programme structure

This mixed mode programme requires a minimum duration of one (1) year and a maximum of two (2) years for fulltime study or a minimum duration of two (2) years and a maximum of four (4) years for part-time study. It consists of two distinct components; a taught component and a research component resulting in a dissertation.

Two focus areas are offered:

  • Data and Knowledge Engineering
  • Enabling Technologies and Infrastructures

(i)      Core Courses (Taught courses) : 8 units (Code: T)

          CCS591/4 – Research and Empirical Methods in Computer Science

          CCS592/4 – Advanced Algorithms and Complexity

(ii)     Elective Courses: 12 units (Code: E)

      Choose three (3) elective courses with at least two (2) courses from a chosen focus area.  The following table presents the list of elective courses under the two focus areas.   

Data and Knowledge Engineering


CCS516/4  –   Computational Intelligence


CDS503/4  –   Machine Learning +


CDS505/4  –   Data Visualization and Visual Analytics +


CDS521/4  –   Multimodal Information Retrieval +


CDS522/4  –   Text and Speech Analytics +

Enabling Technologies and Infrastructures


CCS525/4  –    Advanced Cloud Computing Platform


CCS526/4  –    Wireless and Mobile Communications


CCS527/4   –  Internet of Things


CCS528/4   –  Information Security and Cryptography


CDS523/4  –   Forensic Analytics and Digital Investigations +

            +  Courses offered under MSc (Data Science and Analytics).


 (iii)    Dissertation (Core Course): 20 unit (Code: T)

         CCS599/20 – Dissertation

         The course aims to enhance students’ knowledge and skills in planning and implementation of a research project in the field of computer science. Students can choose research topics in related areas in computer science but they are encouraged to choose research topic in their respective focus area, and then proceed to conduct extensive review of literature pertaining to the topic and eventually carry out the research under the supervision of a lecturer.  At the end of the course, students are required to produce a satisfactory dissertation in order to fulfill their degree requirements.

At the end of this course, the students will be able to:

  • Perform computer science research project using a suitable methodology.
  • Defend orally the research progress /outcomes convincingly.
  • Perform the research tasks and processes in an ethical manner.
  • Perform literature review relevant to domain of interest independently.
  • Perform the research with proper planning to meet research milestone.

         Students need to plan early and consult prospective supervisors for a suitable research topic/title at the beginning of the pre-requisite course CCS591. CCS591 and CSS599 Dissertation must be taken in two consecutive semesters (CCS591 followed by CCS599). Students are strongly encouraged to choose a research topic from their chosen focus area. The research areas offered within the two focus areas are listed in the table below.

Focus Area

Research Areas

Data and Knowledge Engineering

COM11   –  Enterprise Computing

COM12   –  Software Engineering

COM13   –  Social and Sustainable Computing

COM14   –  Multimedia Computing

COM21   –  Computational Intelligence

COM22   –  Computer Vision and Image Processing

COM23   –  Visual Computing

COM24   –  Language and Knowledge Engineering   

Enabling Technologies and Infrastructures

COM31   –  High Performance Computing

COM32   –  Networks

COM33   –  Information Security


Students may commence their dissertation during the Inter-Semester Break and complete the course at the end of the Long Vacation Session OR during the Long Vacation Session and complete the course at the end of Semester I. The duration for this course is approximately 30 weeks [including the evaluation process and submission of the final hardbound copy of the dissertation]. The following table presents duration and sessions involved in the course.




Inter-Semester Break

Long Vacation Session

Registration (Web-Based)

Semester II (February)

Semester I (September)


4 weeks (Inter-Semester Break) + 19 weeks (Semester II) + 7 weeks (Long Vacation)

10 weeks (Long Vacation) + 20 weeks (Semester I including 1st Week of the Inter-Semester Break)


7th Week of the Long Vacation Session

1st Week of the Inter-Semester Break

Students are expected to meet their supervisors as often as possible to discuss their research work and record their meetings in a logbook both during the pre-requisite course CCS591 and throughout CCS599.

Students are required to complete various activities/assessments by some specific deadlines. A monitoring process will be implemented during the dissertation for the benefit of the students. The activities are as follows.

CCCS591 (Pre-requisite Course) (All as part of CCS591 coursework)


Week of the Semester*

Confirmation of a Research Topic - Students need to identify a supervisor to work with and propose a research topic which is to be agreed upon by the supervisor. A proposal form must be filled by the student and signed by the supervisor.


Submission of the Research Proposal - Chapter 1: Introduction, and Chapter 2: Literature Review


Submission of the Extended Research Proposal – Refined Chapters 1 and 2, and Chapter 3: Research Methodology


Poster Presentation



CCS599 - Dissertation


Actual Week

Week of the Semester/Break*



1st (Inter -semester Break)

1st (Long Vacation Session)

Submission of the Mid-Term Report - Refined Chapters 1 to 3 (From CCS591), and Chapter 4: Proposed Work (Three (3) copies, red cover)


5th  (Semester II - February)

9th (Long Vacation Session)

Presentation of the Mid-Term Report in a Seminar +


7th (Semester II)

1st (Semester I - September)

Submission of the Draft of the Dissertation to be Checked by the Respective Supervisor – Refined Chapters 1 to 4, Chapter 5: Evaluation, and Chapter 6: Conclusion


17th  (Semester II)

11th  (Semester I)

Submission of the Dissertation (Five (5) copies, red cover)


19th (Semester II)

13th  (Semester I)

Viva Voce


3rd  (Long Vacation Session)

16th  (Semester I)

Submission of Corrected Dissertation (Two (2) copies)


5th (Long Vacation Session)

18th (Semester I)

Submission of Final Corrected Dissertation (Hardbound, three (3) copies, red cover). Students must also return the logbook.


7th (Long Vacation Session)

1st (Inter -semester Break)

*   These are tentative dates. The actual dates will be posted via the e-Learning portal

+    Students who could not produce a feasible piece of work after the evaluation of the mid-term report will be advised to drop CCS599.

Detailed guidelines of the course will be uploaded to the e-learning portal.

A panel of examiners will be formed, and the main objective of this panel is to ensure that the research has achieved a certain standard. The dissertation will be evaluated by two examiners. Students are expected to produce an original piece of work that enhances existing work and contributes to the body of knowledge. Students are also required to use the standard format for the dissertation.

School of Computer Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 USM Penang, Malaysia
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