CSE graduate program handbook

 

1. Program description

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers graduate degrees that provide a well-rounded education in computing. Our students gain experience with both hardware and software and learn how to blend technical expertise with creative problem-solving skills to push technological boundaries, create automated solutions to human problems and build better computing systems. A versatile degree program and the opportunity to work with faculty who specialize in various areas, prepares our graduates to take full advantage of the diverse job opportunities available for computer experts.

1.1 Program/Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  • An ability to apply engineering research and theory to advance the art, science and practice of the discipline.
  • An ability to design and conduct experiments as well as to analyze, interpret, apply and disseminate the data.
  • An understanding of research methodology.

1.2 Graduate Degrees Offered

Graduate programs offered lead to the degrees of:

  • M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering
    • Thesis option (Plan A)
    • Courses-only option (Plan B)
  • Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering

and special programs on:

  • Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
  • Accelerated BS/MS Program
  • Combined BS/MBA Program

1.2.1 Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering (M.S. in CSE)

An advanced degree focusing on the development of complete computing systems. The master's degree program offers an integrated course of study covering the theory, implementation and design of information, computing, communication and embedded systems.

1.2.2 Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering (Ph.D. in CSE)

An advanced degree that emphasizes a synthesis of computer science and computer engineering. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno offers an in-depth, cutting-edge curriculum for those graduate students seeking the degree of doctor of philosophy in computer science and engineering. Doctoral students are involved in many aspects of original research in a specific area and advance scientific knowledge in their field of specialization.

1.3 Graduate Director and Contact Information

The CSE graduate director oversees all aspects of graduate education within the department. Some of the graduate director's activities include:

  • Overseeing the admissions process; ensuring admission of highly qualified applicants; requesting and justifying admission of applicants not meeting minimum university requirements
  • Reviewing and approving programs of study and the composition of advisory/examining committees
  • Reviewing and approving acceptance of transfer credits
  • Graduate student recruitment and promotion of the graduate program
  • Mediating conflicts between graduate students and their advisor

Contact Information of the CSE Graduate Director

Dr. David Feil-Seifer
Office: WPEB 303
Phone: (775) 784-6469
Email: grad_director@cse.unr.edu

 

2. M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno offers an integrated course of study covering the theory, implementation, and design of information, computing, and communication systems for those seeking the degree of master of science in computer science.

2.1 Course Work

Graduate students seeking the degree of master of science are given the opportunity to focus on a specific area in computer science and engineering and perform preliminary research through the “thesis” option (Plan A) or to study several different subjects in computer science and engineering through the “courses-only” option (Plan B). The credit requirements in each case are the following:

2.1.1 Plan A: Thesis Option

This option requires a total of 31 credits and includes:

  • 24 course credits
    • Four 700-level courses
      • 1 independent study (CS/CPE 793 [A-Z]) is allowed (see section 4.2)
    • Four courses at either the 600 or 700 level
      • 1 internship study is allowed (CS/CPE 694) (see section 4.3)
  • One credit of CS 792 - Graduate Seminar (see section 4.4)
  • Six thesis credits (CS 797) (see section 2.4)

Additionally, students must satisfy the following:

  • Core course requirement (see section 4.1)18 credits must be in computer science and engineering (CS/CPE). Non-CSE credits must be relevant to the CSE discipline (such as EBME, Math, IS) or M.S. thesis.

Plan A students must assemble an advisory committee for their thesis (see section 7.1)

2.1.2 Plan B: Courses-only Option

This option requires a total of 33 course credits. To comply with the Graduate School's requirements, students must take:

  • Five 700-level courses and
    • One independent study (CS/CPE 793 [A-Z]) is allowed (see section 4.2)
  • Six courses at the 600 or 700 level
    • One internship study is allowed (CS/CPE694) (see section 4.3)

Additionally, students must meet the following:

  • Core course requirement (see section 4.1)
  • Capstone requirement: One of the 700-level courses must include a graduate-level capstone project that integrates knowledge from your previous courses and demonstrates general mastery in the field.
  • 24 credits must be in computer science and engineering (CS/CPE). Non-CSE credits must be relevant to the CSE discipline (EBME, Math, IS).

Plan B students do not have to assemble an advisory committee.

While it is not necessary for students to immediately decide which path to take, it is important that they meet frequently with their graduate advisor to focus their endeavors. Courses-only students are typically advised by the graduate director.

2.2 Timeline

All course work must be completed within six years preceding the awarding of the MS degree.

2.3 Suggested Course Schedule

This schedule is merely a suggestion and can vary depending on your advisor and course availability etc.

