Core Requirements

To demonstrate your breadth of knowledge in computer science, you are required to satisfy a set of core requirements. The cores are drawn from three broad areas of Computer Science: theory, systems, and artificial intelligence. 

In general, you need to satisfy one or more requirements in each of the three areas. Most cores are satisfied by taking an appropriate class--indicated in parentheses below--and getting a high enough grade (B for MS).

CICS course offering plan can be found here https://www.cics.umass.edu/content/course-offering-plan

Theory cores

The following courses can be used to complete the Theory core requirement:

  • Formal Language Theory (COMPSCI 501)**
  • Combinatorics and Graph Theory (COMPSCI 575)**
  • Algorithms for Data Science (COMPSCI 590D)**
  • Computation theory (COMPSCI 601)
  • Advanced Algorithms (COMPSCI 611)
  • Computational Geometry (COMPSCI 617)
  • Approximation Algorithms (COMPSCI 690AA)
  • Logic (COMPSCI 513** or 690LG, but not both)
  • Machine Learning Theory (COMPSCI 690M)*
  • Coding Theory and Applications (COMPSCI 690T)

    These courses may be used to complete one or two theory core requirements. Other than any co- or prerequisites, there are no restrictions on which classes may be used to satisfy systems core requirements or the order in which they must be taken.

    Systems cores

    The following classes may be used to complete systems core requirements:

    • Embedded Computing Systems (COMPSCI 503)**
    • Introduction to Affective Computing (COMPSCI 527)**
    • Human Computer Interaction (COMPSCI 590C)**
    • Detecting Interference in Networks (COMPSCI 590B** or 690B,  but not both)
    • Cloud Computing (COMPSCI 590CC)
    • Digital Forensics (COMPSCI 590F)**
    • Secure Distributed Systems (COMPSCI 590P)**
    • Systems for Data Science (COMPSCI 590S)**
    • Compiler techniques (COMPSCI 610)
    • Advanced software engineering: synthesis and development (COMPSCI 520** or 620, but not both)
    • Advanced software engineering: analysis and evaluation (COMPSCI 521** or 621, but not both)
    • Systems (COMPSCI 630)
    • Programming languages (COMPSCI 631)
    • Modern computer architecture (COMPSCI 535** or 635, but not both)
    • Database Design and Implementation (COMPSCI 645)
    • Advanced computer networking (COMPSCI 653)
    • Advanced Information Assurance (COMPSCI 660)
    • Distributed and Operating Systems (COMPSCI 677)
    • Performance Evaluation (COMPSCI 690PE)

      These courses may be used to complete one or two systems core requirements. Other than any co- or prerequisites, there are no restrictions on which classes may be used to satisfy systems core requirements or the order in which they must be taken.

      Artificial Intelligence Cores

      Any of the following may be used to satisfy a second AI core requirement:

      • Introduction to Natural Language Processing (COMPSCI 585)**
      • Machine Learning (COMPSCI 589** or COMPSCI 689)
      • Applied Information Retrieval (COMPSCI 590R)**
      • Data Visualization and Exploration (COMPSCI 590V)**
      • Robotics (COMPSCI 603)
      • Information Retrieval (COMPSCI 646)
      • Applied Information Theory (COMPSCI 650)
      • Computer Vision (COMPSCI 670)
      • Neural Networks:Modern Inro (COMPSCI 682)
      • Artificial Intelligence (COMPSCI 683)
      • Reinforcement learning (COMPSCI 687)
      • Graphical Models (COMPSCI 688)
      • Machine learning: pattern classification (COMPSCI 689)
      • Intelligent Visual Computing (COMPSCI 690IV)
      • Machine Learning Theory (COMPSCI 690M)*
      • Advanced Natural Language Processing (COMPSCI 690N)
      • Visual Analytics (COMPSCI 690V)
      • (No longer offered) Reasoning and acting under uncertainty (CMPSCI 686, aka 691E)
      • (No longer offered) Multi-Agent Systems (CMPSCI 691V)

      These courses may be used to complete one or two AI core requirements. Other than any co- or prerequisites, there are no restrictions on which classes may be used to satisfy systems core requirements or the order in which they must be taken.

      *this course may only satisfy one area/core requirement.
      **500-level courses do not count toward MS/PhD core requirements. Students who potentially could apply to the UMass PhD program should follow the MS/PhD core/course requirements. 

      Passing out of a Core Requirement

      In some circumstances, it may be possible to pass or test out of a core requirement on the basis of equivalent coursework at another institution. It may also be possible to substitute a different advanced course for a core requirement. Such approval will be based on the content of that course as it compares to the content of the parallel course taught in this department.

      If you believe you should pass out of a core requirement, please download the form and contact the appropriate professor. The instructor will notify the GPD of his or her recommendation. If you are requesting a waiver of more than 1 core course, each professor must be aware of this and sign off on both waiver requests. If you received a waiver of a core requirement before Dec. 1, 2010 and you are switching to the 3, 2, 1 model, you will need to have your waivers re-evaluated by all faculty involved.

      The GPD will then determine whether or not to accept that recommendation. (Such recommendations are rarely declined.)

      Note that passing out of a core course addresses the core requirement only. In particular, it does not absolve you from taking the corresponding credit hours. If you needed to take 18 credits and you passed out of one 3-credit core course, you still need to take 18 credits.