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MS in Computer Science

Course Description

The Department of Computer Science at Binghamton University aims to provide all graduates with a strong foundation in computer science while also offering the opportunity to pursue specific interests within computer science and/or interests in other disciplines. The program provides students with an understanding of the theory and practice of automating the representation, storage and processing of information, while emphasizing experimental research to design and engineer a wide variety of computer and information systems.

The Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) is intended for students with a strong background in computer science and a desire to prepare for research studies or professional practice. If you have bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, you're invited to apply for admission to our MSCS program.

The doctoral program leads to a PhD in Computer Science. Students admitted into the program typically have a master's degree in computer science or a closely related discipline. Students with a bachelor's degree and a strong academic record may also be directly admitted.

Recent doctoral graduates have gone on to careers in as software engineering at Intel, eBay, Cisco Systems, positions at Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Twitter, Bloomberg, the Air Force Research Lab, and the U.S. Census. Academic placements include assistant professorships at California State University at Fullerton, Valdosta State University, and Harran University, Turkey.

The Master's program leads to a Master of Science in Computer Science. It is intended for students with a strong background in computer science and a desire to prepare for research studies or professional practice. Holders of the baccalaureate degree in computer science or a related field are invited to apply for admission to the MSCS program. Students whose undergraduate degree is not in computer science may be required to complete some preparatory work in addition to fulfilling the requirements listed below.
Program requirements include four core courses taken over the first two semesters of study. These courses are Computer Organization and Architecture, Operating Systems, Programming Languages and Design & Analysis of Computer Algorithms. Three graduating options are offered: a thesis option, a project option and a comprehensive exam. Beyond the 4 core courses, these options require students to complete 4, 5 and 6 elective courses, respectively, chosen from a broad set of courses offered by the Department.

Applicant Qualifications

- Undergraduate major in computer science or related field desirable for admission
- Applicants are additionally expected to have completed coursework in the following areas:
*Algorithms and data structures
*Computer organization and architecture
*Operating systems
*Programming languages
*Discrete mathematics

All applicants must submit the following:

- Online graduate degree application and application fee
- Transcripts from each college/university you have attended
- Two letters of recommendation (three letters of recommendation for PhD applicants)
- Personal statement (2-3 pages) describing your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your career aspirations, your special interests within your field, and any unusual features of your background that might need explanation or be of interest to your program's admissions committee.
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
- Official GRE scores

And, for international applicants:
- International Student Financial Statement form
- Official bank statement/proof of support
- Official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores

Visit the MS in Computer Science page on the Binghamton University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

David Czarnecki '97

4928.jpg In November, students had the chance to meet an engineer who works on some of America's most popular video games including Guitar Hero and Call of Duty. David Czarnecki ’97, earned a bachelor’s degree from the Watson School and returned to campus Friday, Nov. 20, to talk with students about his career post-Binghamton.

Czarnecki has loved video games for much of his life, and in spring 2008 joined Agora Games — a Troy, N.Y.-based company that builds websites for video games — as lead engineer for the company's Guitar Hero project.

"It's very exciting being part of a leading franchise out there," Czarnecki said. "We have a great team at Agora, so we've had the ability to work on [franchises like] Guitar Hero and Call of Duty. Knowing how to scale a system and gather player data allows us to work on big titles."

Prior to coming to Agora, Czarnecki was a computer scientist and software engineer for General Electric. "After almost 11 years at GE, I was just looking to do something different than what I had been doing," he said. "Being able to meld your passion or hobby into what you do, makes it not feel like work."

But, video gaming isn't Czarnecki's only interest. Several years ago, he co-authored Java Internationalization for O'Reilly and Associates, which explains how to write software targeted for multiple languages. His goal was to give programmers a different way of thinking about software for the international market. And, in 2003, he created blojsom, an open-source blogging software, which Apple adopted for its Tiger Server platform.

"[Blojsom] was a great way to show off [my skills], he said. “Here's a large programming project I released into the community. I support it, foster it and make sure it grows and does things that are useful for people using a blogging package."

Czarnecki — who found his current job with Agora on craigslist — talked with students about the changing career landscape, how to find a job in today's tight economy and how to connect with the University after graduation.

He hopes that current students understand that their futures depend somewhat on what they do as students. “A lot … is driven by what you do when you're here, such as internships,” he said. “If you're at Binghamton, you're in great position to go off and do great things once you leave the University."

(Student Profile)

Russell Dumornay '99, MS '05

4929.jpg As a technical director for DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind such computer-generated films as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, Dumornay works with a lighting and rendering team on a range of technical and creative tasks.

"When something breaks, or when there's a problem, my job is to step in and fix it," Dumornay explains. "Recently, for example, I was at work late at night, working on a building collapsing. Finally I found a way to break it out. My supervisor liked the idea, and it worked."

Dumornay says he appreciates how well the Watson School prepared him for the rigorous, fast-paced environment of an animation studio. "I liked the fact that academics at Watson were very competitive," he says. "When I started shopping my stuff around to companies, some of them were shocked by how well prepared I was. I was ready for everything they threw at me.

