Sequence of Study

corner of thornton hall

Sequence of Study

The CS Department has a recommended sequence and plan of study for SF State's Computer Science Graduate Program.
Be sure to meet with a Graduate Advisor at least once, per term, for advice/guideance to a more successful progress.
Please see your advisor if you have questions.

First Semester


  • Satisfy English Level I requirement — receive credit in SCI 614. English Level I must be satisfied no later than the beginning of your third term of study.
  • Meet with graduate advisor at least once per term for advice/guidance.
  • Attend the Graduate Seminar Series during the semester. Each Semester, there will be between eight and ten seminars offered; you are required to attend 10 total before beginning your culminating experience. This requirement should be completed by the end of your second term of enrollment.
  • Enroll in at least three courses after consultation with a Graduate Advisor. Core courses should be completed as early as possible.
  • It is critical to plan to take graduate level electives with possible culminating experience supervisors during your first year of study. Think of topic(s) for your culminating experience, do research on it, check what CS faculty does for research, and feel free to meet CS Chair or other faculty for advice.
  • Given that your GPA must remain above 3.0, we recommend that you do not take too many courses your first semester (typically 9 units maximum).
  • Must attend the first graduate seminar (graduate program overview).


Second Semester

  • Continue to meet with Graduate Advisor for advice/guidance.
  • Enroll in at least three courses after consultation with a Graduate Advisor.
  • Start thinking about your thesis/project early.
  • Must enroll in courses taught by prospective thesis/project supervisors; discuss possible culminating experience topics with prospective supervisors. Consult your favorite professors for guidance in project selection.
  • Must attend mandatory advising group meeting with CS Chair to be organized within the first 4 weeks of the semester.
  • Must select your culminating experience supervisor by the end of this semester and obtain your supervisor’s permission to work under his/her supervision.


Semester Break


  • Investigate culminating experience topic; work with supervisor on obtaining background knowledge/skills.
  • Possibly do an external internship to get practical experience in CSC 893.

The side of the science building before they painted it white


Third Semester


  • Meet with graduate advisor at least once per term for advice/guidance
  • Complete Advancement To Candidacy (ATC) prior to University Deadlines (November 1/April 1) – English Level 1 and Graduate Seminar Series must be complete PRIOR TO ATC SUBMISSION and GPA must be above 3.0.
  • Submit project/thesis proposal to CS Department; select thesis/project committee with consultation of supervisor and graduate advisor; submit signed Culminating Experience Requirement Form prior to University Deadlines (November 1/April 1).  Note that if Human or Animal Subjects Protocols are required, these must also be approved by your supervisor and submitted by this deadline.
  • Enroll in CSC 897/899 for background work on Thesis/Project – be sure to meet with supervisor/committee on a regular basis to ensure appropriate progress.


Final Semester


  • Enroll in CSC 895/898 for project/thesis – GPA must be at least 3.0 in order to enroll in CSC 895/898.
  • Complete culminating experience work.
  • Schedule thesis/project Oral Defense.
  • Submit all thesis/project materials, including the final written report with committee member signatures.

Note: If the student does not progress according to this schedule, program completion may take longer than two years. If you have questions at any time feel free to consult with a Graduate Advisor.


Useful links: