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CMU Course-Only MS in CS


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Is anybody familiar with Carnegie Mellon's new MS in Computer Science program?  I know that CMU's overall reputation in computer science is very strong, but I've heard mixed things about this program because of the lack of a research component.  It sounds like it's still possible to be involved in research while doing this program, but that a thesis is not allowed.

 

I've been admitted into this program but I'm not sure about the quality of it for the reasons listed above and also because it's the only place I've been accepted, while I've been rejected from the programs at Princeton and UMCP.  I'm still waiting to hear back from Stanford and Berkeley (probably both rejects), which I would both definitely choose over CMU.  However, I'm wondering how the other programs I'm waiting on compare to CMU-- UIUC, Georgia Tech and Johns Hopkins.  Without considering funding, how would these programs compare from the perspectives of research opportunities and reputation?

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Hi :).

 

I believe it depends most on WHY you want to get your Masters!

 

As CMU says on their website, "Master's students will not usually continue into the PhD program". It seems that they are strongly presenting this program as indeed a TERMINAL master's program in many ways similar to some type of MEng degree. It is a degree intended for more breadth in CS topics (and a little bit of depth, from the way they describe it), and adding a nice credential to your resume for when you make it out in industry.

 

If you are thinking of doing a PhD, then you can probably still take part in this MS program -- I'm sure they have some type of distinction in research for those MS students who truly shine. This would help you when applying to a PhD program in the future. 

 

best of luck in your decision

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I suppose part of the problem is that I'm not sure yet.  At this point I think that I probably will not be going on to pursue a PhD but it's definitely a path I want to keep open for the future.  Would this MS program be looked upon unfavorably if I do go on to apply for PhD programs (assuming I still do research during my Master's studies)?  On the other hand, how would this degree be viewed in industry compared to the others that I mentioned?

 

Thanks again for your help.

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Hi fwoomp,

 

CMU is great! I would take it over UIUC, Georgia Tech and John Hopkins. Most masters programs in CS are considered terminal programs, even ones with research components. If you end up getting accepted to Stanford, you'll find that their MS is course based as well, unless you find an RAship on your own time.

 

If you want to leave the option of a PhD open, it'll be in your best interest to get some research experience. It doesn't have to be in the form of a thesis, get involved with a professor, ask about RAships, do some work over the summer etc.

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I have also been admitted to this program, and have many of the same questions since I too do not know whether I will want to continue on for a Ph.D. So far my best alternative would be an MS-CS at UT Austin ... which is a much more established program than this new one at CMU. I know that CMU has a set of more specialized masters programs with great reputations, and my worry is that the generalized MS-CS degree at CMU won't carry nearly the same weight. UT Austin also has the option of doing a research track. Can anyone weigh in? What's likely to carry more prestige, an MS-CS at UT Austin or the new MS-CS at CMU?

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I'd pick UT Austin! Their department is as prestigious and has some great courses - plus  the course seems more research focussed. I can't see how that would hurt, even if you are planning to go into industry straight afterwards. The program is considerably more established too.

 

One of the lecturers I've been researching with did his Master's at UT Austin and went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and is now a lecturer in London.  He speaks highly of the department.

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