M.Sc. Thesis Program Information

Our M.Sc. thesis program offers students a wide exposure to advanced topics in Computer Science and trains them in performing cutting-edge research. It prepares students for research careers in academia and industry.

The program is designed to take 18-24 months. Students have to register as full-term M.Sc. students (thesis) for three terms (typically in Fall/Winter/Fall) and then often for one additional session (Winter).

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. first. 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.

The M.Sc. thesis program has a total of 45 credits. In its current form students have to attend talks throughout the first year in the School’s Computer Science Seminar (COMP 602 in Fall and COMP 603 in Winter) to get a broad insight of current research challenges, take 4 complementary courses with a breadth requirement, and conduct a research thesis with significant scholarly content. This research will be overseen by an academic supervisor.

Students are encouraged to take a minimum of two complementary courses in their first semester and strongly encouraged to complete all four complementary courses by the end of their second semester (alternative plans should be discussed with supervisor(s) or the GPD).

M.Sc. Computer Science (Thesis) (45 credits)

Thesis Courses (29 credits)

At least 29 credits selected from:

  • COMP 691 Thesis Research 1 (3 credits)
  • COMP 696 Thesis Research 2 (3 credits)
  • COMP 697 Thesis Research 3 (4 credits)
  • COMP 698 Thesis Research 4 (10 credits)
  • COMP 699 Thesis Research 5 (12 credits)

Required Courses (2 credits)

  • COMP 602 Computer Science Seminar 1 (1 credit)
  • COMP 603 Computer Science Seminar 2 (1 credit)

Complementary Courses (14 credits)

At least 14 credits of COMP (or approved by MSc Thesis Program Director) courses at the 500-, 600-, or 700-level. The courses must meet the Breadth Requirement, namely courses must be from at least two of the three areas of Theory, Systems, and Applications. See the detailed information here.

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. thesis 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.

Typical Timeline

Getting Started

  • Select courses and create a Masters plan
  • Sign the Letter of Understanding with the supervisor

Courses and Research

Students can take courses and do research in any order they would like.

Finishing Up Your M.Sc.

  • When your thesis is complete, submit it for review.
  • Your thesis must satisfy the publication requirements of the supervisor.
  • After receiving feedback, submit your final corrected thesis.
  • Graduate with M.Sc.


For any specific questions, see contact information here.