Department of Computer and Information Science

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, you will find questions that current and prospective students often ask in relation to the department of Computer and Information Science. If your question is not answered or you would like more information on a topic, please visit our contact page to reach the appropriate person in the department.

Independent Study & Special Topics

No more than three credit hours of CIS 698 (Independent Study) can be counted towards the MCIS degree.

A student is allowed to take up to 5 credit hours towards independent study and special projects under the supervision of a department faculty member. These five hours also include any possible internship credits. If you have not completed your maximum of 5 credit hours of independent study or special projects, you are eligible to register for one or more independent study courses.

You must do the following before you can register for an independent study:

  • Find a faculty member who will be willing to be your guide in the independent study project. You and the faculty member should agree on the scope and deliverables for the independent study.
  • Write a proposal for the independent study/special project. The proposal must contain the objective of the study, reference material to be used, assignment and activities to be completed, timeline and deliverables. Evaluation criteria must also be spelled out.
  • Fill out the Special Projects/Independent Study Approval form  . Complete the form, and get it approved by the faculty member guiding your project. Do not forget to attach your proposal.
  • Submit the form to the department office for approval. Approvals are usually completed within a day. Once your proposal is approved, your name will be added to the permission list enabling you to register for the course.
  • Complete the project and request your guide to send a grade to the department chair.
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If you are considering registering for an internship, you must do the following before you can register:

  • Have an offer letter from a company or organization showing the scope of the work to be completed. You can (and should) register with Career Services since they maintain a database of prospective employers looking for interns and new recruits. You should also consult the bulletin board near the CIS department office where employer requests are posted as received.
  • In order to be eligible for internships, you must have completed at least 20 hours of course work from your MCIS program, not including any preparatory courses. You must also be in good academic standing. Undergraduate students should consult an advisor.
  • Complete FORM A  and FORM B  and submit those to the department office at the start of the internship along with a copy of your offer letter. Once Form B is approved, you will be given permission to register for the internship course.
  • Complete FORM C  and return the form to the department office at the conclusion of the internship along with a short report detailing the experience gained and the skills acquired. This form must be submitted in time to receive a grade for the internship course.

Please note that hours used for an internship counts towards the 5 credit hour limit described under Independent Study and Special Projects.

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AP Credit for Computer Science

Students are permitted to receive credit for introductory CIS courses if they have received a certain score on their computer science advanced placement tests. Credit will be given as follows:

Computer Science A Credit
Score of 2 or below no credit
Score of 3 CIS 151
Score of 4 or 5 CIS 260
Computer Science AB Credit
Score of 2 or below no credit
Score of 3 CIS 260
Score of 4 or 5 CIS 260 and CIS 265

For more information on the AP tests themselves, see the CollegeBoard's Computer Science A or Computer Science AB pages.

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Credit by Exam

Students are permitted to receive academic credit for certain courses by passing examinations rather than taking the entire course. This process is intended for students who know the course material but cannot prove it from previous transcripts or grade reports. The following material describes the policies and procedures for credit by exam (CBE).

Who can take a course for CBE?

Any degree seeking student.

Which courses can be taken for CBE?

Only required courses can be taken for credit by exam.

For undergraduate students, the courses are:

For CIS and CSC Majors:

  • CIS 260

For IST Majors:

For graduate students, the courses are:

  • CIS 500
  • CIS 505
  • CIS 506
  • CIS 535
  • CIS 545
  • CIS 600
  • CIS 620

Note: Electives cannot be taken for credit by examination.

How does the course affect my GPA?

If you do not pass the exam, no entry is made on your transcript. If you pass the exam, the course is entered on your transcript as hours earned, but no grade is assigned to the course. Therefore, it does not affect on your GPA.

Are there any limits on taking a course by examination?

Yes, there are two:

  • You cannot take a course for CBE more than once. If you do not pass on the first try you cannot try again.
  • You cannot take a course for CBE if you have already tried to take it in the normal manner, or if you have already taken a more advanced course. For example, suppose you take CIS 265 and get a D, then take CIS 335 and get a B. You cannot retake CIS 265 by examination.

What is the procedure for taking a course by examination?

