Current MSSE Students

Q: How can I learn about the various policies and procedures that graduate students need to follow?

A: The Graduate Studies & Research office has several important resources:

  • A nicely organized web site for prospective and current graduate students
  • An informative handbook for current graduate students
  • list of forms

Q: How can I get various forms (such as CPT, OPT, transfer of credit) approved by the department?

A: First visit Select the action you want to accomplish and provide the requested information to the Computer Engineering office in Engineering 284. You do not need to meet with or contact an advisor to submit these forms.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Q: What are the eligibility criteria for Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

A: You must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be in good standing (not on probation).
  2. Have completed all admission conditions including admission prerequisite classes.
  3. Have completed four graduate classes. Two of the four classes must be degree core classes. The other two classes can be specialization classes, electives, or CMPE 294.
  4. Meet all criteria specified by international Programs and Students Services (IPS). See for more detail.

Conditional Classification

Q: I am currently Conditionally Classified. How do I reach Fully Classified Status. How quickly should I obtain "fully classified status"?

A: You should complete your admission conditions as soon as possible. Here's a handy graph to summarize the unit rules: You need 30 units (10 courses) to graduate, subject to these constraints:

  • Undergraduate condition courses will not be counted for master degree credits.
  • Each condition course can be satisfied by
    1. Passing a challenging exam given by the Course Coordinator, or
    2. Enrolling in the class and receiving a “B” or better grade.
  • Challenge exams might not be available for all condition courses. In general, challenge exams, if available, will be given during the first two weeks of each semester.
  • A student can take a challenge exam for a particular condition course only once.
  • After receiving a grade lower than “B” of a particular condition course, a student must repeat the same course and can not take the challenge exam.
  • A student can take a condition course at most twice.
  • Some prerequisites for undergraduate courses can be waived with instructor’s consent.
  • A passing grade in the CMPE 101 exam is required prior to taking CMPE 126 and is equivalent to completing CMPE 046.
  • A permission code for an undergraduate class can be obtained through the Department office.
  • A maximum of nine (9) graduate units earned prior to completing your admission conditions may be applied to your master degree program.

Filing a Request for Classified Status form is not required. You will be given fully classified status when you file for Candidacy.

Q: I was accepted with a condition (such as to take certain undergraduate courses), but I don't like the condition. Can I negotiate to have it waived or changed?

A: The only way to clear an admission prerequisite condition is to pass the challenge exam (see or take the class.

Q: I was admitted as a conditionally classified student and fulfilled my conditions a long time ago. Why am I still listed as "conditionally classified"?

A: The Computer Engineering department does not process Change of Classification forms. You will become fully classified when your candidacy form is approved.

Q: I have been accepted to the program but I won't be able to attend for another semester. Can I defer my acceptance?

A: Unfortunately, you will need to reapply. However, if you inform us that you were accepted in the prior semester, then you need not supply transcripts again. You will need to pay the application fee. If more than one semester has passed since your acceptance, you will need to reapply and resubmit all materials.

Q: I have already been admitted to the MSSE program and would like help in planning my program of study.

A: Please see a MSSE graduate advisor. An advising schedule is posted at Here.

Q: I have already published a master's thesis, a PhD dissertation, or a book or article solely authored by myself. Do I still have to take Technical Writing at SJSU?

A: Your publishing work will be evaluated first by the graduate coordinator. If the work is deemed substantial enough for consideration, a memo will be written to the Director of Graduate Admissions for further review. If the work passes this review, taking CMPE 294 or ENGR 200W will be waived.

Q: I have completed a Technical Writing course in another university? Do I have to take Technical Writing at SJSU?

A: Your technical writing course needs to be evaluated by MSSE Program advisor.

Q: I have taken a ENGR 100W or similar course at another California State University. Do I need to take ENGR 200W?

A: No.


Q: I am taking a class that is not part of my program of studies. Will the class count towards my GPA?

A: Yes. All classes that you take once you are admitted to the program count towards your GPA. This also includes any classes you repeat to pass a failing class or improve the grade for the class. For graduate students, repeating a class does not cause the grade to be replaced.

Q: What happens if my GPA drops to 3.0 or less?

A: If your cumulative GPA is < 3.0, then you are on probation. If you are on probation, you

  • cannot register without seeing an advisor first
  • cannot graduate
  • cannot start your master's project or thesis
  • will be disqualified from the MSSE program if your semester GPA is < 3.0 while you are on probation

See the Probation page in the catalog.

Once your cumulative GPA is again >= 3.0, you are no longer on probation.

You should try very hard not to get onto probation in the first place. You should plan on getting a B+ or better in all your courses. If you do end up getting a B or less in one course, make sure that you have another course to make up for it.

Q: How is GPA important for my graduation?

A: Two GPA calculations are  important for your graduation:

  1. Your cumulative GPA. Cumulative GPA is for all classes you have taken while since you became a graduate student. 
  2. Your Candidacy GPA. Candidacy GPA for the 10 classes (30 units) you declare on your Candidacy form plus any classes you put on your candidacy form that you repeated. This calculation does not include the grade you received for your competency in written English class (such as CMPE 294).

Both GPAs must be 3.0 or better for you to graduate. Note that classes you transfer from another university do not contribute to GPA.

Q: What happens if I get a C- or lower in a class?

A: A C- grade or lower is a failing grade for a graduate student. The means:

  1. You cannot use that class for graduation. You can repeat it or select another course if it is an elective class. Note that if you repeat a class, all  
  2. Your GPA will suffer, and you'll probably go on probation. For more information, see the graduate program section in the university catalog.

Q: I was put on probation, and now I can't register for classes. What should I do?

A: See the graduate advisor. 

Q: I got disqualified from the program. What should I do?

A: First see the graduate coordinator. Be prepared to explain your situation. With the approval of the department chair, you can file a petition for reinstatement.  

Q: I would like to take a course from another department. What should I do?

A: Before you register, see the graduate coordinator. Bring a copy of the syllabus for the course with you. The graduate coordinator will evaluate the syllabus, or ask a faculty member who is familiar with the subject matter to carry out the evaluation. Courses may be approved as elective courses, at the discretion of the graduate advisor.

Q: How many courses can I take from other departments?

A: You can take up to 6 credit hours (i.e. 2 courses) from outside the department. Note that this 2-course allowance includes transfer courses.

Q: What happens if I need to suspend my studies?

A: You can skip taking classes for one semester and not suffer any impact. No paperwork is required. However, if there is any possibility that your leave may extend beyond one semester,then you should file a Leave of Absence form before your leave begins. Otherwise you will lose your student status and have to reapply to the university. The catalog also provides more information at

Q: Can CMPE 271 be used as an elective course to satisfy my degree requirements?

A: No. Students admitted into the MSSE program are expected to already know an objected-oriented language such as Java or C++. Consequently, CMPE 271 is considered a remedial course and is not being offered.

Q: How do I change the MSSE specialization that I wish to pursue ?

A: There is no form required to change your specialization. Simply take the specialization core courses for the specialization that you will complete. You will be required to declare your specialization at the time you file your candidacy form.