Master's Degree Program

Research with reach.

  • We offer three Master's level graduate programs leading to the degree of Master of Science (MSc): a Thesis Option, a Project Option, and an Industrial Option. The Industrial Option is available with the September entry only.
  • We also participate in the Co-operative Education program at the graduate level.
  • UVic's Department of Computer Science is recognized as being among the best in Western Canada.
  • We are a medium-sized department - students get lots of individual attention and graduate classes are small.
  • We concentrate on a few research areas and are world class performers in those areas.
  • Our programs' graduates have an excellent record of employment in challenging jobs in academia, industry and government.

Please use the MSc Program Menu on the right to navigate this page.

 

MSc PROGRAMS


Students admitted to the Master’s program are expected to:

  • write and successfully defend a thesis or a project report;

  • fulfill the course requirements;

  • fulfill the breadth requirements;
  • have yearly progress reports.
  • be familiar with and follow the Department MSc Regulations & Procedures


SEE:   MSc Regulations and Procedures

A summary of the educational programs available is illustrated below:

 

Thesis Option Required Courses

The Master's Program consists of a minimum of 15 units which include course work, a research skills course (CSC 595) and a Master's thesis (CSC 599). All courses are valued at 1.5 units. These are Computer Science or SENG courses. At least 12 units of the program must be at the 500 level or higher. The remaining unit must be at the 400 level or higher.

CSC 595           Research Skills (1.5 units)  (formerly called: Graduate Seminar)

CSC 5xx            3 courses at the 500 level (4.5 units)

CSC 4xx            2 courses at the 400 or 500 level (3 units)

CSC 599           Master's thesis (6 units)

Students must achieve a GPA of at least B for every session registered; every grade of B- or lower taken for credit must be reviewed.

No more than 3 courses in the MSc program should be in the same breadth category of the thesis topic.

Breadth Requirements

In order to define the breadth requirements, three major categories are identified within Computer Science: Systems, Theory and Applications. Each category is subdivided into areas that represent a range of the fields of computer science, as given in the table below:

Systems

Theory

Applications

Software Engineering

Design and Analysis of Algorithms

Databases

Programming Languages

Scientific Computing

Artificial Intelligence

Hardware and Software Systems

Complexity Theory

Bioinformatics

Networks and Distributed Systems

Logic and Discrete Mathematics

Graphics and User Interfaces

Areas not listed above may be acceptable if documented and approved by the supervisory committee. It is up to the student to justify which category the course should be classified in and its value to the academic program. For example, the area of “Databases” might fit within the “Applications” category, or it may be considered as an area in either the “Theory” or “Systems” category, depending on the academic content being evaluated.

The Supervisory Committee is responsible for checking that the breadth requirement is satisfied correctly according to the expectations and to any variations. Explicit notes must be included about the breadth requirement at every progress report.

BREADTH REQUIREMENT:  template

 

Thesis and Oral Examination

The Faculty of Graduate Studies states the following guidelines regarding an acceptable thesis for a successful MSc program:

  • The thesis must demonstrate that a student understands and is capable to employ research methods and has command of the subject.
  • If the work is based on data, the data may be new data or provided by others.
  • The thesis should show evidence of perspective on the topic and show that appropriate methodology has been understood and applied.
  • The thesis should include a general overview of relevant literature and show that the student is capable of writing a well-organized professional technical document.
  • The thesis must provide evidence of some new contribution to the field of existing knowledge or a new perspective on existing knowledge.

The student will give an oral examination of the thesis in accordance with the departmental and university regulations.  Upon successful completion of the oral examination and all other departmental and university requirements, the student will be awarded the degree of Master of Science.

Finishing your degree? See CHECKLIST of tasks to complete leading up to your oral exam.

Thesis Writing Starter Kit

(Start of Page)
UVic's Counselling Services and the Centre for Academic Communications have partnered to create a starter kit for graduate students dealing primarily with strategies for group writing. The kit also includes useful information to help kick-start individual writing strategies to increase efficiency and productivity.  See:  Thesis Writing Starter Kit

MSc Thesis Option Program Length

The normal expectation is to complete the program in 5 terms (20 months). Students enrolled in a co-operative education program will have additional months added to the normal completion times equal to the time spent on co-op work terms. In all cases, the department expects students to complete their Master's degree within the maximum time limits set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The minimum regular program fee for a master's degree is 5.0 tuition installments which can consist of a combination of regular full and regular half tuition installments. One (1.0) additional regular tuition installment will be assessed if a student remains registered after having paid 5.0 regular full tuition installments (for a total regular tuition of 6.0).