2.3.1 Plan A (31 credits)

Semester

Courses

1st

Nine credits of 600/700-level courses

2nd

Nine credits of 600/700-level courses

3rd

Six credits of 600/700-level courses + three credits CS 797 (Thesis)

4th

Three credits CS 797 (Thesis) + one credit CS 792 (Seminar)*

*You may collect tokens in preceding semesters but we strongly recommend registering for CS792 credits only after you’ve amassed the necessary tokens.

2.3.2 Plan B (33 credits)

Semester

Courses

1st

Nine credits of 600/700-level courses

2nd

Nine credits of 600/700-level courses

3rd

Nine credits of 600/700-level courses

4th

Six credits of 600/700-level courses

2.4 Thesis

For Plan A, a thesis involving original research in computer science and engineering completes the M.S. program. Students must register for six credits of CS 797 (thesis) either in the last semester or three credits in the semester that the student defends their thesis and three credits in the preceding semester.

A defense must be held as a public oral examination, which is announced via posting and electronic mail at least one week in advance (use this Dissertation Defense Calendar Event form). The announcement must include the title and abstract of the work, the date, time and place of the exam, and the names of the student and of the committee chair.

 

3. Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno offers an in-depth, cutting-edge curriculum for those graduate students seeking the degree of doctor of philosophy in computer science and engineering. Doctoral students are given the opportunity to focus on a specific area in computer science and engineering by taking advanced courses and becoming significantly involved in many aspects of original research, advancing scientific knowledge in their field of specialization.

3.1 Course Work

A Ph.D. requires a total of 72 credits beyond a BS degree

  • 30 credits of 700-level courses
    • At least nine credits of 700-level courses must be taken from the CSE department (i.e., excluding CS 792, CPE 795, and CS/CPE 793)
    • Three credits of Graduate Seminar (CS 792) (see section 4.4)
    • Three credits of Comprehensive Exam (CPE 795) (see section 3.4)
  • 18 credits of 600/700 level courses
    • A maximum of three credits of internship study is allowed (CS?CPE 694) (see section 4.3)
  • 24 credits dissertation work (CPE 799)

(24 graduate credits can be transferred (grades B or better) (see section 5); a maximum of 18 transfer credits can be 700 level courses)

Additionally, students must meet the following:

  • Core course requirement (see section 4.1)
  • Breadth requirement (see section 3.3)
  • Publication requirement (see section 3.6)
  • 36 out of the 48 non-dissertation credits (75%) must be in computer science and engineering, i.e., must be credits with CS or CPE codes. Non-CSE credits must be relevant to the CSE discipline (such as EBME, Math, IS) or Ph.D. dissertation.

 3.2 Timeline

All course work must be completed within eight years preceding the awarding of the degree. Credits transferred into doctoral degree from a completed master's degree are exempt from this eight-year limit.

3.3 Breadth Requirement

Ph.D. students must complete one course from each of the following areas with a grade of B or better. The following courses are examples of courses that may fill this requirement, check the course catalog for the actual class offerings.

Cybersecurity and Network Systems

  • CPE 600 - Computer Communication Networks
  • CPE 611 - Digital Computer Architecture and Design
  • CS 642 - Cloud Computing
  • CS 645 - Internet Security
  • CS 650 - Fundamentals of Integrated Computer Security
  • CS 653 - Mobile Computing Security and Privacy
  • CS 654 - Reliability and Security of Computing Systems
  • CS 655 - Mobile Sensor Networks
  • CS 681 - Advanced Computer Game Design
  • CS 691 - Game Theory in Network Design and Network Security
  • CS 691 - Full Stack Web Development
  • CS 701 - Introduction to Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity
  • CS 703 - Game Theory for CyberSecurity
  • CS 704 - Digital Forensics
  • CS 705 - Cryptography and Blockchain
  • CS 765 - Complex Networks
  • CS 791 - High Performance Networking Systems OR High Performance Sys. & Networking
  • CS 791 - Application of Game Theory in CyberSecurity
  • CS 791 - Hardware-Related Cybersecurity

 Intelligent and Autonomous Systems

  • CPE 670 - Autonomous Mobile Robots
  • CS 622 - Introduction to Machine Learning
  • CS 655 - Mobile Sensor Networks
  • CS 682 - Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 683 - Artificial Intelligence Programming
  • CS 684 - Virtual Reality
  • CS 674 - Image Processing and Interpretation
  • CS 679 - Pattern Recognition
  • CS 685 - Computer Vision
  • CS 773C - Machine Intelligence (Object Recognition)
  • CS 776 - Evolutionary Computing
  • CS 786 - Advanced Computer Vision
  • CS 790Q - SEM: Machine Learning (Biometrics)
  • CS 791Y - Topics in Computer Vision
  • CS 791S - Neural Networks
  • CS 791Y - Mathematical Methods for Computer Vision
  • CS 791X - Robotics
  • CS 791 - Robotics For Humanity
  • CS 791 - Robotic Manipulators
  • CS 791 - Machine Learning – Applications
  • CS 791 - Robotics

