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About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2019-2020 Program Descriptions Computer Science CPSC
Computer Science - CPSC
Contact Information

Location: Information and Communications Technology Building, Room 602
Program number: 403.220.6015
Fax: 403.284.4707
Email address: cpscappl@ucalgary.ca
Web page URL: cpsc.ucalgary.ca

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MSc), thesis-based

Students may register in the MSc and PhD programs as part-time students only with permission from the department.

Specialization:

  • Software Engineering (MSc students only). The specialization is offered jointly through the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Certificates:

  • Graduate Certificate in Network Security
  • Graduate Certificate in Software Security
2. Admission Requirements

Master of Science

a) An undergraduate background of either:

A four-year bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Computer Science from a recognized institution with a minimum GPA of 3.30 in the last two years (i.e., last 60 units) of the undergraduate program

OR

A four-year bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized institution with a minimum GPA of 3.30 in the last two years (i.e., last 60 units) of the undergraduate program.

In addition, candidates must have an undergraduate course at the 3rd or 4th year level in each of the following computer science areas:

  • Theory of Computation
  • Software Engineering
  • Systems (Operating Systems, Compilers, Distributed Systems, Networking)
  • Application (Artificial Intelligence, Graphics, Databases, etc.)

The cumulative GPA for these courses must be at least 3.30.

Post-degree Computer Science courses may be considered in calculating the GPA. Exceptions to the GPA requirements may be considered for students with either:

  • Demonstrated research excellence, or
  • GRE General scores of at least 600 verbal and 750 quantitative and either 720 analytical (old test format) or 5.5 (new test format).

b) For applicants required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a TOEFL score of 97 (Internet-based test), or an IELTS score of 7.0 or above, or a MELAB score of 83 or above, or a PTE score of 68 or above. This requirement can also be met by completing Tier III of the International Foundations Program with minimum grades of "B" on Academic Writing & Grammar III, "B" on Reading Comprehension & Proficiency III, and "B" on Listening Comprehension & Oral Fluency III.

c) For students applying with degrees from outside Canada, GRE scores are generally expected and will be considered.

d) Two letters of reference.

Master of Science degree with a Specialization in Software Engineering (thesis-based)

Students applying for entry to the Master of Science with a specialization in Software Engineering will be assessed on qualification as in (a) above, but with a GPA of 3.00 and at least three years relevant experience in the software industry following the bachelor’s degree.

Doctor of Philosophy

For students applying with a Master of Science degree, all the requirements for a Master of Science (above) apply, plus a thesis-based Master of Science degree from a recognized institution with a minimum GPA of 3.30.

For exceptional students applying with a Bachelor of Science degree, all the requirements for a Master of Science (above) apply, plus a four-year Honours degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution with a minimum GPA of 3.70 and demonstrated research ability.

Graduate Certificate in Network Security and Graduate Certificate in Software Security

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Admission, the following are required:

a) Undergraduate preparation of either: 

  • A four-year Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Computer Science from a recognized institution; or 
  • A four-year Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized institution. In addition, candidates must have successfully completed an undergraduate course in each of the following areas: 
    • Computer programming with understanding of execution environments (e.g., CPSC 233 or equivalent) 
    • Algorithms and data structures (e.g., CPSC 331 or equivalent) 
    • Either Operating systems (e.g., CPSC 457 or equivalent); or Computer networks (e.g., CPSC 441 or equivalent).

b) Two letters of reference.

Alternate Routes to Admission: In exceptional circumstances (see Admissions - Qualifications), individuals who do not meet formal academic requirements but who have significant life achievement may be considered for admission to the graduate certificate program. The candidate must provide the Information Security Program Director with evidence demonstrating the potential to successfully undertake this certificate program. Such candidates may also be required to participate in an in-person interview with the Program Director and be required to take additional courses to meet completion requirements.

Students who successfully complete one of the graduate certificate programs, and who then apply to the other graduate certificate program within 5 years of completing the first certificate, will not be required to submit reference letters or transcripts.

4. Advanced Credit

MSc and PhD

The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission.

Graduate Certificate in Network Security and Graduate Certificate in Software Security

Advanced credit will not normally be given for either of the certificate programs.

5. Program/Course Requirements

Graduate programs must be chosen in consultation with the supervisor and approved by the Computer Science Graduate Affairs Committee. In addition to the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Science requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Science (thesis-based)

a) Course Requirements: Computer Science 699, plus:

b) Twelve units of additional courses. At least 6 units must be graduate-level computer science courses (labelled CPSC or SENG) and at most 3 units can be an undergraduate course numbered at the 500 level.

