Research Opportunities

Advanced master's students are encouraged to seek research opportunities with regular full-time faculty.

Why research?

Besides the intellectual challenge, there are many practical advantages in getting engaged in research.

  • Doing research provides valuable training in creative thinking, independent problem solving, and/or large(r)-scale software development. These skills are extremely valuable whether you decide to work in the industry or academia. Thus, solid research experience strengthens your CV.
  • You may discover research as a wonderful career option. By working on research projects, you may discover that you really like doing research and are really good at it. Quite a few of our M.S. students go on to apply for PhD programs at NYU or elsewhere because of their research experience.
  • Research projects are usually collaborative. As a result of working closely with PhD students and your faculty advisor, you end up making strong connections with them. These connections may become very handy when it comes to being recommended to graduate schools or industry jobs.

All the above benefits do not come by easily, as research is a serious undertaking. Typically, the workload of research is equal to that of one or two regular classes. Therefore, make sure you can devote the required time and energy before searching for research opportunities.

Finding Research opportunities

The easiest way is to take classes from a full-time faculty member who has active research projects. You should perform really, really well in his/her class. As faculty members usually teach classes in their area of research, taking their classes gives you some required background to do research in that area. Faculty members are also more open to providing research opportunities to top students in their class.

You can browse the homepages of individual faculty to find out his/her research interests and active projects. For the list of research areas and the corresponding faculty, see the research areas page.

Some advanced students also directly email faculty members to ask for research opportunities without having taking their classes.

Please note that, in order to get credits for research, students should be under the direction of a full-time faculty member.

Getting credits for research

Master's students engaging in research projects can get credits for their research work in two ways.

  1. Independent Study
  2. MS Thesis

Independent study

Master's students register for the course CSCI-GA 3813-003 Advanced Lab, generally for three credits per project, replacing one standard course from the department's curriculum.

To register for CSCI-GA 3813-003, a student should propose a project with his/her faculty research adviser's approval. The student should then complete a Master's Independent Study Authorization Form and have the research advisor sign off on the form. The form should be submitted to either Courtney Mills, located in CIWW 324, or Katie Laugel, located in CIWW 326. The request will then go to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). If approved, the student will receive an email providing a permission number to allow the student to register on Albert.

Please note that students are not able to do an independent study with an adjunct professor. The department will consider requests to do an independent study with a full-time faculty member from another NYU department.

To see how independent study fits into the MSCS degree requirements, please refer to the MSCS Degree Requirements Form.

MS in Information Systems students may take no more than a total of six credits of independent study and internship combined. Please refer to the MSIS requirements.

M.S. Thesis

With the approval of the DGS, a student may do an M.S. thesis, under the guidance of a full-time faculty member as the thesis advisor. The student must also find a second full-time faculty member to serve as the second reader. Typically, these full-time faculty members are members of the Department of Computer Science, but the DGS will consider requests that involve full-time faculty members from other departments.

To qualify for a thesis, students need: at least a 3.75 GPA after completing 6 courses and a B+ or better in each foundational course. If a student was exempted from a foundational course, the course does not need to be taken.

To apply, students should submit MS thesis authorization form to their advisor, Courtney Mills ( or CIWW 324) or Katie Laugel ( or CIWW 326). If the DGS approves the request, the student should register up to 6 credits of MS thesis work. The advisor will give the student a permission number to register.

The thesis must satisfy the following criteria: It must be original research or design/implementation. The work must be equivalent to that of two regular MS courses. The thesis must result in a high-quality document of 30-50 pages or more.

The thesis must be read and approved by two full-time Department of Computer Science faculty members, one of whom is the thesis advisor, by the last day of classes for the semester in which the student plans to graduate.

If satisfactorily completed, the thesis will count towards Requirement D for the MSCS Degree Requirements.

We encourage students to publish their thesis on our departmental website. Once completed, students should speak to their thesis advisers about having the thesis posted on the web. If the thesis advisor approves, he or she should contact the DGS to request that the thesis be added to the departmental webpage.