 Data and Software Systems

  • CS 601 - Fundamentals of Computer Science
  • CS 615 - Parallel Computing
  • CS 620 - Human-Computer Interaction
  • CS 625 - Software Engineering
  • CS 631 - Introduction to Big Data
  • CS 633 - Data Intensive Computing
  • CS 636 - Big Data Systems
  • CS 646 - Principles of Operating Systems
  • CS 647 - Computer Systems Administration
  • CS 656 - Automata and formal Languages
  • CS 657 - Database Management Systems
  • CS 658 - Introduction to Data Mining
  • CS 660 - Compiler Construction
  • CS 661 - Statistical Methods in Bioinformatics
  • CS 666 - Numerical Methods I
  • CS 667 - Numerical Methods II
  • CS 677 - Analysis of Algorithms
  • CS 680 - Computer Graphics
  • CS 687 - Fundamentals of Deep Learning
  • CS 691 - Topics on Data Mining
  • CS 691 - Topics on Convex Optimization and Engineering Applications
  • CS 691 - Simulation and Performance Evaluation
  • CS 691M - Topics in HCI
  • CS 709 - Topics in Advanced Computer Science
  • CS 723 - Compilers and Translators
  • CS 732 - Theory of Parallel and Distributed Processing
  • CS 763 - Computability and formal Languages
  • CS 791 - Advanced Topics in Bioinformatics
  • CS 791 - Topics on Convex Optimization
  • CS 791 - Mass Detection in Mammograms
  • CS 791 - Distributed Computing

Independent Studies (cs693/793) can be used to satisfy breadth requirements with a written justification and both advisor and grad director approvals.

3.4 Dissertation Committee

The student’s dissertation committee must be formed within a year of admission to the Ph.D. program. The committee will be responsible for:

  • Approving the student’s program of study
  • Directing the student towards the written and oral requirement of their comprehensive exam and advancement to candidacy
  • Direction of student’s research and setting guidelines for completion of their dissertation

The dissertation committee is formed by filing a Program of Study form found on the Graduate School web page on Program of study requirements.

3.5 Comprehensive Exam

Before candidates can receive their Ph.D. in computer science and engineering, they must pass the comprehensive exam by enrolling in CPE 795. Check the course catalog for actual class offerings. The exam must be taken once the student has completed 24 graduate units of coursework in order to be admitted into candidacy. The comprehensive exam must be taken at least one semester before the dissertation defense. A student can take the exam up to two times. If they cannot pass the exam the second time, then the student will be dismissed from the CSE graduate program.

The exam has two requirements:

  • Written requirement:
    • Thorough review of the literature for the student’s research area
    • Research proposal (goals, methodology, research plan)
    • Work in progress
  • Oral requirement:
    • Public colloquium covering the written exam
    • Q&A by the student’s dissertation committee, covering the written exam

The student’s dissertation committee will decide whether the student passes/fails the written and oral portions of the comprehensive exam.

According to UNR regulations, admission to candidacy confirms that a student successfully has completed the departmental course requirements and university residency requirements. In order to gain admission to candidacy, a student must meet all the following requirements:

  • Hold at least a 3.0 GPA average in all graduate work
  • Pass the comprehensive exam
  • Gain the advisory/examining committees’ formal approval for the program of study, including dissertation development.

The Doctoral Degree Admission to Candidacy form needs to be submitted to the grad school and the student’s advisory committee, graduate director of the program and the graduate dean must approve the form. This form can be found on the Graduate School Forms Website.

3.6 Suggested Course Schedule

This schedule is merely a suggestion and can vary depending on your advisor and course availability etc.

Semester

Course Work

1st

Nine credits of 600/700 level courses

2nd

Nine credits of 600/700 level courses

3rd

Nine credits of 600/700 level courses

4th

Six credits of 600/700 level courses + 3 Credits CPE 795 (comprehensive exam)

5th

Nine credits of 600/700 level courses

6th

Nine credits of CPE 799 (dissertation)

7th

Nine credits of CPE 799 (dissertation)

8th

Six credits of CPE 799 (dissertation) + three credits CS 792 (Seminar)*

* You can collect tokens in preceding semesters, but register for each credit of 792 once you have acquired 12 tokens.

3.7 Publication Requirement

Ph.D. students are expected to publish their work in at least two high-quality, peer-reviewed conference proceedings or journals as first author by the time of their dissertation defense.

