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Graduate Studies at UMBC CSEE : How to Succeed. Marie desJardins CSEE Department, UMBC Thanks to Anupam Joshi for providing the previous version of these slides!. Department Overview Academic Integrity What Do I Do Now?. Department Overview. About the Department.

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Graduate studies at umbc csee how to succeed

Graduate Studies at UMBC CSEE: How to Succeed

Marie desJardins

CSEE Department, UMBC

Thanks to Anupam Joshi for providing the previous version of these slides!

Graduate studies at umbc csee how to succeed

About the department
About the Department

  • Three programs: CS, CE and EE

    • Each program offers MS and Ph.D degrees

    • 250+ graduate students, 1200+ UGs

      • Largest Ph.D.-granting department on campus; largest number of FT and PT students in sciences

  • External research funding ~$6 million

    • The most well funded UMBC academic department

Why choose csee at umbc
Why Choose CSEE at UMBC?

Strong curriculum

  • Careful balance of theory and practice

    Excellent faculty in a research department

  • Students exposed to cutting-edge developments

    First rate facilities

  • Improving – we’re finally in our new building!

  • Great Location, Nice Atmosphere!

Csee faculty
CSEE Faculty

~34 FT tenure track faculty, and 6 FT lecturers

  • Additional growth expected over next five years

    ~20 adjunct faculty

  • Drawn from local industry and government agencies

  • Provide a unique practical perspective

Research opportunities
Research Opportunities

  • CSEE faculty bring in ~ $6m/year in external support for research

    • Puts us in the same league as top 25-50 CS departments nationwide in funding / faculty

  • Ample money to support most graduate students

    • Travel to conferences, equipment

    • Caveat Emptor – not every grad student will get support

  • Provides exposure to leading edge technologies and development

  • Develops student’s ability to do creative, challenging work independently and in teams

For more information
For More Information...

  • Department

    • Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

    • Room 325, ITE Building

    • University of Maryland Baltimore County

    • 1000 Hilltop Circle

    • Baltimore MD 21250

    • 410-455-3500 (main office), 3000 (student affairs)


  • Web



Dr. John Pinkston

Graduate director for


Dr. Krishna Sivalingam


Dr James Plusquellic


Dr. Gary Carter

Mailing lists
Mailing Lists


    • e-mail

    • subscribe csee-grad-(cs | ee)

    • subscribe csee-grad-(ta | ra)

  • Critical information is posted to these lists

  • You are are responsible for ALL messages to these lists

Academic integrity policy
Academic Integrity Policy

  • “By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community, in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal.”[Statement adopted by UMBC’s Undergraduate Council and Provost’s Office]

What does it apply to
What Does It Apply To?

  • Classwork: Homework, exams, projects

  • Research work: Research proposals, project reports

    • …even if not published, if something is represented as your work it must be your work

  • Publications: Technical papers, grant proposals

  • If you have to ask if it applies, the answer is almost certainly YES.

  • When still in doubt, ask your professor/advisor!

Academic integrity violations
Academic Integrity Violations

  • Cheating:

    • Copying answers from another student or any outside source

    • Obtaining exam questions illegally

  • Fabrication:

    • Falsification of data or results

    • Misrepresenting your qualifications



    • “But I listed the reference in the bibliography.”

      • If you didn’t explicitly quote the text you used, and cite the source where you used the text, it is plagiarism.

    • “But I only used some of the words.”

      • Scattering some of your own words and rephrasing isn’t enough; if the ideas are not restated entirely in your own words, it is plagiarism.


  • “But only the introduction and background material are borrowed; all of the original research is mine.

    • If somebody else’s words appear in any document that you have represented to be written by you, it is plagiarism.

  • “But it was only a draft / not an official classroom assignment, so I didn’t think it counted.”

    • If you represented somebody else’s words as your own, even in an informal context, it is plagiarism.

  • Sometimes attribution gets overlooked through oversight, but it is your responsibility to minimize the possibility that this can happen.

