The M.S.E. program is a two year, full-time program of coursework plus submission of an original thesis. Candidates choose a subarea of computer science on which to focus by taking appropriate courses, and writing a thesis under the direction of an adviser. Course requirements are fulfilled by taking six courses for a grade, at least three of which must be 500-level COS courses. The other eligible courses are 318, 320, 324, 326, 343, 352, 375, or any 400-level course, or 500-level COS course, including COS 597 and 598. You may view a list of approved courses outside of the department here. Relevant courses from outside the department may be taken with Director of Graduate Studies consent. Candidates must maintain a B average, with no more than one C allowed. In order to be readmitted for a second year, candidates must have a confirmed thesis adviser and preliminary thesis proposal by the end of the first year. Students remaining in the MSE program should identify a thesis advisor and submit a 350-500 word thesis proposal abstract (approved by the thesis advisor) by the re-enrollment deadline.
In addition to satisfactory completion of coursework, candidates must prepare and submit an original thesis as well as present a public seminar on the research. The thesis will be reviewed and graded by your adviser plus one additional reader from the Princeton faculty. If the reader is from outside the Computer Science Department, approval by the Director of Graduate Studies is required. The public seminar is an ungraded 20 minute talk, followed by a 10 minute question session, given in the spring of year 2. This will allow your adviser and reader to give preliminary feedback prior to submission of the final thesis.
The written thesis should be a research paper of "scholarly quality" -- making a novel contribution to scholarship in the field. The thesis should motivate the chosen research problem, evaluate the proposed solution (e.g., via analysis, measurement, simulation, or prototype implementation), and compare the approach to the related work in the field. While there is no specific length requirement, a reasonable target is a typical conference paper (e.g., 10-15 pages in two-column format or 20-40 pages in single-column, double spaced format). Thesis is due to the adviser, reader, and department by April 25, 2022. Students may resubmit their thesis with revisions for final archiving by Dean's Date. After being graded, one bound copy of the final version must be submitted to Mudd Library and a.pdf file is due to the Graduate Coordinator. Click here to review Mudd Library Thesis formatting guidelines.