3.8 Dissertation Defense

A dissertation involving original research in computer science and engineering completes the Ph.D. program. A dissertation defense must be held as a public oral examination, which is announced via posting and electronic mail at least one week in advance (use the Dissertation Defense Calendar Event form found on the Graduate School forms web page and notify a CSE admin). The announcement must include the title and abstract of the work, the date, time and place of the exam, and the names of the student and of the committee chair.

A successful dissertation defense is reflected by no more than one negative vote from a member of the advisory/examining. If two negative votes are cast — regardless of the total number of committee members — the defense is unsuccessful. At the discretion of the committee, the candidate may be permitted one additional attempt to conduct a successful defense.

 

4. CSE Graduate Coursework

4.1 Core Requirement

Students must complete the following courses with a grade of B or better, if they have not already done so at undergraduate or graduate level.

  • CS 677 - Analysis of Algorithms
  • CS 646 - Principles of Operating System

4.2 Independent Study

Independent studies provide a way for students to learn specialized material or gain research experience. Typically, a student and faculty member agree upon a topic for the student to research with guidance from the instructor for an agreed-upon number of credits. One independent study of three credits (CS/CPE 793 [A-Z]) is allowed for the M.S. degree while two independent studies for six total credits are allowed for the Ph.D. degree.

4.3 Internship

Internships offer students industry experience. A maximum of three credits of internship (CS/CPE 694) is allowed for M.S./Ph.D. degrees. Please follow the procedure for internships as specified on the internship webpage.

4.4 Graduate Seminar

Students are required to attend public talks at the CSE department to collect tokens as a measure of attendance. Each student must provide 12 tokens per credit to pass the course. To earn a token, the students must sign a specially designated attendance sheet that is available only by the host of a public talk in the CSE department. The host will typically be a faculty member at the CSE department. The attendance sheet will NOT be available for signature once the talk starts. The students also will NOT be able to sign the attendance sheet after the talk. So, it is critical that the students arrive strictly before the talk starts; otherwise, they will not be able to earn a token for that particular talk.

Please follow specific colloquia or seminar announcements for exact time and place of the course. You should be able to receive these announcements from the departmental mailing lists. Please make sure your email address registered for these mailing lists is up to date.

In order for a talk to qualify as a “public talk” acceptable for this course, the talk must be hosted by the CSE department or approved as a token talk by the CSE grad committee. Further, the talk must be either of the following two types: (i) A seminar or colloquium talk given by a speaker being hosted at the CSE department, and (ii) A thesis defense or dissertation talk delivered by a graduate student at the CSE department (typically the advisor of the speaker student will be the host). Talks not satisfying the above requirements will not be counted as a “public talk.”

The tokens can/should be collected over multiple semesters prior to enrollment into the course. Since there may be fewer than 12 public talks the students can attend in a semester, we strongly recommend that the students make every attempt to collect the tokens as soon as possible. The students may track their existing number of tokens from WebCampus. The graduate director will assign an ‘S’ grade if you have the required tokens at the end of the semester.

M.S. students pursuing the “thesis” option (plan A) must complete one credit of CS 792 - graduate seminar. There is no graduate seminar requirement for the “courses-only” option (plan B) MS.

Ph.D. students should obtain 36 tokens for three credits of CS 792.

 

5. Transfer Credits

These are credits transferred from another institution. Credits completed at UNR in another program or as a graduate special do not need to be transferred. Transfer credit is requested on the Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request form available on the Graduate School website and must be signed by the student, major advisor and graduate director. Students must list each course for which they wish to receive transfer credit on the Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form. All credits used to satisfy degree requirements for the graduate degree, except thesis or dissertation credits, may be acceptable for transfer.

5.1 Transfer to Master’s Degree

Only courses with a grade of “C” or better may be transferred to a master’s program. No more than nine (9) credits completed either prior to admission to a graduate program or transferred from another institution may be applied to a master’s degree. Transfer credits applied to a master’s program must comply with the time limitation on master’s work (six years). Thus, if a student took a course five years prior to admission, they would have to complete the degree within one year for the course to apply to the degree.

5.2 Transfer to Doctoral Degree

Only courses with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred to a doctoral program. For doctoral programs, a maximum of twenty-four (24) credits from a previously completed master’s program or other post-BS degree program may be applied. Credits from a completed master’s degree will be exempt from the eight-year time limitation for those students earning a doctoral degree.

 

6. Timeline for Degree Completion

Please use Docusign forms, whenever possible. Note that forms are found on the Graduate School forms webpage.

