Computer Science

College of Science and Engineering
Dean: James C. Kelley

Department of Computer Science
TH 906
Chair: Gerald Eisman

Undergraduate Advisers: Douglas, Hodges, Kroll, Murphy, Wong, C.S.
Graduate Coordinator: B. Levine


Professors--Douglas, Dujmovic, Eisman, Levine, Murphy

Associate Professors--Hodges, Hsu, Kroll, Wong, C.S.

Adjunct Professors--Haines, Oklobdzija


B.S. in Computer Science

Minor in Computer Science

M.S. in Computer Science

Program Scope

The primary goal of the B.S. in Computer Science is to prepare students for employment as computer specialists in the software development and computer manufacturing industries or in industries which depend heavily on computer usage. A secondary goal is to prepare some students for study toward advanced degrees. The B.S. program stresses a basic foundation in mathematics and physics, and a thorough study of the fundamentals of the discipline--software development, computer architecture, operating systems, programming languages, algorithms, and the theoretical foundations of computer science. A wide variety of elective courses such as database systems, artificial intelligence, computer architecture and graphics, allow students to emphasize study in selected areas. Ethical and social issues of computing are discussed throughout the curriculum. It is strongly recommended that students who will seek employment as computer specialists in industry gain a basic understanding of the general aims and problems of that industry by taking a minor or the equivalent in one of the appropriate university programs.

An Endowed Scholarship Fund, established in the memory of Jules H. Strauss, supports an annual award worth approximately $2,000 to a Computer Science major who shows scholarly accomplishment and demonstrates a financial need. The Chevron Corporation Achievement Award in Computer Science in the amount of $1,500 is given each semester to a junior or senior who has exhibited exceptional achievement.

Many university students want to acquire enough computer science background to enable them to use computers effectively in their major areas, or to provide an alternative source of income after graduation, but do not want to study computer science in the depth required for the B.S. degree. For such students, a minor consisting of the most central courses in the B.S. program, plus some electives, is ideal.

The primary goal of the M.S. program is to prepare students for employment as computer specialists in the computer manufacturing and software development industries or in industries which depend heavily on computer usage. Secondary goals are to prepare students to transfer to Ph.D. granting institutions and to provide computer science background for those wishing to prepare themselves for high school and junior college teaching.

Computing Facilities

Access to Internet is provided by most of the following facilities:

Central Facilities:

Several microcomputer laboratories are located around campus.

Departmental Facilities:

Financial Assistance

Graduate assistantships are frequently available for qualified master's students. These opportunities include assisting with the management of department and university computer laboratories as well as lecturer positions for beginning undergraduate computer science courses.

Career Outlook


Students intending to enter this program at the freshman level should complete two years of algebra and one semester of trigonometry in high school. One year each of high school geometry and physics is very desirable as well.

All lower division courses (course numbers below 300) included among the degree requirements are available at many community colleges in California; students intending to enter the program upon transferring to San Francisco State University from a community college should take as many of those courses there as possible.

Students should plan their program of study in the major with the help of a departmental adviser in order that the correct sequence of courses be taken and a proper set of electives be chosen. It is also suggested that students consult with an adviser before selecting courses to meet General Education requirements.

Students are encouraged to participate in the Computer Science Cooperative Education Program at SFSU. Under this program, they may obtain industrial employment related to their academic studies. This combination of on-the-job training and academic experience can greatly enhance the value of an undergraduate degree in computer science.

Students are advised that except for the laboratory courses, CSC 212, CSC 216, and CSC 311, CR/NC grades are not acceptable in courses to be counted for the computer science major program.

Courses for this program are listed in alphabetical sequence (consult Index for page reference).


Mathematics and Physics (23 units)

MATH 220-222	 Calculus and Analytic 
Geometry I-III (3 each) 9
MATH 250	Probability and Statistics with 
Computing 3
MATH 325	Linear Algebra		3
PHYS 220/222	General Physics with 
Calculus I (3/1) 4
PHYS 230/232	General Physics with 
Calculus II (3/1) 4

Core Computer Science Requirements (22 units)

CSC 210	Introduction to Computer 
Programming 3
CSC 212	Software Development Tools with 
CSC 301	Fundamentals of Computer Science		3
CSC 310	Assembly Language Programming 
and Introduction to Computer
Organization 3
CSC 311	Assembly Language Programming 
Laboratory 2
ENGR 356	Basic Computer Architecture		3
CSC 330	Discrete Mathematical Structures 
for Computer Science 3
CSC 410	Data Structures		3

Advanced Computer Science Requirements
(21 units)

CSC 415	Principles of Operating Systems		3
CSC 510	Analysis of Algorithms I		3
CSC 600	Programming Language Design		3
Senior Presentation.Each major is required 
to make an oral presentation on an area
of computer science during his/her senior
year. Guidelines for the presentation are
available in the department office 0

Electives (see requirements below)		12
Total for major		66

Elective Requirements (four 3-unit courses)

Electives are selected from the nine subareas of Computer Science listed below. Electives must meet the following requirements.

