M.Sc. in Computer Science

We invite you to visit the Computer Science M.Sc. website (in Hebrew) where you will find current messages and updates in addition to the material here.

Introduction1

The program imparts advanced academic knowledge and tools to deal with theoretical and practical topics at the forefront of Computer Science research, and to train outstanding students in research work. The program is composed of courses on a variety of advanced topics in the field, and submission of a final paper or thesis.

Study Tracks

The program of study toward the M.Sc. is offered in two tracks:

  • Program of studies without a thesis

  • Program of studies with a thesis

The thesis program is intended for outstanding students. All students accepted into the program begin their studies in the non-thesis track, and outstanding students can apply for the thesis track during their studies, as explained below.

Admission Requirements

Applications may be submitted by students who completed a B.A. or B.Sc. (or who are in the final semester of their studies) in Computer Science with a grade point average of at least 80, and students with a degree in another field who have completed Certificate Studies in Computer Science with an average of at least 80. Admission will be considered based on studentsí grades in degree and certificate studies.

Students who completed a dual-disciplinary degree including Computer Science with an average of at least 80 may also apply. The departmental Masterís degree committee will consider the application and stipulate qualifying courses.

Students who completed a B.A. or B.Sc. in Computer Science but whose average is lower than the requirement above may also apply for graduate studies. The departmental Masterís degree committee will decide whether to accept them with probationary status, requiring qualifying courses or improving their grades. Students can improve their grades by taking Selected Topics in Algorithms (22910) and an additional course among the graduate courses in CS.2 After completing these courses with a grade of at least 80, they can apply for graduate studies.3 The departmental Masterís degree committee will determine whether or not to accept them (with or without probationary status). Selected Topics in Algorithms and the additional graduate course taken will count as part of the credits for the degree.

The application form along with the accompanying documents should be submitted to the departmental Master's degree committee. The committee will consider each application and may request additional material if necessary. The committee may make one of the following recommendations:

  1. Accept the applicant as a degree candidate in the program.
  2. Accept the applicant as a degree candidate in the program and require qualifying courses.
  3. Accept the applicant to the program with probationary status, specifying conditions required for transition to degree candidate status.
  4. Reject and refer the applicant to certificate studies in Computer Science.
  5. Reject and recommend that the applicant improve his/her grades.
  6. Reject the applicant.

The first decision (ďdegree candidateĒ) usually applies to students who completed a B.A. or B.Sc. in Computer Science from a recognized institution of higher education in Israel or from a respected university abroad, with a grade point average of 85 and above. Students with a grade average of between 80 and 85 may be accepted according to decisions 1 or 3, depending on the undergraduate courses taken, their content, and the grades achieved.

The second decision (ďdegree candidate with qualifying coursesĒ) usually applies to a student who completed a B.A. or B.Sc. from a recognized institution of higher education but lacks undergraduate courses in Computer Science. This is on the assumption that the student has a grade point average of at least 80 in the degree, and has taken some of the necessary supplementary courses including the Mathematics courses required in the B.Sc. in Computer Science at the Open University. The qualifying courses will include undergraduate courses in Mathematics and Computer Science. The credits accumulated for these courses will not count as credits for the M.Sc. The transition from this status to degree candidate status is subject to passing each of the qualifying courses with a grade of at least 70.

The third decision (ďprobationary statusĒ) applies in two cases: applicants who are in the final semester of their undergraduate studies in Computer Science in a recognized institution of higher education with a grade point average of at least 80; or applicants who completed a B.A. or B.Sc. in Computer Science but do not meet the requirements for admission as a degree candidate. The condition that applies to applicants who are in the final semester of their undergraduate studies is completing their studies with an average of 80 or above. The condition that applies to applicants who do not meet the admission requirements includes taking certain courses and completing them with a minimum grade determined by the committee. The conditions will be determined for each candidate individually. The credits accumulated for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses taken in fulfillment of the conditions will usually count as credits toward the M.Sc. The transition from probationary status to degree candidate status is subject to successful fulfillment of the conditions.

