Comparison of the Master of Science and Professional Master's
- The Admission Criteria are slightly higher for the MSCS than the MCS.
- The GRE can be waived for some MCS applicants.
- Applicants for the MSCS program who are rejected are automatically considered for admission to the MCS program.
Degree Requirement Differences
- The MSCS requires 32 credit hours to complete; the MCS requires 30 credit hours (33 for the application area specializations).
- The MSCS requires requires four Core Courses; the MCS requires three.
- MSCS students can do a full Master's Thesis (but are not required to).
- MCS students can take CS Professional ("CSP") courses.
- The MSCS does not offer specializations; MSCS students, however, can take CS-oriented MCS specialization courses as electives.
- Both MSCS and MCS students can do a Master's Project (but not are required to).
- The CS 401-799 courses are equally applicable to the MSCS and MCS (except for the Master's thesis course).
Figure 1 above summarizes the similarities and differences between the programs.
Which Program Should I Apply To?
- Both programs prepare students for careers as working professionals in computer science.
- The MSCS is slightly more theoretically-oriented, since it requires one more Theory core course than the MCS.
- If you want a specialization or you want to take CS Professional courses, these are only available under the MCS program.
- If you plan to continue studying for a Ph.D., you should consider doing a full Master's Thesis, which is only available under the MSCS program.
- If you're not sure which program you want, we suggest applying to the MSCS program. If you're accepted, it's easy to change to the MCS program later; if you're rejected for the MSCS program, you'll automatically be considered for the MCS program.