1. One of the electives must be either CSC 520, Theory of Computing, or CSC 656, Computer Organization. (CSC 520 and CSC 656 can be used to partially meet the depth and breadth requirements.)
2. Depth Requirement:two of the electives must be chosen from the same subarea of the discipline.
3. Breadth Requirement:electives must be chosen from three different subareas.
For example, the following four electives meet the requirements (subareas are shown in parentheses):

NOTE:It is recommended that students planning to continue their study of computer science in graduate school take both CSC 656 and CSC 520.

The courses listed below constitute a partiallist of suitable courses. Frequently, the department offers courses under the title of CSC 690, Undergraduate Seminar, which meet elective requirements. For example, new courses in computer music, multimedia, performance evaluation, and network administration have been offered. In addition, many students find that by their senior year they are prepared to undertake certain graduate courses in computer science. Any course substitutions must be approved by the major adviser.

Subareas of Specialized Emphasis

Algorithms and Theory of Computing

CSC 520	Theory of Computing
CSC 610	Sorting and Searching


CSC 656	Computer Organization

Artificial Intelligence

CSC 620	Natural Language Processing
CSC 665	Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
CSC 671	Neural Networks


CSC 675	Introduction to Database Systems


CSC 630	Computer Graphics Systems Design

Numerical and Symbolic Computing

MATH 400	Numerical Analysis I

Operating Systems and Distributed Processing

CSC 645	Computer Networks

Programming Languages

CSC 520	Theory of Computing
CSC 668	Object Oriented Programming

Software Engineering

CSC 668	Object Oriented Programming
CSC 640	Software Engineering


Students are advised that except for the laboratory courses, CSC 212, CSC 216, and CSC 311, CR/NC grades are not acceptable in courses to be counted for the Computer Science Minor Program.


Program Requirements

CSC 210	Introduction to Computer 
Programming 3
CSC 212	Software Development Tools with 
CSC 301	Fundamentals of Computer Science		3
CSC 310	Assembly Language Programming 
and Introduction to Computer
Organization 3
CSC 311	Assembly Language Programming 
Laboratory 2
CSC 410	Data Structures		3
ENGR 356	Basic Computer Architecture		3
One upper division computer related elective 

by approval of the minor adviser		3
Total for minor		22


Admission to Program

Candidates for admission to the Computer Science M.S. Program should have strong backgrounds in the mathematics which underlies all sciences, the fundamental programming techniques, and the basic concepts of computer architecture, as well as demonstrated potential for graduate study in computer science. The requisite academic background is normally evidenced by a 3.3 grade point average with no grades below a B in the following courses or their equivalents: CSC 330, 410; and ENGR 356. In addition, the student must have completed the following with no grades below a B: MATH 220, 221, 222. Candidates for admission must submit two or more letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with their previous academic work and/or potential for graduate study. Finally, candidates must submit their scores on the general GRE aptitude test, taken within three years prior to the date of application. Letters of recommendation and test scores should be sent to the Graduate Admissions Officer, Department of Computer Science.

Candidates who satisfy most but not all requirements for admission may sometimes be admitted on condition that they achieve the requisite grade point average in the courses mentioned above in the minimum possible time. (These courses, however, may not be counted toward the M.S. degree requirements.)

Written English Proficiency Requirement
Level One:newly admitted students are required to take the Graduate Essay Test (GET, administered by the Testing Office) preferably before the first enrollment takes place, but no later than completion of the first nine units of course work toward the master's degree. If remedial work is necessary, the student shall be expected to complete courses in writing or other corrective work acceptable to the department. Level Two:the second level of proficiency in written English must be demonstrated before graduation. At this time, the student must demonstrate writing skills which exemplify scholarly style in computer science. This is generally demonstrated by the master's thesis. Students who do not write a thesis can satisfy this requirement by obtaining the approval of the graduate adviser based on a letter of support from a faculty member who has evaluated the student's English proficiency. The evaluation should be based on written assignments completed for graduate level Computer Science course work.

The Master of Science in Computer Science consists of core courses covering advanced topics in software, hardware, and computer science theory with additional elective courses covering the breadth of the discipline. There are two options for the culminating experience for the degree: a Master's Thesis or the Master's Comprehensive Written Examination.

A maximum of nine units of undergraduate courses (numbered below 700) may be applied to the graduate degree.

Courses for this discipline are listed in alphabetical sequence (consult the Index for page reference).


CSC 720	Advanced Operating Systems		3
CSC 810	Analysis of Algorithms II		3
CSC 856	Advanced Computer Architecture		3
Upper division or graduate electives selected 
on advisement from the areas listed
below 18
One of the following:		3
Three additional units of electives and
Master's Comprehensive Written Exami-
CSC 898	Master's Thesis and

	Oral Defense of Thesis
Minimum total		30

Areas of Computer Science

Artificial Intelligence
Database Systems
Operating Systems
Programming Languages
Software Engineering
Theory of Computation and Algorithms
Special Study or Research

Policy on Enrollment While Conducting Directed Research

Pursuant to Policy F89-165 adopted by the Academic Senate in 1989, the Computer Science Department has adopted the policy that all graduate students who are working with a research adviser (above and beyond general advising during office hours) and/or having his/her thesis reviewed, must enroll in at least one unit of CSC 897, 898, or 899. Registered students will have priority for departmental computing resources.

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