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Computer Science Graduate Programs


Master of Science in Computer Science

Graduate Certificates in Computer Science

Vladimir Riabov, Ph.D.

Director of the Computer Science Programs
Department of Mathematics and Computer  Science


Master of Science in Computer Science

For admission into the Master's program or the graduate certificate programs, students must demonstrate competency in the following five knowledge areas:

1.   College-level mathematics
2.   Discrete Mathematics
3.   Programming Fundamentals
4.   Computer Organization
5.   Data Structures and Algorithms

Knowledge areas which have not been satisfied at the time of entrance into the graduate program become additional requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to fulfill all conditions at the earliest possible time, and prior to accumulating 18 graduate credits. Typically, students in the highly- or cross-trained student track have met these requirements prior to the beginning of the program. Students in the retraining student track need to complete one or more requirements.

Students demonstrate competency in the five knowledge areas by satisfying ONE of the following requirements:

1.  Produce undergraduate transcripts that document passing grades in courses related to the five knowledge areas, or
2.  Earn C or better in the following foundation courses:

  • MA 160/165 Calculus I and MA 161/166 Calculus II

  • CS 180 Programming Fundamentals I, or
    CS 181 Programming Fundamentals II

  • CS 245 Computer Organization

  • CS 250 Data Structures and Abstraction, or
    CS 315 Introduction to Algorithms

  • MA 310 Discrete Mathematics, or

3.  Pass a Challenge examination in the required knowledge areas, or
4.  Produce graduate transcripts in a related field of study, such as Mathematics, Sciences, or Engineering.

Challenge exams are given at least a week before the beginning of each academic semester. Failure on passing the exams automatically requires that students register for the corresponding foundation courses.

Degree Requirements (12 courses/36 credits)
Completed with an average of B or higher

    Core Courses (18 credits)

  • CS 552  Object-Oriented Design
  • CS 553  Introduction to Networking Technologies
  • CS 554  Operating Systems
  • CS 556  Computer Architecture
  • CS 557  Algorithms
  • CS 585  Practical Java Programming

    Content Area Courses (15 credits)
          Select five computer science electives. See course listings section entitled Elective Courses.

    Professional Seminar (3 credits)

  • CS 699 Professional Seminar

The selection of six core courses must include CS552, CS553, CS554, CS556, CS557, and CS585. The core courses establish the commonality of theoretical knowledge and professional practice from which the program can be expanded with specialized, diverse, and advanced elective courses.

The selection of the five elective courses can be directed towards a specific area of specialization, or can encompass a variety of courses from more than one area. The electives offered in the program cover four areas of specializations: design, systems, networking, and applications.

Design Area focuses on concepts, frameworks, and practices for designing real-life software applications. Representative electives in this area are: system analysis and design, software engineering, optimization techniques, practical C++ and Java programming, and high-octane java.

Systems Area involves the conception and deployment of system software. Rooted in the core courses of computer architecture and operating systems, this area includes: modern device development, compiler techniques, parallel and distributed computing, and advanced operating systems.

Networking Area offers specialization in the design and deployment of computer networks. This area covers a range of topics including TCP/IP and internetworking techniques, advanced local and wide area networking technologies, client/server computing, computer security, and network management.

Applications Area refers to the design and development of real-life software products that are task or service-oriented. This area applies mathematical and knowledge-based formalisms to practical, technical solutions. Software applications include: computer graphics, intelligent systems, data mining, knowledge-based systems, and multimedia and web applications.

Graduate Certificates

The graduate certificate candidate is required to pass with an average of B or higher 15 credits (5 courses) in one of the following certificates:

  • Advanced Application Programming
  • Information Technology
  • Individualized Studies
  • Networking Technology
  • Software Engineering

Students interested in a more advanced and extensive certificate program can pursue the Advanced Computer Science Studies Certificate. Candidates in this certificate program are required to pass 7 courses (21 credits) with an average of B or higher.

The course sequence of a graduate certificate is determined according to individual learning objectives of each student and in consultation with the director of computer science programs. No more than two Professional Internship courses may count towards a graduate computer science certificate. No transfer credits are acceptable: all certificate courses must be taken at Rivier College. Six credits are waived for the student who wishes a second graduate certificate from Rivier College. This waiver does not apply to degree programs. No more than one Professional Internship course may count towards a second graduate computer science certificate.