  • Declaration of Advisor/Major Advisor/Committee Chair form 
    • For plan A (thesis) M.S. students, completed form must be submitted to Graduate School by the end of the student's second semester
    • For Ph.D/ students, completed form must be submitted to Graduate School by the end of the student's third semester
  • Program of Study form
    • For M.S. students, completed form must be submitted to Graduate School by the end of the student's third semester
    • For Ph.D. students, completed form must be submitted to Graduate School by the end of the student's fourth semester
  • Doctoral Degree Admission to Candidacy form
    • For Ph.D. students who completed all requirements except for the dissertation
  • Graduation Application form
    • May Graduation Deadline: March 1
    • August Graduation Deadline: June 1
    • December Graduation Deadline: Oct.1
  • Notice of completion – completed form should be submitted after all requirements have been met. See website for exact dates
    • Master's Notice of Completion form
    • Doctoral Notice of Completion form
  • Exit Survey

6.1 Program of Study

A program of study describes the student’s specific plan of courses, research and related activities. Only graduate courses are applicable toward the graduate degree (graduate courses are those with numbers in the 600 and 700 levels). The graduate student’s advisor, the graduate director of the program and the advisory/examining committee determine the program of study for each degree candidate.

The graduate dean has final approval of the program of study.

The approved Program of Study Requirements Form, indicating the members of the advisory/examining committee and the courses used to fulfill the degree requirements, must be filed with the Graduate School. The program of study must be approved by the graduate dean prior to the student applying for graduation.

Plan B MS students have to list the graduate director as their advisor on their program of study (no advising committee is required).

Changes to the program of study can be made using the Change in Program of Study form or the Change of Advisory form with approval from the graduate director. It is the responsibility of the student and the advisory/examining committee to ensure that the graduate courses in the proposed program of study are consistent with the requirements of the Graduate School and the CSE department.

6.2 When You Can Take Courses

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Wintermester

6.3 Applying for Graduation

Completing all the requirements for your degree may then involve:

  • Completing all course work and having final grades filed
  • Successfully completing your comprehensive examination
  • Defending your thesis or dissertation, making all necessary modifications and submitting the final work to the Graduate School
  • Filing all outstanding paperwork (notice of completion, etc.)

After you’ve completed all requirements and submitted all necessary documents, you should check your transcript after the semester ends to ensure that grades have been received for all coursework. If, for example, you take a course in your final semester that does not apply to your degree requirements and receive an “I – Incomplete” grade in that course, you will NOT be able to graduate: grades must be received for all coursework regardless of whether or not the course applies to fulfilling degree requirements. If you’ve finished work for a previously received “I” grade, you should check your transcript to ensure that the instructor has actually filed a final grade for that course. There are cases where courses exceed the time limit for the degree or that grades received for particular courses do not meet minimum university standards (i.e. receiving a “C-” or lower in a course). In these instances, the student must meet with their graduate director to explore corrective measures such as petitioning for an extension of the time limit or substituting an appropriate graduate course for another.

6.4 Commencement

Graduating doctoral students are accorded special recognition during commencement exercises by participating in a hooding ceremony. They receive their doctoral hoods from their faculty mentor and the dean of the graduating school.

To participate in this ceremony, students must have:

  1. Filed an application for graduation for the appropriate semester (fall or spring); and
  2. Successfully defended their dissertation and filed the Notice of Completion with the Graduate School at least one week prior to the commencement exercises.

Students who complete their degree during the summer session are eligible to attend either the fall or spring commencement exercises.

Commencement exercises are held each December and May. There is a separate commencement ceremony held for advanced degrees conferred in May of each year. The December exercises are combined graduate/undergraduate ceremonies. Doctoral students are “hooded” by their academic advisors. Students and advisors process in and are seated together.

6.5 Thesis/Dissertation Requirements

Graduate School forms and resources related to thesis and dissertations: find all forms on the Graduate School forms page. 

Once all requirements have been met, students need to submit a Final Review Approval and Notice of Completion form in order to graduate.

  • Final Review Approval – Obtain sign-off from advisory committee chair.
    • Master's Final Review Approval 
    • Doctoral Final Review Approval 
  • Notice of completion – completed form should be submitted after all requirements have been met.
    • Master's Notice of Completion form 
    • Doctoral Notice of Completion form 
 

7. Committee Selection Guidelines

The advisory/examining committee approves the student’s program of study and guides the student through their graduate program. The student should maintain close contact with their committee, keeping them informed of their progress and allowing them ample time to review drafts of the student’s thesis or dissertation. The students should be aware of their schedules when trying to arrange committee meetings and thesis defense. Note that it is the student’s responsibility to make these arrangements.

One of the members must be the graduate student’s advisor, serving as committee chair, and one must be from outside the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, serving as the Graduate School representative.

The chair will conduct the dissertation proceedings on behalf of the student. The chair will make sure that a token form is circulated at the defense and the form is given to the administrative assistants after the talk is completed. The chair will synthesize the committee comments on the dissertation’s oral and written components and ensure that the student completes all required edits before signing off on dissertation completion forms.

