmental secretary at least one business day in advance of the examination for dissemination to the CSSE graduate student body.

 




Last Updated: 5/28/17 3:56 AM