Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

To earn a M.Sc. or P.h.D degree in Computing Science, students must meet all breadth and depth requirements as described below. To satisfy breadth requirements students must take the required number of credits/courses in specified breadth areas. Fulfillment of the research-oriented depth requirement is carried out with guidance and examination provided by the student's supervisory committee. Completion of the depth requirement involves defending a research thesis or project.  

For information and degree requirements for the SFU-Zhejiang Univeristy dual-degree program (GDDP), please refer to the GDDP page and links from there. For information and degree requirements for the Professional Master's Program, please refer to the Professional Master's Program "About the Program" page.

Supervisory Committee

A supervisory committee, at either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. level, consists of the student's supervisor, at least one other computing science faculty member, and optionally other members (typically faculty) as appropriate. Note that a student may have two co-senior supervisors. The choice of the supervisor should be made by mutual consent of the graduate student and faculty member based on commonality of research interests. The student and supervisor should consult on the remainder of the committee members.

More information and regulations on supervisory committees can be found in Section 1.6 of the Graduate General Regulations.

General Guidelines Of Breadth And Course Requirement

For purposes of defining the M.Sc. and Ph.D. breadth requirements, courses are grouped into five breadth areas:

·         Area I: Theoretical Computing Science

·         Area II: Networks and Systems

·         Area III: Artificial Intelligence

·         Area IV: Databases, Data Mining, Computational Biology

·         Area V: Graphics, HCI, Vision, and Visualization

See the list of courses in each of these areas in the graduate course page.

Degree Requirements For M.Sc. Program

Students are expected to acquire breadth of knowledge through a sequence of courses and depth of knowledge through completion and defense of a thesis or a project. Under normal circumstances, an M.Sc. program should be completed within six semesters.

For students starting Fall 2020 onward:

Milestones Requirement

MSc Thesis

  • M1 (“3”): Form a supervisory committee, with approval of the GPC, by the end of semester #3.
  • M2 (“4”): Complete all course and breadth requirements by the end of semester #4.
  • M3 (“6”): Defend MSc thesis and complete all other degree requirements by the end of semester #6.

By default, the School offers funding promises for 2 years (6 semesters). Funding beyond the 2nd year may be possible but is not guaranteed. Please visit our financial support page for more information.

MSc Course Based

C1: Complete all course, breadth requirements and submit a course portfolio to the GPC, by the end of semester #5.

C2: Maintain a minimum two-course enrolment in any non-co-op semester, as long as the School’s semester course offerings allow

Breadth Requirement

Thesis M.Sc. students must complete a breadth requirement consisting of six graduate courses (which is equivalent to 18 credit hours of work). At least four of the courses must be drawn from courses listed in the five breadth areas, such that at least one course must be from Area I: Theoretical Computing Science, and two of the four courses must be from two other areas.  Thesis M.Sc. students must take Technical Writing and Research Methods (TWRM). Thesis students can use a maximum of 1 directed reading course towards their breadth.

Project M.Sc. students must complete a breadth requirement consisting of eight graduate courses (which is equivalent to 24 credit hours of work). At least six of the courses must be drawn from courses listed in the five breadth areas, such that at least one course must be from Area I: Theoretical Computing Science, and such that the six courses cover at least three different areas.  Project M.Sc. students can use a maximum of 2 directed reading courses towards their breadth.

Course M.Sc. students must complete a breadth requirement consisting of ten graduate courses (equivalent to 30 credit hours of work). At least six of the courses must be drawn from courses listed in the five breadth areas, such that at least one course must be from Area I: Theoretical Computing Science, and such that the six courses cover at least three different areas.  Course M.Sc. students can use a maximum of 2 directed reading courses towards their breadth.

Any 700 level course used to satisfy the M.Sc. breadth requirement might be waived and replaced by an 800 level course. In such cases, the student must produce convincing evidence to the graduate program committee that they have taken a comparable course or has comparable training in industry. Any courses taken outside the School of Computing Science must be approved by the student's senior supervisor and the graduate breadth committee.

Depth Requirement

Thesis M.Sc. students are required to demonstrate depth of knowledge in their research area through a thesis seminar and defense based on their independent work. Students should consult with members of their supervisory committee, and formulate and submit a written thesis proposal for approval. This should not be done any later than the end of the third term semester.

Project M.Sc. students must choose an area of specialization and submit a project report. Project topics may include a comprehensive survey of the literature of some computing science related research areas; implementation and evaluation of existing techniques/algorithms; development of interesting software/hardware applications.

Regulations specifying the examining committee's composition and procedures for the final thesis or project exam appear in the Graduate General Regulations.

Degree Requirements For Ph.D. Program

Students in the Ph.D. program are required to demonstrate breadth of knowledge as outlined below and demonstrate the capacity to conduct original research through the completion and defense of an original thesis. Under normal circumstances a Ph.D. degree should be completed within 12 semesters and should not require longer than 15 semesters.

For students starting Fall 2020 onward:

Milestones Requirement

PhD Student Milestones – Effective for Students Starting Fall 2020 and Later

PhD students who started earlier than Fall 2020, see note below.

