This guide provides an overview of the best online master's programs in computer science in the nation, including information on degree requirements, tuition costs, admission requirements, program focuses and concentrations, and delivery formats. These programs are suitable for working professionals seeking to specialize further and advance their careers, as well as for individuals who plan to pursue a Ph.D. Prospective students can use this resource as a way to find a program that matches their academic and career goals.

What Are the Best Computer Science Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Stanford University Stanford, CA
2 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA
3 Columbia University New York, NY
4 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
5 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
6 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC
7 Boston University Boston, MA
8 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
9 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
10 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL

Obtaining a master's in computer science prepares students for careers as software developers, information security analysts, computer and information research scientists, and other similar computing positions. The demand for many of these jobs continues to grow, which offers job security and competitive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information research scientists made a median annual salary of $118,370 in 2018; these positions also have a projected job growth rate of 16% from 2018-2028 — much higher than the national average for all jobs.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe that a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read more about our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find your ideal school.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Computer Science Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Stanford University

Stanford, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Stanford offers an online master of science in computer science for students seeking career advancement. This program does not lead directly to a Ph.D., but helps students determine if a career in academia might be right for them.

Stanford's MS in computer science requires 45 units of coursework and takes 3-5 years to complete. Students can choose to specialize in artificial intelligence, biocomputation, computer and network security, human-computer interaction, information management and analytics, mobile and internet computing, real-world computing, software theory, systems, or theoretical computer science. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout the program in order to graduate.

Stanford is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Artificial intelligence; biocomputation; computer and network security; human-computer interaction; information management and analytics; mobile and internet computing; real-world computing; software theory; systems; theoretical computer science
Tuition: $1,300/unit
Credit Requirements: 45 units
Program Length: 3-5 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Email: admissions@cs.stanford.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 87%

Georgia Tech offers an online master of science in computer science for working professionals who want to advance their skills in the field. Students can choose from concentrations in computational perception and robotics, computing systems, interactive intelligence, and machine learning.

Georgia Tech's online master's in computer science requires 30 credits and takes part-time students 3-6 years to complete. Courses include advanced operating systems, computer networks, network security, and software analysis. To continue in the program after their first year, students must complete two foundational courses with a "B" or higher.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field from an accredited university and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Georgia Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Computational perception and robotics; computing systems; interactive intelligence; machine learning
Tuition: $180/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 3-6 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Email: omscs@cc.gatech.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Columbia University

New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 96%

Columbia offers an online master of science in computer science that emphasizes theoretical computer science and mathematics as well as experimental computer technology. In addition to eight designated areas of concentration, Columbia University's program also offers the option for students to create a personalized track.

Columbia's MS in computer science requires 30 credits. Core courses include operating systems, advanced software engineering, network security, and security architecture. After completing core courses, students are required to take elective courses in a concentration of their choosing.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in computer science, a minimum 3.3 GPA, and acceptable GRE scores. Applicants with a bachelor's degree in a different field may still apply but they need to take six prerequisite classes: four computer science courses and two math courses. Columbia is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Computational biology; computer security; foundations of computer science; machine learning; natural language processing; network systems; software systems; vision, graphics, interaction, and robotics
Tuition: $2,104/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.3 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (212) 854-6447
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 93%

Johns Hopkins offers an online master of science in computer science that provides deeper knowledge and skills about the theory, analysis, design, and implementation of information systems.

The university's MS in computer science requires 10 courses, including three foundation courses in foundations of software engineering, foundations of computer architecture, and foundations of algorithms. Concentration tracks are offered in bioinformatics, cybersecurity, data communications and networking, data science and cloud computing, database systems and knowledge management, enterprise and web computing, human-computer interaction and visualization, software engineering, systems, and theory.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in a technical discipline; have a minimum 3.0 GPA; and have completed necessary prerequisite courses, including calculus, programming, data structures, and computer organization. Johns Hopkins University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Bioinformatics; cybersecurity; data communications and networking; data science and cloud computing; database systems and knowledge management; enterprise and web computing; human-computer interaction and visualization; software engineering; systems; theory
Tuition: $4,595/course
Credit Requirements: 10 courses
Program Length: 5 years or less

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (410) 516-2276
Email: rhernan7@jhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 92%

USC offers an online master of science in computer science for students who already have a background in computing and wish to advance their knowledge within the discipline.