The fourth decision (ďrefer to certificate studiesĒ) usually applies to students who have an undergraduate degree in Exact Sciences or Engineering from a recognized institution of higher education. After completing the certificate studies, students may reapply for the M.Sc. program. Acceptance as a degree candidate is conditional on a grade point average of at least 80 in the certificate studies.

The fifth decision (ďimprove gradesĒ) usually applies to student who completed a B.A. or B.Sc. in Computer Science from a recognized institution of higher education but whose grades do not meet the requirements.

The sixth decision (ďto rejectĒ) usually applies to applicants who fit no other category.

Admission decisions 1-3 are valid for two years from the date of notification. Students who do not enroll in the Master's degree program within this period will be required to resubmit their application.

Enrolling in individual courses

Students who are not registered in the M.Sc. program may, when possible and with the approval of an academic advisor, enroll in some of the graduate courses offered. When the number of students in a course is limited, priority is given to graduate students. The following are the requirements for enrollment in individual courses

 Requirements for students in the B.Sc. in Computer Science:4

  1. Successfully passing (or being exempt from) all the required courses in Mathematics and Computer Science.
  2. Accumulating at least 36 credits in Computer Science, of which at least 6 are advanced credits.
  3. A weighted grade average of all courses taken of 80 and above.
  4. Only two graduate courses may be included in the undergraduate program, including Selected Topics in Algorithms (22910).

Applications to take more than two graduate courses require the approval of the Study Program Approval Committee.

 Requirements for external students who wish to take graduate courses:

  1. Completing an undergraduate degree in Computer Science.
  2. Students may take at most five graduate courses.

Accreditation of Prior Studies

The departmental Master's degree committee will consider granting accreditation only for courses in which the grade is 80 or above. Students may be granted accreditation for up to half of the credits required in the program (4 courses in the thesis track or 5 courses in the non-thesis track).

Graduates of the 4-year program in Software Engineering who took recognized graduate courses as part of their undergraduate studies may apply to the departmental Master's degree committee for accreditation. The committee will grant accreditation for no more than two graduate courses taken in the framework of undergraduate studies.

Students who wish to apply for accreditation of prior studies should submit the relevant documents to the departmental Master's degree committee when applying for admission or shortly before beginning their studies.

Distance Learning

Some of the courses in the program can be studied from a distance, but the Open University does not guarantee that degree studies can be completed entirely through distance learning.

Duration of Studies

Students are required to complete their studies within 6 years of being accepted as a degree candidate.5

Resumption after Interruption of Studies

Students who suspend their studies of their own volition for a period of more than two years are required to submit a request to the departmental Master's degree committee to resume their studies. The committee will consider the request on the basis of the student's academic achievements and additional information submitted by the student. The committee may stipulate additional requirements.

Degree Requirements and Program of Studies

1. Requirements in the non-thesis track
  1. Students must take at least 11 courses,6 and accumulate at least 36 credits.
  2. Students may take no more than 3 advanced undergraduate electives in Computer Science, and may not take an undergraduate seminar or workshop.7
  3. The program of study must include Selected Topics in Algorithms (22910).
  4. The program of study must include only one graduate level seminar.
  5. The program of study must include Graduate Project in Computer Science (22997).8
  6. Students must submit a final paper in addition to taking the courses in section a. above.

2. Requirements in the thesis track
  1. Students must take at least 9 courses, and accumulate at least 30 credits.
  2. Students may take no more than 2 advanced undergraduate electives in Computer Science, and may not take an undergraduate seminar or workshop.7
  3. The program of study must include Selected Topics in Algorithms (22910).
  4. The program of study must include one graduate level seminar. Two seminars may be included in the program on condition that one is a research seminar, and that the student has not taken Graduate Project in Computer Science (22997).
  5. Students must write a thesis in addition to taking the courses in section a. above.

