Jul 20, 2019  
Graduate Catalog ARCHIVED 2014-15 
    
Graduate Catalog ARCHIVED 2014-15 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Applied Computer Science, MS


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Program Description

The Masters of Science in Applied Computer Science (MSACS) is fundamentally different from traditional computer science programs. Computer science focuses primarily on the theoretical aspects of computer systems and computability. Applied computer science builds upon these same foundations, but emphasizes the practical application of computer science methods to resolve business and other real-world problems through the design and development of software applications and the planning and deployment of computer systems. The curriculum is based on a traditional, graduate-level core curriculum in computer science plus elective courses that provide the student with a depth of knowledge in an applied areas such as cyber operations or software development.

Goals and Objectives

The MSACS student learning outcomes were developed to ensure that all graduates are prepared to enter employment in industry or to continue on in a doctoral degree program. Those goals include the ability to:

  • articulate a solid understanding of the fundamental principles in computer science, in the area of specialization and in supporting areas;
  • apply computer science principles to problems from other domains;
  • conduct research and/or design projects that demonstrate an ability to model, analyze and design computer science processes and systems;
  • communicate technical information, both orally and in writing, in an effective manner.

Program Delivery

Courses in the MSACS program are offered using a variety of instructional delivery methods:

  1. Face-to-face on site in Madison, SD in a traditional classroom setting;
  2. Using interactive video-conferencing via the Dakota Digital Network offered at multiple sites in South Dakota (sites arranged to meet student need);
  3. At a distance via Internet, using a combination of both live and/or encoded streaming videos of classes, interactive course web boards, course web sites, and e-mail. All courses are web-enhanced.

Program Completion

The program can be completed on a full or part-time basis, with classes offered in three academic terms, fall, spring, and summer. Time to complete really depends upon the number of credit hours taken per semester and the number of knowledge support courses needed. Full-time students (9 credit hours per semester) can complete the program in four semesters (assuming two knowledge support courses are required). Students must complete the program within 5 years of the semester of their admission.

Admission Requirements Specific to the MSACS

The Dakota State University Masters of Science in Applied Computer Science program seeks highly motivated individuals with education and professional credentials that will enable them to be successful graduate students. Admission to the program is based upon a combination of the following requirements:

  1. A baccalaureate degree in computer science (or closely related field) from an institution of higher education with full regional accreditation for that degree. International students must have an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree that is the equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree in the U.S.
  2. Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent on an alternative grading system).
  3. Transcript should show completion of courses in key areas: Basic knowledge can be demonstrated in several ways, including:
    • Programming (C, C++) and programming language foundations
    • Data structures and algorithms
    • Math foundations (discrete math)
  4. Satisfactory scores on the GRE and the test must have been taken within the last five years. The test can be waived if one of the following conditions is met:
    • A cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale for a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.
    • Official admission into and demonstrated success in a regionally accredited graduate program in the U.S. Demonstrated success is defined as grades of A or B in at least 9 hours of graduate work;
                                                                OR
    • Graduation from a regionally accredited college/university in the U.S. at least 15 years ago or more.
  5. Students may be required to take undergraduate or foundation classes in order to make up for deficiencies. It is anticipated that there will be few students that require foundation courses so the exceptions will be handled on a case by case basis. 

Entry-Level Knowledge Requirements

Knowledge requirements include:

  • students entering the program will be expected to have a computer science programming background

  • for those without that background, a graduate-level foundation course will be offered that covers essential topics from data structures, algorithm analysis, and object-oriented design

Specific Application Information:

  1. Application deadline: All application materials must be received by June 15th for fall, November 15th for spring, and April 15th for the summer.
  2. Entry Semesters: Students may enter the program in fall, spring, and summer semesters. Applications will be reviewed on a regularly scheduled basis as they arrive. Due to the restrictions on the size of some classes, particularly distance classes, and potential space limitations, applications should be sent as early as possible.

Program Faculty

Dorine Bennett, Richard Christoph, Omar El-Gayar, Pat Engebretson, William Figg, Steve Graham, Tom Halverson, Stephen Krebsbach, Chris Olson, Josh Pauli, Wayne Pauli, Surendra Sarnikar, Ronghua Shan, Zixing Shen, Kevin Streff, Daniel Talley, Yong Wang

Program Requirements

Coursework

The program requires 30 hours beyond the baccalaureate. All students must take the following:

  • Five core courses (15 credit hours);
  • A five-course sequence (15 credit hours) in a career track specialization. Specializations include cyber operations, software development or a custom specialization.

