Master’s in Computer Science

Why Choose a Master's in Computer Science?

Computer science is a field generally learned by doing. While many of the world’s professionals are self-taught, there are several benefits to completing a Master’s of Science (MS) degree in Computer Science (CS). A well-structured and disciplined program offers a level of advanced knowledge and proficiency that allows engineers to critically investigate and enhance emerging software technologies and applications. A Master’s in CS also provides the tools and foresight to keep up with rapid-changing technology.


The 25 Best Online Master’s in Computer Science Degree Programs

Methodology

To ensure fairness and accuracy, our rankings are informed by a strict methodology that accounts for a range of success indicators. The schools are evaluated in terms of each of the following factors, and then their category ranks averaged to determine overall standing. All programs had to be fully accredited and have a minimum of 300 students.

  • Student satisfaction: Indicated by retention rate
  • Quality, supportive program: Indicated by graduation rate
  • Reputation: Indicated by acceptance rate
  • Program Desirability: Indicated by enrollment rate
  • School’s emphasis on CS and resources around the program: Indicated by percentage of computer science majors

NOTE: All factors rated evenly; meaning that the overall ranking is based on the mean of these five indicators.

Formula: The numerical value for each variable is assigned based on the school’s ranking for a specific factor among all schools offering a CS program. Ranking weight is then determined as follows:

(SS+Q+R+PD+CS)5 = Ranking Weight

  • SS: Student satisfaction
  • Q: Quality
  • R: Reputation
  • PD: Program desirability
  • CS: Computer science emphasis
Rank School Location Tuition
1

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

$45,195 annual tuition

Available Specializations
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biocomputation
  • Computer and Network Security
  • Database Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Numerical Analysis/Scientific Computation
  • Real-World Computing
  • Software Theory
  • Systems
  • Theoretical Computer Science
Program Highlights
  • Coursework in mathematical and theoretical foundations, computer systems and artificial intelligence
  • One 500-level seminar course
  • Overall GPA 3.0 or better required to complete the degree
Online Format Details
  • Students use their mystanford portal to access coursework.
  • 45-unit requirement; program takes 3-5 years to complete
Accolades
  • First university to offer complete internet delivery system – Stanford Online 1996
  • Ranked #4 in Best National Universities, U.S. News & World Report, 2016

$45,195

Annual Tuition

2

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

$49,022 annual tuition

Available Specializations
  • Master of Software Engineering
  • Master of Science in Information Technology — Software Engineering
  • Master of Science in Information Technology — Software Engineering Management
Program Highlights
  • Corporate partnerships with General Electric, Google, Intel and Microsoft
  • Agency partnerships with NASA, U.S. Military and Department of Defense
  • Partnership with Cornell University; distance coursework is co-taught by both schools
  • Students and alumni are regularly recruited by Amazon, Bosch, Google, Microsoft, NASA, Oracle, Salesforce, Twitter and Yahoo
  • Coursework typically requires 12-36 months of study
Online Format Details
  • All lectures are on DVDs, which are kept by students after the course is completed
  • Students receive lecture slides, a companion guide with lecture notes and assignments, PDFs of course readings and course website access
  • Students connect with instructors through email, bulletin boards and video-teleconferences

$49,022

Annual Tuition

3

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

$47,060 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Big Data and Cloud Computing
  • Bioinformatics
  • Cyber Security
  • Data Communications and Networking
  • Database Systems and Knowledge Management
  • Enterprise and Web Computing
  • Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization
  • Software Engineering
  • Systems and Theory
  • Telecommunications and Networking
Program Highlights
  • Research-centered department
  • Students may complete a research project in place of two courses
Online Format Details
  • The school offers online and virtual live courses synchronously and asynchronously
  • Carnegie Mellon uses Adobe Connect for live office hours
Accolades
  • Ranked #5 by U.S. News & World Report, 2015 for best online graduate computer information technology programs

$47,060

Annual Tuition

4

North Carolina State University - Raleigh

Raleigh, NC

$8,296 in state
$23,551 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Coursework only: no thesis or comprehensive exam required
  • 1-2 courses per semester, 31 graduate credits total required for completion
  • NC State has partnered with the National Security Agency to create the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences to address big data problems
  • The National Science Foundation has awarded NC State $3 million in cybersecurity research funds
Online Format Details
  • Courses provided via streaming software
  • Exams are taken remotely
  • Students have full access to instructors and the same privileges as on-campus students
  • Online courses are typically recorded versions of on-campus classes
  • Distance learners may attend on-campus courses
Accolades
  • The Engineering Online Computer Science and Networking Program was ranked fourth nationally in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology programs

$8,296

In-State Tuition

$23,551

Out-of-State Tuition

5

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

$11,394 in state
$30,698 out of state

Specializations Available
  • Computational Perception & Robotics
  • Computing Systems
  • High-Performance Computing
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
Program Highlights
  • Partnership with Udacity and AT&T offers accredited master’s in CS obtainable exclusively through the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) format
  • Students may view the MOOC courses for free but must pay tuition to access academic support and earn credits toward a degree
  • 30 credit-hour program
Online Format Details
  • Students have access to support staff
  • Most materials are free
  • Typical time for completion is three years; students may take up to six years to graduate

$11,394

In-State Tuition

$30,698

Out-of-State Tuition

6

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

$48,280 annual tuition

Specializations Available
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Science – Computer Security
  • Computer Science – Data Science
  • Computer Science – Multimedia and Creative Technologies
  • Computer Science – Software Engineering
  • Computer Science – Scientists and Engineers
Program Highlights
  • Admission standards for residential and online students are identical
  • Partnership with Tsinghua University School of Information Science and Technology – China to offer the MS in computer science dual degree: student obtains two master’s degrees, one from each institution
  • Partnerships with industry leaders, including Boeing and Kuwait Oil Company
Online Format Details
  • Lectures are provided through state-of-the-art web-based delivery system
  • Students and faculty engage through virtual meetings, live chats and threaded discussion boards
  • Students take exams at testing centers near the student’s home
Accolades
  • Ranked #1 Online Computer Information Technology Program (Computer Science) by U.S. News & World Report

$48,280

Annual Tuition

7

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

$12,972 in state
$35,850 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Small classes: average size is 15-20 students
  • On-campus immersion experience required
  • Networking opportunities with Bay Area industry leaders
  • Classes are completed in five terms over 20 months
Online Format Details
  • Live online streams and access to recorded classes
  • Coursework includes videos, interactive case studies and self-paced lectures
  • Online platform with social networking component helps students connect with classmates

$12,972

In-State Tuition

$35,850

Out-of-State Tuition

8

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

$47,558 annual tuition

Specializations Available
  • Web and Mobile Development
  • Enterprise Architecture and Development
  • Software Testing
  • Networking
  • Databases
Program Highlights
  • Small class sizes — fewer than 16 students per course
  • Students have option to take courses without matriculating
  • Dedicated student advisor for each student
  • Graduates are eligible to join the Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies alumni networking group
Online Format Details
  • Uses LATTE platform, the university’s Learning and Teaching Technology Environment
  • Students are expected to provide discussion questions as part of coursework
  • Graded work and feedback on participation available online
  • Participation accounts for at least 30% of final grades

