Forming a Committee
Writing a Proposal
Dept. of Computer Science
California State Univ.
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330
Phone (818) 677-3398
FAX (818) 677-7208
COMPUTER SCIENCE MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAM
Guidelines for Forming a Thesis or Project Committee
When to Form a Committee
The ideal time to form
a committee is after you have taken the core
classes and you have begun taking electives. This gives you the opportunity to
choose some of your electives so they are relevant to your project or thesis topic.
Do not wait to form your committee until you have completed all your course work because
you may be asked by your committee to take additional classes that pertain to your project
or thesis work. Similarly, do not wait until you are about to defend your work to
submit your Program of Study (see 7 and 8 below) since this form requires approvals from
your advisor, from the graduate coordinator, and from the
Graduate Studies office.
Needless to say, you must be fully classified before you can do any of
you will begin your thesis work immediately after forming your committee
-- see steps 1 - 9 below. Ideally, then, you should form your
committee at the end of one semester and then begin work on the project or
thesis the following semester by taking Comp 696C. If necessary, you
can complete some of the formalities of forming your committee the
semester you are taking Comp 696C, but you should plan to take two full
semesters to complete your project. It is virtually impossible to
complete a project, including the research, the programming, the testing,
the consulting with your advisor, the write-up, the rewriting the
write-up, the defense, etc. in a single semester. Plan to take
Comp 696C one semester and Comp 698C the following semester. The
catalog states: students may register for at most 3 units of thesis
work in the semester they begin this work.
Steps to Forming a Committee
It is your responsibility to choose a
chair for your committee by visiting those faculty you feel will best match your interests
and finding one who will agree to chair your committee. You might want to see what research interests our faculty have and visit their web pages to get an idea as to who might be an appropriate
advisor for you.
Once you get a
faculty member to agree
to chair your committee you must prepare a proposal. Please look at the Graduate Thesis and Project Proposals page to learn
more about proposals. The proposal must be typed, is typically about 5 pages long,
and should be free of spelling, grammatical, and typographical errors. Even if your
committee chair approves your proposal, the graduate coordinator must also approve
it. So, please, prepare your proposal with the care and precision you would any
other important document.
With the help of your committee chair
select another computer science faculty member to be your second committee member.
Also with the help of your committee
chair, find the third member for your committee from any department, including Computer
Science. Normally this member is from the College, but may be from any department at CSUN
or from off-campus. If you select an off-campus individual to be your
third committee member you must also obtain a copy of that person's resume
so that we may evaluate their qualifications to perform their duties as a
Obtain a Thesis/Graduate Project
Planning Form. These are available from the Dean's office, the
Office (University Hall, room 265), or from the
graduate coordinator. The chair of your committee approves your proposal by signing
BOTH the proposal and the Thesis/Graduate Project Planning Form.
Submit your approved proposal to the
other committee members. After reviewing your proposal they will either decline to serve
on your committee, requiring you to find a replacement, or they will agree to serve and
should then sign the Thesis/Graduate Project Planning Form. You do not have an official
committee until this form is properly filed.
After completing the Thesis/Graduate
Project Planning Form and obtaining the committee members' signatures you should
obtain the Program for the Master of Science Degree in Computer Science form. These
forms are available at the Computer Science office (JD 4503) and from the graduate
coordinator (JD 4403). Fill this form out and get it approved by the chair of your
committee by having him sign it.
Submit the approved proposal, the
Thesis/Graduate Project Planning Form, and the Program for the Master of Science Degree in
Computer Science form to the graduate coordinator for final approval. You must submit
all three forms at the same time.
You should discuss with each committee
member what they expect in your thesis or project report, and the procedures to follow in
seeking their approval. Some faculty want to be involved in early drafts; some only want
to see the final draft. Some faculty leave all discussion of technical content to the
committee chair; some want a strong say in the technical content. Some faculty have
particular ideas about the writing style. Settle all such matters early.
You must submit the final review draft
of the thesis or project to all members of the committee by the end of the twelfth week of
the semester in which you intend to graduate. This draft should have already been reviewed
by your committee chair numerous times, but the final review by the committee chair should
begin by the ninth week of classes. Special registration may be
available for you in the following semester if your report is not approved
by the deadline but only minor changes remain to be made. You should ask
your thesis or project chair about the "Culminating Experience" form. You
can obtain one from
Graduate Studies (University Hall, room 265).
You should also examine the document
entitled Guidelines for the
Preparation of Theses, Graduate Projects, and Artistic Abstracts at your earliest
convenience. You may find out how to download this booklet by clicking
or you can get a hardcopy from the
Graduate Studies Office (University Hall, room
February 22, 2008.