Students who do not meet specific admission requirements may have to take foundational classes as part of their coursework that gets added to their program of study.

Courses Supporting the MSACS program


Required Courses


Required courses are to be taken by everyone admitted to the program, they include five core courses (15 credit hours), five specialization or elective courses (15 credit hours). Core courses build upon the knowledge support courses or appropriate experience.

Specializations


Specializations include a five-course sequence (15 credit hours) in a career track specialization. Specializations include Cyber Operations, Software Development or a Custom Specialization. The Cyber Operations specialization will consist of 15 credits of prescribed course work beyond the program core. The Software Development specialization will consist of 15 credits focused on software design and development along with some elective credits. Students not pursing one of the specializations listed will develop a Custom specialization and plan with an advisor to identify a selection of elective courses to fit their interest area.  

Specializations Include


Assessment/Evaluation Activities


All candidates for graduation must participate in an assessment activity. The Office of Graduate Studies & Research will provide specific information to MSACS students during their final semester. The MSACS students will complete a comprehensive exam.

The results of the exam are used as one means of evaluating the MSACS curriculum by providing information to the faculty who teach the courses.

Course Grades


Course Grades are used as an indirect measure of student attainment of specific program goals and objectives. DSU Policy requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the program, receive no grades below a C, and have no more than 2 grades of a C. If you do not maintain the required “B” average you will be placed on academic probation and given the opportunity to raise your GPA to 3.0 within the next nine credit hours. If you do not raise your GPA to 3.0 you will be suspended from the program. If you receive more than 6 credits of “C” or any grade lower than a “C” you will be suspended from the program. You may appeal the suspension. If students have questions regarding grading, they should review the Satisfactory Progression Policy (DSU Policy 05-34-00) or speak with their advisor.

MSACS Course Rotation


Core Courses


Course #
Course Title
SU 15
FA 15
SP 16
SU 16
FA 16
SP 17
SU 17
FA 17
SP 18
CSC 705 Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms       X     X    
CSC 710 Structure & Design of Programming Language X     X     X    
CSC 714 Database Systems   X     X     X  
CSC 718 Operating Systems & Parallel Programming   X     X     X  
CSC 720 Theory of Computation     X     X     X

Specializations


Cyber Operations


Course #
Course Title
SU 15
FA 15
SP 16
SU 16
FA 16
SP 17
SU 17
FA 17
SP 18
INFA 723 Cryptography     X     X     X
INFA 725 Advanced Network Hacking X     X     X    
INFA 729 Advanced Web Hacking   X     X     X  
INFA 751 Wireless Security   X     X     X  
Choose one elective from the electives list. (Check Web Advisor for availability)                  

Software Development


Course #
Course Title
SU 15
FA 15
SP 16
SU 16
FA 16
SP 17
SU 17
FA 17
SP 18
CSC 716 Secure Software Engineering     X     X     X
CSC 744 Software Development Leadership   X     X     X  
Choose three electives from the electives list. (Check Web Advisor for availability)                  

Custom


Course #
Course Title
SU 15
FA 15
SP 16
SU 16
FA 16
SP 17
SU 17
FA 17
SP 18
Choose five electives from the electives list. (Check Web Advisor for availability)                  

Electives


Course #
Course Title
SU 15
FA 15
SP 16
SU 16
FA 16
SP 17
SU 17
FA 17
SP 18
CSC 533 Computer Graphics (Check Web Advisor for availability)                  
CSC 547 Artificial Intelligence (Check Web Advisor for availability)                  
CSC 586 Data Mining (Check Web Advisor for availability)                  
CSC 712 Data Structures (Check Web Advisor for availability)                  
CSC 716 Secure Software Engineering     X     X     X
CSC 744 Software Development Leadership   X     X     X  
INFA 701 Principles of Information Assurance X     X     X    
INFA 721 Computer Forensics     X     X     X
INFA 723 Cryptography     X     X     X
INFA 725 Advanced Network Hacking X     X     X    
INFA 729 Advanced Web Hacking   X     X     X  
INFA 739 Software Quality Assurance     X     X     X
INFA 751 Wireless Security   X     X     X  

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