Program of Studies (both tracks)

In the non-thesis track, students must take at least 11 courses,6
In the thesis track, students must take at least 9 courses,
and fulfill the following requirements:

a. Required course 9

Credits

Selected Topics in Algorithms (22910)

3

b. Electives 10,11 Ė at least 5 courses among the following:

Randomized Algorithms (22902)

4

Computer-Aided Verification of Hardware and Software (22904)

4

Computational Geometry (22905)

4

Queueing Theory and Applications in Computer Science (22907)

4

Simulation Modeling and Analysis (22911)

4

Real-Time and Reactive Systems (22912)

4

Image Processing (22913)

4

Software Engineering (22916)

4

Object-Oriented Analysis and Design (22919)

4

Software Testing (22920)

4

Combinatorial Optimization (22921)

4

Approximation Algorithms (22922)

4

Security in Software Systems (22923)

4

Advanced Topics in Database Systems (22925)

4

Models and Specification Methods for Concurrent and Reactive Systems (22926)

4

Introduction to Computer Vision (22928)

4

Advanced Topics in Communication: Connectivity and Network Coding (22956)

4

Research Topics in Aspect Oriented Software Engineering (22957)

4

c. Advanced undergraduate courses

In the non-thesis track, at most 3 courses
In the thesis track, at most 2 courses

Compilation (20364)

4

Operating Systems (20594)

4

Data Mining (20595)

4

Introduction to Computer Networks (20582)

6

Introduction to Cryptography (20580)

4

Advanced Programming with Java (20554)

4

Database Systems Implementation (20574)

4

Computer Graphics (20562)

4

Biological Computation (20581)

4

Prolog and Artificial Intelligence (20596)

4

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (20551)

4

Programming Languages (20905)

4

Object Oriented Programming (20906)

4

Numerical Analysis II (20900)

4

d. One seminar in Computer Science among the following:

Seminar: Theoretical Topics in Computer Science (22941)

3

Seminar: Computer Science Education Research (22943)

3

Seminar: Fractal Image Compression (22944)

3

Seminar: Computer Graphics (22945)

3

Seminar: Selected Issues in Simulation (22946)

3

Seminar: Advanced Topics in Computer Science (22949)

3

Research Seminar: Algorithms for Communication Networks (22950)

3

Research Seminar: Information Security and Privacy (22951)

3

Research Seminar: Algorithms and Theory (22952)

3

Research Seminar: Database and Data Mining (22953)

3

Research Seminar: Topics in Computer Vision and Machine Learning (22955)

3

Seminar: Software Testing (22958)

3

e. Project12

Required in the non-thesis track
Optional in the thesis track

Graduate Project in Computer Science (22997)8

4

f. Final paper or thesis12

In the non-thesis track, students must submit a final paper in addition to taking the courses.
In the thesis track, students must write a thesis in addition to taking the courses.

* * *

Final Paper

Proposing a topic for the final paper

After students have taken 4 courses in the non-thesis program, students decide on a supervisor and a topic for a final paper. Students are advised to consult the faculty member responsible for final papers and theses for help in locating a supervisor for their final paper. The supervisor must have a doctorate and be a faculty member at the Open University. After deciding on the topic and the supervisor, the student submits a proposal to the supervisor. After its approval by the supervisor, the student submits the proposal in writing to the departmental Master's degree committee for approval. The proposal includes the topic of the paper, aim, background and structure, importance, a short description of methods, preliminary bibliography, and timetable.. A sample proposal and form can be found on the CS website. The departmental Master's degree committee will decide whether to approve the proposal and inform the student in writing.

Registration for the final paper

Students can register for the final paper within two months of receiving approval, and no more than six months after completing the courses in the program. Registration procedures for the final paper are specified here (in Hebrew). Students may prepare the final paper over one or two semesters. The paper must be submitted to the supervisor for evaluation within a year of registration.

Presenting the final paper

The scope of the final paper corresponds to two seminar papers. It can be practical (a project) or theoretical. While working on the paper, the student submits periodical progress reports to the supervisor. The supervisor will transmit the report with his or her comments and assessment of the studentís progress to the departmental committee. After the paper is completed and approved by the supervisor, the paper must be submitted in four copies to the departmental Master's degree committee. The paper will be evaluated by the supervisor and an additional reader appointed by the committee. The student will present the work orally to the supervisor and the reader (the lecture will be open to all interested). In the presentation, the student is expected to demonstrate knowledge of the subject of the paper and of related topics. The grade for the final paper is calculated as follows: the written paper Ė 80%; the presentation Ė 20%.