$47,558

Annual Tuition

9

George Washington University

Washington, DC

$48,760 annual tuition

Specializations Available
  • Master of Science in Systems Engineering
  • Master of Science in Engineering Management
Program Highlights
  • Students in the online master’s degree in computer science program have access to the same professors as residential students
  • Operation GW VALOR (Veterans Accelerate Learning Opportunities and Rewards) supports military, veterans and military family members; most master’s degree programs are free for fully qualified veterans and their families
Online Format Details
  • Real-time video seminars
  • Discussion threads
  • Customized assignments and projects based on professional goals

$48,760

Annual Tuition

10

Bentley University

Waltham, MA

$42,511 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Online students must live outside of Massachusetts
  • 30 credit program
Online Format Details
  • Live, on-campus classes are delivered online with web conferencing software
  • Bentley uses the Blackboard Learning Management System
  • Online learners must complete a one-week residency on campus

$42,511

Annual Tuition

11

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

$6,313 in state
$28,591 out of state

Program Highlights
  • 10-course, 30-credit program
  • No thesis required
  • Degree can be completed in 24 months
Online Format Details
  • Same courses completed by local and distance learners
  • Communication with on-campus students is conducted through UF’s online eLearning platform
  • Download lectures or watch live
  • Assignments submitted electronically
  • Exams are administered through a local proctor
  • Travel to campus is never required

$6,313

In-State Tuition

$28,591

Out-of-State Tuition

12

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

$41,886 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • 30 credit hours
  • Can be completed in as few as 20 months
  • Award-winning faculty conduct groundbreaking research in artificial intelligence, data mining methods and cybersecurity
Online Format Details
  • Courses can be attended via live webcast with on-campus professors
  • Online students can interact with teachers during class
  • Classes also recorded and available online
  • Online labs available
  • Student collaboration encouraged through online student group spaces
  • Weekly lectures, reading activities, progress checks and discussion opportunities are available online
Accolades
  • Ranked a Top 50 Best Value University and a 2015 Best Computer Engineering Graduate School by U.S. News & World Report

$41,886

Annual Tuition

13

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

$12,017 in state
$28,048 out of state

Specializations Available
  • Graduate Program in Information Technology (VT-MIT)
  • Combined degree and certificate, blends coursework in:
    • Health Information Systems
    • Software Development
    • Information Security
    • Business Information Systems
    • Decision Support Systems
    • Networking
    • Telecommunications
Program Highlights
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Small class sizes
  • Internationally renowned faculty
Online Format Details
  • Courses offered through Interactive Videoconferencing (IVC)
Accolades
  • Ranked #2 Online Master of Information Technology degree program, U.S. News & World Report, 2015
  • Ranked #15 Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs, College of Engineering, U.S. News & World Report, 2015

$12,017

In-State Tuition

$28,048

Out-of-State Tuition

14

Boston University

Boston, MA

$46,664 annual tuition

Specializations Available
  • Computer Networks
  • Data Analytics
  • Database Management and Business Intelligence
  • Health Informatics
  • IT Project Management
  • Security
  • Web Application Development
Program Highlights
  • Ten courses required for graduation; six core and four specialization classes
  • Program can be completed in less than two years
Online Format Details
  • Online discussions
  • Group assignments
  • Students are organized into small groups led by facilitator who coordinates discussions and assists with assignments and questions
  • Students have their own virtual space
  • Online course materials are available 24/7
Accolades
  • #3 Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs, U.S. News & World Report, 2015

$46,664

Annual Tuition

15

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

$43,440 annual tuition

Specializations Available
  • M.S. In Computer Science
  • Interdisciplinary programs:
    • MS in Health Informatics
    • MS in Information Assurance
Program Highlights
  • Faculty and graduate students conduct research in programming languages, software engineering, distributed and parallel computing, cryptography, network security and artificial intelligence
  • Weekly research seminars provided
Online Format Details
  • Lessons completed on a weekly basis
  • Readings, podcasts, videos and multimedia presentations used for coursework
  • Text version of lectures available
  • Discussion boards and other collaboration tools are available through Blackboard
  • Assignments submitted online

$43,440

Annual Tuition

16

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

$6,368 in state
$22,467 out of state

Specializations Available
  • MS in Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering MSCE
Program Highlights
  • Some degrees or certificates include clinical experiences or internships that must be completed in person
  • Online instruction is restricted or limited in certain states
Online Format Details
  • Courses offered asynchronously
  • Courses generally delivered through on-demand video stream
  • Material may be viewed on iPods and mobile phones
  • Students can download instructor’s notes and PowerPoint presentations
  • Some courses may have exams or presentations that require on-campus participation

$6,368

In-State Tuition

$22,467

Out-of-State Tuition

17

Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago, IL

$41,645 annual tuition

Specializations Available
  • Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS)
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Business
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Computational Intelligence
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Data Analytics
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Database Systems
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Distributed and Cloud Computing
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Education
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Finance
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Information Security and Assurance
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Networking and Communications
  • Master of Computer Science with a Specialization in Software Engineering
Program Highlights
  • Students can complete a master’s thesis, master’s project or coursework only for their master’s of computer science
  • No comprehensive exam required
  • Degrees require 30-33 credit hours
  • Areas of research:
    • Parallel and distributed processing
    • High-performance computing
    • Computational linguistics
    • Information retrieval
    • Data mining
    • Grid computing
    • Supercomputing
    • Cloud computing
    • Algorithm design
    • Approximation algorithms
    • Wireless networks
Online Format Details
  • Same courses and faculty for both online and on-campus students
  • IIT uses Blackboard to facilitate coursework and student-teacher interaction
Accolades
  • Ranked as a “best value” university by U.S. News & World Report, 2014

$41,645

Annual Tuition

18

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Newark, NJ

$15,648 in state
$29,288 out of state

Specializations Available
  • Databases and Data Mining
  • Networking
  • Generalist
Program Highlights
  • 30 credits, can be completed in less than two years
  • Corporate partnerships with distinguished organizations, including 3M, Apple, Samsung, IBM, Panasonic and U.S. Army Communications
Online Format Details
  • Coursework delivered asynchronously through the university’s learning management system
  • Online students have the same courses and faculty as on-campus students
  • Students have access to narrated presentations, discussion boards, downloadable materials, podcast lectures, streaming video lectures and real-time chat sessions
Accolades
  • Ranked #4 “Best Master’s Degree for Jobs” by Forbes, 2013

$15,648

In-State Tuition

$29,288

Out-of-State Tuition

19

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

Champaign, IL

$15,020 in state
$29,646 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Illinois offers a non-thesis, non-research degree program
  • 32 credit hours
  • Recruiting and research partners include Google, Yahoo, Adobe, State Farm Insurance, Microsoft and IBM
  • Illinois also has associations with NASA, 4-H and U.S. Air Force
Online Format Details
  • Degree can be completed in three years, and must be completed within five
  • Students receive the same lectures, assignments, exams and projects as on-campus students
Accolades
  • Graduate programs ranked #5 by U.S. News & World Report

$15,020

In-State Tuition

$29,646

Out-of-State Tuition

20

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

$10,002 in state
$28,804 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Admissions guidelines are identical for online and on-campus students
  • Corporate partnerships with Cisco, Eli Lilly, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and more
Online Format Details
  • A wider variety of courses are offered online than on campus
  • Students can pursue thesis or non-thesis tracks

