VIII. Graduate Programs
Computing and Information Science
The MSc program emphasizes research that can potentially contribute to industry and government. Interaction with other disciplines is encouraged. The program is based on three areas of technical specialization: (1) parallel and distributed computing, (2) interactive software environments, and (3) artificial intelligence. Research in the department is conducted by groups centred in these areas of activity. Research in distributed systems includes distributed databases, VLSI design automation, computer architecture and networks, and parallel processing. Research in interactive software environments includes human-computer interaction, user-interface software and hypertext. Research in artificial intelligence includes uncertainty management, knowledge acquisition, expert systems, image processing, neural networks and pattern recognition. In addition, applied research is carried out in areas such as information management, including geographical-information systems, statistical databases, and office information systems.
Most available spaces will be filled in March for entry the following September. A limited amount of spaces will be filled in October for entry the following January. Students who are considering applying to the department should first check the departmental website for admission procedures and deadlines.
To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements of both the university and the department, including at least a 75% ('B') average during the previous two years of full-time university study for a degree. For applicants whose first language is not English, a minimum of 600 on the TOEFL is required (250 for computer-based test). Applicants must possess a four-year honours degree in computer science. However, a student with a minor in computer science and an honours degree in another applicable discipline may be granted provisional admission. We encourage students with such backgrounds to apply.
Entrants are expected to have previously taken 11 of the following courses from University of Guelph (or equivalent courses from another recognized university).
The TOEFL is required of all applcants whose first language is not English. For the Internet-Based TOEFL the applicant's overall score should be at least 89, with no individual component less than 21. For the Computer-Based TOEFL the score should be at least 250, and for the Paper-Based TOEFL it should be at least 600. The TOEFL requirement can be waived in exceptional circumstances only (e.g., applicants who have studied full-time for two years in a country where English is the native language, and in a university where English is the language of instruction).
Degree requirements include a technical communication and research methodology course such CIS*6890, at least four other graduate-level courses, a research seminar and a master's thesis. There is no qualifying exam or second-language requirement.
Duration of the Program
Heavy emphasis is placed on the thesis, which usually requires at least two semesters. Students should plan on spending at least four full-time semesters in the program assuming adequate preparation for graduate work. Normally, students are expected to fulfill all the requirements in five semesters.
Each MSc candidate conducts thesis research by working closely with a thesis advisor. The advisor is a member of the CIS graduate faculty who provides academic guidance and interacts regularly with the student. Moreover, the student is required to have an Advisory Committee consisting of at least two graduate faculty members. The student's advisor chairs the committee. Graduate faculty members from other academic units can sit in the committee.
Graduate courses are organized around the areas of specialization mentioned earlier. An MSc student is reuqired to take CIS*6890 and at least four other graduate courses. Of these four courses, at least two should be in the student's research area and at least two outside. In exceptional cases, one graduate-course requirement may be met by an approved 0.5-credit graduate course from another department or by two approved 400-level 0.5-credit courses which have not already been taken for credit. At most one reading course (CIS*6660) can count towards the course requirement. The specific course requirement for each student will be determined in consultation with the thesis advisor and Advisory Committee, subject to the above constraints.
An MSc student must give one publicly announced research seminar on his/her MSc thesis research. The seminar must be presented before the final semester of the candidate, and no earlier than the third semester after entering the program. It should be attended by the student's advisor and at least one other CIS faculty member of the student's Advisory Committee. The quality of the presentation is graded on a pass/fail basis. The MSc seminar requirement is intended for candidates to practice presentation and communication skills and to participate in the process of knowledge dissemination as part of the academic life.
Arrangements for the MSc thesis defence should be made at least 4 weeks prior to the anticipated date of the defence (Day 0). The student must submit his/her MSc thesis to the Advisory Committee at least 3 weeks prior to Day 0, and to the Examination Committee at least 2 weeks prior to Day 0. For the composition of the Examination Committee, see Graduate Calendar > Degree Regulations > Master of Science > Thesis. The examination consists of an oral presentation by the candidate followed by questions from the Examination Committee.