Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the application deadlines?


What is the application procedure?

Online application information may be obtained from

Where do I submit my application?

Applications are submitted using the graduate admissions selection at Cal State Apply ( Applicants should select Engineering-Computer Engineering (MS) as the Major/Program Objective. GRE and TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test scores should be routed to San José State University, code=4687. No department code is required. Do not choose Computer Science or Software Engineering if your interest is in Computer Engineering; the Computer Science Department is a separate department in the College of Science, and Software Engineering is a separate master’s program within the Department of Computer Engineering. For more information, see

Does the Computer Engineering Department offer graduate assistantships to incoming or current students?

Graduate teaching, research, and instructional student assistantships are competitive and are awarded based on the student's qualifications and fit to particular tasks. We do not award assistantships at the time of admission.

I was admitted this semester. Is it possible for me to start my study next semester?

New graduate students must take at least one course during the first semester at SJSU. Otherwise, admission is forfeited, and application to SJSU must be repeated. Thus the CSU does not allow admission deferrals at all. Check with the GAPE office whether to resubmit admission documents.

Upon being admitted to the program, am I required to make an appointment with the Graduate Advisor?

It is not necessary. Read carefully the acceptance email sent to you (email the Graduate Advisor if you haven’t received it or need a new copy) and this webpage. Attending the MS-CMPE new graduate student orientation session is required. It is not required but highly advisable to attend the university-wide SJSU Graduate Student Orientation presented by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Can one of my admission conditions be waived if I have taken a course in the same subject in another institution?

No admission conditions can be waived. You must pass the subject test or its corresponding condition class in order to satisfy each admission condition.

I have to satisfy one or more admission condition classes. How do they affect my GPA?

All upper-division (100-level) and master’s level (200-level) letter-graded courses count towards the cumulative (or overall) SJSU GPA, even if they do not count towards the minimal requirements for the MS degree (i.e., courses listed on the candidacy form). However, CMPE 180s are credit/no credit (CR/NC) courses, and therefore the grades in those courses do not count toward GPA

After completing all my admission conditions, do I have to change my status from “conditional” to “classified” immediately?

No, your status will be changed when you file a Departmental Request for Candidacy and Graduate Degree Program Form (containing the university form called the Petition for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy), which you will do as part of the course activities in CMPE 295A, CMPE 299A, or CMPE 298 (for comprehensive exam). At that time, you will submit your SJSU graduate transcripts, admission letter listing admission conditions (if conditionally accepted), evidence of completing conditions (aforementioned transcripts and emails from department indicating passage of conditional course waiver tests), departmental Plan (or Program) of Study, transfer course permissions (if any), permissions to take courses in other departments (if any), and any other documentation needed to evaluate the accuracy of your submitted candidacy form.

How can I register for classes?

Go to to register, but pay attention to fee payment deadlines. Because graduate students cannot enroll in undergraduate courses online and in advance of the semester, you will have to request a permission number from the department website ( in advance or from the course instructor, usually at the first class meeting of the semester. Some graduate courses also require permission numbers.

Whom do I contact with registration problems?

If you cannot gain access to the system, please contact  cmshelp[at]sjsu[dot]edu. If you have problems seeing the correct screen or problems with incorrect IDs, please contact  erecords[at]sjsu[dot]edu.

Do I need advising before enrolling in a class?

If you follow the guidelines described in Section 7, an advising appointment is not necessary.

If I am the first one on the wait list for a full class, will I be given priority to be added to the class by the instructor?

After the semester begins, a class might have some available seats to add more students. The instructor will consider several factors to decide the priority order for adding students. He or she will decide whether the “wait list sequence” is one of the factors but is under no obligation to count it.

I tried to enroll a class, but the enrollment (registration) system required departmental consent. How can I receive consent?

Consent in this case means acquiring a permission number. For some classes, such as project and GWAR classes, restrictions are put into place to ensure adequate preparation before enrolling. In addition, the department needs to be certain that those seeking enrollment are in our own master’s programs, have satisfied the necessary prerequisites, and have the academic standing required. Follow the instructions in Section 7.5 to obtain a permission number.

Once the Add Deadline has passed, how can I get a permission number (i.e., add code) for a class?

Again, follow the instructions in Section 7.5, which instruct you to attend the first class meeting of the semester and ask the instructor for a permission number.

The time overlap of two courses prevents me from enrolling into either one. What shall I do?

With a significant overlap, you can enroll in only one of them. The Graduate Advisor is not assigned to schedule the classes of the department. If the Department Chair 
determines that a new section is needed and can locate the proper personnel to offer the class, it will post the additional section on the schedule section within MySJSU. If the overlap is less than 15 minutes, you might be able to enroll in both classes by filing a course overlap form and submitting it to the department office.

How late can I add or drop a class without penalty?

Courses may be dropped without penalty during the first fourteen days of the semester and added for the first 21 days. See the Calendar section of the university website for exact dates and deadlines. Courses dropped during this initial period will not appear on the student's transcript.

If I drop a class now, can I enroll in it next semester?

Yes, you can enroll in the class by the same process as used this semester.

I enrolled in both CMPE 180D and CMPE 200 or 240 but then failed the Digital Design and Microprocessor test. Will I be penalized if I drop CMPE 200 or 240 after the semester begins?

