Cornell students who have an appropriate background in the field of computer science are eligible to receive academic credit (CS 4999) for doing independent research with faculty or researchers in the Department of Computer Science. Typically, students requesting research studies will have had at least 1-2 years worth of CS field course experience. The background experience that you are required to have varies depending on the nature of the study and the stated requirements of the sponsoring instructor.

If you are interested in doing an independent study, you should:

  1. define your area(s) of interest
  2. review the departmental list of Faculty Research Interests to find faculty members who might have related interests
  3. approach a CS faculty member who is working in that area and discuss the possibility of doing an independent research project
  4. reach an agreement with the supervising faculty member about what will be studied and how the results will be evaluated
  5. provide the faculty member with a brief written understanding of what you think you are studying and how the results will be evaluated
  6. register your project as outlined below [optional step]

* If you are still uncertain about who to approach after looking at faculty research areas, you should discuss the matter with your CS faculty advisor.

Registering for CS 4999

All CS students taking CS 4999 are asked to register an abstract with the department. You must use the paper add/drop form if you have already registered for another CS 4999 this semester. Here are the steps to follow to register your CS 4999 project with the department:

  1. officially add CS 4999, via Student Center or the electronic add/drop form*, using the Class ID# from the class roster that corresponds to the professor with whom you're working. (make sure that the professor *knows* you are working with them before you sign up - see steps outlined above)
     * the electronic add/drop form should be used when you are unable to add the course via Student Center during the add period.The form should  can be used for requests to add, drop, change credits, and change grading basis (where possible). 
  2. [OPTIONAL step] e-mail the following six items of information:

    i. your name
    ii. title of your independent study
    iii. brief abstract describing your study (examples)
    iv. name of the instructor with whom you are working
    v. agreed upon number of credits of the independent study
    vi. graduation year

The purpose for registering CS 4999 projects is to document research proposals/projects with the CS department.