$10,002

In-State Tuition

$28,804

Out-of-State Tuition

21

University of Maryland - Baltimore County

Baltimore, MD

$10,384 in state
$22,682 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Average completion time is three years; degree must be completed within five
  • Thesis and non-thesis options available
  • No requirement for GRE scores
Online Format Details
  • Courses are taught by full-time graduate faculty and industry experts
  • Students have access to online advising
Accolades
  • Ranked #11 Best Online Information Technology Programs, U.S. News & World Report, 2015
  • Ranked #3 in the awarding of degrees in computer and information sciences, National Science Foundation

$10,384

In-State Tuition

$22,682

Out-of-State Tuition

22

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN

$13,560 in state
$20,810 out of state

Specializations Available
  • Master of Computer Science (requires coursework only)
  • Master of Science In Computer Science (research degree)
Program Highlights
  • Students take two advanced-level graduate courses in their area of interest
  • Minnesota offers a 31 credit program; six of those credits are taken in a related field or in a minor
Online Format Details
  • Minnesota uses the UNITE Distributed Learning platform
  • Synchronous exams, quizzes and presentations may be required for some coursework
  • UNITE coordinates with local proctors for exams and synchronizes presentations
  • The university offers eTextbooks

$13,560

In-State Tuition

$20,810

Out-of-State Tuition

23

Pennsylvania State University

State College, PA

$17,502 in state
$30,452 out of state

Specializations Available
  • Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
Program Highlights
  • Curriculum directly prepares students for a number of different positions in the industry
  • Students have weekly assignments, readings and discussions
Online Format Details
  • Asynchronous format
  • Student resources include advising, career counseling, exam proctoring, tech support and tutoring
  • Penn State uses Blackboard to facilitate online learning

$17,502

In-State Tuition

$30,452

Out-of-State Tuition

24

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

$6,507 in state
$21,673 out of state

Specialization Courses Available
  • Technology and Networking
  • Large-scale Data Management
  • User-Centered Design
  • Web Design
  • Leadership and Management
Program Highlights
  • Students generally complete the program in two years, and must be finished within seven
Online Format Details
  • Synchronous format
  • Courses are primarily taught through Blackboard

$6,507

In-State Tuition

$21,673

Out-of-State Tuition

25

Towson University

Towson, MD

$8,590 in state
$20,268 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Specializations/Certificate programs available in:
    • Database Management Systems
    • Information Security Assurance
    • Information Systems Management
    • Internet Systems Management
    • Internet Applications Development
    • Networking Technologies
    • Software Engineering
Online Format Details
  • Uses Blackboard to facilitate online instruction
  • Distance learners and residential students complete the same coursework
Accolades
  • Named in U.S. Veterans Magazine (USVM) as one of the nation’s most veteran-friendly schools

$8,590

In-State Tuition

$20,268

Out-of-State Tuition


The 50 Best Campus Master’s in Computer Science Degree Programs

Methodology

To ensure fairness and accuracy, our rankings are informed by a strict methodology that accounts for a range of success indicators. The schools are evaluated in terms of each of the following factors, and then their category ranks averaged to determine overall standing. All programs had to be fully accredited and have a minimum of 300 students.

  • Student satisfaction: Indicated by retention rate
  • Quality, supportive program: Indicated by graduation rate
  • Reputation: Indicated by acceptance rate
  • Program Desirability: Indicated by enrollment rate
  • School’s emphasis on CS and resources around the program: Indicated by percentage of computer science majors

NOTE: All factors rated evenly; meaning that the overall ranking is based on the mean of these five indicators.

Formula: The numerical value for each variable is assigned based on the school’s ranking for a specific factor among all schools offering a CS program. Ranking weight is then determined as follows:

(SS+Q+R+PD+CS)5 = Ranking Weight

  • SS: Student satisfaction
  • Q: Quality
  • R: Reputation
  • PD: Program desirability
  • CS: Computer science emphasis
Rank School Location Tuition
1

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

$45,195 annual tuition

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
Program Highlights
  • There are joint programs available for obtaining dual degrees in computer science and law, and computer science and business.
  • The primary goal of the department is to prepare students for research and teaching jobs in universities or in industry.
  • An undergraduate degree in computer science is not required for admission into the master’s program.
  • Students are provided a two-week “shopping period” in which they can attend as many classes as they’d like before deciding which to commit to for their degrees.
Accolades
  • In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Stanford University as #1 with three other top universities as Best Grad Schools in Computer Science.
  • The Computer Science Department at Stanford is housed in a state-of-the-art facility, The William Gates Computer Science Building, which was funded through remarkable donations from Bill Gates and numerous sponsors.

$45,195

Annual Tuition

2

Brown University

Providence, RI

$47,434 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Courses are taught by world-class faculty who are leaders in research and industry.
  • The Industry Partners Program enables students to develop relationships with computer-related industry leaders through a variety of research interests.
  • Students are exposed to trends in the computing sector due to Brown’s innovative multidisciplinary programs.
  • Graduate students have the opportunity to serve on important committees and organize seminars and recruiting events. This lets them be involved in the department’s research and teaching activities, and in it’s future as a leading research institution.
Accolades
  • The Computer Science Department at Brown University has been ranked among one of the top computer science departments in the nation according to the National Academy of Science.
  • It was included in the top schools on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Grad Schools in Computer Science list.

$47,434

Annual Tuition

3

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

$45,016 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Computer Systems and Architecture
  • Power Electronics
  • Decision Systems and Algorithms
Program Highlights
  • Through a partnership with Leaders for Global Operations (LGO), students accepted into this program are closely connected to leaders of engineering and business organizations that want to see graduates succeed.
  • LGO fellowships include financial aid packages ranging from $40,000-$70,000 throughout the two-year program depending on each student’s previous academic record and commitment to the LGO mission.
  • Along with the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree, graduates of the MIT LGO program may receive either an MBA or a Master of Science in Management degree from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Accolades
  • MIT’s computer science and engineering graduate programs rank at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 and 2015 lists respectively.

$45,016

Annual Tuition

4

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

$47,668 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • This program is specifically for students who already have undergraduate degrees in computer science and mathematics. For students with bachelor’s degrees other than computer science, check out the Master of Computer and Information Technology program (MCIT).
  • Primary goal of the department is to prepare students to be tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and visionaries.
  • Graduates of the program go on to pursue a wide range of careers in industry or continue with doctoral training.
  • Students are able to take classes in robotics, artificial intelligence and security systems, among others.
Accolades
  • The Engineering Department at Penn is the birthplace of the modern computer, which was developed there in 1946.
  • In 2014, the University of Pennsylvania was among the top schools on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Grad Schools in Computer Science list.

$47,668

Annual Tuition

5

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

$47,286 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • This program is a great option for students who earned undergraduate degrees in the subject and want to advance their technical expertise in computer science. Students who minored in computer science are also encouraged to apply.
  • Preference is given to those students hoping to incorporate their undergraduate degrees into interdisciplinary careers involving computer science.
  • Students are able to design their curriculum based on their interests and post-graduation employment goals.
  • Students are assigned to interdisciplinary teams to work on company projects in the fall and startup projects in the spring.
  • This program option is also available at Cornell Tech in New York City.
Accolades
  • Cornell University was listed among the top schools on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Grad Schools in Computer Science in 2014.