"When I interviewed at DreamWorks, for example, I was asked a lot of questions about programming and optimizing algorithms," Dumornay continues. "Not only could I answer their questions, but I went to the whiteboard and showed them how to improve the answer. Watson really had me ready to hit the ground running."

(Student Profile)

Jared Schmitz

4930.JPG Jared Schmitz’s love of computers began when his parents gave him an old Apple to play with at the age of 3.

“I was on it forever,” he said. “My parents encouraged it and that’s why I’m here. I’ve always been interested in how stuff works and a computer is complex and hard to figure out. I guess that’s why I am so interested in them.”

Seventeen years later, Schmitz has become only one of five computer science majors in the country to receive the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which honors exceptional undergraduate researchers who intend to enter math, science or engineering fields. Schmitz and fellow Binghamton University student William Marsiglia are two of 275 students to win the annual $7,500 award.

Schmitz, a senior from Huntington Station, is advised by associate professors Nael Abu-Ghazaleh and Dmitry Ponomarev and has researched computer security in Ponomarev’s lab for more than a year. Schmitz credits the hands-on atmosphere of Ponomarev’s lab, which assists the U.S. Air Force’s Rome Laboratory on projects, with much of his success.

“If you do research at bigger schools, your advisor will say, ‘Come up with a research topic,’ look at your abstract and not really help you,” Schmitz said. “My professor here is always available. It’s great: If we ever have a problem, (Ponomarev) is in the building and always where we can talk with him. We’ll sit down in a conference room, fill up a white board and figure it out.”

A research paper authored by Schmitz on computer security has been accepted – and will be published – by the Design Automation Conference. He presented on the topic at the organization’s annual conference in San Diego over the summer.

Ponomarev praised Schmitz’s creativity, maturity and ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

“I am extremely impressed with Jared’s ability to quickly capture the new concepts, analyze them, read supplemental literature and make contributions toward the project goals,” Ponomarev said. “Instead of being discouraged by the challenges, Jared views them as additional opportunities.”

Schmitz plans to continue his computer science studies in graduate school, but also hopes to “branch out” this year by taking classes in other areas.

“Programming, programming, programming for 12 hours a day can be very tiring,” he said. “Maybe some right-brain things would be nice.”


Clifford D. Clark Diversity Fellowship for Graduate Students - No. of awards TBC

The Clifford D. Clark Diversity Fellowships for Graduate Students, named for Clifford D. Clark, a former president of the University, are designed to support students who contribute to the diversity of the student body. The Clark Fellowship funding package, which is awarded on the basis of academic merit, includes an academic-year stipend, full-tuition scholarship, health insurance, research and travel opportunities and other benefits. Clark Fellows are guaranteed to receive support for a specific period, assuming satisfactory academic progress.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Candidates must:
-Be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents;
-Be newly admitted to a graduate program; and
-Demonstrate how they will contribute to the diversity of the student body in their program.

Application Procedure

To apply, answer "yes" to the Clark Fellowship question on the graduate degree program application and submit the Clark Fellowship Essay.

Further Information



Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to Doctorate Program - 7 Awards

The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded State University of New York (SUNY) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridge to Doctorate (BD) program at Binghamton University helps students obtain PhDs by providing financial support to pursue graduate study; faculty mentors to guide students academically and professionally; and a support network of staff to assist them in accomplishing their goals.The benefits of becoming a SUNY LSAMP BD Fellow include:
-Tuition, fees and student health insurance waiver for first two years
-Stipend of $30,000 annually for first two years
-Level funding in years 3, 4, & 5 if qualified to advance to PhD
-Faculty mentoring
-Participation in professional conferences and meetings
-Links to research and professional opportunities
-Enriched academic services and support

Value of Scholarship(s)

$30,000 stipend + additional benefits


Eligibility Criteria:-Participation in an LSAMP program during undergraduate studies
-Bachelor's degree in a STEM discipline with a 3.0 GPA or better
-U.S. citizen or permanent resident
-Acceptance into a STEM graduate program at Binghamton University
-Desire to pursue a Ph.D. in a STEM discipline

Application Procedure

To apply, visit the LSAMP webpage and click the link at the bottom of the page

Further Information



University Women Female Graduate Student Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

Other criteria considered include overall financial need; a recent or current demonstrated commitment to community service; and a clear vision of intended career goals. The scholarship is renewable if the recipient continues to meet the criteria.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Established in 2003 by the University Women's Club, this scholarship is awarded annually to a full-time, second-year female graduate student who demonstrates academic merit and a GPA of at least 3.7.

Application Procedure

To apply, complete and submit the University Women Female Graduate Student Scholarship Application form.

Further Information



Elizabeth A. Knapp Scholarship for Adult Women - No. of awards TBC

Established in 1985 by colleagues of Elizabeth A. Knapp to honor her 19 years of service to the University, this scholarship assists non-traditional female students with demonstrated financial need who have experienced delays pursuing their education.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The scholarship is awarded to women at least 25 years of age who are admitted to or currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program, with planned enrollment of at least 6 credits per semester.

Application Procedure

To apply or for more information, see the Elizabeth Knapp Scholarship webpage.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university; AND Complete set of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts. At minimum, a 3.0 GPA is required. (See course description for further details)

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