Advising Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)?

The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) is Professor Nianwen (Bert) Xue. His office is in Volen 253. Students do not need to make appointments to attend these office hours (to be announced in August).

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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. For Fall 2019, the add deadline for graduate students is Wednesday, September 11 and the drop deadline is Wednesday, November 13. See detailed academic calendar:http://registrar-prod.unet.brandeis.edu/registrar/schedule/classes/2019/Fall/1400/all.

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

Students who believe that they have taken an equivalent course to to a course required for the COSI major or minor should contact the professor who teaches that class, and present the syllabus for the course they took and a copy of their transcript that shows the grade they received for the course.  Exemptions are granted at the discretion of the Professor. Once approved, a Brandeis student may transfer in courses as long as they have not been used toward fulfilling requirements for another degree. 

 

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I am an in the MS4 program (for non-majors) and I learned programming on my own. What is the first COSI course I should take?

Placement in your first Computer Science course is determined through the COSI Placement Exam which will be offered online. If you pass the exam, your first class will be 12b, Advanced Programming Techniques. If not, you will need to enroll in 10a, Introduction to Problem Solving in Python. We will post a link to the exam as soon as it is available, which we anticipate to be in early August; it should be completed before classes begin on September, Wednesday, August 28th.

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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 COSI 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, please see the COSI CPT Procedure.

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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: 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.

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Can I reserve Volen 101 for a meeting?

In order to reserve Volen 101 for a meeting, please do the following:

  1. Check the Volen 101 Calendar to see if it is available for the time you need
  2. If it is available, please email compsci@brandeis.edu the details of the meeting (date, time, duration, purpose)

Please note, per department policy, your reservation may be cancelled if the conference room is needed for a COSI department event. In those case, we will notify you as soon as we can and will do our best to help you find alternative space.