Transferring from the non-thesis to the thesis track

Students may transfer from the non-thesis to the thesis track under the following conditions:

  1. The supervisor recommends the change.
  2. The departmental Master's degree committee approves the recommendation. The committee will determine whether the student needs to submit a thesis proposal, depending on the stage of the work, and in consultation with the supervisor.
  3. The supervisor is qualified to supervise a thesis. If not, the committee can appoint a second supervisor or reader.
  4. The student has an approved program of study.

Thesis

Applying for the thesis program

Students may apply for the thesis program if they fulfill the following conditions:

  1. They have taken at least 3 courses in the framework of the degree studies.
  2. They have an average of 90 and above in courses taken in the framework of the degree studies.13
  3. They have a supervisor who is willing to advise them.
  4. They have submitted a program of studies including the topic of the thesis approved by the supervisor.
Thesis supervisor

Students are advised to begin looking for a thesis supervisor as early as possible after having taken 3 courses in the framework of the degree studies. Students are advised to consult the faculty member responsible for final papers and theses for help in locating a supervisor for their thesis. A list of potential supervisors and their fields of interest can be found on the CS website. The departmental Master's degree committee may approve a supervisor who is not from the Open University. In such a case, an additional supervisor from among the OUI faculty will be appointed.

Thesis proposal

Students who wish to be accepted to the thesis program and fulfill the criteria above may prepare a thesis proposal under the guidance of their thesis supervisor. The thesis proposal includes the topic of the thesis, the purpose of the study, description and structure, potential innovations, a short description of the methodology employed, a preliminary bibliography, and a timetable. The proposal is accompanied by a form that can be found here (in Hebrew). After the proposal is approved by the supervisor, it is submitted, together with the studentís program of study, to the departmental Master's degree committee. Approval of the proposal and the program of study by the Master's degree committee indicates acceptance to the thesis program. The student will be notified in writing.

Registration for the thesis

Students can register for the thesis within two months of receiving approval, and no more than six months after completing the courses in the program. Registration procedures for the thesis are specified here (in Hebrew). Students may prepare the thesis over one or two years. The thesis must be presented to the supervisor for final approval no more than two years after registration.

Submitting the thesis

The thesis will have a research focus and implement knowledge the student has acquired throughout his/her studies. The thesis must reflect the studentís research abilities, mastery of scientific instruments accepted in the field, independent and original thinking, and ability to synthesize scientific material. The thesis must include a critical review of the literature in the field. Sample theses and additional guidelines for writing the thesis are available on the website of the M.Sc. in Computer Science.

Upon completing the thesis, the student will present the findings to an audience.

The student will be guided in writing the thesis by one or two supervisors. One supervisor will be a senior faculty member of the Open University. The thesis will be evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader. Every six months, the student will submit a progress report to the supervisor.

The report will be filed in the studentís personal file, and will be taken into consideration in determining the studentís final grade on the thesis. Upon completion of the thesis and its approval by the supervisor, the student will submit four copies to the departmental Master's degree committee. The paper will be sent by the committee to an additional reader. After receiving all the reviews and making corrections if needed, the student will submit four copies of the thesis. Depending on the scope and type of corrections, the committee will determine whether to request a final review by the readers. After receiving approval of the corrections, the student will submit four hard copies and a digital copy of the final version. The committee will then schedule a date on which the student will defend the thesis in a forum that will include all the examiners (the presentation will be open to all interested). In the presentation, the student is expected to demonstrate knowledge of the subject of the thesis and of related topics. One copy of the thesis will be placed in the library and a digital copy will be posted on the M.Sc. website.

Thesis Grade

The thesis is graded by the supervisor(s) and the additional reader. The grade is calculated as follows: the written paper Ė 80%; the presentation Ė 20%.

Approval and Changes in the Program of Study (both tracks)

Students should consult the supervisor before submitting a program of study because the supervisor may recommend including specific courses relevant to the topic of the thesis or final paper. Award of the degree is conditional upon approval of the program of study by the departmental Master's degree committee, and studying according to the program.

Students who fulfill the requirements for the thesis program may submit a request to the Master's degree committee for acceptance to the program when they submit their program of study.