$47,286

Annual Tuition

6

Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY

$51,008 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Computational Biology
  • Computer Security
  • Foundations of Computer Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Network Systems
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Software Systems
  • Vision and Graphics
  • Personalized
  • MS Thesis
Program Highlights
  • Students interested in combining computer science and journalism may apply for the dual Master of Science in Journalism and Computer Science degree.
  • The MSCS is specifically for students with undergraduate degrees in computer science. Those who lack a computer science degree must complete at least four courses in computer science foundations and basic programming, and two in mathematics.
  • Columbia strives to be an engineering and research partner in New York City; the school provides students with access to leading corporations and government collaborations through the Industry Partners program.
Accolades
  • Training is received under a world-class faculty with honors from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows and more.

$51,008

Annual Tuition

7

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

$8,336 in state
$33,418 out of state

Available Concentrations
  • Telecommunications & Networking
Program Highlights
  • Students receive advanced training from leading researchers and faculty in the areas of theory, analysis, design and implementation of information systems.
  • Admissions requirements involve a strong background in both computer science and mathematics.
  • Master’s candidates work closely with academic advisors to create study plans that keep them on track and help students meet end goals.
Accolades
  • Three Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals programs – the Computer Science, Information Systems Engineering and Cybersecurity – ranked among the top programs on the Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs from U.S. News & World Report.

$8,336

In-State Tuition

$33,418

Out-of-State Tuition

8

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

$47,060 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Telecommunications & Networking
Program Highlights
  • Students receive advanced training from leading researchers and faculty in the areas of theory, analysis, design and implementation of information systems.
  • Admissions requirements involve a strong background in both computer science and mathematics.
  • Master’s candidates work closely with academic advisors to create study plans that keep them on track and help students meet end goals.
Accolades
  • Three Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals programs – the Computer Science, Information Systems Engineering and Cybersecurity – ranked among the top programs on the Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs from U.S. News & World Report.

$47,060

Annual Tuition

9

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

$49,380 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • The curriculum is designed for students with interests in software engineering, data analytics and high-performance computing.
  • Students take core classes in programming, algorithms and databases and systems; elective courses tap into innovative sectors such as software engineering, data analytics, machine learning, big data, mobile application development and cloud computing.
  • Students can personalize their curriculum to suit their backgrounds and interests. Additionally, prerequisite course are offered in mathematics and programming for students who require fundamental coursework before launching into master’s-level study.
  • Two programs of study are offered: the nine-course MS in Computer Science and the 12-course MS in Computer Science Specialization Program.
  • Full-time students can complete the master’s program in nine months, while part-time students can typically finish their degree in 15 months.

$49,380

Annual Tuition

10

Yale University

New Haven, CT

$45,800 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • General
  • Bioinformatics
  • Computing and the Arts
Program Highlights
  • Students receive the opportunity to expand on training from an undergraduate computer science degree by working closely with faculty in small classes and one-on-one.
  • The master’s program is ideal for students who wish to undertake a research project but are not quite fully committed to pursuing a Ph.D.
  • Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary collaboration with areas like psychology, linguistics, music, business and medicine.
Accolades
  • Ranked among the top schools on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Grad Schools in Computer Science.

$45,800

Annual Tuition

11

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

$48,108 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Digital Arts
Program Highlights
  • Students are able to interact with intra- and interdisciplinary, first-rate researchers in business, sociology, medicine, biology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.
  • They have opportunities to begin research in their first year or graduate study.
  • Classes are small and taught by award winning instructors.
Accolades
  • Professors Xia Zhou and Andrew Campbell of Dartmouth College’s Department of Computer Science won the Google Faculty Research Award in 2014 for their research of enhanced Wi-Fi energy efficiency for smart devices.

$48,108

Annual Tuition

12

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

$49,002 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science not required for admission, although a technical-based undergraduate background is preferable for success.
  • Most students can complete the degree in three semesters, but those who do not have a CS background often take one more term in order to fill the gaps in their educations.
  • Master’s students work with an academic advisor to construct a study plan that fulfills the six requirement areas, including courses in theoretical foundations and artificial intelligence.
  • There is no research component in this program.
Accolades
  • CMU is consistently ranked by among the best computer science graduate schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The School of Computer Science is also highly ranked by U.S. News in specialty areas like programming languages, systems and theory and artificial intelligence.

$49,002

Annual Tuition

13

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

$47,251 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • The computer science division conducts research in artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, theoretical computer science, programming languages, robotics, computer architecture and more.
  • Graduates of the program are recruited by employers in virtually all areas of industry.
  • The master’s program provides effective preparation for students wishing to continue their educations in doctoral studies.
  • Master’s candidates choose one of three tracks for their degrees: thesis, research project or additional courses. In the third option, courses must be approved by their advisor, and work completed in these classes is examined by a committee to determine if they prepare students for advanced work.
Accolades
  • At the McCormick School of Engineering, many of the 54 full-time faculty members are fellows with IEEE, ACM, AAAS, AAAI, APS, APA, OSA, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and more.

$47,251

Annual Tuition

14

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI

$13,486 in state
$41,906 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Students with undergraduate backgrounds in engineering are eligible to apply to the Master of Science in Engineering program, while those with bachelor’s degrees in other fields may only apply to the Master of Science degree.
  • The CSE and Electrical and Computer Engineering degrees are housed in the same department, making it possible for students to create a degree plan that incorporates courses from both concentrations.
  • Most students earn their degrees in one to two years.
Accolades
  • The University of Michigan is ranked among the Best Graduate Schools for Computer Science by U.S. News & World Report.

$13,486

In-State Tuition

$41,906

Out-of-State Tuition

15

Washington University

St. Louis, MO

$46,467 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Any undergraduate degree is acceptable, but applicants are expected to have a strong background in computer hardware, software and systems.
  • The program requires two years of full-time study.
  • Students can complete their degree by following one of three tracks: thesis, project or course. The course track requires students to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, while the thesis and project tracks require the final six credit hours to be focused on research and writing.
  • Students must take at least one course from each of the “breadth requirements”: Theoretical Computer Science; Software Systems; and either Machine and Architecture or Applications.
  • Department receives research funding which promotes graduate placement with a wide-range of industries.
Accolades
  • Washington University ranks in the top 50 schools on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools for Computer Science list.

$46,467

Annual Tuition

16

North Carolina State University - Raleigh

Raleigh, NC

$8,296 in state
$23,551 out of state

Available Concentrations
  • Data Science
Program Highlights
  • Students have access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and research facilities available on the NC State’s Centennial Campus and in the Research Triangle, both of which are home to various leading technology companies.
  • Students are not required to write a thesis or take comprehensive exams in order to graduate; the MCS is a terminal degree.
  • Graduate students are required to attend research presentations to learn about what is currently being done in their field.
Accolades
  • Faculty in the NCSU Graduate Program in Computer Science include an elite group of Alumni Distinguished Professors, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, twenty recipients of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award and various other notable professors.