The departmental members will give additional perspective on the dissertation from a broader computer science perspective. While they are not likely to be experts on the exact dissertation topic, they likely have some relationship to individual aspects of the research in the dissertation. In order for the committee to do its best work reviewing the proposal, it is imperative that any written materials be given to the committee preferably 10 business days in advance (and no later than five business days in advance). Committee members will suggest edits to the final dissertation research and written components for the student to complete before final submission.

The Graduate School representative member’s role on the committee is not necessarily to provide subject-matter expertise but rather to ensure compliance with university policy and regulations; to serve as a representative of the graduate dean, “outside” the department granting the degree; and to provide an objective, nonpartisan, independent perspective. Students may request the appointment of a committee member from the faculty of another university or from a relevant discipline or profession, provided the prospective member has achieved a record of distinction. Formal approval of the student’s advisory/examining committee is made by the graduate dean.

7.1 M.S. Thesis Advisory Committee

Plan B M.S. students do not need to assemble an advisory committee and typically are advised by the graduate director. For Plan A, the committee should consist of at least three members, all who must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The committee must be formed no later than at the end of third semester.

7.2 Ph.D. Advisory/Examining Committee

The committee must be formed no later than end of fourth semester. The advisory/examining committee of a doctoral student should consist of at least five members, who must all be members of the Graduate Faculty.

For students going directly from the B.S. degree to the Ph.D. degree, the advisory/examining committee should be formed prior to the completion of 24 credits in graduate courses. Students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.S. degree should form the advisory/examining committee during their first semester of enrollment.

 

8. Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantship positions are offered through various departments and are paid by grants or state funds. Students interested in these positions must contact the department for specific requirements. The Graduate School is responsible for approval of graduate assistantships after a department has requested the initiation of a contract. All positions are contingent upon available funding.

Graduate assistants perform a variety of duties, from teaching undergraduate classes to grading papers to conducting research in laboratories. Teaching assistants receive special teaching-skills training through the Graduate Teaching Assistant Training (GRAD 701S).

All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching or research) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship. To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least six graduate level credits (600-700) throughout the duration of the assistantship.

State-funded assistantships may be held for a maximum of: three (3) years for master’s degree students and five (5) years for doctoral degree students.

Please also refer to the updated information on graduate assistantships on the graduate school website

8.1 Graduate Employment: Rights and Responsibilities

Graduate assistants play an invaluable role in the university’s instruction and research endeavors. In their roles as graduate assistants, graduate students should be treated with respect as junior colleagues and receive guidance in the performance of their duties as necessary.

Graduate assistants are classified as professional employees; as such, they do not work according to the clock, but rather, according to performance of a specified job. Graduate assistants work on average 20 hours per week for a 0.5 FTE employee.

8.1.1 Rights

Graduate students have the right to fair and equitable treatment as employees (Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Statement). Graduate assistants have the right to discuss and clarify the conditions of their employment and expected workload with their supervisor. Graduate assistants have the right to expect the work requirements to be consistent with professional expectations. Consequently, graduate assistants should not be assigned, as part of their employment, inappropriate work tasks such as house-sitting, babysitting, etc., for their supervisor.

8.1.2 Responsibilities

As professional employees, graduate assistants should conduct themselves appropriately (dress, collegial relations, punctuality, dependability, etc.) in the work situation. As professional employees, graduate assistants will strive to fulfill the agreed-upon work obligations. As professional employees, graduate assistants have the responsibility to report inappropriate work expectations or working conditions to the dean of the Graduate School and/or other appropriate campus entities.

8.2 Assistantships with the CSE Department

To inquire about a possible research assistantship, the student should contact CSE faculty members in the student’s area(s) of research. Information on CSE faculty’s research areas is available on the Computer Science & Engineering department website.

 

9. Health Insurance

All domestic, degree-seeking graduate students who are enrolled in six or more credits (regardless of the course level) in a semester, will be automatically enrolled and billed for the University sponsored health insurance for each term they are eligible (fall and spring/summer). Graduate students who are admitted to an eligible graduate degree program and have a part-time graduate assistantship (GA) and are enrolled in six (6) or more graduate credit hours at the University of Nevada, Reno automatically are enrolled in the student health insurance plan with half of the insurance premium paid by UNR. Half-time GA students who do not submit an insurance waiver of comparable coverage will have their student accounts charged for the remaining half of the insurance premium.

If a student has other comparable coverage and would like to waive out of the student health insurance, it is the student’s responsibility to complete the University Online Waiver form prior to the deadline. If approved, a health insurance waiver is good for the current academic year only. A new waiver must be submitted each academic year. All international graduate students are required to carry student health insurance, and the cost will be automatically added to your student account. Any international graduate students with insurance questions must contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) directly.

