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MS in Computer Science

The Master of Science program in Computer Science prepares individuals for a Ph.D. program, research careers in industry, or advanced technical positions in industry and government. The program is designed for students who offer evidence of above average scholastic ability at the undergraduate level. During the M.S. program of study, the student will choose a concentration of study in one of six core areas and will choose courses in at least three other core areas for breadth:

  • Computing Foundations
  • Graphics and Visualization
  • Informatics and Scientific Computation
  • Interactive Computing
  • Software Engineering
  • Systems and Implementation

Completion of the M.S. program normally requires from one and one-half years to two years beyond the undergraduate degree but may require additional time for students whose undergraduate degree is in an area other than computer science. Two academic years usually are required for the completion of the M.S. degree if financial assistance is provided.

The requirements for the MS are based on 30 credit hours, which may be obtained through either:

  • all coursework, or
  • 24 credit hours of coursework and 6 credit hours of M.S. thesis research

General Requirements

The basic requirement for the M.S. in Computer Science is successful completion of 30 credit hours of approved courses. A student's program of study must be approved by both the student's advisory committee and the M.S. Program Coordinator.

At least 21 of the 30 credit hours must be at the 8000 level for the coursework-only option, and at least 24 of the 30 credit hours must be at the 8000 level for the thesis option. Students in either option may include up to six hours of approved courses from outside the School of Computing. The six hours of approved courses may include courses transferred from another university.

A student must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the 30 credit hours used to satisfy the requirements for graduation. All requirements of the Graduate School for the M.S. degree must also be met.

Course Requirements

Concentration Requirement: Each student must take at least three courses in one core area. These courses can be selected from the courses listed in the table below or from preapproved CPSC 8810 special topics courses in that area.

Breadth Requirement: Each student must take one course in at least three other core areas.

MS Core Area
Courses (CPSC prefix unless otherwise specified)
Computing Foundations 8280, 8380, 8390, 8400, 8480, 9400
Graphics and Visualization 6040, 6050, 6110*, 6160*, 8040, 8050, 8110, 8170, 8190
Informatics and Scientific Computation 6300, 6550, 6620, 6630, 8100, 8450, 8470, 8490, 8620, 8630, 8650, 8770
Interactive Computing 6110*, 6120, 6140, 6150, 6160*, 6180, HCC 8310, HCC 8330
Software Engineering 6160*, 6720, 8700, 8710, 8720, 8730, 8750
Systems and Implementation 6200, 6240, 6280, 6770, 6780, 8200, 8220, 8240, 8270, 8290, 8300, 8510, 8520, 8530, 8540, 8550, 8570, 8580

* CPSC 6110 and 6160 span core areas but will count in only one core area each

Thesis Option: Of the 30 credits required for graduation, the student must have six credits of CPSC 8910. The student must also meet the Concentration and Breadth Requirements as defined above in the remaining 24 credits of coursework. (A student may take more than six credits of CPSC 8910, but only six credits may be applied toward the degree.)

Course Exclusions: Of the 30 credit hours of approved courses required for graduation, the student may not include credit for CPSC 6810, 6890, 8880, or 9500; and, the student may not include credit for DPA 6000-6030, 6810-6830, 8600, or 8800. Additionally, only six credits of CPSC 6820 or CPSC/HCC 8810 can be included.


For advising, please contact Dr. Mark Smotherman at

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