OMSCS | Part II, Registering for Classes

The OMSCS series covers my personal experience going through Georgia Tech's Online Master's in Computer Science. Part I can be found here. My hope is that this guide will be useful as a reference for current and prospective students. Part II covers how I went about the registration process before the start of my first class.

What I've Done in the Meantime

Since learning about my acceptance into OMSCS on April 21st, 2020 (about 3 months ago), I've been looking forward to registering for my first class. In the meantime, I have sent my Transcripts and Proof-of-Lawful residence to the Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies. I've also joined some Facebook groups where students in the same cohort as me share information and resources. Finally I've activated my GTech Account using the instructions found here, which enabled me to join the OMSCS Slack Channel, WhatsApp, and Discord Group.

I've learned it's important to read every word of every email Georgia Tech sends you. Because there are ~10k students in the program (as of Fall 2020), troubleshooting issues or missing important information is much more time consuming and costly in comparison to my college years at UChicago (Tech's OMSCS is now nearly 7-8x as big as the UChicago Class of 2020). And since everything is online, I don't have a roommate or friend to keep in touch with to make sure I'm on the same page as everyone else. Keeping close tabs on the Facebook groups has been critical for me thus far.

How I'm Approaching This Semester

I've decided I will take one course in the Fall of 2020 as I dedicate some of my time to moving out of Chicago and searching for new jobs. Because it's my first semester with OMSCS, I want to ramp up slowly and gauge how much time and effort a course might take. OMSCS itself also strongly recommends just one class to start off with.

I've found the OMSCS Reddit page to be an invaluable resource. Reddit seems to be one of the few social media platforms that can effectively handle the scale of the program in a way that makes finding information easy.

What I've Learned About Course Registration

In my first year, I need to take at least 2 "foundational" courses with a grade of a B or better to remain in the program. I figure I might as well start off with one. Overall, I'll need 10 courses to graduate, and 5-6 of those must be part of my specialization (I intend to specialize in Machine Learning). I must get a B or above in those 5-6 courses, and a C or above in all others. I can also only take 2 courses that are not "Computer Science" courses (some are public policy and industrial systems engineering). Basically it's first come first-served, and I will find out the day before registration opens when my time ticket is. My time ticket dictates when I will be given access to register.

I've made a nifty Google Spreadsheet to help track classes, and you're welcome to view it. I've taken the values of OMSCentral course ratings and reviews from this wonderful spreadsheet put together by student Domenico De Felice. His spreadsheet is a bit more detailed and interactive.

How to Register Video

The Gameplan

I plan to register for one of the following courses:

#1 Graduate Introduction to Operating Systems (GIOS)

#2 Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

#3 EduTech

I'll post an update with how the registration process goes! My time ticket says I can begin registering for classes on August 10th at 10AM (Eastern Time).