USC's online master of science in computer science degree requires 28 units and takes 1.5-3.5 years to complete. Core courses include analysis of algorithms, foundations of artificial intelligence, web technologies, and database systems. Elective courses are offered on topics such as applied cryptography and security systems.

To gain acceptance, students must hold a bachelor's in computer science or another discipline related to computing. Students must also submit acceptable GRE scores. USC is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Tuition: $2,075/unit
Credit Requirements: 28 units
Program Length: 1.5-3.5 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (213) 740-4488
Email: den@viterbi.usc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Raleigh, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

NC State offers an online master of computer science designed for working professionals. This program does not require a thesis or comprehensive exam. It is available to students in the U.S. and military personnel serving abroad.

NC State's online master's in computer science requires 31 credits. Core courses are organized into two categories: theory and systems. Theory courses include computational applied logic, compiler construction, and graph theory. Systems courses include software engineering, architecture of parallel computers, and computer networks. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate.

To be eligible, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, prior coursework in calculus and computer science, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and satisfactory GRE scores. NC State is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $446/credit
Credit Requirements: 31 credits
Program Length: 6 years or less

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (919) 515-3860
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Boston University

Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 88%

BU offers an online master of science in computer information systems that provides students with technical competence and leadership skills. Students can choose from concentrations in computer networks, data analytics, database management and business intelligence, health informatics, IT project management, security, and web application development.

BU's MS in computer information systems requires 40 credits and takes 18-24 months to complete. The curriculum consists of five core courses, one required statistics course, and four elective or concentration courses.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Candidates are not required to have a background in computer science, but those who do not may need to take prerequisite coursework before beginning the program. BU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Information Systems
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Computer networks; data analytics; database management and business intelligence; health informatics; IT project management; security; web application development
Tuition: $905/credit
Credit Requirements: 40 credits
Program Length: 18-24 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (617) 358-1960
Email: disted@bu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

U of I offers an online master of computer science for working professionals that focuses on areas like artificial intelligence, databases, human-computer interaction, software engineering, scientific computing, and high-performance computing. This program does not include a thesis.

U of I's master of computer science degree requires 32 credits and takes 1-5 years to complete, depending on a learner's enrollment status. Courses include applied machine learning, database systems, data visualization, parallel computing, and numerical analysis.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who do not have a degree in computer science must have sufficient background in computer programming, data structures and algorithms, linear algebra, and statistics. U of I is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $670/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 1-5 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (217) 333-3426
Email: admin@cs.illinois.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

IIT offers an online master of science in computer science that prepares students to pursue a Ph.D. or a career in computer science. Students have the option to complete a master's thesis or a master's project. They can also enroll in a coursework-only track.

IIT's MS degree in computer science requires 32 credits. Coursework focuses on three main areas: programming, systems, and theory. Learners cover topics such as advanced database organization, syntactic analysis of programming languages, computer networks, and computational geometry.

To be eligible, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants who did not earn a bachelor's in computer science may need to complete prerequisite courses before matriculating into the program. IIT is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,575/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (312) 567-3000
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of Illinois at Springfield

Springfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

UIS offers an online master of science in computer science for individuals interested in the design, analysis, and implementation of software programs.

This MS in computer science degree requires 32 credits (eight courses in total), including a graduate research seminar. Coursework covers topics like computer programming concepts, discrete structures, systems programming languages, and computer organization. Students who do not maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation.