 

10. Policies

10.1 Academic Status

All graduate students must maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0. If their GPA drops below 3.0, they are either placed on probation or dismissed. Undergraduate courses will not count towards graduate GPA.

10.1.1 Probation

Students whose cumulative graduate GPA is between 2.99 and 2.31 are put on probation. Students are placed on academic probation for one semester. If they fail to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 by the end of one semester, they are dismissed from their graduate program. Students placed on probation receive a letter from the Graduate School explaining exactly how many credits of “A” are required to raise their GPA to 3.0. Thesis, dissertation, S/U graded credits and transfer credits have no impact on a student’s GPA.

10.1.2 Dismissal

Students whose cumulative graduate GPA is 2.30 or lower are dismissed from graduate standing. Also, if the graduate GPA remains below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, the student is dismissed from graduate standing. Dismissed students are no longer in a graduate program but may take graduate-level courses as a grad special. Students wishing to complete their degree must obtain approval to take graduate-level courses, raise their graduate GPA to at least 3.0 and then reapply to a graduate program. Any courses taken to raise their GPA will be included in the graduate special/transfer credit limitation (nine credits for master’s degrees).

10.2 Continuous Enrollment

Graduate students must register for a minimum of three graduate credits each fall and spring semester until graduation or have an Application for Leave of Absence form (also found on the Graduate School forms webpage) approved by the graduate director of the program and the Graduate School. Approved leaves of absence do not abrogate the time limitations on course work (six years for a master’s degree program and eight years for a doctoral program). International students may be required to enroll in nine graduate credits each fall and spring semester, depending on the requirements of their visa. There are no minimum registration requirements during the summer. All students holding assistantships (whether teaching or research assistantships) are required to enroll in a minimum of six graduate credits each semester they hold the assistantship.

10.3 Enrollment Limitations

In each summer session, graduate students may not enroll in more than six graduate credits. In each semester they hold an assistantship, graduate assistants must enroll in at least six and may not enroll in more than 12 graduate credits.

10.4 Leave of Absence

All graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment of a minimum of three (3) graduate credits each fall and spring semester. A leave of absence is a temporary cessation of study due to medical reasons or other emergencies during which time the students are not required to maintain continuous registration. Students requesting a leave of absence must be in good academic standing and submit a completed Application for a Leave of Absence form (also found on the Graduate School forms webpage) to the Graduate School before the period of leave begins. Students applying for a leave of absence should not have any “incomplete” grade which could be changed to “F” and have a detrimental impact on their cumulative grade point average. Usually leaves of absence are approved for one to two semesters and may be extended by the student filling an additional leave of absence form. Time spent on an approved leave is included in the time allowed to complete the degree, i.e., six calendar years for the master’s degree and eight calendar years for the doctoral degree. That is, the clock doesn’t stop.

10.5 Reinstatement

Students can request reinstatement to their graduate program after an unapproved Leave of Absence by filing a Notice of Reinstatement to Graduate Standing form (also found on the Graduate School forms webpage) with their graduate program. Once completed, the program will return this form to the Graduate School for final approval. This form allows the program the option to recommend the student be readmitted to their graduate program based on their previous admission or require the student to reapply for admission, which would require them to submit a new application for admission and pay the application fee.

10.6 Good Standing

Each graduate course must be completed with a grade of “C” or better for the credit to be acceptable toward an advanced degree. In addition, students must maintain good standing with an overall graduate credit GPA of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.

10.7 Getting an M.S. While Pursuing a Ph.D.

If a student who currently is enrolled in the Ph.D. program wants to earn an M.S. en route, then the student needs to complete a master’s degree program of study. The graduate director then will send a memo to the Graduate School informing them of this request and the student then can apply for graduation. For either option (thesis, non-thesis), students only will be able to use 24 credits towards the Ph.D. If they take the thesis option, the six thesis credits cannot be used towards dissertation credits.

10.8 Completing Two Degrees Simultaneously

Students may choose to complete two master’s degrees at the same time or complete a master’s degree while working on a doctoral program in a different discipline. Students may not complete two doctoral programs simultaneously. When completing two master’s degrees at the same time, the student must apply and be accepted to each graduate program; must submit a separate program of study for each degree; must form two separate advisory committees with no more than one member in common; and have no more than nine credits in common with each program of study.

10.9 Changing Advisors

It can happen that your research interests change over time or that the relationship with your current advisor has changed for the worse. Any student is free to change advisors, but changing earlier in your career generally is easier than later. If you are thinking about switching advisors, you can accomplish this the best if you adopt an attitude of respect for the person who initially advised you or recruited you to come to UNR.

