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Computer Science (M.S.)

The Master of Science in Computer Science opens pathways in a computer science career, whether to pursue further graduate studies or enter the workforce as a developer or researcher.

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The Master of Science in Computer Science is designed to prepare you for a Ph.D. program or to enter a research/development career in the computer science industry. To complete the program, choose from a master’s thesis, master’s project, or coursework-only.

Core courses reorganized into three categories of computer science: programming, systems, and theory. The degree may be earned strictly through coursework, however, there are options to develop, complete, and defend a master’s thesis, or a master’s project.

Illinois Tech's Mies Campus is located just south of Chicago's downtown, a growing hub of the tech industry, home to a thriving hacking community, and a hive of startup activity.

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Computer Science is designed to prepare you for a Ph.D. program or to enter a research/development career in the computer science industry. Core courses are organized into three categories of computer science: programming, systems, and theory.

Career Opportunities

With a Master of Science in Computer Science degree you will be well prepared to continue graduate studies to become a researcher in an academic or industrial setting. Those entering the workforce typically find management jobs.

  • Data systems designer
  • Program developer
  • Security systems designer
  • Master data analyst
  • Operations manager

A bachelor's degree is required, although not necessarily in computer science, with an overall GPA of 3.0/4.0.

Minimum GRE scores of 300 (quantitative + verbal), 3.0 (analytic writing)

TOEFL/PTE/IELTS scores are required from applicants whose bachelor's degree was earned at an institution in which English was not the primary instructional language.

Applicants whose bachelor's degree is not in computer science may have to take prerequisite undergraduate coursework, of which the credit hours will not apply to the master's degree.

Comparison of the Master of Science and Professional Master's in Computer Science

The Master of Science in Computer Science (M.S. CS) and Professional Master of Computer Science (M.A.S. CS) degree programs are similar but slightly different.

ADMISSION DIFFERENCES

  • The admission criteria are slightly higher for the M.S. CS than the M.A.S. CS.
  • The GRE can be waived for some M.A.S. CS applicants.
  • Applicants rejected for the M.S. CS program are automatically considered for admission to the M.A.S. CS program.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The degree programs are similar in that they make nearly all computer science courses available. As shown in the table below, they differ somewhat in admission policy; credit hour and core class requirements; and availability of a master's thesis, professional specializations, and courses.

Program Master of Science in CS (M.S. CS) Master of CS (M.A.S. CS)
Minimum GRE Composite: 300, AW: 3.0 Composite: 295, AW: 2.5
Credit Hours Required 32 hours 30 hours*
Core Classes Required 4 core classes 3 core classes
Specializations Not available Available, optional
Master's Thesis (CS 591) Available, optional Not available
CS Classes Available CS 401-590, 595, 600-799, 
CS 591, 597
CS 401-590, 595, 600-799, 
CS 597, CSP 5xx

*33 hours for the Business and Finance specializations.

WHICH PROGRAM SHOULD I APPLY TO?

  • Both programs prepare you for a career as a working professional in computer science.
  • The M.S. CS is slightly more theoretically oriented, since it requires one more theory core course than the M.A.S. CS.
  • Specializations and computer sciene professional courses are only available through the M.A.S. CS program.
  • If you plan to continue studying for a Ph.D., you should consider writing a master's thesis, which is available only under the M.S. CS program.
  • If you're not sure which program you want, we suggest applying to the M.S. CS program. If you're accepted, it's easy to change to the M.A.S. CS program later; if you're rejected for the M.S. CS program, you'll automatically be considered for the M.A.S. CS program.