The ETSU Department of Computer and Information Sciences offers two concentrations in our Master of Science degree program: Applied Computer Science and Information Technology. Our degree programs are designed to offer something to both the recent graduate and the working professional. To allow for maximum flexibility in scheduling, all courses are offered in the evening. Students may complete their degree full time in four terms, or over the course of several years on a part-time basis.
The MS degree time cycle
For students who start in fall, the normal time to complete the MS degree is four semesters. Most full-time students who start in Fall 2010, for example, will complete their program of study by Spring 2012. Students who enter the program without a full complement of undergraduate prerequisites sometimes five or more semesters to complete, as do students who enter in spring (due to the timing of the capstone sequence), and thesis-track students who fail to pursue their thesis work with the vigor that theses require.
Graduate assistantships (GAships) and tuition scholarships (TSships)
The department offers approximately 20 graduate assistantships (GAships) and 3 tuition scholarships (TSships). These positions are available for full-time students on a competitive basis. GAships require 20 hours per week of work; pay $5,000/semester; and provide waivers of tuition. TSships, which require 8 hours per week of work, provide tuition waivers only. Neither GAships nor TSships pay for fees, which amount to roughly $550/semester, plus mandatory insurance for international students.
GAships and TSship awards are normally continued for up to three semesters following the initial award: the occasional exceptions to this policy involve students who lose support due to (highly) substandard academic or job-related performance, and students who need a fifth semester to complete.
All prospective full-time students are automatically considered for aid. Additionally, students who fail to obtain one of the CIS positions often obtain programming, networking, and web-related GAships and TSships from other departments, often with the department's assistance.
Most of the department's GAships and TSships are awarded in spring for the subsequent fall. Any student who wishes to receive full consideration for a fall (August) assistantship should make sure to submit all application materials to the ETSU graduate school by 1 March--including their essay, all letters of recommendation, and original transcripts from all institutions of higher education that that student has attended.
The department occasionally awards GAships that begin in spring. For full consideration for a spring (January) assistantship, a student's application should be complete by the previous 1 October.
Second career students
The department routinely accepts second career students with modest experience in some computing-related area, such as programming, network and system administration, digital media, or electrical engineering. Second-career students typically complete the program in two to three years, with the extra time devoted to an additional set of foundation courses designed to prepare them for graduate study.
The program's alumni currently hold software and technical positions in various organizations worldwide, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Dept. of Energy (Y-12 Facility), Eastman Chemical Company, Siemens AG, Sprint, Environmental Systems Corporation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory , Nintendo (Japan), Computer Associates, CGI-AMS, Northrup-Grummann, and Microsoft.
Nine members of our tenure-track and tenured faculty regularly teach graduate courses. Seven of these hold Ph.D.'s in computer science: two from the University of Wisconsin, and one each from Carnegie-Mellon University, Florida State, University of South Florida. Nova Southeastern, and Auburn. One of these seven, Dr. Pittarese, also holds an M.B.A. from University of West Florida. Two other members of the graduate faculty are currently completing dissertations: one at Nova Southeastern and one at Florida International.