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Studio Information

Master of Science in Computer Systems and Software Design

First, read the Studio Guide ( February 2010 Edition, MS Word Version). It contains vital information about the Studio and its place in the program as well as instructions for the preparation of the final Exposition.

The Introduction to this Guide contains the following:

"This is an intense, applied, project-oriented activity that lasts for two semesters, and allows the student the opportunity to apply most, if not all, of the knowledge acquired from the course component. The Studio component is usually the final step in completing the program. During this component, the student, with guidance from a faculty committee, either researches a computer science topic in depth to advance the field or develops a systems solution to an existing, real-world problem. This activity culminates in an expository paper, similar to a thesis, that reviews and summarizes the work accomplished."

Steps in planning the Studio.


The proposal is the first document presented by the student for a studio project. It addresses the Feasibility/Justification of the project (sometimes called the Business Case). It also provides a basis for assigning grades at the end of the two courses.) Most of the Proposal will be incorporated into later documents.

The proposal provides the context of the project; an overview of the product to be produced by the project, and speaks to the feasibility that the project can be accomplished within the time and with the resources available. The proposal explains the proposed project with sufficient detail that a committee of faculty members can decide if the project is of the correct level for academic credit and can be accomplished in the amount of time available. It is developed in consultation with the student's project advisor. It should be developed and submitted for approval at the start of the semester prior to the start of the first Studio semester (see below for dates).

There are no set rules for what a Studio may entail. Many students have opted for software development activities that produce a product usable by the University or an outside firm. Examples have included new Student Rating of Instruction system, an online Senior Survey, and a project to eliminate duplicate entry of data for a hosiery dying and packaging firm. Other students prefer to set up and perform experiments to advance the field. A very nice example was an experiment to test the effectiveness of wireless communication in a noisy factory environment. Many other models are possible. It is the student and the advisor by creating a proposal who determine what the studio will entail, subject to the approval of a committee of graduate faculty. All studios, however, entail hands-on work with computers and communication of plans and results.

The following aids are available:

During the semester prior to the Studio I Semester, work with a graduate faculty member to create a project proposal. When it has the approval of the advisor, submit it to the department along with the STUDIO INITIATION FORM. This is normally done by March 1 or November 1. The department head then appoints a Studio committee and a proposal presentation is scheduled. At the conclusion of a successful presentation, the STUDIO PROSPECTUS FORM is signed by the committee and returned to the department. The department will then register you for CS 595 Studio Component I.

Studio I

The Studio I semester is the preparation semester and it starts with you preparing a project management plan for distribution to the Studio committee for their approval.

During this semester, you must do a thorough literature search and write up the results in a document acceptable to the committee. A library handout on the Web to help students with article searches for computer science is at A Web site with many links to technical writing Web sites is at

Other activities to be done and documents to be produced during this semester depend on the type of project and are detailed in the approved proposal (possibly modified by the approved project management plan). Changes to the work documented in the Proposal and/or Project Management Plan must be approved using a STUDIO CHANGE FORM.

Studio II

The Studio II semester is the implementation semester and it starts with you preparing a progress report for distribution to the Studio committee. This should be in the form of an updated project management plan.

During this semester, you undertake the work defined and described in writing during the Studio I semester.

This semester culminates in you preparing a final Exposition paper for submission to the department. This paper must follow the instructions contained in the Studio Guide.

When the committee has approved the draft of this document, you will defend it to the committee. The committee signs a MANUSCRIPT APPROVAL FORM to indicate its approval (a copy is in the Exposition template). This signed form becomes the first page of the formal Exposition paper, which is given to the department for binding. See the Guide for full details.

Studio Suggestions Link

All student work referenced here used with the permission of the student.

The department location is Ayers Hall 119.

Mailing address:

MCIS Department

700 Pelham Road North

Jacksonville AL 36265-1602

Telephone: (256) 782-5269