Master of Science in Computer Engineering


The program requires either 24 hours of course work and Master’s thesis, or 30 hours of course work. All students take 12 hours of core courses and 6 hours of concentration and 12 hours of electives. Thesis students take 6 hours of thesis, instead of concentration. All students are allowed to take at most 3 hours of independent study, which will be counted as one elective course. Students on campus are required to register for zero hours of seminar course, at least one semester, and secure a pass grade. All requirements must be completed within 7 calendar years of entry into the program.

Admission Requirements

Prerequisites to regular admission to the Computer Engineering Master's Program:

  • Baccalaureate degree in computer engineering, computer science, or related fields conferred prior to the time student begins classes as a graduate student; Grade Point Average at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point basis in the student's junior and senior years. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines may also be admitted to the program and may be required to take articulation course work.
  • A reasonable level of mathematical maturity.
  • Foreign students are required to submit their scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or its equivalent.
  • All applicants to the Graduate Division must submit an official Graduate Record Examination General Test score before their application can be considered.
  • Recommended Degree Plan (PDF)


Upon entry into the program, students are assigned a faculty advisor. The responsibility of this advisor is to help the student with the selection of course schedule.

Credit Requirements

Courses must be taken to satisfy minimum residency and credit level requirements. In addition, the CSE Department requires that the courses taken constitute a coherent program leading to mastery in computer engineering. These requirements are discussed in the subsequent subsections.


All students entering the program are expected to possess knowledge equivalent to the following courses:

  • CSE 1341 Introduction to Computing Concepts
  • CSE 1342 Programming Concepts
  • CSE 2240 Assembly Language Programming and Machine Organization
  • CSE 2341 Data Structures
  • CSE 2353 Discrete Computational Structures
  • CSE 3353 Fundamentals of Algorithms
  • CSE 3381 Digital Logic Design
  • CSE 4381 Digital Computer Design

Students with deficiencies may be granted conditional admission to the program and be required to take some of the above courses as articulation. Students are required to complete these articulation courses, maintaining a 3.00 average. The student who fails to achieve this record is automatically dropped from the graduate program, may not enroll in graduate courses, and may be denied the right to petition for readmission. Students who maintain the 3.00 Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) in these courses may advance into the balance of their Plan of Study. As nearly as possible, these articulation courses should be completed before the courses in the balance of the Plan of Study are attempted. An articulation course must be completed before undertaking any graduate coursework, which requires it as prerequisite.

Residency and Level Requirements

  • A minimum of 30 graduate credits must be earned towards an M.S. degree, of which at least 24 must be earned in residency at SMU. Up to 6 credits may be transferred with departmental approval.
  • Of the 30 credit hours needed for graduation, at least 9 credit hours must be above the 8000 level, with the remainder above the 7000 level. For the 8000 level, at least 6 credit hours must be courses.
  • Courses in which a grade lower than "C-" is earned do not count toward a graduate degree, however, they do count toward the total G.P.A.

Distribution of Courses

Courses are considered to be core, concentration, or elective. Core courses cover material considered fundamental to graduate level computer science and are required of all students. Each student is expected to specialize in some area of computer engineering. The concentration area is a mechanism by which a student can tailor a coherent program of study to his/her interests. Electives are courses taken to round out the 30-credit hour requirement. Transferred credits may be used to satisfy any of these requirements. The specific requirements are discussed in detail in the following subsections.

Course Requirements

A student who elects to take the non-thesis option must take 12 hours of core courses, 6 hours of concentration, and 12 hours of electives. The electives may be selected from available graduate-level course offerings, subject to the residency and level requirements and advisor approval. Those who elect to take thesis option will substitute the advanced electives with thesis hours.

Core Courses (12 hours)

The core consists of the following required courses:

These courses may be waived for extremely well-prepared students at the discretion of CSE graduate program committee. In that case, an equivalent number of elective credits would be required. CSE 7350 is strongly recommended for students interested in design, however, it is not a requirement for the degree.

Concentration (6 hours from the following programs)

It is suggested that students take two courses from one of the following three concentration areas; however, any two courses that are not necessarily in the same concentration area will satisfy the concentration requirement subject to the approval of the student’s advisor.

Thesis Option

A student may elect to write a Master's thesis, which counts as the 6 hours of concentration. The student must register for at least 6 hours under CSE 7(1-6)96. If the thesis option is chosen all other requirements are the same.

A Master's thesis represents one or more of the following: synthesis of divergent ideas or a scholarly critique of current literature; a creative research activity; or a significant design project, the results of which must be documented in a well written thesis. The thesis should be of publishable quality, and it is recommended that it be submitted to an appropriate conference or journal before the thesis defense.

A thesis must be supervised by a faculty advisor selected by the student. Any full-time faculty member supporting the student's concentration area may serve as the thesis advisor. It is the student's responsibility to either find an advisor willing to provide a thesis topic or willing to supervise a topic of the student's choosing.

Once the student has found an advisor and topic has been selected, the student and advisor should jointly form a thesis supervisory committee. This committee must consist of at least three members, two of whom must represent the concentration area. The advisor chairs this committee. The makeup of this committee must be approved by the Chair of CSE and the Director of the Graduate Division.

The student must provide the members of the committee with a thesis proposal. Typically this will be done before faculty agrees to serve on the committee.

A thesis is judged by the supervisory committee based upon technical merit, originality, and presentation. The thesis must be presented orally to the committee at a thesis defense. A copy of the thesis must be made available to each member of the committee at least 2 weeks before the planned defense. The defense must be scheduled with the CSE Department office and posted in appropriate bulletin boards. The defense is open to the public.


No graduate credit is earned for a course in which a grade of less than "C-"is earned. Such courses, do, however, count toward the total G.P.A.

In order to graduate, a student must have a G.P.A. of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

If at any point, a student's G.P.A. drops below 3.0, the student is placed on academic probation. The student then has one semester to raise his/her G.P.A. back up to 3.0 or be dismissed from the program. For part-time students, this means 6 additional credit hours.

MS | Computer Engineering Flyer (pdf)