The following are general guidelines for switching advisors:

  1. Talk to the graduate director. The graduate director represents the interests of the graduate students and they can help you make a better decision whether switching advisors would be good for you. The graduate director also can try to mediate between you and your advisor and help you better understand the pros and cons of changing advisors. This advice is especially important if you are attempting to change advisors toward the final phase of your graduate program.
  2. Decide whether you want to switch advisors (do not approach other faculty before deciding).
  3. Decide whether you could work with two advisors.
  4. Try to work through any differences with your current advisor. Express to your advisor why you are considering a change, discuss whether their expectations of you are realistic, and whether they are open to adjusting.
  5. Carefully consider the pros and cons of switching advisors as this may involve:
    1. You can lose your RA or TA position (if your existing advisor provided you with a 10-hour RA-ship). Switching advisors is not a guarantee you can maintain your TA-ship.
    2. You need to find a new research topic, as continuing your existing research with a new advisor is only acceptable with permission of your old advisor.
    3. You may receive an unsatisfactory on thesis/dissertation credits that you currently are taking or a failing grade on an independent study with your current advisor if you do not complete your advisor’s expectation for that semester.
    4. If you are a Ph.D. student and you have enough credits, you may need to graduate with an M.S. degree on your old research topic before starting a new research topic with a new advisor.
  6. After your decision, approach another faculty member about being an (co-) advisor for you.
    1. Frame your approach with positive information, such as new interests and new possibilities. Be professional at all times.
    2. Focus discussions on your interests and goals and not on negative incidents or difficulties.
    3. Avoid doing or saying anything that could have negative ramifications for your future career.
  7. Notify your current advisor and discuss and arrange a time frame for completing any remaining work with your current advisor before the switch takes place.
  8. Arrange a meeting with your new and old advisor to discuss your new topic of research and/or overlap on publications in your thesis/dissertation.
  9. Regarding Intellectual property claims, carefully consider UNR’s Intellectual Property Policy.
  10. Complete or update any formal paperwork that contains information about your advisor, e.g., advisory forms etc.

10.10 Academic Dishonesty

In order to maintain an academic climate conducive to each member’s success in the pursuit and transmission of knowledge, the University of Nevada, Reno has established a set of policies and standards for all of its members to adhere to. For student members of this community, enrollment at the university carries certain obligations related to activities in the academic setting, including behavior inside and outside the classroom. Specific details can be found on the Student Code of Conduct website.

10.11 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Personal and professional values in the University and the College of Engineering

The students, scholars and staff in the College of Engineering are united in our common desire to make the world a better place. We are firmly committed to fostering an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion that will allow everyone to realize their full potential. As a College, we acknowledge and are actively working to address any systemic barriers of prejudice that may exist within the engineering community and society at large. Our actions align with the goals of the engineering and computer science organizations and accrediting bodies that set the bar for personal and professional excellence in our vital disciplines.

University Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

The University of Nevada, Reno actively welcomes, embraces and nurtures a diverse and inclusive campus culture because we acknowledge that diversity and the unique beliefs, backgrounds, talents, capabilities and ways of living that come with it make for a stronger, smarter, happier and healthier University.

The University of Nevada, Reno is committed to providing a safe learning and work environment for all. If you believe you have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence or stalking, whether on or off campus, or need information related to immigration concerns, please contact the University’s Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office at 775-784-1547. Resources and interim measures are available to assist you. For more information, please visit the Equal Opportunity & Title IX website.

ACM Professional Code of Conduct

Computing professionals’ actions change the world. To act responsibly, they should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good. The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ("the Code") expresses the conscience of the profession.

The Code is designed to inspire and guide the ethical conduct of all computing professionals, including current and aspiring practitioners, instructors, students, influencers and anyone who uses computing technology in an impactful way. Additionally, the Code serves as a basis for remediation when violations occur. The Code includes principles formulated as statements of responsibility, based on the understanding that the public good is always the primary consideration. Each principle is supplemented by guidelines, which provide explanations to assist computing professionals in understanding and applying the principle.

 

11. Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) represents all graduate students and promotes the welfare and interests of the graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno. The GSA works closely with appropriate university administrative offices, including the Graduate School and Student Services and reports to the president of the University. The GSA government functions through the Council of Representatives, Executive Council and established committees.

Graduate students have the right to form clubs and organizations within their programs, departments, colleges, ethnicities, shared interests or any other constituencies, for the purposes of academic, professional or social networking, sharing and advocacy.

 

12. Acknowledgments

Parts of this handbook’s text have been taken and adapted from UNR’s Graduate Student’s Guide to University, the UNR Graduate School website and the UNR Graduate Student Association website.