$8,296

In-State Tuition

$23,551

Out-of-State Tuition

17

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

$48,280 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Computer Networks
  • Computer Security
  • Data Science
  • Game Development
  • High Performance Computing and Simulation
  • Intelligent Robotics
  • Multimedia and Creative Technologies
  • Software Engineering
  • Scientists and Engineers
Program Highlights
  • Students receive advanced training in the concepts and techniques related to the design, programming and application of computing systems.
  • Applicants are expected to hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally-accredited university in the areas of engineering, math or a hard science.
  • MSCS students have the option to write a thesis, though it is not required for graduation.
Accolades
  • The USC Viterbi School consistently ranks among the top graduate engineering schools according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • The school also ranks among U.S. News’ Best Grad Schools for Computer Science.

$48,280

Annual Tuition

18

Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, NJ

$45,366 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Students are able to build a study plan that incorporates classes in programming, security and database management, among others.
  • Students with undergraduate degrees in fields outside of computer science may be required to take foundation courses; these do not count towards graduation requirements.
Accolades
  • Ranked 3rd in the nation for “Best Career Placement” by The Princeton Review in the 2015 edition of “Colleges That Pay You Back.”

$45,366

Annual Tuition

19

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

$11,394 in state
$30,698 out of state

Available Concentrations
  • Computational Perception and Robotics
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computing Systems
  • High Performance Computing
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Modeling and Simulations
  • Scientific Computing
  • Social Computing
  • Visual Analytics
Program Highlights
  • The program is designed for students with bachelor’s degrees in computer science. However, students with other undergraduate degrees may apply; they will need to complete remedial courses before beginning their graduate studies. These classes do not count towards graduation.
  • Master’s candidates may complete their studies on one of three tracks: thesis, project or coursework. The 30-hour course track does not require students to complete a culminating experience project, while students who opt to pursue a thesis or project must have their research topics approved before commencing their projects.
  • Georgia Tech admissions committees are highly selective, and students are encouraged to provide as much relevant information as they can to aid the process.
Accolades
  • Georgia Tech ranks among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Grad Schools for Computer Science for 2014.

$11,394

In-State Tuition

$30,698

Out-of-State Tuition

20

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

$12,972 in state
$35,850 out of state

Available Concentrations
  • Data Science and Systems
  • Physical Electronics and Integrated Circuits
  • Robotics and Embedded Software
  • Signal Processing and Communications
  • Visual Computing and Computer Graphics
Program Highlights
  • This technical program is especially designed for students who wish to pursue careers in the computer science industry after earning their master’s degrees.
  • Students wishing to prepare themselves for Ph.D. training may consider the Master of Science programs.
  • Students work on teams to complete a capstone project that allows them to apply the skills they learn in class to real-world problems.
  • Master’s candidates can complete their degree within one year.
Accolades
  • The Computer Engineering and Computer Science graduate programs were ranked among the top graduate programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.

$12,972

In-State Tuition

$35,850

Out-of-State Tuition

21

Rice University

Houston, TX

$40,566 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • This is a terminal, professional degree for students who want to pursue a technical career in the computer industry.
  • Prospective students may transfer up to six hours of credit from another university.
  • Students may earn their degree in as few as three semesters of full-time study.
Accolades
  • Faculty include members, recipients and fellows of the following:
    • National Academy of Engineering
    • Institute of Medicine
    • National Science Foundation CAREER award
    • Association for Computing Machinery
    • Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
    • American Association for the Advancement of Science
    • American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
    • Various other reputable organizations

$40,566

Annual Tuition

22

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

$43,938 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • The admissions committee looks for applicants with experience working with computational methods, either through undergraduate study or professional employment.
  • Master’s candidates can earn their degree within a year.
  • Students in the program have the opportunity to be involved with leading research projects with various industry leaders.
Accolades
  • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Computer Science in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.

$43,938

Annual Tuition

23

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

$41,820 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Every student begins their degree in the Master of Science in Engineering thesis track. After their first year, they have the option to move to the non-thesis, Master of Engineering program.
  • Master’s candidates must take at least four classes their first year, and every course must be taken for a grade.
  • The master’s degree can be completed in two years, and students are required to maintain full-time status.
Accolades
  • The Department of Computer Science is ranked as one of the Best Grad Schools for Computer Science for 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.

$41,820

Annual Tuition

24

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

$46,744 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Students interested in applying for the MSCS should have bachelor’s degrees in computer science or a related field from an accredited institution.
  • Master’s candidates have the option of writing a thesis; those who choose not to follow the thesis track must take 10 courses, totaling 30 credits.
  • The program can be completed in one and a half to two years of full-time study.
Accolades
  • Georgetown is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Best Science Schools.

$46,744

Annual Tuition

25

New York University

New York, NY

$46,170 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics or another related field.
  • The MSCS curriculum is flexible and adaptive, allowing students to create degree programs that interest them.
  • Elective classes can be used to focus this degree on a specific area of computer science.
  • Students who do not have a basic knowledge of programming languages can take two three-credit prep courses.
Accolades
  • In addition to numerous awards for research and education, NYU faculty hold memberships in various esteemed organizations such as the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Science.
  • NYU is ranked as one of U.S. New & World Report’s Best Grad Schools for Computer Science.

$46,170

Annual Tuition

26

University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

$12,705 in state
$35,583 out of state

Program Highlights
  • All new students are assigned an academic advisor to guide them through the master’s program and create a degree plan.
  • Master’s candidates are able to select courses from a number of areas, including artificial intelligence, computer theory and software systems. They can focus their degree on one of these areas, or they can take a range of courses.
  • Students can follow the thesis or the comprehensive test tracks.
  • Most earn their degree in five to seven quarters.
Accolades
  • U.S. News & World Report included UCLA on the list of the Best Grad Schools for Computer Science in 2014.

$12,705

In-State Tuition

$35,583

Out-of-State Tuition

27

George Washington University

Washington, DC

$48,760 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Algorithms and Theory
  • Computer Architecture, Networks, Parallel and Distributed Computing
  • Computer Security and Information Assurance
  • Database and Information Retrieval Systems
  • Machine Intelligence and Cognition
  • Multimedia, Animation, Graphics and User Interface
  • Software Engineering and Systems
Program Highlights
  • MSCS applicants are not required to have computer science bachelor’s degrees, but they should have taken courses in data structures and computer architecture before applying.
  • Students work with an academic advisor to create degree plans.
  • Though they have several to choose from, and they’re encouraged to do so, master’s candidates are not required to select a degree focus. Completing a thesis for graduation is also optional.
  • Students have opportunities to work with and observe several high-tech and governmental organizations thanks to the school’s proximity to institutes like NASA, the Naval Research Laboratory and the National Institutes of Health.
Accolades
  • George Washington is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Best Science Schools in the United States.

$48,760

Annual Tuition

28

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, CA

$43,362 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Applied and Computational Science
  • Computational Science and Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Control and Dynamical Systems
Program Highlights
  • The computer science program is a combination master’s and Ph.D. Students earn their master’s in the first two years of study, then they continue into their doctoral-level courses. The MSCS is not a terminal degree.
  • Applicants to this program are, ultimately, seeking a Ph.D.
  • The master’s portion of this degree consists of a minimum of 45 course units and a thesis that must be submitted before the degree is conferred.
  • Students are able to focus their degrees by pursuing one of the four graduate-level, computer science minors.
Accolades
  • CalTech is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Best Science Schools in the United States.

