Masters Program Regulations

We offer two M.Sc. programs - the Thesis and Non-Thesis. The Non-Thesis program will be sometimes referred to as the Project option since it substitutes a project (and additional courses) for a thesis. Both programs are designed to take between 1.5 and 2 years. The maximum allowable is 3 years. All M.Sc. Computer Science students must begin in the Thesis program; however, students may switch to the Non-Thesis program with the approval of their supervisor at any point after their second semester.

Students intending to pursue a Ph.D. after the M.Sc. should follow the Thesis program rather than the Non-Thesis program. Alternatively, students may apply to be fast-tracked to the Ph.D. program without completing the M.Sc.. Such applicants must have completed a minimum of two and a maximum of four full-time semesters, according to GPS rules. For more information, see the bottom of this web page.

Students in either M.Sc. program have a minimum residence requirement of three full-time semesters. Students may register for the Summer semester if they wish to complete their residence requirements. For further details on student status, see here.

Students should take a minimum of two Complementary courses in their first semester and should complete all four Complementary courses by the end of their second semester. In addition, students in their first two semesters should take the Seminar courses COMP 602 (Fall) and 603 (Winter).

Students can take ONE complementary course outside the School of Computer Science (e.g., in another university or in another department at McGill)

Here is a brief summary of the requirements of the two M.Sc. programs. Both programs require:

  • three full-time terms of residence
  • two seminar courses COMP 602 and 603
  • a total of at least 45 credits

In addition, the Thesis program requires:

  • at least 14 credits of COMP (or approved) Complementary coursesat the 500 level or higher, which satisfy a Breadth Requirement (see below)
  • a thesis with significant scholarly content

and the Non-Thesis program requires:

  • at least 28 credits of COMP (or approved) Complementary courses at the 500 level or higher, which satisfy a Breadth Requirement (see here);
  • a research project (see guidelines)

For details on the course requirements on the two programs, see the Masters Courses page.

Letter of Understanding

The letter of understanding must be filled by the student and the supervisor(s) at the initial meeting and signed by both. This letter of understanding must be uploaded by the student into MyProgress. If there are significant changes in the understanding, a new letter can be created and uploaded.

Annual Progress Report

Each student must meet annually with his/her supervisor or co-supervisors to assess the progress made during the previous year, and describe plans for the coming year. The progress form below must be filled by the student, discussed with the supervisor, and signed by both. A progress form must be filled each year (except the first year) before September 30th, and submitted to Ann Jack.

Annual Progress Form (PDF document)

Fast-tracking from the M.Sc. Thesis to the Ph.D. program

Excellent M.Sc. students who would like to pursue doctoral studies can apply to be "fast-tracked" to the Ph.D. program, after having completed a minimum of two and maximum of four full time semesters of the MSc Thesis program. Each fast-tracking application will be evaluated by the Ph.D. committee, in concert with the proposed Ph.D. supervisor, on a case-by-case basis. Evaluation criteria will include excellence of the academic record and achievements in research. M.Sc. students interested in fast-tracking to the Ph.D. program should discuss this option with their supervisor.


For more information, please contact Ann Jack (Graduate Program Coordinator).

For the Master's Graduate Program Director, please contact Prof Muthucumaru Maheswaran.