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).

Theory cores

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

  • Formal Language Theory (COMPSCI 501)
  • 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)
  • Randomized Algorithms (COMPSCI 690RA)

    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:

    • Systems for Data Science (COMPSCI 590S)
    • Compiler techniques (COMPSCI 610)
    • Advanced software engineering: synthesis and development (COMPSCI 620)
    • Advanced software engineering: analysis and evaluation (COMPSCI 621)
    • Systems (COMPSCI 630)
    • Programming languages (COMPSCI 631)
    • Modern computer architecture (COMPSCI 635)
    • Database design and implementation (COMPSCI 645)
    • Advanced computer networking (COMPSCI 653)
    • 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:

      • Machine Learning (COMPSCI 589)
      • (Not yet scheduled) Data Visualization and Exploration (590V)
      • Robotics (COMPSCI 603)
      • Information retrieval (COMPSCI 646)
      • Applied Information Theory (COMPSCI 650)
      • Computer Vision (COMPSCI 670)
      • Artificial Intelligence (COMPSCI 683)
      • Reinforcement learning (COMPSCI 687)
      • Graphical Models (COMPSCI 688)
      • Machine learning: pattern classification (COMPSCI 689)
      • Intelligent Visual Computing (COMPSCI 690IV)
      • (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.

      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.