Approval of the program of study

The departmental Master's degree committee will consider program of study, decide whether to approve it (with or without changes) and notify the student. An approved program of study is valid for three years. Changes in the prerequisites of courses included in a studentís program of study entails changes in the program to include the new prerequisites when the student enrolls in these courses. Approval of a program of study does not exempt students from course prerequisites. In addition, in the event that the University no longer offers a course included in a student's individual program of study, the student will be required to select an alternative course(s).

Changes in the program of study

Changes in courses: Students who wish to change their program of study should submit a request to the departmental Master's degree committee. The committee will consider the student's request and decide whether to approve it.

Changes in final paper or thesis topic, supervisor, or track: Students will be entitled to submit a request to the departmental Master's degree committee to change the final paper or thesis topic, supervisor, or study track (with or without thesis) of an approved program of study. The committee will consider the request and decide whether to approve the new program of study in accordance with the studentís achievements. After receiving approval, the student can make the change in keeping with the registration procedures detailed here.

Bibliographic Training

All graduate students are required to access databanks and university library catalogs. They need to know how to locate books and articles on bibliographic lists, to find material on a certain topic, to prepare a list of references and to be aware of the conventions for citing sources. These skills are especially relevant when preparing a scientific work: a seminar paper, final paper or thesis.

The Open University offers students online bibliographic training, intended to familiarize them with tools to enable them to search and locate bibliographic sources necessary for their studies. Updated information and dates of training sessions can be found on the Library website.

Exams

In graduate courses, students are entitled to take an examination at only one sitting in the semester in which they took the course or in the next semester in which the course is offered. If more than 20 students are enrolled in a course, two exam sittings will be offered, and each student can select one of them. If fewer than 20 students are enrolled, an additional exam date will be provided on request for students who were unable to take the exam due to illness, reserve duty, etc.

Degree Eligibility

Students will be awarded a Masterís degree (M.Sc.) if they have fulfilled the following conditions:

  • They have taken all the qualifying courses (if required).

  • They have successfully completed all the courses in their approved program of studies.

  • They have written and presented a final paper or thesis and received a grade of at least 75.

Final Degree Grade

The final degree grade is calculated as follows:

Non-thesis track: 85% Ė average of all course grades; 15% Ė grade of the final paper

Thesis track: 70% Ė average of all course grades; 30% Ė grade of the thesis


1

The details below are subject to the Regulations Pertaining to Graduate Studies.

2

Students must ensure that they have taken all the prerequisites for these courses, and submitted proof of English language proficiency.

3

Students may apply even if their average grade is less than 80.

4

These requirements do not apply to Selected Topics in Algorithms (22910), for which the only prerequisite is fulfilling all English requirements.

5

This requirement only applies to students who began the program since Fall 2009. In exceptional cases, students may apply to the departmental Masterís committee for an extension. The committee may require that students take additional courses, which will be included in the study program, instead of, or in addition to, courses that the student has taken.

6

This requirement applies to students who began the program since Fall 2010.

7

This may include two advanced undergraduate courses in Mathematics (which are not seminars or workshops), subject to approval by the departmental Masterís committee. Students may not include courses taken as part of their undergraduate studies. The exclusion of seminars or workshops applies to students who began the program since Fall 2010.

8

This requirement applies to students who began the program since Fall 2010.

9

Students who as part of their undergraduate studies did not take a course in computation and complexity must take Introduction to the Theory of Computation and Complexity (20585). The course will count as fulfilling the requirements of the program only for students who began the program before Fall 2009. Students who began the program since then must take the course as a qualifying course and it will not count among the courses taken toward the degree.

10

Constraint Processing Techniques and Applications (22924), which is no longer offered, will count as an elective for students who took it before Fall 2011. Before registering for each semester, students should check the department website to see which courses are offered in that semester.

11

Face-to-face courses will also be offered. Updates will be posted on the M.Sc. website.

12

Students who are unable to find a supervisor may turn to the departmental committee for help. A list of potential supervisors and their fields of interest can be found on the M.Sc. website.

13

Students interested in the thesis track, who have an average between 85 and 90, may find a supervisor in whose field of expertise they wish to write a thesis and attempt to formulate a thesis topic. If the supervisor is convinced that the student is capable of writing a thesis, s/he may decide to accept the student to the thesis track.