Should this happen, CMPE 180D should be taken, but CMPE 200 and 240 cannot be taken. Courses may be added or dropped without penalty before the Add Deadline and Drop Deadline, respectively, so it is imperative that CMPE 200 and 240 be dropped via MySJSU before the deadline. A student with admission conditions can enroll in graduate classes and also CMPE 180A, C, and D in the first semester in the master’s program. However, drop a condition course immediately after receiving a passing result in the pertinent waiver test. For refund and pro-rata charges that will occur after the Drop Deadline, refer to

When should I establish or update my Plan (Program) of Study?

It is not required to file a Plan of Study until applying for a CPT, filing a candidacy form, or being on probation. It is, however, helpful when seeking advising from the department or Graduate Advisor.

Can I transfer undergraduate units received at SJSU?

You can transfer a graduate course taken when you were a SJSU undergraduate senior student, but there are several restrictions. The course must not be listed on your undergraduate major form and thus must not have been used to satisfy any requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

Can I transfer graduate credits from extension or Open University courses of other universities?


Can I transfer graduate credits from non-U.S. institutions?


Will a transfer course be counted as a core, specialization, or elective course?

It could be counted in place of any to which it is equivalent.

When can I request a transfer of courses?

After a semester begins, you can submit a Transfer Non-SJSU or Open University Course Request Form for each course you’d like to transfer. You must submit the request form with all supporting documents to the department office. The documents required include a syllabus from the course taken and an unofficial or official transcript showing the date taken, number of units/credits, and the grade earned. Minima of a “B” grade and 3 semester units/credits (or their equivalent) are required, and the course must have been taken recently enough that it will not expire by the seven-year limit at the point of graduating from the MS-CMPE program. The MS-CMPE Graduate Advisor will consult with the professors possessing the subject knowledge to decide whether to approve the request or not.

Can I take off-campus courses as part of my degree course?

Off-campus courses cannot be used for the on-campus MS-CMPE degree program.

I am working in the Silicon Valley. Is it feasible for me to attend classes?

Almost all single-section CMPE graduate courses are offered after 6:00 p.m.

What are the differences between a master’s project and master’s thesis?

A thesis has more rigid requirements for content and reporting style. A project in CMPE is a group affair over the course of two semesters. A thesis, a more in-depth and lengthy document, is an individual affair and often involves an additional semester or two of research, so it is advisable to start the research in the second semester after matriculation (or even the first). The submission date to the Office of Graduate Studies, which must approve theses but not projects, is relatively early in the semester, meaning half of the semester is lost in the thesis-preparation process. A project-track student must enroll in CMPE 295A and CMPE 295B in two consecutive semesters; a thesis-track student must enroll in CMPE 299A and CMPE 299B in two consecutive semesters. Summer enrollments are optional and depend on agreements with and availability of the supervising faculty member and other members of the research group.

How can I find a project or thesis advisor and decide on my project or thesis topic?

Your project/thesis topic must be closely related to your specialization. Your thesis or project advisor must be an SJSU Computer Engineering professor with expertise in the area of your specialization. To have a faculty member serve as your project or thesis supervisor, you must approach professors to inquire about joining their research team.

Will the classes I take to satisfy my admission conditions be counted as part of the required 9 units for students on an F-1 visa?


Will CMPE 298i for CPTs be counted as part of the required 9 units for students on an F-1 visa?

Are there any requirements for taking CMPE 294?
The only requirement for taking CMPE 294 is to be a registered Computer Engineering Department graduate student.

If I take CMPE 294 and CMPE 295A concurrently, what is the consequence if I fail CMPE 294?

The completion of GWAR (e.g., receiving a passing grade in CMPE 294 or ENGR  200W) is required to obtain a passing grade in CMPE 295A or CMPE 299A. At the end of the semester, a student who has not completed GWAR will receive a failing CMPE 295A or CMPE 299A grade and must enroll in CMPE 295A or CMPE 299A again, restarting the project or thesis.

If I cannot complete CMPE 295B or CMPE 299B this semester, what should I do?

A student who is unable to complete CMPE 295B or CMPE 299B due to unforeseen circumstances beyond his or her control will be given a grade of “I” (Incomplete) or “RP” (Report in Progress) and will need to register for CMPE or UNVS 1290R for a one-semester extension. Please see the Graduate Advisor to arrange for a registration appointment for CMPE or UNVS 1290R, as it will not automatically be available on MySJSU. Documentation of the extenuating circumstance is needed to be given this privilege. A student who fails to complete the requirements of CMPE 295A or 299B without adequate documentation of circumstances beyond his or her control will have to repeat the class in a subsequent semester.

What are the timing, scope, and grading parameters of the comprehensive exam?

The exam is given twice a year, once in the Fall semester and once in the Spring semester. It is held at least one week before the last day of instruction. The time and place is announced one week after the last day to add courses. The exam is 2 hours long. No books or other assistive devices are allowed. It covers fundamentals of 

MS-CMPE program core courses and specialization courses in the exam taker’s declared area. The exam is graded on a CR/NC basis and can be taken multiple times. The course-only option will be phased out beginning in Fall 2018. Students who matriculate in that Fall semester or after will not have this option and therefore may not take the comprehensive exam. Those who were enrolled in the CMPE Department’s MS programs prior to F18, and have not disenrolled and been re-admitted for or after F18, will be eligible to take the exam.