We recommend that students who are considering continuing on to a doctoral program or entering certain career paths, select courses that demonstrate some breadth across Computer Science (see PhD Breadth Requirements for courses).

c) Seminar Requirement: Students are required to give a department seminar presentation on a topic related to their graduate research.

Master of Science degree with a Specialization in Software Engineering (thesis-based)

a) Course Requirements: Computer Science 699, plus:

b) Twelve units of additional courses. At least 9 units of these courses must be taken from the approved SENG list (available from the Department), and at most 3 units can be an undergraduate course numbered at the 500 level.

We recommend that students who are considering continuing on to a doctoral program or entering certain career paths, select courses outside the Approved SENG list that demonstrate some breadth across Computer Science (see PhD Breadth Requirements for courses).

c) Seminar Requirement: Students are required to give a department seminar presentation on a topic related to their graduate research.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) Course Requirements: Students will be required to have achieved at least a grade of "B" in at least 24 units beyond the requirements for an undergraduate degree before completion of the PhD degree. At least 9 units of these must be taken while the student is enrolled as a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Calgary. Of the 24 units, at least 18 units must be graduate-level courses, with the remaining 12 units being either graduate-level courses or advanced (500-level) undergraduate courses. At least 12 units of the required courses must be taken from a degree-granting Computer Science Department. In addition to the above courses, Computer Science 699 or equivalent experience is required and does not count toward the minimum 24 units courses above.

b) Breadth Requirements: The above courses must be taken from multiple research areas. Not more than six courses (18 units) in one research area are counted toward the minimum 24 units. Courses in the intersection of two or more areas are counted in the area with the most completed course credits. The current research areas are: Artificial Intelligence and Multi-Agent Systems, Bioinformatics and Biological Computations, Computer Graphics, Computer Vision and Image Processing, Database, HCI and Visualization, Networks and Systems, Security, Theory and Foundations, Scientific Computing, Software Engineering, Other areas in Computer Science, External to Computer Science. Courses outside Computer Science must be approved by the student's supervisor. Credits for courses external to the Department of Computer Science are only given on condition that no Computer Science course which covers similar content is counted toward the required eight courses. These courses will be counted toward the appropriate areas in Computer Science.

c) Seminar Requirement: Students are required to give a department seminar presentation on a topic related to their graduate research.

Graduate Certificate in Network Security

The Certificate requires 12 units of coursework consisting of:

Graduate Certificate in Software Security

The Certificate requires 12 units of coursework consisting of:
6. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

For MSc programs, at most 3 units at the 500 level may be taken as part of the course work requirement. This must be recommended by the supervisor and approved by the Graduate Director.

For PhD programs, at most 6 units at the 500 level may be taken as part of the course work requirement; at most one of these taken while registered in the current PhD program. This must be recommended by the supervisor and approved by the Graduate Director on the normal Doctor of Philosophy Course Approval Form (form available from the Department).

For graduate certificate programs, credit will not normally be granted for undergraduate courses.

7. Time Limit

Expected completion time is two years for thesis-based Master of Science.

Expected completion time for doctoral students entering with a master’s degree is four years, and five years for a student transferring to the doctoral program without a master’s degree.

Expected completion time for the graduate certificates is 12 months, and the maximum time allowed is two years.

8. Supervisory Assignments

MSc and PhD

Generally, students are admitted to a specific research area and supervisor. Sometimes students are admitted to a specific lab or research area only and are assigned an interim advisor. In the latter case, the student must find a permanent supervisor within six months of the start of the program. Students may seek a change in research area or supervisor after admission. Such a change must be satisfactory to the student, and to the proposed new supervisor. Provided this change meets any current supervisory load constraints, this change will be supported and approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Doctoral students select their supervisory committee members in consultation with their permanent supervisors.

Graduate Certificates

Each cohort in the graduate certificates will be assigned to an academic advisor.

9. Required Examinations

Candidacy

Doctoral students must complete a written Field of Study examination, a written thesis proposal, and an oral examination on the thesis proposal. For complete details of the candidacy requirements, see ucalgary.ca/cpsc/graduate/programs/doctoral_phd_thesis_based/current_regulations.

Thesis Examination (MSc and PhD)

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations for Thesis Examinations, the department requires:

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

Thesis examinations are open.

10. Research Proposal Requirements

At the master's level, research proposal requirements are determined by the supervisor.

At the doctoral level, thesis proposal must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee before an oral examination on the proposal is scheduled. For complete details of the requirements, see ucalgary.ca/cpsc/graduate/programs/doctoral_phd_thesis_based/current_regulations.

11. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar. Successful applicants may be offered departmental teaching assistantships and/or research assistantships in their offer letter.

Students should contact the department for information on scholarship deadlines.