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Graduate Resources


For Students

Academic and Research Advisors

As a new graduate student, you will typically be assigned an academic advisor by the Department when you first join the graduate program. You should contact your advisor to discuss your choice of courses to take in the first semester. Subsequently, you should also meet with your advisor at least once a semester to decide what courses to take in the following semester. The advisor is available to you as an important resource on academic issues. If you need help on any curriculum-related subject or have questions about the degree requirements, you should not hesitate to contact your advisor. Ultimately, you are responsible for making sure that you satisfy all requirements for your graduate degree. However, an advisor can help you avoid mistakes and guide you to understand what the requirements may mean in your specific context.

If you are a PhD student or you are an MS student who is interested in research, you are encouraged to find a research advisor within your first year of study. You must have a research advisor before you start the PhD Preliminary Exam.  Once you have a research advisor, he/she will also become your academic advisor. A research advisor must be a member of the CIS tenure-track You may have a research advisor from another department within the University, in which case you will be asked to have a co-advisor from within the CIS Department.

New Graduate Student Colloquium

Every Fall semester, the Department offers a special Colloquium course called “New Graduate Student” Colloquium or SIGNewGrad. If you are a new student entering our graduate program (either MS or PhD) in the Fall semester, then you must sign up for the SIGNewGrad Colloquium in your first semester. If you enter our program in the Spring semester, then you should take SIGNewGrad in the following Fall semester.

The SIGNewGrad Colloquium course has sessions on diverse topics that should be helpful to new graduate students. These topics include the academic requirements for the MS and PhD degrees, how to succeed in graduate school, computer science careers in academia and industry, and use of local resources such as the Library and the Writing Center. The Colloquium also features individual presentations by the department faculty on their research. These presentations should help new students to become familiar with the different research areas in the Department. New students are encouraged to directly contact faculty whose research they find interesting and to get involved with a research group as early as possible.

Each semester you should explicitly register for CISC 890 – Colloquium which means sign up and satisfactorily participate in one of the Department’s special research interest groups. The Colloquium courses are informally called SIGs (Special Interest Groups); they are 0 credits and taken on a Pass/Fail basis. Each semester, multiple Colloquium courses are offered in different research areas. One faculty member for each research group will be responsible for overseeing satisfactory participation for each student on an individual basis (e.g., simply attending, giving a presentation, etc.) and will assign a pass/fail grade accordingly. You should familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of the Colloquium course that you are signed up for and should make sure that you meet the requirements to avoid getting a failing grade.

If you are an MS student, then you will need 3 semesters of passed CISC 890 to graduate, including SIGNewGrad in your first Fall semester. This is a requirement for graduation and it is strictly enforced. If you have not met this requirement, then you will not be able to graduate even if you have met all other requirements. If you are a PhD student, then you must complete all requirements for the MS degree (except in some situations, click here) which then means that you also must complete at least 3 semesters of CISC 890.

If you are a part-time student, then you should talk to your advisor to draw up a plan for how and when to take the Colloquium courses. You may also request the Graduate Program Committee to approve your plan to meet your special circumstances.

PhD students are strongly encouraged to enroll in and participate in the Colloquium courses even after their three required Colloquium courses have been completed.

Policy on Independent Study and Research Courses

As a graduate student, you are encouraged to participate in the research activities of the Department by taking CISC 666, CISC 866-Special Problems and Independent Study or CISC 868-Research. This is especially true of potential PhD students. No more than three credits of CISC 666, CISC 866 or CISC 868 (combined) may be applied toward meeting the requirements for the MS degree, or used in satisfying the required minimum grade average without prior written approval from the Graduate Program Committee.

The Graduate Program Committee may allow a student to take up to six credits (two courses) of Special Problem, Independent Study, or Research provided the work performed is in two different research areas. Students doing a master’s thesis may also be allowed to take three credits (one course) of Special Problem, Independent Study, or Research in addition to the six credits of CISC 869-Master’s Thesis provided the work performed in the Independent Study course is in a different research area than the master’s thesis. In all such cases, you must obtain prior written approval from the Graduate Program Committee.

None of the 866, 868, or 869 courses may be used to satisfy the requirement of 800-level courses for the MS degree. Moreover, PhD students may not use these courses for the additional six credits of PhD coursework beyond the MS degree.

No Duplicate Credit for Certain 400/600 - Level Courses

Certain 400 and 600 level courses taught by our department have substantial overlap in content. If you have previously taken the 400-level course, then you cannot get credit for the corresponding 600-level course. A common situation where this policy applies is when you took the 400-level course while enrolled as an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware. If you then join our graduate program as an MS or PhD student, then you will not be allowed credit for the corresponding 600-level course. If you are in this situation, then you should consult with your advisor and/or the Graduate Program Committee to come up with a plan of study that avoids these courses and also fulfills all the requirements for your graduate degree. Since most of these courses are breadth courses, you may have to select alternate courses that meet the breadth requirement. The same applies to courses used for the PhD preliminary exam course requirement.

Below is a complete list of current courses for which duplicate credit is not allowed:

CISC 401 / 601 (Elements of the Theory of Computation)
CISC 404 / 604 (Logic in Computer Science)
CISC 414 / 614 (Formal Methods in Software Engineering)
CISC 436 / 636 (Bioinformatics)
CISC 437 / 637 (Database Systems)
CISC 440 / 640 (Computer Graphics)
CISC 442 / 642 (Introduction to Computer Vision)
CISC 450 / 650 (Computer Networks)
CISC 451 / 651 (Data Compression in Multimedia)
CISC 453 / 653 (Simulation of Computer Networks)
CISC 464 / 664 (Introduction to Network Security)
CISC 465 / 665 (Introduction to Cybersecurity)
CISC 470 / 670 (Programming Languages)
CISC 471 / 672 (Compiler Design / Compiler Construction)
CISC 475 / 675 (Advanced Software Engineering / Software Engineering Principles and Practices)
CISC 481 / 681 (Artificial Intelligence)
CISC 483 / 683 (Introduction to Data Mining)
CISC 484 / 684 (Introduction to Machine Learning)

Planned 2021-2022 CIS Graduate Courses

This is the timetable for CIS courses to be offered during the 2021-2022 academic year. Course offerings will be similar in subsequent years. Note that Topics courses and 800-level courses are tentative and specific courses may or may not be offered; if offered, the topics may vary.

Planned 2021-22 Courses – Graduate

Student Organizations

Below is a partial list of student organizations within the CIS department and across the University. Their web pages offer helpful information, tips, and links, as well as communities which may help you throughout your graduate student career.