Courses, Specializations, and Program Sheets

Q: How can I get information about courses?

A: The course descriptions for CS classes can be found in ExploreCourses
The actual list of courses offered each quarter as well as links to their websites is at: http://cs.stanford.edu/Courses/classes.html
Also, You can get student feedback for most of the courses.

Q: I would like to find out if my undergraduate coursework will satisfy the MSCS Foundation requirements.

A: You might be able to waive Foundation courses. Please read the Guide to the MSCS Program Sheet. Your faculty advisor is the person who will authorize any exemptions.

Q: It is too late to drop the class. Will it show on my transcript if I withdraw from a class now?

A: Yes. Until the "withdraw" deadline, it will show up as "W[ithdraw]" and after that, it will show up as NC (No Credit) or NP (No Pass).

Q: Can I take the same seminar more than once?

A: You can take the same seminar as many times as you want as long as you do not count more than 3 units of seminars in total towards your MS degree.

Q: Which specialization should I consider if I want to study XXXX?

A: Look through the different specializations to get an idea of which specialization would be best for you. You can find their descriptions here
You can also design your own specialization, but it would need to get approved by the department.  Individually designed specializations (IDS) should have substantial differences with existing tracks. For example, an IDS that differed from an existing concentration by only one or two classes is unlikely to be approved. Also, an IDS should have a coherent theme with a brief explanation for why the classes chosen for that IDS make sense together.

Q: Can I take independent study courses (CS393/CS395/CS399) more than once?

A: Yes, and you can count them towards your MS degree as long as you fulfill the breadth and depth course requirements.

Q: I am a second year MS student. Can I use the program sheet requirement for this year? Example: I started my MS in Fall 2018; can I use the program sheet of 2019-20 instead of 2018-19?

A: The answer is Yes. You may use any program sheet made available between the time you enrolled in the program and the time you graduate.

Q: What courses can I count as Electives on my program sheet?

A: Courses numbered above 110 in the Computer Science department (except CS196, 197, 198) can be counted as electives. In general, courses in the School of Engineering, Mathematics or Statistics departments that are numbered above 100 and are of a technical nature are acceptable, technical meaning that the course involves programming, use of college-level mathematics/statistics or engineering concepts. Other courses, for example, those in entrepeneurship, ethics, art, history, languages, athletics, and public speaking, cannot be counted as elective course work.

Unit Requirements

Q: What is the minimum number of units I can take per quarter? Is it the same for my last quarter before graduation?

A: Every student (both international and not international) has to register for at least 8 units per quarter. The only exceptions are summer quarter when the minimum is one unit, and the last quarter before graduation when students may, by filling a Request for Graduate Petition for Part-Time Enrollment, take as few as 3 units.

Q: What is the minimum number of units required for the degree?

A: You have to complete 45 units and no transfer units are allowed. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Q: How can I do a curricular practical training?

A: Information can be found at the Bechtel International Center web site: https://bechtel.stanford.edu/immigration/employment/f-1-employment/curri...

Q: What is the minimum number of units I have to register for if I do CPT during the summer quarter?

A: Students may choose to enroll in as little as 1 unit during the summer. CPT is a one-unit course and may be the only course on the summer quarter study list. Students can enroll in CS390A once, CS390B once, and CS390C once.


Q: How can I get a TA? When shall I apply?

A: Please look for emails sent to MS students by Danielle Hoversten. These emails are sent every quarter and specify the procedure to follow to apply for a TA.

Q: How can I get an RA?

A: Research Assistantships are usually offered by professors for specific projects. The best way to get an RA is to browse the research projects within the department. If you are interested in a specific project, you may contact one of the professors from the corresponding research group and explain your interests and ideas to him/her. Another way is to expose your own project ideas to professors in the field.

Q: Am I still a full-time student if I have a TA or RA appointment?

A: Yes, and you still have to take at least 8 units of courses per quarter (see previous section for unit requirement).