Computer Science 499 Syllabus

Senior Research Project

Section <x>: Determined by instructor and student

Supervising Instructor: Determined by student and instructor

Course Description

Three Credit Hours
Open only to senior computer science majors with a CSCI GPA of at least 2.500.
A research project with a required formal paper. Recommended for students planning graduate work. Enrollment based upon a written proposal accepted by the instructor and approved by the department head.



This course offers a student the opportunity to complete largely self-directed, independent research in an area of current interest and importance in Computer Science. As one of 2 possible capstone courses for CS majors, this course is strongly recommended for students considering graduate school. The instructor has a primarily supervisory role, but may also serve as a guide and resource, depending on the nature of the research.


By the end of the course, a student will have demonstrated:

  1. a. An ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the program's student outcomes and to the discipline
  2. b. An ability to analyze a problem, and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to its solution
  3. d. An ability to function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal
  4. f. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  5. h. Recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in continuing professional development


A student who enrolls in this course is expected to:

A student just beginning a research project has demonstrated some basic ability by meeting the course prerequisites, in particular choosing a topic and writing a proposal which has been subsequently approved. Growth in these areas during the course of the research is reflected in the quality of the contribution to the field and of the written results.

In this course, the student is expected to conduct research as outlined in the approved written proposal. The student will not typically meet with the instructor for classroom instruction per se. However, the student is required to inform the instructor of progress and issues on a regular basis, as noted in the "Course Requirements" section below. Significant deviations from an original proposal or plan must be discussed with, and approved by, the instructor, and may also require re-approval by the department head.

Course Requirements

Each student (or research team, if more than one student is working on the same project) must deliver the following by the end of the term:

  1. A copy of the original approved proposal
  2. A document specifying changes to the original proposal, if any
  3. An engineering journal with a record of the student's activities over the course of the project, important ideas and decisions, and the gist and results of any important conversations about the research. If possible, important entries should be reviewed and signed by the student(s) and a qualified participant or supervisory instructor.
  4. A formal, conference-quality paper describing the results of the research effort. Roughly speaking, conference-quality is typically 7-8 pages (3,850-4,400 words), including headings, figures, tables and a bibliography.
  5. A 20-30 minute oral presentation on the research. The instructor has discretion to adjust the length.
  6. A demonstrated pattern of regular contact with the supervisory instructor, through written reports or email for example, as determined by the student and instructor.


Students enrolled in this course are expected to perform "A" or "B" quality work, as judged by the supervising instructor. Although other grades are possible, they should be rare. The supervising instructor will consider all work products, the student's research topic and effort in assigning a grade at the end of the course, viewing the research effort as a whole.

Academic Integrity

Cheating, plagiarism, and other dishonorable conduct will not be tolerated. Anyone found doing these things will automatically fail this course for poor academic performance, and may also face additional disciplinary action, subject to the policies of The Citadel.