Sample Thesis Option Masters Academic Program

Term 1

2 courses + CSC 595

Initial background research

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

OR

3 courses

Initial background research

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Term 2

3 courses

Initial background research

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

OR

2 courses + CSC 595

Initial background research

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Term 3

Research on thesis and write plus TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Term 4

Research on thesis and write plus TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Term 5

Finish up plus TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Project Option Required Courses

The Master's Program consists of a minimum of 15 units which include course work, a research skills course (CSC 595) and a Master's project (CSC 598). All courses are valued at 1.5 units. These are Computer Science or SENG courses. At least 12 units of the program must be at the 500 level or higher. The remaining unit must be at the 400 level or higher.

CSC 595            Research Skills (1.5 units)  (formerly called: Graduate Seminar)

CSC 5XX            5 courses at the 500 level (7.5 units)

CSC 4XX            2 courses at the 400 or 500 level (3 units)

CSC 599            Master's project (3 units)

 

MSc Project Report and Oral Examination

The Faculty of Graduate Studies does not have at the present precise guidelines regarding an acceptable project for a successful MSc program. It is understood however that a project is smaller than a thesis both in scope and implementation. The following points remain in common with the expectations for a thesis, albeit on a smaller scale:

  • The project must demonstrate that a student understands and is capable to employ research methods and has command of the subject.
  • If the work is based on data, the data may be new data or provided by others.
  • The project should show evidence of perspective on the topic and show that appropriate methodology has been understood and applied.
  • The project report should show that the student is capable of writing a professional technical document.

Finishing your degree? See CHECKLIST of tasks to complete leading up to your Non-thesis oral exam.

MSc Project Option Program Length

The normal expectation is to complete the program in 5 terms (20 months). Students enrolled in a co-operative education program will have additional months added to the normal completion times equal to the time spent on co-op work terms. In all cases, the department expects students to complete their Master's degree within the maximum time limits set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The minimum regular program fee for a master's degree is 5.0 tuition installments which can consist of a combination of regular full and regular half tuition installments. One (1.0) additional regular tuition installment will be assessed if a student remains registered after having paid 5.0 regular full tuition installments (for a total regular tuition of 6.0).

Sample Project Option Masters Academic Program

Term 1

2 courses + CSC 595

Initial background research

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

OR

3 courses

Initial background research

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Term 2

3 courses

Initial background research

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

OR

2 courses + CSC 595

Initial background research

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Term 3

2 courses

Research on thesis and write

TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Term 4

Research on thesis and write plus TA work (max 12 hours/week)

Term 5

Finish up plus TA work (max 12 hours/week)

 

Industrial Option Required Courses

The Master's Program consists of a minimum of 15 units which include course work, a research skills course (CSC 595) and an Industrial project (CSC 597).These are Computer Science or SENG courses. All courses are valued at 1.5 units.

CSC 595             Research Skills (1.5 units)  (formerly called: Graduate Seminar)

CSC 5XX             6 courses at the 500 level (9 units)

CSC 4XX             2 courses at the 400 or 500 level (3 units)

CSC 597             Industrial project (1.5 units)

Students must achieve a GPA of at least B for every session registered; every grade of B- or lower taken for credit must be reviewed.

Industrial Project Report and Non-thesis Oral Examination

A student who chooses the industrial option will also have a non-thesis oral examination. It is understood however that a project is smaller than a thesis both in scope and implementation. The following points remain in common with the expectations for a thesis, albeit on a smaller scale:

  • The project must demonstrate that a student understands and is capable to employ research methods and has command of the subject.
  • The amount of work required to complete the project should be equivalent to one, 1.5 unit course.
  • The project should show evidence of perspective on the topic and show that appropriate methodology has been understood and applied.
  • The project report should show that the student is capable of writing a professional technical document.

Finishing your degree?  See CHECKLIST of tasks to complete leading up to your Non-thesis oral exam.

Industrial Option Program Length

The normal expectation is to complete the program typically in 4 to 5 terms. Students may also enroll in additional co-operative education work terms and thus have the opportunity to gain work experience. Students enrolled in co-op will have additional terms added to their degree equal to the time spent on the co-op work terms. The minimum regular program fee for a master's degree is 5.0 tuition installments which can consist of a combination of regular full and regular half tuition installments. One (1.0) additional regular tuition installment will be assessed if a student remains registered after having paid 5.0 regular full tuition installments (for a total regular tuition of 6.0).

Sample Industrial Option Masters Academic Program

Term 1

2 courses + CSC 595

Term 2

3 courses

Term 3

3 courses

Term 4 or 5 Capstone project course


SEE:   MSc Regulations and Procedures

Registration in Courses

The executive summary: you must be registered *every* term, no matter what.

To be in full time status, you must be registered for at least 3.0 units each term. IF you happen to be taking only 1 course in a particular term, then you should also register in the thesis or project (CSC 599 or 598) in order to maintain your full time status.

