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Graduate Studies in Computer Science

Under the auspices of the Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Computer Science (OCICS),the following programs are offered by the School of Computer Science (SCS) at Carleton University and the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the University of Ottawa. The Institute is responsible for supervising the programs and for providing a framework for interaction between the two schools at the research level. Please refer to the list of OCICS members and their research interests included in this website. Students may include courses from both universities in their programs, and may select a supervisor from either university, but normally a student will be enrolled in the university of the supervisor. The student's study program is administered by the university at which the student is enrolled and is subject to its regulations. Applicants should apply to the university of their intended supervisor.

A. Ph.D.(Doctorate) in Computer Science
B. Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.), thesis option.
C. Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.), non-thesis (project) option.
D. Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.), Co-op option.


The program requires the successful completion of at least three graduate courses (The Admissions Committee and the student's advisory committee may impose additional requirements which are determined according to the student's academic background and research topic), at least two public seminars, a comprehensive exam (both written and oral), a written thesis proposal defended at an oral exam, and a Ph.D. thesis defended at an oral exam. Doctoral students are expected to demonstrate a mature understanding of the basic knowledge relevant to computer science, and a capability for independent work. Failure at either the comprehensive examination or thesis proposal stages results in the termination of the student's program. In addition to a supervisor, each doctoral student has an Advisory Committee, which has general responsibility for the student's program. Doctoral students meet with their Advisory Committees at the start of their program; and during the oral comprehensive exam, the presentation of the thesis proposal, and the thesis defense. The thesis supervisor is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the student. At both universities, students completing the requirements of a doctoral program are awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. This program typically takes four years to complete.

Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.), thesis option.

This is a research-based master's degree, whose main component is the research project and thesis. Students in this option must take 5 three-credit courses or equivalent, fulfill the graduate seminar requirement, and complete a thesis. Each candidate submitting a thesis will be required to defend it orally. This program typically takes about 2 years to complete.


  • Undergraduate BCS students at Carleton University also have access to the MCS Accelerated Stream.
  • Undergraduate CSI/SEG students at the University of Ottawa also have access to the MCS Accelerated Stream (English, franšais).

Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.), non-thesis (project) option.

This is a course-based master's degree consisting of 8 three-credit courses, the intensive graduate project course and the graduate seminar requirement. It is intended primarily for students who want to strengthen their knowledge in a particular area, but are not interested in research. One typically cannot get into a PhD program with a non-thesis option MCS. At the application time, students wishing to pursue non-thesis option do not need to select a supervisor, but need two years of relevant work experience, and the total number of students in the non-thesis option cannot exceed 15% of all MCS students.

Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.), Co-op option.

SCS and EECS offer a Master of Computer Science Co-op option. Co-op students complete two work terms of four months each in addition to the other requirements of their program. The first work term is taken after two terms of course work. In EECS, the two work terms must be taken successively; in SCS, they may be taken successively or be separated by one or more study terms. At Carleton University, a co-op placement may be undertaken during any of the co-op placement cycles (January, May or September). At the University of Ottawa, a co-op placement may be undertaken only during the May co-op placement cycle. Further details are available from Career Development and Co-operative Education (Carleton University) and Co-operative Education Programs (University of Ottawa).