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Registration FAQ

This section has been set up to answer questions about registration, primarily for incoming students.

If you have any questions not answered fully by this page, feel free to contact either your advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator.

How do I contact my advisor?

You should have received a letter stating that you have been admitted to the program, which should list the name of your advisor. You can also find who your advisor is by contacting the Graduate Program Coordinator.

See the Faculty Member List for phone numbers, email addresses, and web pages of all full-time faculty.

Your advisor should be your primary contact for information about courses and other information about the graduate program. You can also change your advisor if necessary -- in fact, you probably will do so for the final project, selecting an advisor whose knowledge best matches the project area you are interested in.

What if I need to take undergraduate courses?

If your admission letter states that you have been admitted provisionally, then you may be required to take certain undergraduate courses before you are fully admitted to the graduate program -- the specific courses are listed in the letter. If possible, it is a good idea to take those courses as soon as possible.

The below subsections are meant as a general guide to taking such courses -- however, you should contact your advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator when deciding which courses to take when.

What if an undergraduate course is closed?

Many undergraduate courses fill up quickly. However, the department reserves a certain number of seats in each class (sometimes referred to as "closed class permits"), and graduate students for whom undergraduate courses are required have high priority for those permits. Contact your advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator if you need to take an undergraduate class which is closed -- we can usually get you into those classes.

When will undergraduate courses be offered?

We usually -- but not always -- offer sections of CSIS 3722: Development of Databases and CSIS 3723: Networking Concepts and Administration both fall and spring semesters, usually with at least one section in the evening during at least one of the semesters.

We also usually offer both courses in the summer semester. If you are required to take one of these courses, and can be flexible about the time that you can take it, you might want to consider taking it in the summer in order to get them out of the way.

We generally offer a section of SIS 6901: Principles of Computer Programming in the fall semester, usually in the evening.

Can I still take graduate courses?

Note that you do not have to have completed all of your undergraduate requirements before taking graduate courses -- you just have to have taken the undergraduate courses required as prerequisites for that particular course.

What graduate courses should I take?

The below subsections are meant as a general guide to choosing graduate courses -- however, you should contact your advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator when deciding which courses to take when.

Do I have to take core courses now?

In general, it is a good idea to get core courses out of the way if possible -- you are required to take them, and (for now) they are only offered once a year. In addition, they are good preparation (if not outright prerequisites) for other courses.

However, you are not required to take core courses first. It is all right (but not recommended) to postpone a core course, particularly if you have a scheduling conflict of some sort, and if you do not plan on graduating before the next time it is offered.

What graduate electives should I take?

In general, the graduate-level electives (numbered in the 6000s) are specifically meant for students in this program, so they are strongly recommended if you have an interest in that area. We intend to offer them each at least once a year.

Also keep in mind that at least half of your total hours must be at the 6000 level. This means that you will probably need to take some graduate electives at the 6000 level beyond the core courses and the project to fulfil the graduation requirements of the Graduate School.

What swing-level electives should I take?

We also offer a number of "swing" electives (numbered in the 5000s). These courses may be taken by both graduate students and by senior or junior level undergraduate students.

An important thing to keep in mind is that some swing courses are designed to meet the needs of students in this program, while others are specifically meant for seniors in the undergraduate Computer Science program. This doesn't mean that you can't take these courses -- it just means that you should understand what they are intended to cover. If you are possibly interested in continuing on to a Ph.D. program, some of these courses are actually a good idea to take, as they are entry requirements of many Computer Science programs.

In general, if you are considering taking a swing course, it is strongly advised that you talk to your advisor first.

Can I take courses in other departments?

You may take up to 9 semester hours of credit in departments other than Computer Science and Information Systems. Since computing is becoming an increasingly interdisciplinary field, we do encourage this.

However, there are a very large number of graduate courses to choose from in other departments, some of which are appropriate for students and some of which are not. You must get advisor approval before taking a course in another department. It is also a good idea to speak to the instructor of that course as well.

How many courses should I take?

A full time load at the graduate level is 9 semester hours, which is about 3 courses. Keep this in mind if you are on financial aid or are an international student required to be full time.

However, the program has instituted a limit of 12 semester hours per semester (about 4 courses). We have found that it is difficult to thoroughly learn a subject if you are taking too many at a time. In fact, we recommend that incoming students take no more than 9 hours, and that students working full time take no more than 6 hours.

What if a class I want to take is closed?

If a class that you want to take is closed (that is, all seats in the class are taken), it might still be possible to get a closed class permit for it in very limited circumstances. However, the instructor of the course must give their permission, and some classes have a strict limit that cannot be changed based on the size of the lab.

Any such permits are at the discretion of the Graduate Coordinator and Department Chair, who may also choose to limit the size of a class. If a class you are considering is closed, you may need to think about what else you could take instead.