To learn how to register in coursework, visit: 

http://www.uvic.ca/registrar/assets/docs/registration/Student_Registration_Tutorial.pdf

Not all courses are available for online registration! A MSc student may opt to enroll in 4xx level courses or in a course outside of the department as part of the program (e.g. a MATH course or even a SENG course is seen as "not CSC"). For this type of registration, you cannot register online and *must* instead complete the *Graduate Course Change* form. The steps are as follows:

  • Download the registration form for printing from the Graduate Studies website
  • Complete your part of the form.
  • Have the form signed by the course instructor (email approval can be attached to the form).
  • Have the form signed by your supervisor who must include a brief comment as to why this course will be beneficial for your graduate degree.
  • Finally you must take the form to the graduate secretary to obtain the graduate advisor's signature.
  • The form will then be submitted to Graduate Admissions & Records for manual input.

To Audit a course as a continuing graduate student: add the audit course by completing a *Graduate Course Change* form.

The CAPP (Curriculum Advising & Program Planning -form)

The CAPP (Curriculum Advising and Program Planning) report is an electronic record of your degree program. It is designed to show you what you have finished and what is remaining in your program. Graduate students are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of their registrations and for the completion of all program requirements as specified in the Graduate academic calendar. It is your responsibility to review your record for outstanding requirements at the beginning of each term. If there is any inconsistency in your CAPP report with what you thought your program should look like, discuss it *immediately* with your supervisor and/or the graduate secretary and/or the graduate advisor.

MSc COMMITTEES

 

Msc Supervisory Committee

For both the MSc Thesis Option and Project Option Programs, the student's program of study is under the direction of a Supervisory Committee. The primary supervisor is from the student's home department. The other member of the Supervisory Committee is normally also from the Department of Computer Science, but can be from outside the department.

For the MSc Thesis Option Program, the Supervisory Committee consists of a minimum of two members: an academic supervisor from the home academic unit plus at least one member from within the home academic unit.

For the MSc Project Option Program, the Supervisory Committee consists of a minimum of two members: an academic supervisor from the home academic unit plus at least one member who may be from outside the home academic unit.

The Relationship between Students and the Supervisory Committee

 In-depth explanations and detailed guidelines for the joint responsibilities towards a successful graduate program can be found in the document entitled “Responsibilities in the Supervisory Relationship Policy” from the Faculty of Graduate Studies. It is important and expected that both students and members of the Supervisory Committee are knowledgeable and familiar with the document.

Annual Progress Reports

 Your MSc supervisor is responsible for providing regular reports to evaluate progress in the graduate program. The progress report is a requirement of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and cannot be waived by any department. However, its administration is determined by individual departments.

The purpose of the annual report is to support the successful progress of a student through a graduate program. The review of accomplishments and milestones achieved during a 12-month period is a constructive tool to move forward successfully. Achievements need to be acknowledged and rewarded, possible impediments need to be examined and actions for their removal agreed upon. The progress report must be compiled and submitted at least once in every 12 month period of a graduate program. The expected submission date is August 1 of each year. Failure to submit a progress report may result in students being unable to register for the following term and will be reported to the department’s Chair by the Graduate Advisor.

How to submit an Annual Progress Report

  1. Students supply the information required to complete a report well in advance of the submission deadline. This information includes: name and student number, courses, TA work, financial support, co-op work-terms, etc.
  2. Supervisors should present the information, together with their evaluation, to the other members of the Supervisory Committee and collect any pertinent feedback.
  3. Supervisors should summarize the complete evaluation from the committee in writing.
  4. Students and supervisors should meet and discuss the evaluation.
  5. Any actions expected for the continuing time in the program should be articulated in writing and agreed upon.
  6. Students have the opportunity to attach their own comments in writing.
  7. Both students and supervisors must sign the final document. The signature of the supervisor acknowledges that the supervisory committee has been consulted and the report has been discussed with the student. The signature of the student acknowledges that the report has been discussed with the supervisor and an opportunity given to include comments.

ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT:  template

 

MSc Examining Committee

For the MSc Thesis Option, the final Oral Examining is composed of the Supervisory Committee and one other external examiner who has had no previous involvement with graduate supervision of the candidate. Such an examiner is recommended to graduate studies in consultation between the student and the supervisor. The final Oral Examining Committee must include at least one person from outside the department of Computer Science. Thus if the Supervisory Committee already includes a member from outside the department of Computer Science, the examiner can be a member of the department. A Chair of the Oral Examination Committee is appointed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

For the MSc Project Option, the final Oral Examining Committee is composed of the Supervisory Committee plus a Chair who is normally a member of the department of Computer Science.

Graduate Studies Committee

The department’s Graduate Studies Committee is composed of faculty members from the department, as well as one Graduate Student Representative. This committee is responsible for admission decisions, curriculum deliberations, administration of policies and procedures, and determinations of graduate awards. The Graduate Advisor is the Chair of this committee and the formal liaison officer between the department and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.