$43,362

Annual Tuition

29

Duke University

Durham, NC

$47,243 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Graduates are equipped with theoretic knowledge and application skills that enable them to pursue careers in research or advance to doctoral study.
  • Students who participate in faculty research have the chance to engage with the broader community at Duke, in Research Triangle Park and beyond.
  • Master’s candidates may complete their degrees on the course-only track, or they may write a thesis. The course-only students are required to complete 30 credits of graded coursework, create a portfolio as their culminating experience project and take an oral exam.
Accolades
  • In 2014, Duke University was ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Computer Science by U.S. News & World Report.

$47,243

Annual Tuition

30

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

$46,237 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Bioinformatics
Program Highlights
  • Applicants with backgrounds in fields unrelated to computer science, but who have experience working with computer systems and programming languages, are encouraged to apply.
  • Many master’s candidates earn this degree in four semesters after submitting either a thesis or two-semester long research project.
  • Graduates assume leadership positions at universities such as Princeton University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago; in industry with employers like Amazon, Cisco and Samsung; and at national labs such as IBM Research and Argonne National Laboratory.
Accolades
  • Notre Dame Computer Science faculty boast a number of distinctions, including four IEEE fellows, one IBM fellow and several NSF CAREER and ONR Young Investigator award recipients.

$46,237

Annual Tuition

31

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

$47,558 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Students conduct research in emerging interdisciplinary fields like neural networks and dynamical systems, computational linguistics, computational biology and educational technology.
  • The small graduate program allows for intensive, individualized training and mentoring.
  • Master’s candidates may complete their degrees as part-time students.
  • Students with a computer science background are eligible to apply to the nine-course, three-semester program. Those new to the field are able to apply to the 12-course, four-semester program.
Accolades
  • Brandeis is ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools for Computer Science.

$47,558

Annual Tuition

32

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY

$32,590 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Software Design and Development
  • Database Design and Programming
  • Computer Architecture
  • Distributed Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Graphics
  • Network
  • Game Design and Programming
Program Highlights
  • Students may benefit from the institution’s partnership with the multinational technology corporation, IBM.
  • Graduates are prepared for careers as programmers, network specialists, systems analysts, application programmers and software engineers, among others.
  • Taking into consideration the needs of both part-time and full-time students, courses are scheduled for late afternoons and evenings.

$32,590

Annual Tuition

33

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

$43,838 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Students may participate in research efforts in artificial intelligence, cyber-physical systems, robotics and software engineering and trustworthy computing, among others.
  • Students have access to state-of-the-art research facilities.
  • Prospective students can apply to either the thesis or non-thesis programs. The latter is treated as a professional degree and does not require a thesis or comprehensive exam.
Accolades
  • Vanderbilt is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Best Science Schools in the United States.

$43,838

Annual Tuition

34

Bentley University

Waltham, MA

$42,511 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Master’s candidates with professional IT experience may be able to waive some of their degree requirements.
  • The MSIT program is open to applicants with and without experience in the information technology field.
  • Graduates are recruited into positions such as consulting; risk, business and systems analysis; and project management.
  • Some students may earn their degrees in as little as 12 months.

$42,511

Annual Tuition

35

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY

$47,908 annual tuition

Available Concentrations
  • Robotics
  • Computational Science and Engineering
Program Highlights
  • Major faculty research focuses on specialized computer science areas such as bioinformatics, parallel computing, robotics and theoretical computer science.
  • Prospective students should have an undergraduate degree in a technical field related to computer science.
  • Master’s candidates must complete a thesis in order to qualify for graduation.
Accolades
  • Rensselaer is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Best Science Schools in the United States.

$47,908

Annual Tuition

36

University of Georgia

Athens, GA

$10,836 in state
$29,046 out of state

Program Highlights
  • The program qualifies students for careers in government, industry, business and education.
  • Current research groups are focused on, among other topics: Distributed Information Systems, Human-Computer Interaction, Compilers and Real-Time Systems.
  • Prospective students with bachelor’s degrees in a field unrelated to computer science are required to take CS undergraduate courses before beginning their master’s classes.
  • Master’s candidates take a research seminar and submit a thesis as part of the final steps towards earning their degrees.
Accolades
  • UGA is ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Computer Science in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.

$10,836

In-State Tuition

$29,046

Out-of-State Tuition

37

Tufts University

Medford, MA

$48,643 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Graduates have gone on to pursue rewarding careers at MIT, Vertica Systems, Microsoft, Yahoo, MITRE, IBM, Princeton University and more.
  • Master’s candidates are able to personalize their degree tracks to fit their interests and backgrounds.
  • Students can choose to complete a thesis or project in order to earn their degree.
  • The program can be completed on a part- or full-time basis.
Accolades
  • Tufts is consistently ranked among the Best Science Schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The school was ranked in the top 100 Best Computer Science Graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report.

$48,643

Annual Tuition

38

Texas A & M University - College Station

College Station, TX

$9,685 in state
$26,583 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Students have the opportunity to work alongside faculty who have editorial positions for scientific journals and are chairs of technical conferences.
  • Faculty and student research groups are currently exploring the following subject areas: Theoretical Foundations, Human-Centered Systems, Intelligent Systems and Robotics and Software Engineering Systems.
  • Master’s candidates can choose to pursue non-thesis and thesis program tracks.
Accolades
  • TAMU is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Best Science Schools in the United States.
  • U.S. News & World Report also ranked the school among the Best Grad Schools for Computer Science in 2014.

$9,685

In-State Tuition

$26,583

Out-of-State Tuition

39

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, VA

$17,656 in state
$39,916 out of state

Available Concentrations
  • General
  • Computational Operations Research
  • Computational Science
Program Highlights
  • MSCS students gain employment with computer system manufacturers, software development companies and technical consulting firms, among other industries that seek employees with graduate degrees.
  • With or without a background in computer science, students often complete the MSCS degree programs two years or less.
  • Students may pursue the dual degree options available for Computational Operations Research and Public Policy.
Accolades
  • WM is often ranked among the Best Science Schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

$17,656

In-State Tuition

$39,916

Out-of-State Tuition

40

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

$13,446 in state
$31,462 out of state

Available Concentrations
  • Applications
  • Computing Foundations
  • Graphics and Visualization
  • Interactive Computing
  • Software Engineering
  • Systems and Implementation
Program Highlights
  • Graduates are equipped to for technical or research positions in industry and government; they are also prepared to pursue doctoral-level study in computer science.
  • The MSCS typically requires one and a half to two years of study, although students coming from non-computer science backgrounds may require additional time to complete their degrees.
Accolades
      Clemson was ranked by

U.S. News & World Report

    in the top public institutions in the United States.

$13,446

In-State Tuition

$31,462

Out-of-State Tuition

41

University of California - Irvine

Irvine, CA

$13,179 in state
$36,057 out of state

Program Highlights
  • The faculty focuses its research on topics including: artificial intelligence, network and distributed systems, systems software, internet computing and more.
  • The department encourages interdisciplinary collaborations between other departments in both student and faculty research.
  • Master’s candidates have the option to complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis.
Accolades
  • The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences falls among the top schools from U.S. News & World Report’s Best Computer Science Schools in the United States.

