MS Thesis Requirements | Graduate | Computer Science | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics

MS Degree Thesis Requirements



1. Transferring prior credits - If you have any CS Master's program courses from prior programs (including courses taken as a non-declared graduate student) that you want credit to be transferred to our program, you must submit a memo from your prior program's Graduate Program Director or Computer Science Chair to our Graduate Program Assistant. The memo must be on School of Computing letterhead, indicate the course numbers, the semester and year the courses were taken, and the statement that the courses were not used to meet the requirements of any previous degree program.

2. Meet with Graduate Program Director - You must meet with the Graduate Program Director as soon as possible to discuss your program agenda, course selection, possible research advisor choices, etc. NOTE: If you did not take CS 401, CS 420, and CS 455 in your bachelor's degree or in your master's degree here, then you must register for CS 401, CS 420, and CS 455 as soon as possible. If you have questions about this you must make an appointment to see the Graduate Program Director for him to review your file.

3. Thesis Research Topic and Thesis Defense Committee Advisor - If you are doing Thesis option, you should select a Thesis Committee advisor and research topic area no later than the end of the second semester. The advisor and you will decide when you should register for Thesis Research [CS 599 Section (advisor's 700-number)].

4. Thesis Committee Members - At least one semester prior to your planned thesis defense, you and your advisor should select two (2) additional committee members and provide the Graduate Program assistant with their names. This information should be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant on a paper or email with your name, the committee members' names, and noting which one is the committee Chair (your advisor's name), so a Committee Approval Form can be prepared and submitted to the Graduate School by the Graduate Program Assistant.


A student who has been admitted to the graduate program in Computer Science can meet the requirements for the Master's of Science degree by completing 30 hours of graduate credit subject to the following constraints:

1. Apply to Graduate - No later than the Friday of the second week of the semester in which you wish to graduate, you must apply for graduation with the Graduate School. The form may be obtained on the Graduate School Forms web page. This is the only form from the Graduate School which does not have to be given to the Graduate Program Assistant first; it can be given to and filled out directly by your thesis advisor.

2. Thesis Proposal - At least one month prior to the final oral exam, you should present an outline of the research project to your committee and solicit their comments and suggestions. This may be done through a proposal meeting (but this is to be decided by your advisor). If you need to set up a proposal, reserve the Conference Room and any necessary presentation equipment through the same steps outlined below under Item 4.

3. Thesis Pre-Preparation - You can start writing your thesis at any time before your defense date. You are responsible for having your thesis meet the format requirements of the Graduate School. These may be found on the Web under the Graduate School at "Guidelines for Thesis and Dissertations".

Responsibility for proofreading the grammar, punctuation and formatting rests with you. Your Thesis advisor can make recommendations but should not have to take their valuable time to do any more for you. The advisor is there to help in the topic and research, not the proofreading. Make sure you allow plenty of time to write and proof your thesis. You should utilize the SIUC Writing Center for assistance:

4. Defense (or Proposal) Scheduling - No less than two (2) weeks prior to your defense, you must set a date for defense agreed upon by your Committee members. Deadlines for proposals are not as strict.

Only after ALL the Committee members have agreed on a date,

A) You must confirm with the Main Office to the availability of the Conference Room for a specific time and date prior to completing the announcement form.

B) All students must complete the following Announcement Form for their Defense (or Proposal). Any presentation equipment must be requested within the submission form. 

The form will require that you provide the final formal title of the thesis (or working title for a proposal), approved by the thesis advisor, so papers for the defense may be automatically electronically generated sufficiently in advance for announcing on our website and throughout the School of Computing.

5. The Graduate Program Assistant will prepare the appropriate forms prior to the oral examination and give them to the advisor just prior to or on the day of the oral examination.

6. After the defense, the advisor will return the completed Exit Info and Approval forms to the Graduate Program Assistant.

7. You should make committee-recommended corrections and revisions to your thesis. Using the Format Templates from the Graduate School web page: 

Merge all the pages into one PDF file, save it and have your committee members review it once more for changes and to check your reference citations for format. REMEMBER: The ProQuest UMI company, which the Graduate School uses for theses submission, checks for plagiarism and copyright permission in your paper. Therefore, make sure you have cited everything properly and received and documented any copyright permission.

8. You will then submit your committee-approved thesis electronically to the CS Main Office Assistant. Make any necessary changes to your thesis first before submitting this version to the Graduate School because if the document does not meet the professional standards expected of graduate level work, the computer science program has the right to refuse clearing you for graduation.

9. Follow the "Steps" in the ETD Submission Process at the following webpage:

Upon receipt of your electronic submission, Dr. Ratna Sinha will send you an email either approving your draft or making recommendations for formatting or citation changes to it. Once you have received an "approved" email from her, forward it to the Graduate Program Assistant ( Any questions should be referred to Dr. Ratna Sinha (Woody B114; 618-453-4570).

The Graduate School provides a good checklist to help you at this stage of the process, see

10. Your Committee Chair should submit a PDF of your final approved thesis to the Graduate Program Assistant  at  The Graduate Program Assistant will provide you with one (1) copy of the Thesis Approval form and one (1) copy of the Oral Defense form to take to the Graduate School.

11. You must return all keys, FOBs and/or books belonging to the School of Computing to either the Graduate Program Assistant or the Main Office Assistant.

NOTE: If you are an international student going on Optional Practical Training you must turn in all of your School of Computing issued keys, FOBs, software or textbooks before leaving for OPT. If you should return, you may make arrangements to borrow a lab key for the time you are here.

12. The School of Computing Program Graduation Clearance form received by the School of Computing from the Graduate School will be signed only when the Graduate Program Assistant has received all the above required items (thesis versions, approval email, textbooks, keys, etc.).

SPECIAL NOTE: You must continue to be registered for at least course CS 601 (Continuing Enrollment) for EACH semester (excluding Summer) until you complete all the requirements for your degree and obtain final approval for graduation from the Graduate School.