  • Obtain a "Credit by Exam" form from the Business College Office (BU 219). For graduate students, please visit the Graduate College office (PH 218). You may also download the forms:
  • Complete the form and bring it to the CIS Department office (BU 344) to get it approved by the department.
  • Take the approved form to the Bursar's office (MC 115). You will be charged a fee of $20.
  • You must take all major exams with a section of the course -- normally this means midterm(s) and the final but not the quizzes. It is your responsibility to contact the course instructor and receive a course syllabus and a schedule of when and where the exams will be held. If you do not know who is teaching the course, contact the CIS Department.
  • You may not under any circumstances attend classes. The CIS Department will not give credit to anyone who attends a class he/she is planning to take for credit by exam.
  • To get credit for a course you must get a C or better if you are an undergraduate, or a B or better if you are a graduate; C- and B-, respectively, do not count.
  • You will be notified about your results after you have taken the final exam.

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Apply for Graduation

How to apply for graduation?


  • Go to BU 219 and schedule an appointment with an advisor (appointments may also be scheduled online).


  • Complete the yellow form or Program of Study form and submit it to the CIS department.
  • Graduation application forms can be found at Campus 411.
  • Complete the form and pay the fee at the Bursar's Office.
  • Attach the receipt to the graduation application form.
  • Submit the form to the registrar's office.

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Curricular Practical Training:

Please refer to the following link for information on how to apply for a CPT: Curricular Practical Training

Optional Practical Training:

Please refer to the following link for information on how to apply for an OPT: Optional Practical Training

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  • Find a faculty member of the CIS department who is willing to be your guide for the thesis. You and the faculty member should agree on the scope and deliverables for the thesis.
  • The thesis form is available from the Graduate College or by selecting the link below. You should complete this form in consultation with your thesis advisor. The completion of the form requires you and your advisor to form a thesis committee.
  • Submit the completed form to the department office for approval by the Chair before it is submitted for the graduate college approval. Once these approvals are in place, the necessary permission will be given by the CIS department office to register for CIS 699.
  • Once your thesis defense is completed, request your advisor to submit a grade to the department Chair.
  • Please consult the Graduate College for more details about the thesis procedure.
  • Download the Thesis Form  .
  • If you choose the Thesis Option, you will need 22 hrs. of electives including the analytical course. You should register for CIS 699 under the supervision of a faculty member as described above. You will need to pass the Final Oral Defense conducted by a Thesis Committee before a grade can be assigned.
  • A quick review of the submission process to assist students is available. At-A-Glance Submission Reminder for Thesis  . For more in-depth instructions, visit the graduate college's web page on thesis format guidelines.

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Graduate Students

If your Petition request involves a course in which you are currently enrolled or have previously taken, an instructor’s statement must be provided. If your request is due to extenuating circumstances (i.e., medical issues for you or a family member, death, work related, financial, etc.) a dated and signed statement from the appropriate professional (attorney,doctor, dentist, employer, etc.) on official letterhead paper must accompany the petition. DO NOT indicate “Available upon request”.

Degree-seeking, Certificate and Licensure graduate students should submit their petition with the instructor’s statement (if required) along with supporting materials to their faculty advisor for processing at the departmental level prior to review by the Graduate College Petitions Committee.

Non-Degree graduate students should submit their completed petition with an instructor’s statement (if required) and any supporting materials to the College of Graduate Studies. Faculty advisor and Program Committee recommendations are not required. For an academically dismissed Non-Degree Student seeking readmission after one calendar year (12 months) has elapsed, or seeking early readmission before one year has elapsed from the time of dismissal, a recommendation from the Director of the Graduate Program in which the student wishes to take classes is required before action will be taken by the Graduate College Petitions Committee. Please be advised that the University Graduate Council has determined that poor academic performance on a midterm examination or on other course requirements does not constitute sufficient grounds for granting a student a late withdrawal from a course.

The Graduate Student Petition Form  must be completed and signed by the student and then forwarded to the instructor and/or the department with the necessary/supporting documentation.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Students must consult an advisor at the Undergraduate Advising Office BU 219.

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Program Transfer

A student who has been admitted to a graduate degree program at Cleveland State University may request to transfer to another CSU graduate program. The student should meet with his/her current graduate advisor, current graduate program director, and the graduate program director of the "new" graduate degree program, before submitting the Program Transfer Request Form  .

After consulting his/her advisor the student should complete the boxed portion of the form and submit the form to the appropriate office, (U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents of the U.S. to Graduate Admissions Office, Rhodes Tower West and International Students to CISP) respectively.

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Apply for Graduate Assistantship

Graduate students may apply for graduate assistantship positions by filling out the Graduate Assistantship Application. Attach your resume to the completed application and submit them in BU 219.
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