$13,179

In-State Tuition

$36,057

Out-of-State Tuition

42

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

$12,017 in state
$28,048 out of state

Program Highlights
  • The Department of Computer Science prefers applicants with bachelor’s degrees in computer science or a related field.
  • Faculty research focuses on human-computer interaction, bioinformatics and high-end computing.
  • Master’s candidates may choose between the thesis or coursework tracks when completing their degrees.
Accolades
  • Virginia Tech is part of ComputerWorld’s “Top 10 IT Schools to Watch” due to the interdisciplinary strength of the graduate program.

$12,017

In-State Tuition

$28,048

Out-of-State Tuition

43

The University of Texas at Dallas

Dallas, TX

$10,864 in state
$26,894 out of state

Program Highlights
  • The faculty of UT Austin’s computer science department focuses its research on topics that include: data mining, theoretical computer science, database systems and semantic web.
  • Applicants must have strong undergraduate backgrounds in computer science.
  • Master’s candidates can pursue the thesis or non-thesis program tracks.
Accolades
  • UT-Austin faculty includes members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as winners of Pulitzer and Nobel prizes.

$10,864

In-State Tuition

$26,894

Out-of-State Tuition

44

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX

$9,830 in state
$34,836 out of state

Program Highlights
  • The faculty of UT Austin’s computer science department focuses its research on topics that include: data mining, theoretical computer science, database systems and semantic web.
  • Applicants must have strong undergraduate backgrounds in computer science.
  • Master’s candidates can pursue the thesis or non-thesis program tracks.
Accolades
  • UT-Austin faculty includes members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as winners of Pulitzer and Nobel prizes.

$9,830

In-State Tuition

$34,836

Out-of-State Tuition

45

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA

$13,208 in state
$42,394 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Master’s candidates have the opportunity to join federally-funded research projects.
  • Applicants must have undergraduate backgrounds in technical fields related to computer science.
  • Students are required to complete a thesis in order to qualify for graduation.
Accolades
  • In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Virginia among the Best Graduate Schools for Computer Science in the United States.

$13,208

In-State Tuition

$42,394

Out-of-State Tuition

46

University of Tulsa

Tulsa, OK

$35,855 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Among other fields, graduates of the program gain rewarding jobs in systems analysis, software engineering, cloud computing and mobile applications.
  • Master’s candidates can choose from the thesis and non-thesis program tracks.
  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a closely-related field from an accredited university.
Accolades
  • The Tandy School of Computer Science has been recognized by the NSA as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, Information Assurance Education and Information Assurance Research.
  • The University of Tulsa is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Best Science Schools in the United States.

$35,855

Annual Tuition

47

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

$41,886 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • The College of Engineering and Computer Science has active research programs in several areas, including: cognitive wireless systems and networks, cybersecurity and design and optimization.
  • Students have the flexibility to design a program structure that suits their backgrounds and interests.
  • The master’s thesis is optional for degree fulfillment.
Accolades
  • Syracuse was ranked among the Best Science Schools and the Top 100 Best Engineering Schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

$41,886

Annual Tuition

48

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

$6,313 in state
$28,591 out of state

Program Highlights
  • Strategic research areas of the college include: advanced manufacturing, materials innovation, online learning and social network analysis.
  • Students may choose between the thesis and non-thesis program tracks; all master’s candidates must take a comprehensive exam six months before graduating.
Accolades
  • Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Computer Science Grad Schools in the United States.

$6,313

In-State Tuition

$28,591

Out-of-State Tuition

49

Brigham Young University - Provo

Provo, UT

$5,000 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Students are recruited into promising careers with great companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Pixar, Google, Disney Avalanche, Studios and National Instruments.
  • Master’s candidates must write a thesis contributes to the field of computer science as part of their degree requirements.
Accolades
  • Over 90% of Computer Science students at BYU graduate with a full-time job.
  • In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked BYU among the Top 100 Best Science Schools in the United States.

$5,000

Annual Tuition

50

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

$43,440 annual tuition

Program Highlights
  • Northeastern students are eligible for partnerships with the following companies: Google, Microsoft, EMC Corporation, Intel, Cisco, Apple and Nectar Games.
  • Applicants generally have undergraduate backgrounds in mathematics and engineering, but the program supports students from a broad range of majors.
  • Classes are offered in the evening in order to accommodate working professionals.
Accolades
  • Nearly all of the students who have applied for co-op positions through the school have found placement with leading tech companies.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Northeastern among the Best Computer Science Grad Schools in the United States.

$43,440

Annual Tuition

Overview

An MS in Computer Science is generally designed for professionals in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering or another science or engineering background. The average experience of a professional entering a master’s program is three to five years. A number of programs offer both full- or part-time options, designed flexibly for professionals who work full-time. Programs generally consist of both on-campus and online courses, though fully online degree programs are also available.

Courses of study usually include core curriculum in topics like computer language theory, software development and advanced algorithms. Some programs waive foundational curriculum requirements for students who enter a program with an approved undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field. Core requirements are usually followed by a set of courses that align with a chosen concentration, and most programs require a final capstone project or master’s thesis in order to complete the degree.

 

Full-time Students:

  • 1 - 2 Years
  • 30-45

Part-time Students

  • 3 - 4 Years
  • 30-45

Master’s degrees in computer science are in high demand. According to Forbes, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) ranked a computer science master’s as the third most desired degree by employers in 2015.

Graduate programs in computer science vary across schools. Some colleges do not offer an MS degree in Computer Science, only a PhD. While degrees often include an area of concentration, many schools also offer dual degree options.

  • Master of Computer Science (MCS)
  • MS in Computer Science
  • MS in Computer Science and Engineering

Dual degree options:

  • MS in Computer Science/MBA
  • MS in Computer Science/MS in Actuarial Science
  • MS in Computer Science/MS in Administrative Studies
  • MS in Computer Science and Journalism
  • MS in Computer Science/MA in Architecture

Many schools frame the master’s in computer science as a “Professional Master’s Degree” program, designed for professionals already working in the field of computer science, or for those working in another industry and looking to make a transition.


Average Annual Tuition, 2012-2013

Public 2-year $2,394
Public 4-year $8,802
Private Non-Profit 2-year $12,659
Private Non-Profit 4-year $19,926
For-Profit 2-year $15,496
For-Profit 4-year $16,313

Source: NCES

U.S. Graduates in Computer Science, 1970-2010

Graduates

2013-2014 24,978
2010-11 19,446
2005-06 17,055
2000-01 16,911
1995-96 10,579
1990-91 9,324
1985-86 8,070
1980-81 4,218
1975-76 2,603
1970-71 1,588

Source: NCES Digest of Education Statistics and CGS Survey of Graduate Enrollment


Online Master's in Computer Science

Graduate students are more likely to pursue an online program after already earning an undergraduate degree or certificate. According to the Learninghouse 2013 Online College Students report, of the one-third of graduate students surveyed who completed an online program in 2014, 32% earned a master’s degree; of those, 16% of degrees were in STEM fields. Computer science ranked as the tenth highest pick for online graduate programs.