Milestones expectations (good standing) for PhD

·         By end of year 1 (3 trimesters): Supervisor and Supervisory Committee assigned (previously called senior-supervisor and supervisor, respectively)

·         By end of year 2 (6 trimesters): Breadth OR Depth completed

·         By end of year 3 (9 trimesters): Breadth AND Depth AND Proposal completed

Relation to yearly GF awards for PhD students:

·         Student receives GF in year 1 automatically

·         Student receives GF in year 2 only if year 1 milestones are met

·         Student receives GF in year 3 only if year 2 milestones are met and student has completed 3BU TA

·         Student receives GF in year 4 only if year 3 milestones are met and student has completed 5BU TA

The same criteria as in GGR1.8.4 Leave of Absence2 will be applied to decide whether the time a student is on leave may or may not count towards the maximum number of terms listed above (3, 6, and

9). Internships, co-ops, industrial practicums, etc. will count towards the maxima listed above.

Note for PhD students who started earlier than Fall 2020

·         Allowed to follow either the old or new milestones (see old milestones below)

·         TA requirement for GFs: If, in Fall 2020,

o   the student is in year 1: required to do TA to receive year 3 and year 4’s GFs

o   the student is in year 2: required to do TA to receive year 4’s GF

o   the student is in year 3 or 4: TA not required.

Old PhD Milestones

PhD Students – “3, 6, 8, 12”

·         P1 (“3”): Form a supervisory committee, with approval of the GPD, by the end of semester #3

·         P2 (“6”): Complete all course and breadth requirements by the end of semester #6.

·         P3 (“8”): Pass the depth exam by the end of semester #8.

·         P4 (“12”): Defend PhD thesis and complete all other degree requirements by the end of semester #12.

http://www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/2020/spring/fees-and-regulations/grad-regulation.html#1.6

http://www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/2017/summer/fees-and-regulations/grad-regulation.html#1.8.4

http://www.sfu.ca/computing/current-students/graduate-students/academic-programs/satisfactory-progress.html

Breadth Requirement

Ph.D. students already having an M.Sc. in computing science or related field must complete a breadth requirement consisting of five graduate courses (which is equivalent to 15 credit hours of graduate course work). At least three of the courses must be drawn from courses listed in the five breadth areas, such that at least one course must be from Area I: Theoretical Computing Science, and two of the five courses must be from two other areas.  Ph.D. students with an M.Sc. must take Technical Writing and Research Methods (TWRM). 

Ph.D. students not already having an M.Sc. in computing science or related field must complete a breadth requirement consisting of nine graduate courses (which is equivalent to 27 credit hours of graduate course work). At least six of the courses must be drawn from courses listed in the five breadth areas, such that at least one course must be from Area I: Theoretical Computing Science, and such that the six courses cover at least three different areas.  Ph.D. students without an M.Sc. must take Technical Writing and Research Methods (TWRM). 

A Ph.D. student must achieve a minimum CGPA of 3.4 and passing marks in all courses.

Depth Requirement

Ph.D. students demonstrate depth of knowledge in their research area through a public depth seminar and oral examination, to give a thesis proposal seminar, and submit and defend a thesis based on their independent work which makes an original contribution to computing science.

DEPTH EXAMINATION

The depth seminar and examination may be scheduled at any time following the completion of breadth requirements. Typically this is between the fifth and eighth semester in the Ph.D. program; a recommendation is made by the Graduate Breadth Evaluation Committee, in proportion to the amount of course work required to satisfy the breadth requirement. The examining committee consists of the supervisory committee and one or two additional examiners recommended by it and approved by the Graduate Program Committee. The exam centres on the student's research. The examining committee, in consultation with the student, specifies the topics in the examination. The student prepares a written survey and gives a public depth seminar; the oral examination follows, and then the committee meets to evaluate the student's performance in the program to that point. The committee's evaluation is diagnostic, specifying additional work in weak areas if such exists. A second depth examination or withdrawal from the program may be recommended in extreme cases.

THESIS PROPOSAL

The student, in consultation with her/his supervisory committee, formulates and submits, for approval, a written thesis proposal consisting of a research plan and preliminary results. The student gives a seminar and defends the originality and feasibility of the proposed thesis to the supervisory committee. The thesis proposal is normally presented and defended within three semesters of the depth examination.

THESIS DEFENSE

Regulations specifying the examining committee composition and procedures for final public thesis defence are in sections 1.9 and 1.10 of the Graduate General Regulations. Ph.D. students give a seminar; typically this will be about their thesis research and is presented in the interval between distribution of the thesis to the committee and the defense.

All Students

A1: Maintain a CGPA of 3.0 throughout the program.

  • You cannot receive a graduate degree from SFU with a CGPA lower than 3.0.
  • To be eligible for an SFU or FAS Graduate Fellowship (GF), a CGPA of 3.5 is required.
  • A transcript review, including follow-ups on any course failures, will occur about one month after each semester.

A2: Submit an annual progress report with research performance (if applicable) marked as satisfactory.

  • Completion of the progress report must be done in conjunction with a meeting of the supervisory committee.
  • Research performance is evaluated by the senior supervisor in consultation with the supervisory committee.
  • Performance indicators and metrics applied to evaluate a student’s performance are determined between the student and his/her supervisory committee.
  • A marking of “unsatisfactory research performance” in a progress report must be proceeded by at least one written warning from the senior supervisor which is communicated to the student and copied to the GPD.
  • Unsatisfactory research performance may be cause for a student to be asked to withdraw from the program.