College of Sciences

Department of Computer Science

The UMass Lowell computer science graduate program provides computer scientists with an education of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare them for leadership positions in both industrial and academic environments. It is distinguished by a balanced mixing of the practical, engineering aspects of computer science, with substantial exposure to the theoretical foundations of the field. This mission is supported by departmental and university research labs and Centers. Our graduate program is intended primarily for students with undergraduate degrees in computer science, or for those who have completed a degree in a related area (Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Management, etc.) and who possess a substantial background in computer science. Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of computer science applications, the program features cooperation with allied departments in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Students with strong interdisciplinary interests and abilities will be encouraged and advised on an individual basis. 

Master of Science
Master of Science, Entrepreneurship Option
Doctor of Philosophy
Admission Requirements


The Computer Science Department has strong industrial ties through its faculty members, its participation in the research activity in various University Centers, its internal laboratories and institutes, its continuing relationships with many local computer and software manufacturers, and its industrial advisory committee. These relationships provide sources of short and long range research projects, hardware donations and student funding, while also providing insight to and understanding of the short and long term directions of local industry. To support instructional and research activities, the Department of Computer Science maintains a large heterogeneous network, including PCs, workstations, and a collection of more specialized equipment. All systems and servers are connected to /accessible via the University’s network.

Department Research Groups / Laboratories:

 The Master of Science Degree Program

The Master of Science degree program in Computer Science serves several audiences, from the professional with extensive industrial experience to the recent graduate aiming ultimately for an advanced research degree. In all cases, a major objective is to prepare the student for a professional work environment in which continued growth is the norm.

The Computer Science Department offers to outstanding undergraduates a Bachelor's-Master's (BS/MS) program. The major advantage of this program is that it allows students to integrate their undergraduate and graduate education, possibly reducing the amount of time required for completion and reducing the administrative overhead for the student.

To be accepted into the BS/MS program, students are expected to have at least a B (3.0) grade point average, both overall and in Computer Science, and to apply during their junior year. The rules governing eligibility for the program appear in the current Graduate Catalog.

 The Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

The Doctor of Philosophy degree program aims to provide a student, whether planning on an industrial or academic career, with a challenging research environment and the opportunity to tackle theoretical or applied projects of major scope, depth, and originality. 

Admission Standards and Criteria

General Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for admission listed in this catalogue, applicants for admission to the graduate program at both the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy level are expected to have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or a related discipline such as Mathematics, Physics, or Engineering. They should submit the official application obtainable from the Graduate Admissions Office. Besides undergraduate transcripts and letters of recommendation, applicants are expected to submit an official score from the Graduate Record Examination, with the general part required and the advanced computer science part recommended. Any student may be required, at the discretion of the department, to complete transitional or remedial courses without graduate credit.

MS Requirements

In order to be fully matriculated into the MS program, students must demonstrate competency in the following eight knowledge areas:  

  • C or C++ programming and Data Structures
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Calculus
  • Analysis of Algorithms
  • Programming Languages
  • Computer Architecture
  • Operating Systems
  • Automata Theory

Competency is typically demonstrated by producing a transcript of previous academic experience which contains passing grades in courses related to these seven areas, or by earning a B or better in the courses below. Knowledge in areas that have not been satisfied at the time of entrance into the M.S. program become conditions on full matriculation. It is the student's responsibility to fulfill his /her conditions at the earliest possible time.

The following table lists courses which satisfy each of the eight knowledge areas.


  • 91.250 Accelerated C with Data Structures, or
  • 91.101 Computing I and 91.102 Computing II, or
  • 92.267 C Programming and 92.360 Data Structures

Discrete Math:

  • 91.500 Fundamental Models, or
  • 92.321 Discrete Math I and 92.322 Discrete Math II


  • 92.131 Calculus I and 92.132 Calculus II


  • 91.404/94.404 Analysis of Algorithms


  • 91.301/94.301 Organization of Programming Languages


  • 91.305/94.305 Computer Architecture

Operating Systems:

  • 91.308/94.308 Introduction to Operating Systems

Automata Theory:

  • 91.304/94.304 Foundations of Computer Science

These last five courses generally are generally offered each semester; registration is restricted to graduate students who are satisfying conditions on admission.

Ph.D. Requirements

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program requires the demonstration of knowledge of computer science at the Master's degree level, as evidenced by the successful completion of appropriate course work. To be admitted to doctoral candidacy, the student must pass a written departmental qualifying examination. At a subsequent oral examination, the student, under the direction of a faculty advisor, will propose a thesis topic and demonstrate his/her qualifications to pursue the research. Preparation of the thesis will be directed by a faculty advisor, and the completed thesis will be defended before a committee approved by the department. Representatives of industry and other universities may participate in thesis direction and support.

Financial Support

The Department has a limited number of teaching assistantships available to qualified graduate students. These assistantships can be renewed for up to four semesters. Other support is available through funded research programs in the departmental laboratories and, possibly, through support from other university departments.