Jul 15, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Computer Science, Non-Thesis, MS

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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College of Science and Engineering

Graduate Faculty

Ahmed, Shameem, PhD, information and communication technology for development, human-computer interaction, health, mobile computing.
Clauson, Aran, PhD, embedded systems, programming, and aviation.
Deneke, Wesley, PhD, artificial intelligence, simulation, virtual reality.
Du, Hanxiang, PhD, Curriculum & instruction, educational technology.
Elglaly, Yasmine, PhD, accessible computing.
Hao, Qiang, PhD, computing education, human-computer interaction, learning technologies.
Hardin, Caroline, PhD, computer science education, digital privacy.
Harris, Kameron, PhD, computational neuroscience, machine learning, applied mathematics.
Hong, Hsiang-Jen, PhD, cybersecurity, blockchain technologies, combinatorial optimization.
Huang, Fuqun, PhD, Systems engineering, software dependability.
Hutchinson, Brian, PhD, machine learning, speech and language processing, optimization.
Idriss, Tarek, PhD, lightweight security, machine learning, internet of things.
Jagodzinski, Filip, PhD, computational structural biology, big data, integrated information systems.
Liu, Yudong, PhD, natural language processing, applications of eye-tracking.
Mare, Shrirang, PhD, security & privacy, human-computer interactions.
Nelson, Philip A., PhD, parallel and distributed computing, compilers, operating systems.
Nilles, Alexander, PhD, robotics.
Sharmin, Moushumi, PhD, human-computer interaction, information visualization, mobile health, privacy.
Tan, See-Mong, PhD, operating systems, distributed systems, networking.
Tsikerdekis, Michael, PhD, cybersecurity, social computing, online deception, machine learning.
Wehrwein, Scott, PhD, computer vision, computational photography and videography, computer graphics.

Program Advisor: Moushumi Sharmin

Send e-mail related to the graduate program in computer science to sharmim@wwu.edu. For further information concerning the program, consult the departmental website at cs.wwu.edu/computer-science-masters-program.


  • To graduate students with a strong, in-depth background in computer science.
  • To engage students in high quality research-oriented projects.
  • To prepare students for PhD programs and/or advanced industry opportunities.


  • To educate students in core concepts in computer science.
  • To provide students with in-depth knowledge, skills, and experiences in computer science.
  • To focus on the applied aspects of computer science, especially real-world projects that use core concepts and expert knowledge of computer science.
  • To provide students and faculty opportunities to engage in research in computer science.


Students who have completed an undergraduate degree and who meet the requirements of the Graduate School and who show evidence of superior scholarship are invited to apply for admission to the graduate program in computer science. Students may be admitted into the computer science master’s degree program in one of three ways: full admit, full admit with prerequisite course work, and provisional admit. Students who have a sufficient background in computer science, i.e. an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, and who meet the general requirements of the Graduate School can be given a “full admit.” Due to the nature of this field of study, it is often the case that students with an undergraduate degree in an area other than computer science seek admission to the graduate program in computer science. Such students usually require a number of prerequisite undergraduate courses before they can embark on their graduate studies. If they meet the other requirements of the Graduate School, such students can usually be given a “full admit with prerequisite course work.” The student is admitted into the graduate program but is required to complete a number of undergraduate prerequisite courses. Other constraints may be placed on such admissions, such as a minimum acceptable grade(s) for the prerequisites and perhaps a time frame for completion of the prerequisites. The exact nature of the composition of the prerequisite course work will be determined on a case-by-case basis. In rare cases, students who do not meet the general requirements of the graduate school, for example do not have the required minimum GPA, can be given a “provisional admit” provided their background is such that it indicates a high probability of success in the program.
In case of provisional admission, the program advisor may interview the candidate individually and consider the following factors:

  1. Related background knowledge and work experience
  2. Classes taken since graduation
  3. Reference letters
  4. Statement of purpose

Application Information

Admission Deadlines: Fall, priority deadline is March 1 (applicants received by this date will receive a response by April 15, however applications will continue to be accepted until April 15); Winter, October 1; Spring, January 10.

TA Deadlines: Same as admission deadlines. Application requirements and forms are available from the Graduate School website.

Test scores: The GRE is not required.

Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose should explain the range of experiences and events in your educational career to this point, and detail how they have contributed to your interest in a masters degree in CS at Western. Consider also explaining your qualifications, your academic future and career goals, as well as any other information that the admission committee might find useful in assessing your credentials for admission to the graduate program.

Program Requirements (56-57 credits)

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum consists of four courses of 4 credits each.

  •   Credits: 4
  •   Credits: 4
  •   Credits: 4
  •   Credits: 4
  • All students in the MS in computer science program must complete three of these four courses.


  • The following courses must be taken by all students for a total of 9 credit hours.

  •   Credits: 1
  •   Credits: 2

    Elective Courses

    All students must take a minimum of 16 credits of electives. These electives may include the fourth core class as an elective. A maximum of 4 credits of CSCI 400 level credits may used for electives, but must be approved by the graduate committee before enrollment. Elective courses may support the area of research of the student.

    Research Experience

    In addition to the core courses, elective courses and the graduate seminars, all students in the MS in computer science program are required to take a minimum of three research experience courses. The research experience courses are tied to one of a number of ongoing projects in the computer science department. Effectively, the student is joining that research team effort by registering for these courses. As such, the student should discuss their intentions with the faculty members involved in that project prior to registering for these courses. The research experience course is CSCI 692 and must be taken 3 or 4 times. To receive credit for the research classes, the student must write a research paper by the final quarter of research that is submitted to a refereed conference or journal with advisor approval and present their research in CSCI 591. The total credits of research and elective credit must be 35 or 36 credits.

    Total Credit Hours Required for the MS Degree in Computer Science

    Core Courses: 3 courses x 4 credits = 12 credits Graduate Seminar: 9 credits Elective Courses: Minimum of 16 credits Research Experience Courses: Minimum of 15 credits Total: 56 or 57 credits

BS Pre-Masters and MS Fast Track Programs

For students who complete their undergraduate study in computer science at WWU there is an option by which at the end of an additional four quarters of study past the BS degree they will have completed all requirements for the MS degree. To participate in this program, a student must request enrollment in the undergraduate Pre-Masters Program in computer science. To be admitted to this program, the student must have an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.0 in all undergraduate computer science classes. Students should apply for admission into the undergraduate Pre-Masters Program during the junior year of study.

Once admitted to this program, the student will take three of the four core graduate courses and one graduate elective while an undergraduate. These courses will substitute for four senior-level courses the student would normally take as an undergraduate. The course substitutions are: CSCI 509 replaces CSCI 447, CSCI 510 replaces CSCI 401, CSCI 511 replaces CSCI 405, CSCI 512 replaces CSCI 410 and a graduate elective replaces an undergraduate elective. A student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 in these courses. Students who graduate with the Pre-Masters degree in the WWU computer science program are eligible to enroll in the Fast Track MS program.

The Fast Track Masters requires 12 to 16 credits of elective work, 15 to 20 credits of research experience and 8 graduate seminar credits for a total of 39 or 40 credits. The standard load is one elective class, one research class and two credits of graduate seminar each quarter.  One quarter would have either one elective or one research class and the graduate seminar. If two credits of graduate seminar are taken during the Pre-Masters program, it is possible to complete 20 credits of electives, 15 credits of research and the final 6 credits of graduate seminar in only three additional quarters.

Total Credit Hours Required for the Fast Track MS Degree in Computer Science

Elective: minimum of 12 credits, Research: minimum of 15 credits, Graduate Seminar: 8 credits, Total: 39 or 40 credits

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