To be eligible, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in computer science (or a similar discipline), earned with a minimum 2.7 GPA. Students also need to have completed all prerequisite courses. UIS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $362/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.7 minimum

Contact

Phone: (217) 206-6770
Email: csc@uis.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

UMN offers an online master of science in computer science for individuals who want to pursue industry or research positions in the field. The program has three tracks: a thesis-based track, a project-based track, and a coursework-only track. Each track has separate requirements but uses the same general curriculum.

UMN's MS in computer science requires 31 credits. Courses include modern cryptography, animation and planning in games, introduction to compilers, and analysis of numerical algorithms.

To be eligible, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, have a minimum 3.25 GPA, and submit GRE scores. Some students can substitute work experience for GRE scores. UMN is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $1,465/credit
Credit Requirements: 31 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.25 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (800) 991-8636
Email: online@umn.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 78%

Stevens offers an online master of science in computer science that prepares individuals for academic or professional career tracks. Students can choose between 10 different focus areas and have the option to complete a research-based thesis.

This MS in computer science degree requires 30 credits, including at least 21 credits offered by the computer science department. Coursework covers topics like principles of programming languages, concurrent programming, enterprise and cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate.

To be eligible, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and competitive GRE or GMAT scores. Stevens is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Cloud computing databases; software development; visual computing and information extraction; secure systems; gaming and simulation; mobile systems; network and systems administration; web application development; machine learning; modeling, simulation. and visualization
Tuition: $1,686/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact

Phone: (201) 216-5000
Email: graduate@stevens.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

The University of West Florida

Pensacola, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 87%

UWF offers an online master of science in computer science that prepares students for doctoral studies or careers in software development and data analytics. Students can choose between two concentrations: software engineering and data science.

UWF's online master's in computer science degree requires 30 credits. Core courses include database systems, parallel and distributed programming, and advanced algorithms. Elective courses cover topics such as software design, introduction to artificial intelligence, and advanced database systems. Students can complete a thesis or a research project as a capstone.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA; GRE scores are not required but are recommended, especially for international applicants. UWF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Software engineering; data science
Tuition: $295/credit in-state; $924/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE is optional, but recommended for international applicants

Contact

Phone: (850) 474-3241
Email: computerscience@uwf.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Newark, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

NJIT offers an online master of science in computer science for students who want to transition into the field or advance their studies. The school provides a bridge program especially for STEM students who do not have a background in computing that allows them to matriculate into computing-related master's programs after taking one semester of prerequisite courses.

NJIT's MS in computer science degree requires 30 credits. Students can choose a generalist track or specialize in one of three areas: database and data mining, networking, or cybersecurity. Core courses include data structures and algorithms, operating system design, data management system design, and internet and higher-layer protocols.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. GRE scores are recommended for all applicants and are required for international students and students seeking financial aid. NJIT is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Database and data mining; networking; cybersecurity; generalist
Tuition: $1,307/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (973) 596-3462
Email: online@njit.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

Syracuse offers an online master of science in computer science that prepares individuals for jobs in computer and information technology fields. Students must attend live video lectures, but the program's schedule is designed to accommodate working professionals.

This MS in computer science degree requires 30 credits and can be completed in 15 months. Core courses include structured programming and formal methods, advanced computer architecture, design and analysis of algorithms, and principles of operating systems. Students can take electives in subjects such as machine learning, software modeling, and object oriented design.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA. GRE waivers are available to some applicants. Syracuse is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,620/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 15 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (833) 797-4364
Email: admissions@engineeringonline.syr.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

FAU offers an online master of science in computer science for working professionals who wish to gain specialized knowledge in the field. The program allows students to choose from a thesis option or a non-thesis option.

FAU's MS in computer science degree requires 30 credits. Core courses are offered in three main areas: theory, software development, and computer systems. These courses include analysis of algorithms, software testing, and multimedia systems. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and submit acceptable GRE scores. The GRE requirement may be waived for some students. FAU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $370/credit in-state; $1,025/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (561) 297-3855
Email: ceecs@fau.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

CSU offers an online master of computer science that prepares individuals for careers related to software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. Students entering the program should be fluent in an object-oriented programming language and have a working knowledge of computer science, discrete mathematics, data structures, and similar concepts.

CSU's online master's in computer science degree requires 35 credits and can be completed in two years. Coursework includes object-oriented design, parallel programming, database systems, and software testing and analysis.

Applicants must hold a relevant bachelor's degree and an overall GPA of at least 3.0 GPA and a minimum 3.2 GPA in computer science coursework. GRE scores are required for international applicants. CSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $715/credit
Credit Requirements: 35 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (for international applicants)

Contact

Phone: (970) 492-4722
Email: maurice.kigada@colostate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

DePaul University

Chicago, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

DePaul offers an online master of science in computer science for individuals who want to develop advanced and specialized proficiency in computing. The program introduces students to a wide spectrum of coursework, including data mining, medical imaging, and algorithmic analysis.

DePaul's online MS in computer science requires 52 quarter credits. Foundation courses cover topics such as applied algorithms and structures, distributed systems, concepts of programming languages, and database technologies. Students can choose electives from the following areas: software and systems development, theory, data science, database systems, artificial intelligence, software engineering, game and real-time systems, and human-computer interaction. Students with a 3.9 GPA or higher graduate with distinction.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. DePaul University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Tuition: $865/credit
Credit Requirements: 52 quarter credits
Program Length: 3-4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (312) 362-8381
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

National University

La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

NU offers an online master of science in computer science that provides students with knowledge and skills in software engineering, database theory and design, and cloud computing. The program is designed for working professionals seeking to advance their careers.

NU's MS in computer science requires 13 courses (58.5 quarter units). Core courses include advanced programming, software engineering fundamentals, modern operating systems, and database design and implementation. The curriculum culminates in a three-month project where students solve problems for a real client.

Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or information systems with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students from other disciplines can matriculate into the program after taking prerequisite courses. NU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Tuition: $442/quarter unit
Credit Requirements: 58.5 quarter units
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (855) 355-6288
Email: advisor@nu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

BU offers an online master of science in computer information systems that provides foundational knowledge in organizational information systems, software methods, systems infrastructure, and application technologies. This program prepares graduates for careers in software development, database analysis and design, and information systems management.

BU's MS in computer science degree requires 36 credits. Core courses include IT infrastructure, computing platforms and networking technologies, and cloud computing. Students can choose from concentrations in databases, software development, and IT security.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. They also need to have a minimum 2.5 GPA over their last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework or a minimum 3.0 GPA in previous graduate coursework. BU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Information Systems
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Databases; software development; security
Tuition: $585/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (402) 293-2000
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Rolla, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 0%

Missouri S&T offers an online master of science in computer science with concentrations in cybersecurity and data science. The program prepares individuals for careers in computing, software development, and information security. It is also well suited for students planning to pursue a Ph.D. in the field.

Missouri S&T's MS in computer science degree requires 31 credits. Students have the option to complete a thesis; participants should choose this option if they plan to pursue a research career or further education in computer science. The thesis option requires the completion of at least six research credits.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in a related discipline, have a minimum 3.0 GPA or have completed at least 12 graduate-level credits of computer science, and hold competitive GRE scores. Missouri S&T is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Cybersecurity; data science
Tuition: $731/credit
Credit Requirements: 31 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (573) 341-6591
Email: global@mst.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

University of South Carolina

Columbia, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 63%

UofSC offers an online master of science in computer science that provides students with a deep understanding of high-performance computer systems. The program prepares students to pursue careers in research or industry.

UofSC's online master's in computer science degree requires 30 credits, including 10 credits of core courses and 20 credits of electives. Core courses include computer architecture, compiler construction, analysis of algorithms, and seminar in advances in computing. Students can choose a thesis option or a non-thesis option. Students who choose the non-thesis option must take and pass a comprehensive exam.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, a strong background in computer science, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and competitive GRE scores. UofSC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $572/credit in-state; $1,240/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Email: jtang@cse.sc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

JMU offers an online master of science in computer science with an emphasis in information security for working professionals interested in careers in information assurance or cybersecurity. The program is cohort-based and courses are delivered in a predetermined sequence.

JMU's MS in computer science degree requires 33 credits and can be completed in five semesters. Core courses include operating systems, computer security, secure programming, and computer forensics. Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis option. Students who choose the non-thesis option must take a comprehensive exam.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and submit competitive GRE scores. Candidates should score higher than 50% in each area of the GRE, although other qualifications can compensate for lower GRE scores. JMU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science With an Emphasis in Information Security
School Status: Public
Tuition: $775/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 5 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (540) 568-3335
Email: infosec@cs.jmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook

24

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

ECU offers an online master of science in computer science that prepares students for advanced computing and information systems positions. Graduates can also pursue a doctoral-level education. The program provides two different pathways: traditional and nontraditional options. The traditional pathway is for students with a background in computer science, while the nontraditional pathway is for students from other STEM disciplines who want to transition to computing.

The MS in computer science curriculum requires 30-38 credits, including at least six credits of core courses and 24 credits of electives. Core courses cover machine learning and the design and analysis of algorithms. Students can choose to complete a thesis, a research project, or extra upper-level courses.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and acceptable GRE scores. ECU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $4,487/year in-state; $16,089/year out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30-38 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact

Phone: (252) 328-9600
Email: cetgrad@ecu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

NSU offers an online master of science in computer science that prepares students for careers as data scientists, software engineers, and software developers.

The curriculum features 30 credits and can be completed in 12-14 months. Core courses include programming languages, design and analysis of algorithms, operating systems, database management systems, and software engineering. After completing core coursework, students take courses in their chosen concentration area. Students may also choose not to specialize and take courses from a variety of concentration areas.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, mathematics, or physics; have completed sufficient prerequisite courses; and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Software engineering; artificial intelligence; computer systems; data science; information assurance and cybersecurity; real-world computing
Tuition: $849/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12-14 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (954) 262-2031
Email: cecinfo@nova.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Master's in Computer Science Program Overview

Master's programs in computer science typically require 30-50 credits of coursework, along with a thesis, research project, or comprehensive exam. These programs cover topics such as computer and network security, information management and analytics, real-world computing, software systems, machine learning, and natural language processing. Students often choose concentrations, which include elective courses. In addition, some programs may offer students the choice of completing a thesis track or non-thesis track.

Most programs provide students with a solid foundation in computing and programming skills, preparing them for advanced computing professions or research careers. Learners who wish to obtain a Ph.D. after earning their master's should complete a thesis to gain research and academic writing experience. Alternatively, students who plan to enter the job market upon graduation might opt for a non-thesis track.

Common Master's in Computer Science Degree Courses

Design and Analysis of Algorithms

Students in this class learn about techniques such as dynamic programming, divide and conquer, and local and global search. Learners also conduct analyses that examine recurrences, lower bounds, and NP-completeness.

Operating Systems Principles

Topics covered in this course include process scheduling and coordination, deadlock, memory management, and elements of distributed systems. Students leave the class with an understanding of how operating systems work and the various components involved in their design.

Software Engineering

This course teaches students how to design and develop software through its entire life cycle. It also introduces degree-seekers to best software engineering practices in the field. Enrollees learn about cost and schedule estimation; risk management; technical reviews; design, coding, and testing methods; and reliability estimation methods.

Artificial Intelligence

This course introduces students to artificial intelligence and AI programming languages, such as LISP and PROLOG. Enrollees learn about AI problem-solving techniques, logic, natural language processing, and robotics.

Computer Networks

Degree-seekers explore protocol principles, local area and wide area networking, quality of service principles, error control coding, and medium access control. Students also learn about networking simulation and security.

Related Master's in Computer Science Degree Concentrations

Computer Networks

A concentration in computer networks provides students with specialized knowledge related to computer data communication and modern networking. The curriculum includes courses on network design and implementation, network security, and network performance analysis and management. Students who choose this concentration learn how to design, analyze, and implement innovative computer networking solutions.

Artificial Intelligence

This concentration explores the design and function of machine learning. Courses focus on AI algorithms, machine learning techniques, data mining and analysis of large data sets, and programming languages.

Cybersecurity

A concentration in cybersecurity provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to analyze and protect against threats and weaknesses in technological security. Students learn about issues of network security and privacy, the social ramifications of cybersecurity, cryptography, and information security.

Data Analytics

This concentration examines data processing, analysis, and visualization. Students learn statistical analysis methods and tools, probability theory, and techniques for data mining. Students who complete this concentration gain a solid understanding of data analytics practices.

Software Engineering

A concentration in software engineering provides students with the skills needed to develop software for various platforms. Courses focus on topics such as object-oriented development, software architecture and design, testing and quality assurance, and data analysis. This concentration prepares learners for careers as software developers.

Online Master's in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Most master's programs in computer science require each applicant to possess a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. However, some institutions offer transition courses for students who obtained their bachelor's degrees in other STEM disciplines.

  • Minimum GPA

    Most programs maintain a minimum GPA requirement. This threshold depends on the particular program and generally sits in the 2.5-3.0 range. Some programs allow for provisional admission of applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement but display strengths in other areas of their application.

  • GRE Scores

    Many master's in computer science programs require candidates to submit acceptable GRE scores. Some programs may offer GRE waivers for students with high GPAs, while others do not require GRE scores.

  • Prerequisite Courses in Computer Science

    Many computer science master's programs require that applicants hold a background in computer science, including proficiency in programming languages, algorithms, and computer information systems. Some programs may admit students who have not taken necessary prerequisite courses, as long as they complete them before beginning master's-level coursework.

  • Prerequisite Courses in Statistics

    In addition to specific coursework in computer science, some programs also require prerequisite courses in statistics and probability. Those who have not completed these prerequisites may have to take additional courses before enrolling in a master's program.


Online Master's in Computer Science Career Paths

Earning an online master's in computer science prepares graduates for a variety of careers in computing, including positions as web developers, computer systems analysts, information security analysts, computer network architects, and computer systems administrators. Most of these careers only require a bachelor's degree to qualify for an entry-level position.

However, obtaining a master's degree makes computing professionals eligible to conduct specialized work — especially roles involving research — and often leads to a salary increase. Most computer science professions do not require further education, but those who wish to conduct intensive research or work in university settings may need to pursue a doctorate.


Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a master's degree in computer science worth it?

A master's in computer science can provide individuals with specialized knowledge, lead to lucrative career opportunities, and/or act as a stepping stone toward a doctoral degree.

How long does it take to get a master's degree in computer science?

It usually takes 2-3 years to complete a master's in computer science. However, some programs offer accelerated courses that allow for quicker completion times, while others have more in-depth research requirements that may take longer to complete.

How much can I earn with a master's degree in computer science?

BLS data indicate that computer programmers earned a median annual salary of $84,280 in 2018. While most computer programming and software development positions only require a bachelor's degree, some mid-level positions require a master's degree with a specific specialization. Additionally, computer and information research scientists earned a median annual salary of $118,370 in 2018.

What are the courses in a master's in computer science program?

Courses in computer science cover foundational computing topics, such as database design and management, information systems analysis and design, programming languages, data security, and software development. Students can also enroll in elective courses covering topics like artificial intelligence, health informatics, cybersecurity, and other specialty areas.

What jobs can I get with a master's in computer science?

Graduates with a master's in computer science can qualify for jobs as software engineers, web developers, computer programmers, information security analysts, computer network architects, and other related positions. Professionals may find these roles at software companies and in other industries, like healthcare and education.

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