Graduate Student FAQ

Questions frequently asked by newly admitted students
Questions frequently asked by current students
FAQ for prospective graduates can be found from here.

Questions frequently asked by newly admitted students

Q1. What are the basic TODO items after I come to NMSU?
A. The basic TODOs are 

  1. Attend the orientation session organized by graduate school. If you do not know the orientation information, please contact gradinfo@nmsu.edu.
  2. Read this FAQ page carefully.
  3. Please read the NMSU catalog. In particular, under the “Degree” tab, please find the degree requirement for your program.
  4. Make an appointment with the department graduate advisor to discuss your study plan. Before talking with the department graduate advisor, please first (i) read this FAQ page carefully and (ii) read your degree requirement in the catalog carefully. When you talk with the department graduate advisor, you will know your deficiency courses. You will also discuss your options of courses in the first two semesters.
  5. Go to see Ivan or Mark and get a CS email address with cs.nmsu.edu and get an access code to the graduate student lab. The information of Ivan and Mark can be found from https://www.cs.nmsu.edu/wp/people/staff/
  6. Attend the department’s graduate student orientation which is organized by the Computer Science Graduate Student Organization (CSGSO, gradrep@cs.nmsu.edu, https://www.cs.nmsu.edu/~gradrep/).

Q2. Who is the current department graduate advisor
A. The current department graduate advisor is Dr. Huiping Cao (hcao at cs dot nmsu dot edu).  

Q3. How can I get Teaching Assistantship (TA)
A. If you are a newly admitted student and you are not given any TAship before your arrive, you miss the deadline to apply for TA in your first semester. However, you can get TA in other semesters. The details of applying for TA can be found from https://www.cs.nmsu.edu/wp/student-information/grad-students/graduate-financial-aid/. The procedure of applying for TAs

  • New students send an email to gradcs at cs dot nmsu dot edu to denote that they want to apply for teaching assistantship.
  • Deadline to send the TA application email: (1) mid of November for students that will start their first semester at CS in the coming Spring semester and (2) mid of April for students who will start their first semester at CS in the coming Fall semester.
  • Decisions about TAs to new students are generally made at (1) the end of November for students that will start their first semester at CS in the coming Spring semester and (2) the end of April for students who will start their first semester at CS in the coming Fall semester.

Q4. How can I get Research Assistantship (RA)
A. The decision of RA is made by individual professors. You can check each professor’s research interest and contact the professor with whom you want to work with.

Q5. I get a course ID (e.g., C S 463). How do I know what course this is and what topics that it covers? 
A. Please read the NMSU catalog and find the information in the “Courses” tab.

Q6. How do I transfer graduate credits from other universities?  
A. All the course credit transfer must be requested at the time of arrival. If you get a grade lower than B, your course credit cannot be transferred. If you get a grade of B or above B, you need to show the course syllabus to the department graduate advisor. The department graduate advisor decides whether your course credits can be transferred. If the graduate advisor cannot make the decision, the graduate advisor will contact the professors who teach those courses. These professors may need to talk with you to make this decision. If the graduate advisor/professor thinks that your course credit cannot be transferred and you insist on getting it transferred, then you need to take a challenge test (time/location agreed by both parties) and ask the professor to grade it. If you manage to get a B, then your course credit can be transferred.

If the graduate advisor/professor thinks that your course credit cannot be transferred and you insist on getting it transferred, then you need to take a challenge test (time/location agreed by both parties) and ask the professor to grade it. If you manage to get a B, then your course credit can be transferred.A.

Q7. I am new to the department. What courses should I take?  
A. Please contact the graduate advisor to ask for suggestions about which courses to take. Not every course is offered every semester. Thus, if you are new to the department, you are encouraged to talk with the general graduate advisor first. Q8. When I try to register for a course, the system does not allow me to register (maybe because of the lack of prerequisite(s), or maybe the course is closed), what should I do?  
A. Please contact the course instructor (not the graduate advisor) who will be teaching that course to ask for approval. Please note that if you do not meet the course prerequisites, the course instructor (not the graduate advisor) decides whether you are allowed to take that course or not.

Q8. When I try to register for a course, the system does not allow me to register (maybe because of the lack of prerequisite(s), or maybe the course is closed), what should I do?  
A. Please contact the course instructor (not the graduate advisor) who will be teaching that course to ask for approval. Please note that if you do not meet the course prerequisites, the course instructor (not the graduate advisor) decides whether you are allowed to take that course or not.

Q9. When should I start taking PhD qualifying exam? and when will I get notifications to register for the PhD qualifying exams?
A. You should take the PhD qualifying exam at the end of the first semester that join NMSU if you do not have any deficiencies. If you have deficiencies, you should take the PhD qualifying exam at the end of the first semester that you finish all your deficiencies. At each semester (close to the middle of the semester), you will receive emails from the faculty who will be organizing the PhD qualifying exam to ask you to register for PhD qualifying exam. The emails will be sent to the csgrads@cs.nmsu.edu list, please make sure that you are in that list.

Questions frequently asked by current students

Q101. How can I find my deficiencies
A. Please talk with the department graduate advisor by making an appointment.

Q102. What is the procedure to graduate for coursework only option?
A. The steps are:

  1. Fill in the “program of study form”, which can be downloaded from https://gradschool.nmsu.edu/graduate-forms/, and denote that it is coursework only.
  2. Ask the department graduate advisor, the department head, and the college dean to sign the form.
  3. Send the signed program of study form to graduate school.
  4. Form a committee to have a final exam. The committee should consist of two CS faculty members, where one faculty member will serve as committee chair and the other one is a regular committee member, and one external (non-CS) faculty member, who will serve as dean’s representative. The student chooses the committee.
  5. Decide the time to have the final exam by coordinating with the committee members.
  6. The student reserves a room to have the final exam by working with the CS admin.
  7. Fill in the “Masters Final Examination Form”, which can be downloaded from https://gradschool.nmsu.edu/graduate-forms/, and have it signed properly. Send this form to graduate school.
  8. Final oral exam. The exam is generally two hours or until the committee feels it is sufficient to decide. Note that the exam covers the four areas (rubrics can be found from Page two of https://www.cs.nmsu.edu/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/gradAssessmentForm2019.pdf). You will be asked questions on one course for each category.

Q103. Can I still get TA/RA if I am taking less than 9 credits?
A. No. RA/TA can only be awarded to students taking at least 9 graduate credits.

Q104. Will the transition courses (e.g., C S 463, C S 469) be counted as graduate credits?
A. Yes. However, they are not counted towards your graduate program (MS or PhD).

Q105. I got a D grade in a graduate course. How does it affect my GPA? Will it be counted as graduate credit?
A. A D-grade course will be used in your GPA calculation, thus it affects your GPA. However, a D-grade course will NOT be counted towards your graduate program. For example, if you get a D in C S 510, which is a required course for your Master’s program. In order for it to be counted for your program, you need to retake it and get a higher grade.

Q106. In the PhD catalog, there is a requirement of “Other graduate credit to meet NMSU requirements” (21 credits). Will CS 600 be counted in this category?
A. Yes.