Undergraduate Program - Undergraduates Who Want to do Research
Undergraduate students who are engaged in research projects supervised by faculty may wish to substitute hours of CSC 499 (Independent Research in Computer Science) for a Computer Science Restricted Elective or Other Restricted Elective.
These substitutions must be approved in writing by the Director of Undergraduate Programs on a case-by-case basis. Substitutions will be evaluated based on a written proposal.
To submit a proposal
- Establish contact with a Computer Science faculty member, and get agreement to mentor you on a research project of mutual interest. Work with the faculty member to develop a short written proposal. This faculty member must have agreed to work with you, and must have approved the details of the project, grading, and deliverables, prior to you submitting your proposal.
- Send your proposal document, roughly one to three pages, as an MS Word (*.doc or *.docx) email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the message body telling us what it is. PDF submission is also permitted, but makes it harder for us to make minor edits should these be necessary.
- The filename of the attachment should be of the form firstname_lastname_csc499_ddmmyy.doc(x), where ddmmyy indicates the date, month, and year the document was created.
- For projects to be done Fall Semester, the submission deadline is 5 p.m. August 31. For projects to be done Spring Semester, the submission deadline is 5 p.m. January 19. For projects to be done Summer Session, the submission deadline is 5 p.m. May 20.
All proposals must contain the following mandatory components:
NAME, TITLE, and MENTOR: List your NAME, the TITLE of the project, and the Computer Science FACULTY member who has agreed to supervise your work.
COURSE: List the COURSE you wish to take (typically CSC 499). List the TYPE OF ELECTIVE you want to substitute for (typically Computer Science Restricted Elective, but in rare cases Other Restricted Elective). List the NUMBER OF SEMESTER HOURS you wish to get credit for (typically 3).
Here is a guide you can use to determine how many credit hours to ask for: The university uses an informal standard that a student should spend two hours outside of class for every hour in class. In the case of independent study, this translates into roughly 45 hours of student effort per credit hour. Therefore, to get three credit hours for CSC 499, you and your advisor should expect that you will spend about 135 hours, or nine hours a week, working on your project during the course of the semester.
PREREQUISITES: A 499 project must depend explicitly on lower-division work. List the lower-division (100- to 300-level) COURSES on which your project work will depend. These courses function as virtual "prerequisites", so they should be courses that you will have completed before the project semester.
DESCRIPTION: Describe the project in detail. Include SUBTASKS, MILESTONES, TIMELINE, and DELIVERABLES as appropriate.
GRADING: Tell us the basis for your grade. Link the list of deliverables with the grade. Tell us how you and your supervising faculty member will know when you are done.
If approved, a notation and signature are placed on the proposal, which is then included in the student's file. Except in extraordinary circumstances, permission will not be granted to substitute more than three semester hours of CSC 499 on the same project.
Substituting courses other than CSC 499, and/or using the substitution for something besides Computer Science Restricted Elective, are subject to the same requirements and approval process as CSC 499 substitutions.
Courses not on the Other Restricted Elective list
All requests to use as an elective a non-CSC course that does not appear on the list of Other Restricted Electives must be submitted in writing and will be evaluated by the Director of Undergraduate Programs based on comparative examination of course content, among other criteria. Approvals will be noted in writing for inclusion in the student's file.