Advantage: Growing Prestige

In that same Learninghouse survey, students agreed that reputation of the institution is the most important factor when choosing an online degree program. Most students base reputation on quality of faculty, as well as the institution’s accreditation status, usually regional and from the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Other considerations include whether programs are fully online or are a hybrid structure, which includes mostly online courses with a minimal number required to be taken on campus.

Advantage: Practicality

Online master’s programs are an accessible option for the computer science professional who is looking to advance in their career or deepen their expertise in a specific area. According to the NCES, during the 2011-2012 school year, 67.6% of students earning their MS worked at least part-time while enrolled in their program. Online programs provide a solution to the many professionals who continue to work during their studies, have family obligations or have other responsibilities that keep them from attending in-person.

Coursework

Many online degree programs offer similar, if not identical, courses to the on-campus curriculum. The following provides an overview of common core classes, though the selection varies by program:

  • Computer Architecture
  • Computability and Algorithms
  • Computer Language Theory
  • Computer Networks
  • Computer Operating and Database Management Systems
  • Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
  • Human and Computer Interaction
  • Systems Engineering

Many schools offer graduates the ability to waive certain core classes if similar requirements were met during undergraduate study, allowing students the opportunity to take additional elective courses in a technical area that aligns with their chosen concentration.


Accreditation

Accreditation is the most powerful indicator of a program’s quality. Regardless of enrollment level or area of study, all degree seekers should confirm their prospective school’s accreditation status before enrolling. This is particularly true for students in specialized subjects like computer science, where individual program accreditation is often as important as school-wide accreditation.

School Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) does not directly accredit schools. Instead, the government enforces universal standards for accrediting bodies. All accreditors must be officially recognized by the ED or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to be considered official.

U.S. colleges and universities can receive two types of institution-wide accreditation: national and regional. Unless you are enrolling in your courses at a vocational or technical school, regional is the only school-wide accreditation you need to consider. Regional accreditation is much more common: more than 85% of the nation’s degree granting institutions are accredited regionally. Regional accreditation ensures three things about a given program:

  • The school has earned the most widely recognized accreditation status in the country
  • Credits are transferrable to other regionally accredited schools
  • Students can qualify for federal financial aid and corporate tuition reimbursement plans

Employers, graduate schools and professional organizations may not recognize your computer science degree if your program is not accredited. Worse, you may not get the quality education you need to compete for positions in the field once you graduate.

You can confirm the accreditation status of any post-secondary school in the country by searching the ED’s database.


Program Accreditation

Program accreditation matters more than regional accreditation for most technical programs. If you’re earning your BA in computer science, for example, you shouldn’t worry about program accreditation as long as your school is regionally accredited. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a bachelor’s of engineering with a concentration in computer science, you should absolutely confirm program accreditation.

While many fields rely on multiple agencies to evaluate programs, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the only recognized U.S. accreditor of undergraduate and graduate programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. ABET maintains four commissions responsible for accrediting specific program areas and degree levels:

  • Applied Science Accreditation Commission
  • Computing Accreditation Commission
  • Engineering Accreditation Commission
  • Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission

Over 3,400 programs at 700 colleges and universities have received ABET accreditation since 1932.

You can find ABET-approved programs through their accredited program search.

Remember: unaccredited or falsely accredited schools that attract students with low-effort, high-cost programs are considered diploma mills for a reason. They sell degrees, not education. Protect yourself and confirm a school’s accreditation status before you apply.


Applying

Many schools require applicants to submit one application to the institution’s graduate school and a second application to the specific department that hosts the computer science degree program.

Admission to top schools in the country is very competitive; Stanford only accepts 1,500 applicants each year. Spots are limited and it’s common for graduate departments to need to turn qualified applicants away. Capped acceptance results in lower acceptance rates for certain quarters, the University of Washington, for instance, accepts anywhere from 33-60% of CS graduate applicants any given quarter.

Computer science programs generally receive a high volume of applications, and prospective students are encouraged to plan and apply well in advance (for example, Virginia Tech suggest students apply by December of the prior year for admission to the following fall semester). Required tests, such as the GRE, should be taken early on to allow time for retaking, if scores do not meet minimum requirements. Letters of recommendation should also be requested well in advance of application deadlines.


General Admission Requirements

While general admission requirements vary by institution, there are a number of commonalities in the application process. Common requirements include:

  • A bachelor’s degree (BA) in computer science or a related field, such as mathematics, engineering or science
  • A minimum GPA of 2.75 (higher at some schools) overall and a 3.0 major GPA
  • A GRE score of 1000 overall or in the 70 to 80 percentile on the quantitative section
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Interview by phone or in-person

Direct Admission Requirements

Many schools require additional criteria for admittance to a master’s in computer science program. More specific requirements might include:

  • Proficiency in a C language, Java or other programming language
  • Previous computer programming experience
  • At least one year (some require three to five years) of professional experience in the IT field
    • Some schools are flexible on the requirement of the BA in Computer Science if an applicant already has professional experience in the field of IT. Applicants may be admitted as non-degree seeking students and take core courses to earn a certificate in computer science before beginning graduate-level coursework.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Computer Science is a growing industry, which parallels an increase in opportunities for scholarships. Many schools offer a combination of local and full-tuition scholarships, need-based and merit-based awards alike. Outside of school, there are several graduate-level scholarship and fellowship opportunities for students pursuing a graduate degree in computer science.

Types of scholarships include major-specific and skills- or interest-based awards. Scholarship applications are usually essay- or video-based. Students should do their research and keep in mind that different scholarships have varying eligibility criteria, such as gender, location and area of expertise.

Types of scholarships include major-specific and skills- or interest-based awards.

Financial Aid

Students may also be eligible to receive financial aid directly from schools or from federal student aid programs


Concentrations and Careers

Computer science is an in-depth field that allows for specialization in many technical and creative areas. The most common concentrations at the graduate level are networks, security and analytics; however, a broad range of emphases exist across programs nationwide. Popular skills include systems intelligence, business intelligence, cloud computing SQL, mobile languages and Java.

While all concentrations require extensive amounts of math and science, some careers vary in their required math or programming skills. Some schools offer a more comprehensive list of concentrations than others, and some programs offer the option to customize expertise by combining multiple concentrations.

Computer Networks

Analyze, design, implement, and manage innovative computer networking solutions for various organization as a Network Administrator.

Data Analytics

Analyze, visualize, and communicate data trends and patterns in and across real-world domains, including health, the environment, media and transportation.

Security

Lead the development, implementation and management of advanced security networks as an Information Security Analyst or Database Administrator.

Artificial Intelligence

Create and implement computer software or design and install intelligent robotics systems in a range of fields, including healthcare, technology and engineering.

Mobile and Internet Computing

Build and support interactive and high-performance mobile and Internet applications.

Biocomputation

Use computational algorithms to mine and manage data in the areas of genomics and next-generation sequencing.

Software Engineering

Direct development and evaluation of scientific engineering projects and programs in industrial and business fields.

Software Architecture

Use software engineering processes and management models as an IT Architect to design and build large software systems.

Multimedia and Creative Technologies

Apply cutting-edge design concepts to creating the visual aspects of web page and mobile design, including icons and graphics.

Game Development

Engineer next-generation games and simulation in various fields, including entertainment, education, healthcare and government.