Jul 24, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
2020-2021 Graduate Studies Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Computer Science, M.S.

Professor Jeffreys, Graduate Program Director, 516-463-5790

Mission Statement

The mission of the MS program offered by the Department of Computer Science is to develop independent thinkers who can provide leadership in the computing industry or academia, as well as deep insights into the fundamentals of computer science, and a broad perspective on the established and emerging fields of computing.

Program Description

The objectives of the program are twofold: (i) to develop highly qualified professionals capable of adapting with ease to the dynamic field of computing; and (ii) to prepare students interested in pursuing doctoral studies in computer science or related fields. The program provides a strong base in the fundamental areas of computer science, such as algorithms, operating systems and programming languages. In addition, the program offers a large number of electives in important areas such as networking, security, web and mobile application development, and parallel and distributed computing. Students interested in applied computer science may select a concentration either in Web Engineering or Networking and Security. Students may also select a focus in their own particular area of interest by choosing elective courses and/or up to two independent study/research courses under the close supervision of a faculty expert. Faculty fields of expertise include computer vision, artificial intelligence, data mining, software engineering, security, cognitive neuroscience, computational algebra, and logic and programming languages. The 30 s.h. program concludes with a comprehensive project or a master’s thesis.

The degree can be fully completed online or in a hybrid mode with classes both on-campus and online. The program provides flexible course delivery methods to meet the diverse needs of students. All online classes are equivalent to on-campus versions. Course work is available online in the following areas: network security, mobile computing, web application development, distributed and parallel computing, secure systems, security and privacy in a wired world, database management, software project management, algorithms, operating systems, and programming languages. The department also periodically offers state-of-the-art on-campus courses in emerging areas of computing.

Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  2. An undergraduate minimum grade point average of 3.0.
  3. GRE Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing scores must be provided from an examination within the previous five years of the date of application. For non-native speakers of English, a TOEFL may be required unless waived by the program director or the Office of Graduate Admission, after having received evidence of English-language proficiency.

Note: Applicants who have not taken the GRE examinations may be admitted if they meet all other admission criteria and may enroll in graduate courses if they have met individual course prerequisites. To continue in the program, students must take the GREs before completing 6 semester hours of graduate study.

Prerequisite Requirements

  1. Discrete Mathematics
  2. Programming Principles and Techniques
  3. Algorithms and Data Structures
  4. Computer Architecture
  5. Operating Systems
  6. Calculus

Students may satisfy any or all of the listed prerequisites by completing equivalent courses at Hofstra or at any accredited institution. With the permission of the graduate program director, eligible students may elect to sit for proficiency examinations. Applicants without undergraduate computer science degrees may be admitted as provisionally matriculated students if they meet all admission criteria except for the required prerequisites. They may enroll in graduate courses if they meet individual course prerequisites and satisfy the general admission requirements before completing 12 semester hours of graduate study.

Program Requirements - Total Semester Hours: 30

The Master of Science in Computer Science requires the satisfactory completion of a 30-semester hour program, including either a 6-semester hour thesis (CSC 301  and 302 ) or a 3-semester hour project (CSC 300 , 301  or 303 ). Full-time students can complete the program in four semesters. Part-time students usually complete the program in six or seven semesters. At least 27 semester hours must be in graduate computer science courses. Up to 3 semester hours of graduate courses in areas outside of computer science may be taken with the written approval of the graduate program director. At least 24 semester hours must be completed in residence at Hofstra. A minimum 3.0 grade point average with a grade of C or better in all courses is required.

The Master of Science in Computer Science Program requires the satisfactory completion of 

  1. three fundamental required courses (9 semester hours) and two thesis courses (6 semester hours) and 15 semester hours of elective courses, or
  2. three fundamental required courses (9 semester hours) and one capstone project course (3 semester hours), and 18 semester hours of elective courses.

Required Fundamental Courses - Semester Hours: 9


To complete the 30-semester hour program requirement, students select elective courses, including up to two independent study/research courses (CSC 290 A-Z ). For the complete list of graduate courses see the course listings  within this Bulletin.


Interested students may fulfill their elective requirements by fulfilling the requirements for the following concentrations.

(Courses in the concentration can be substituted only with the permission of the graduate program director.)

Web Engineering

Choose any three courses from the following:

Networking and Security

Choose any three courses from the following:

Required Capstone Experience

The capstone experience (thesis or project) should be in the chosen area of specialization. The thesis is a 6- credit undertaking, composed of a sequence of two courses (CSC 301  and 302 ). The project is a 3-credit course (CSC 300 , 301  or 303 ). The thesis is research oriented, with a much larger scope and depth than the project and with a substantial writing component. Both the thesis and the project include a written body of work and a presentation. Students must have completed 18 semester hours of computer science graduate course work prior to beginning their thesis or master’s project. Students should contact the graduate director as soon as they complete 18 semester hours and discuss a possible topic and elective courses that would prepare them for the capstone thesis or master’s project. A student must have a thesis/project adviser and a thesis/project committee prior to registering for a thesis or a project. A thesis/project proposal on approval from the adviser must be submitted to the graduate director. A student defends a thesis at an individual one-hour presentation, whereas a project is presented in a 15-minute presentation as part of a departmental colloquium (or an online presentation is made publicly available on the departmental Web site).

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of all program requirements.
  2. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in overall graduate course work.