Advising Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)?

The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) is Professor Rick Alterman. His office is in Volen 212. Students do not need to make appointments to attend these office hours and can drop in during the designated time.

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Will I have a meeting with my advisor before I choose my classes? Will it be clear what classes I need to take?

After orientation, it should be very clear what classes you need to take; you will also meet with your advisor within the first week of classes so you can make sure you’re on the right track.

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How many classes do students normally take?

We have designed the program so that a student should be able to comfortably take 3 classes per semester. However, there are those students who wish to take 4, and though we do not recommend it, those with strong computer science backgrounds may be comfortable doing this. Regardless, you still have a residency requirement. This Fall, the add deadline is Friday, September 14 and the drop deadline is Wednesday, October 3.See detailed academic calendar: https://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/calendar/fall18.html.

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If I have taken a class equivalent to one that is required in the MS4 program, what do I do?

A Brandeis student can transfer in courses as long as they have not been used toward fulfilling requirements for another degree.

To petition out of 11a: Students who want an exemption to the COSI 11a degree requirement because you have taken a course elsewhere that you believe is equivalent, you must pass the COSI 11a Placement Exam which is offered just once per semester on the first Wednesday after the first week classes, every semester. Students who wish to take the exam need to email compsci@brandeis.edu by the Friday before the test. Students who get a A- or better will be allowed to take 12b and 21a in any order (including concurrently). COSI 12b is offered in both the Fall and Spring. This allows students who are exempted from 11a to take 12b in the Fall.

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How long do I have to decide before I commit to a class?

If you aren’t sure about which elective to take, you should enroll in the course and attend the first couple of classes. You are required to go to the first lecture of any class you are interested in. You will have plenty of time to drop the class if you chose to do so. Please see the academic calendar for deadlines: https://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/calendar/fall18.html

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If I’m an international student, can I do an internship in the summer?

International master’s students need to complete two academic semesters in residence on an F1 Visa status to be eligible to gain CPT authorization and will enroll in CS 293G, which counts for one academic credit. Usually students enroll in this class during the summer in between their first and second year, once they have found an internship. For further details on procedure please compsci@brandeis.edu, and the ISSO Office at isso@brandeis.edu.

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Are there Teaching Assistant (TA) positions I can apply for to supplement my income?How can I propose the substitution of a different course for a course required for the major or minor?

The number of TA positions available varies per semester. Once you have taken the class and the faculty member is confident that you know the material well, you can apply for an open TA position.  Normally a new student would have to wait until their second semester or second year to be eligible for this kind of job, but it would depend on the student’s experience. Sometimes an instructor will ask you; feel free to approach them about the position.

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Are there other jobs on campus that I could apply for?

You may go to Student Financial Services and apply for any job you are qualified for on-campus. However, you cannot apply before you arrive. The website is: https://careers.brandeis.edu/studentjobs/.

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Does the department help me find an internship during my studies and/or a permanent job after graduation?

We have a dedicated faculty member, Prof. Marie Meteer, who is a Professor of Practice in Computer Science and the Industry Liaison for our graduate programs. She is responsible for bringing companies to Brandeis for Tech Talks in order to begin helping students establish relationships with outside companies. She brings her strong connection to the tech industry to our annual computer science career fair that is held in the fall and organizes 'meet and greets' with outside industries to help students in their search for internships and jobs. Her contact info is Marie Meteer at mmeteer@brandeis.edu.

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What is a passing grade?

MA students must receive a B- or better on all their 100-level or above classes. In addition, the MA4’s must average a B+ on the required undergraduate courses: 11a, 12b, 21a, and 29a. At the end of each semester in the program, students who have an average of less than a B+ for the subset of these courses that they have taken thus far will be subject to probation or withdrawal from the program.

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Can I do an Independent Study?

It is possible to do an independent study. An independent study can either be a faculty-supervised research project or ask them if they will supervise you. It is mostly a self-taught course that is not offered by the department. If you want to do an independent study approach a faculty member who knows you and ask them about doing it.  Masters students are limited to 2 independent studies.

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If I am an MS4 student, can I take a JBS summer class?

ONLY ONE JBS course or one independent study may count as a 100-level elective from the following list: COSI 115bj, COSI 152aj, COSI 152bj, COSI 153aj, COSI 153bj, COSI 154aj, COSI 293aj, COSI 210aj, COSI 200ab and COSI 210a.