Plagiarism exercise
Plagiarism exercise

  • Original passage:

    • I pledge allegianceto theflag of the United States of America, and to therepublicfor which it stands, one nation, indivisible, withliberty and justicefor all.

  • Unacceptable summary:

    • Ipromise loyaltyto theUnited States flag, and to thecountryfor which it stands, one nation,withfreedom and fairnessfor all.

Plagiarism exercise ii
Plagiarism exercise II

  • Original passage:

    • I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

  • Acceptable summary:

    • The Pledge of Allegiance represents a promise to be loyal to the United States of America, and restates the premises of American government: independent states united by the ideals of freedom and democracy.


  • Helping another student to cheat, falsify, or plagiarize will generally result in your receiving the same penalty

  • Know what your project partners are doing; if you turn a blind eye to their cheating, you may be hurting yourself


  • Each professor sets his or her own policies.

  • Typical penalties depend on the severity, and whether it is a first offense. They may include:

    • Receiving a zero on an assignment (even if only part of the assignment was plagiarized or copied)

    • Being required to redo the assignment, without credit, in order to pass the class

    • Receiving a full grade reduction in the class (e.g., an A becomes a B, a B becomes a C)

    • Suspension or expulsion from the university

Lifecycle of an ms student
Lifecycle of an MS Student

  • Take courses.

    • Talk to your advisor, s/he is there for a purpose!

      • Ask other students as well.

    • 2-3 / semester is a good load if you are supported.

    • Can transfer up to 6 credits, but …

  • Do a thesis

    • 6 credits, typically takes 2 semesters

    • May also do a project (3 credits/1 semester, but you end up doing more courses)

    • Thesis vs Project considerations

  • Get a job and make mucho dinero 

Lifecycle of a ph d student
Lifecycle of a Ph.D. student

  • Take courses and find an advisor – make sure you take the courses needed for comps early on

  • Take the comps, and hopefully pass them

    • Ideally year 1, must be <= 2 years for FT, <= 2.5 years for PT

  • Do more courses, read papers, start thinking of a problem, start work on that problem

  • Defend your proposal

  • Work some more, stop sleeping, drink tons of coffee, get dinner from vending machine, write papers, present papers, write dissertation

  • Defend Thesis

  • Get job and make mucho dinero 

  • Research advisors
    Research Advisors

    • Each of you has been assigned a temporary advisor who is just that – temporary

    • Your temporary advisor will not necessarily be your research advisor, and is under no obligation to take you on as an advisee

    • You are responsible for finding an advisor who will guide your research – whether MS or Ph.D.

    • Ideally, do this early on in your second semester, but positively by the end of your first year

      • Renewal of support depends on it!

      • Finding a research advisor should not be left until the last minute!

    How not to find a research advisor
    How Not to Find a Research Advisor

    • Repeat

    • Room=Select random (CSEE_Faculty_office)

    • Occupant’s research area = google_lookup(name(room))

    • Knock on door

    • Pretend to be interested in <Occupant’s research area> and express strong desire to work with them

    • Until (Found assistantship/advisor)

    How to find a research advisor
    How to Find a Research Advisor

    • Decide which area(s) interest you

      • All areas is not a valid answer!

    • Take classes in those areas

      • Very important – even more important than taking comp classes, if it comes down to a choice!

    • Talk to students who work in those areas – ask them what they do, what are the interests of their advisor, inside scoop on the group etc.

    • Go to as many (relevant) talks as possible

    • Read a lot on the topics you’re interested in

    • Downselect to a few faculty members, arm yourself with knowledge about their projects and how you might fit in…

    How to contact a potential advisor
    How to Contact a Potential Advisor

    • Knock on door or set up an appointment by e-mail

    • Icebreaker questions:

      • I’m interested in areas X, Y, and Z. Can you tell me more about your research in those areas?

      • Do you have any ongoing projects that I might be able to learn more about or contribute to?

      • May I sit in on your lab meetings?

    • Be persistent…

      • Stay in touch with your potential advisor(s)

    • …but not annoying

      • Remember that faculty are usually very busy and have limited time