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Graduate Programs

Our masters programs position students for success, whether they plan to advance their career or further their studies. Florida Poly represents one of the most innovative investments in American public higher education and research. Our small class sizes and high-quality faculty bring industry expertise and significant research portfolios, ensuring that our students receive the foundational depth needed to grow academically and professionally.

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Graduate Programs

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In the admission process, students select a thesis or course-only pathway which determines degree completion requirements and the student’s timeline to graduation. Students pursuing Computer Science, Data Science, or Engineering can choose between two pathways: the thesis pathway and course-only pathway. The Master of Science in Engineering Management does not have a thesis pathway, and all students follow the course-only pathway.
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Thesis Pathway

Thesis students typically graduate in 24 months and must complete and defend their thesis to graduate. Thesis students are also eligible for graduate assistantships but must make consistent and notable progress on their research to continue in the program.
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Course-Only Pathway

Course-only students usually complete the program at an accelerated pace in about one year – a Fall and Spring Term and one Summer Term. Course-only students can also slow down their progression and complete in 16-24 months if they are working full-time or prefer a slower pace. Students in this pathway are eligible for merit scholarships, but not graduate


Getting involved with professors, whether it's for research projects or internships, are all stepping stones in the path towards greatness.
Alexander Perera, MS Computer Science '23


Thesis and Research Opportunities

Students who select the thesis pathway are required to abide by the timeline and guidelines in the graduate catalog and handbook. Upon entering a program at Florida Poly, you will be assigned a temporary advisor (usually the Department Chair) until an appropriate faculty member has been identified in your selected track. Students pursuing a thesis or a project will also select an advisor for those functions who will assume all related advising responsibilities.

All students writing a thesis or formal project must follow the directions provided in this manual and the guidance of their advisor, where noted. Questions on format and content should be directed to the student’s advisor.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are an opportunity for graduate students to engage in research, be
mentored by faculty, and complete their degree with minimal expenses. Graduate assistants
(GAs) are financially supported in exchange for hours worked, with an expectation of notable and
consistent thesis progress throughout their time in the program.

•Full-time tuition waived
•Competitive stipend of up to $4,000 * per semester (including a summer term). Stipend is paid biweekly across each semester in exchange for 10 hours of instructional support.
•Research mentorship and guidance from faculty
*New GAs, beginning their program fall 2023 and forward, will receive the maximum $4000 per
semester stipend

To remain eligible as a graduate assistant, students will need to stay on track for the thesis
pathway and graduate on time. Students are expected to dedicate significant time to their research
throughout the program.
The assistantship also requires a commitment of ten (10) hours per week of instructional support as
assigned by the academic department. Students are also allowed to work no more than an additional
ten (10) hours per week on campus at an hourly rate.
More information regarding graduate assistantship eligibility and policies can be found in the
graduate catalog and handbook.

Graduate assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis during the admission process.
Students interested in a graduate assistantship should speak with the Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, Ryan Sullivan, and indicate their interest in the thesis pathway on their application. Graduate assistantships, each evaluated by a faculty committee, are highly competitive and limited in number each year. Students working full-time are ineligible for graduate assistantships.


Meet the Graduate Department Chairs

mary vollaro


MS Engineering 

Dr. Mary Vollaro, Department Chair

“Our faculty are excited about our programs, and we all look forward to the opportunity to provide highly innovative and challenging learning experiences throughout our curriculum to help all students reach their academic potential and professional goals.”

Dr. Mary Vollaro has held engineering positions in industry and holds one patent. Involved with engineering education, she was chair of the ASEE Materials Division and continues to be active in that ASEE Division. She has written in the area of materials science education and is now working on leadership and teaming activities for engineers.

shahram taj



MS Computer Science, MS Data Science, MS Engineering Management

Dr. Shahram Taj, Department Chair

”Alongside my assistant chairs, we are working with our students, faculty, and staff to make meaningful contributions in the field of data science and business analytics, and graduate students who are job-ready on day one.”

Dr. Shahram Taj is an accomplished academician, executive consultant with an expertise in business model innovation, lean and sustainable operations, strategic management, production systems design, systems optimization/simulation, and supply chain management. Taj has served as thesis advisor/reader of more than 100 graduate students at the University of Detroit Mercy, including a doctoral thesis committee at MIT. Taj joined Florida Poly in August 2016.

Dr. Rei Sanchez-Aris



MS Data Science 

Dr. Rei Sanchez-Arias, Assistant Department Chair  

The impact of data science is broad-based and there is incredible demand from a variety of disciplines in today’s market. 

Dr. Reinaldo (Rei) Sanchez-Arias joined Florida Poly in fall 2018 as an assistant professor in the Department of Data Science and Business Analytics. During his years studying for his doctorate at The University of Texas at El Paso, he was involved in research projects for the Army High Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC) in collaboration with a group at Stanford University. His expertise is in the areas of numerical optimization, development of methods and algorithms for data mining and statistical learning, and data science education. 

Dr. Doga Demirel






MS Computer Science 

Dr. Doga Demirel, Assistant Department Chair  

“Our program equips you with the expertise required to innovate, lead, and succeed in today's rapidly evolving technological landscape. It opens doors to lucrative and rewarding career opportunities and empowers you to make a meaningful impact in the world of technology.” 

Dr. Doga Demirel is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Florida Polytechnic University. Dr. Demirel has been co-investigator of four National Institutes of Health-funded research projects, including the design, development, and evaluation of the Virtual Operating Room Team Experience (VORTeX) in collaboration with researchers from the University of Central Arkansas, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Demirel’s leading-edge research also allows students the opportunity to be immersed in high-impact projects. His expertise is in the areas of virtual surgical design and development, virtual reality, haptic applications and technology, medical simulations, and visualization. 



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