Program Overview

The program is designed to take one and a half years (5 terms) for full-time students. The program starts in fall, and continues through winter and spring. It continues the following fall and winter. Occasionally courses may be offered during summer term. Students are expected to take 9 to 10 credits per term, occasionally a 1-credit course will be offered in some terms. A typical timeline is given here. Information about taking classes without being admitted or part-time is here.


Applicants should have a bachelors degree in computer science, electrical engineering, or a related field. We accept students from other backgrounds (especially linguistics), who have some combination of the following courses (undergraduate or graduate level):

  • Computer science (programming, data structures: typically the 1st and 2nd year CS major undergraduate courses)
  • Math (calculus, discrete math, linear algebra)
  • Probability and statistics

Degree Requirements

Students in the non-thesis option must take 15 courses (45 credits). 6 courses must be in their major (Computer Science or Electrical Engineering). A further 5 courses must be in CS or EE.

Of the 15 courses, 4 can be electives outside of CS and EE. CS/EE 692 Ethics for Scientists & Engineers is a School of Medicine requirement and will count as an elective.

Students will determine what courses they take in consultation with their advisory committee. Courses will be chosen so as to give the student a solid understanding of their area, as well as specialized knowledge in speech and language processing, machine learning, and/or applying this to biomedical problems.

In addition to the scheduled courses, students can also take independent study or research credits with a professor. With approval of their Advisory Committee, students can take courses from other departments in the School of Medicine, including conjoined courses. These will usually count as electives. Also, with approval of their Advisory Committee, students can take courses at PSU to increase their breadth in CS and EE.