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M.S. in Computer Science

The M.S. in Computer Science offers students with a bachelor's degree the opportunity to improve their training with advanced study in computer science. 

M.S. in Computer Science

We cater to students with basic analytic skills and a strong aptitude for mathematics, programming, and logical reasoning.  You don’t need a bachelor’s degree in computer science specifically for the program, but a technical undergraduate background will set you up for success.

Our program isn’t based on a fixed set of courses. Instead, you’ll construct your own course of study, in consultation with your advisor. The program requires only coursework; research is optional, though approximately a third of our students have some research involvement during the course of their studies, and there is a thesis option.

How long does the program take to complete?

Most students will complete the program in three semesters, but if you’re switching to computer science from another field, you may need an additional semester to fill gaps in your undergraduate training. The M.S. program is distinct from the Ph.D. program in computer science, and master's students will not usually continue into the Ph.D. program and will not receive preferential treatment if they apply.

Program Requirements

You must complete six broad requirements:

  1. Pass* 96-108 units in qualifying master’s courses from the curriculum list in the MSCS Handbook. This is typically eight courses.

  2. Pass up to 12 MSCS elective units.

  3. Pass one course from the available Systems courses. (counts toward Qualifying unit)

  4. Pass one course from the available Theoretical Foundations courses. (counts toward Qualifying unit)

  5. Pass one course from the available Artificial Intelligence courses. (counts toward Qualifying unit)

  6. Maintain a 3.0 QPA.

(* "Passing” is considered receiving a letter grade of C or higher.)

Some students may need to take additional courses that do not satisfy any program requirement, in order to satisfy pre-requisites for other courses. For example, most students will be expected to take 15-213/513 (Introduction to Computer Systems).

15-213/513 can be taken over the Internet during the summer, and new master’s students are encouraged to do so before they arrive. Students who completed their undergraduate work at CMU can apply up to two courses taken as an undergraduate toward requirements for the M.S., provided the two courses were not previously used to satisfy any requirement.

You can see a detailed description of the program's requirements and curriculum in our MSCS Handbook.

How to Apply

For questions specific to the Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) please email: