MS Program

Required Semester Hours: 36

There are four options for obtaining a Master's degree in Computer Science.

Course Option

student on laptop

In the course option, students complete all the credit hours toward the MS in Computer Science through coursework. There is no thesis.

  • 36 semester hours of coursework, of which 16 hours must be computer science courses at the 500 level (excluding CS 590 and CS 595-599).
  • A maximum of 8 semester hours of non-computer-science graduate courses may be counted toward the overall coursework requirement unless prior approval is received from the department via a formal petition.
  • Only one special topics course (CS 594) may be counted toward the 500-level requirement.

Project Option

robot on sidewalk

The project option allows students to demonstrate their learning in the form of a substantive capstone project that is advised by a faculty member and evaluated by the advisor and one other faculty member. The project work and a required summary report must demonstrate a high level of professional skill, but students do not need to formally present or defend their projects. Requirements are as follows:

  • 32 semester hours of coursework, of which 12 hours must be computer science courses at the 500 level (excluding CS 590 and CS 595-599).
  • 4 semester hours of CS 597
  • A maximum of 8 semester hours of non-computer-science graduate courses may be counted toward the overall coursework requirement unless prior approval is received from the department via a formal petition.
  • Only one special topics course (CS 594) may be counted toward the 500-level requirement.

Students who are pursuing the project option can find full details about requirements, policies, and procedures below.

Thesis Option

student on laptop

In the thesis option, students complete a suite of coursework in preparation for a master’s-level research project, which they execute with the support of a faculty advisor. The thesis option is strongly recommended for students who may consider going on for a PhD after finishing the MS program. Requirements are as follows:

  • 28 semester hours of coursework, of which 12 hours must be computer science courses at the 500 level (excluding CS 590 and CS 595-599).
  • 8 semester hours of CS 598, through which the student conducts original research and writes a master’s thesis.
  • A maximum of 8 semester hours of non-computer-science graduate courses may be counted toward the overall coursework requirement unless prior approval is received from the department via a formal petition.
  • Only one special topics course (CS 594) may be counted toward the 500-level requirement.

Thesis students are strongly encouraged to publish their original research in professional journals and to present their work at professional conferences.

Students who are pursuing the thesis option can find full details about requirements, policies, and procedures below.

No Comprehensive Examination

There are no comprehensive examinations in any of the three options within the MS in Computer Science program.

MS students win Mobility Hackathon Chicago with “Feel Your City”

Five MS in Computer Science students won the top prize at Mobility Hackathon Chicago, sponsored by Bosch and KPMG. Their winning platform and device—which they named “Feel Your City”—can collect, visualize, and analyze data about air quality and noise pollution in major metropolitan areas.

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