May 29, 2020  
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Computational Sciences and Robotics, M.S.

Contact Information

Dr. Jeff McGough
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
McLaury 201
Dept: (605) 355-3455


Professors Corwin, Logar and Weiss; Associate Professors McGough, Pyeatt and Riley; Assistant Professors Karlsson and Qiao; Lecturer Schrader.

Computational Sciences and Robotics

The Master of Science in Computational Sciences and Robotics (CSR) is a distinctive degree that combines the intelligent power of the computational sciences with the cutting edge utility present in modern day robotics.

The CSR graduate program provides students with the advanced skills they will need in a rapidly evolving field.  The program has the specialized courses to develop technical skills along with a strong emphasis on teamwork, including research projects which involve faculty and students from a variety of disciplines.

The core of the program covers the fundamentals and the students have the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge in focus areas such as pattern recognition, machine intelligence, simulation, computer vision, nonlinear control, digital signal processing and communications.

The primary objective of the CSR program is to give students a basic understanding of the tools required to implement intelligent systems in a dynamic context.

Two options for the degree are offered:  thesis and non-thesis.  The thesis program provides a research experience which is more focused.  The non-thesis option provides the opportunity for students to expand their technical background with additional course work.

Graduates of this program should have a variety of career options in industrial applications, defense, homeland security, space exploration, or graduates can elect to continue their studies with a more advanced degree. 

General Background

The entering student will normally have completed a four year degree (B.S.) in either computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or a closely related field of study. However, any capable and highly motivated student interested in this program is encouraged to apply regardless of academic background. Credit by examination is available. In the case of deficits in background, the student may be admitted on a probationary status while they make up missing coursework.

Mathematics Background

  • Year of Calculus (Calculus I and II)
  • One semester of Multivariate Calculus (Calculus III)
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • One semester of Linear Algebra
  • One semester of Probability and Statistics

Physics Background

  • Two semesters of calculus-based physics are suggested but not required.

Computing Background

  • Three semesters of programming including a semester of data structures.


  • Recommended but not required.

English Proficiency

International students must meet the Graduate School English requirements.  See Graduate School website for details:  


 The candidate who qualifies for the thesis degree must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. A minimum of 30 credits is required.
  2. A minimum of 6 credits of CSC 798 (Master’s Thesis) and 24 credit of course work is required.
  3. The twenty-four credits of course work is divided into core and elective courses.
    1. Completion of the 6 credits of core courses:  Robotics and Autonomous Systems.
    2. A minimum of 17 credits of elective courses.
    3. One credit of seminar.
  4. A satisfactory thesis based on individual research.  The student must present a formal defense of his or her thesis research.


The candidate who qualifies for the non-thesis degree must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. A minimum of 33 credits is required.
  2. The 33 credits of course work is divided into core and elective courses.
    1. Completion of the 6 credits of core courses:  Robotics and Autonomous Systems.
    2. A minimum of 23 credits of elective courses.
    3. Three credits of a Master’s Project.
    4. One credit of seminar.

Language Requirements

 There is no foreign language requirement for the M.S. degree in CSR.

CSR Electives

 May be found at the CSR website:


There is room in the current course rotation for two background courses without having to extend the time of the degree or overload in hours.

BS-MS Program

The CSR program has aligned with the B.S. in Computer Science to allow for students to complete both the B.S. program and the M.S. program in five years.  Students interested in this program need to apply to the CSR program before or during their junior year.  Students accepted into the program can apply up to nine credits of graduate courses towards their undergraduate degree and these same courses will apply to their graduate program of study.  Students should inquire abut this program at the department office or contact the CSR program coordinator.

Research Areas and Resources

Currently active research areas include: Autonomy, Computer Vision, Controls, Localization, Mapping, Motion Planning, and Navigation.

Some of the active research projects include: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Unmanned Ground Vehicle, and Intelligent Controls.

The CSR program has dedicated development labs including the recently dedicated L-3 Communications Embedded Systems and Robotics Laboratory.  In addition, the interdisciplinary nature of the research and project teams allows students to utilize a variety of resources from around campus.  Please see the CSR website for additional information: