Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering

A master's degree in computer science and engineering provides in-depth knowledge of theory and design of computing systems. The degree prepares students for advanced jobs in industry or for further study and research as part of a Ph.D. program.

Program at a glance

Application deadlines

  • Fall semester: January 15
  • Spring semester: August 15

Admissions requirements

  • GPA: ≥ 3.0
  • GRE: ≥ 297
  • TOEFL: ≥ 80 (or IELTS ≥ 6.5)

Questions? Email

Download the Graduate Handbook for complete degree requirements and policies.

About the M.S. in computer science and engineering

The master's degree program offers an integrated course of study covering the theory, implementation and design of information, computing and communication systems.

Students in our program take advanced courses in computer science and engineering and have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on grant-funded research projects. Our graduates see strong demand for their skills, and our proximity to high-tech hubs such as San Francisco and Seattle mean our department has forged strong connections with major employers. Our graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Research in computer science and engineering

Our graduate students are given the opportunity to focus in a specific area by taking advanced courses and becoming significantly involved in many aspects of original research and advancing scientific knowledge.

Faculty in our department specialize their research in three main areas:

  1. Cybersecurity and network systems: Faculty in this area research wireline and wireless networking to improve the Internet and accommodate growing demand for high-speed communications. Faculty also investigate cyber security and forensics to protect the digital world and explore social and biological networks in order to identify patterns in those complex systems.
  2.  Intelligent and autonomous systems: Research focuses on developing systems that are able to perceive, understand and respond to the world around them. This area of research has a wide range of applications, from vision-based surveillance to assistive robotics, autonomous systems and advanced manufacturing.
  3. Data and software systems: Researchers in this area are developing infrastructure and software solutions to scale and support the collection and use of big data for scientific research. Faculty research includes augmented and virtual reality, cloud computing, human-computer interaction, and software engineering.

You can learn more about research in computer science and engineering, including current projects and faculty expertise, on our department website.

Requirements for the M.S. in computer science and engineering

Students in the master's degree program in computer science and engineering can choose from two degree options:

  • Plan A: This program gives students the opportunity to focus on a specific area within computer science and engineering, perform preliminary research within that topic and write a thesis.
  • Plan B:  This option, which doesn't require a thesis, allows students to study several different subjects within the discipline. Instead of writing a thesis, students must complete a graduate-level capstone course that integrates work across previous courses and demonstrates general mastery.

You don't need to decide whether you want to pursue Plan A or Plan B when you apply, but you are encouraged to meet with the graduate director to discuss your coursework and plan for graduate school.

Complete course requirements are listed on the course catalog. A link to the course catalog is available at the top of this page.

How do I apply?

Applicants to the program should apply via The Graduate School website.

Preference will be given to applicants who meet the following deadlines:

  • January 15 for Fall semester
  • August 15 for Spring semester

Applicants to the master's degree program should have a bachelor's degree in engineering, mathematics, or science and have minimum experience that includes the equivalent of a computer science and engineering minor. Exceptions to these criteria may be made for applicants who show exceptional promise.

Applicants should further meet the following minimum requirements for admission:

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • A minimum TOEFL of 80 or IELTS of 6.5 for international applicants
  • Combined GRE verbal and quantitative score of at least 297. Students who score below 157 in the quantitative section will find it difficult to complete our graduate program
  • A one-page personal statement describing research interests and career goals
  • Two letters of recommendation (from either academic or industry advisors)

Students without a computer science and engineering background can apply for graduate special status from the Graduate School and take courses in computer science and engineering to provide the necessary background. Typical courses you should consider to gain this background are CS 135, CPE 201, CS 202, CS 219, and CS 302.

What are my chances of being admitted?

Acceptance depends on various factors, including your scores (higher scores generally increase your changes of acceptance), the pool of applicants, your research interests, etc. Unfortunately, due to the large number of graduate applicants, we are unable to provide individual feedback on your chance of being accepted. We do encourage everyone to apply even if one of your scores doesn't meet the requirements, as exceptions are made for applicants who show exceptional promise.

Is funding available?

Master's students pursuing the thesis option, Plan A, are eligible to apply for teaching assistantships or research assistantships. However, preference for assistantship typically goes to students applying for or pursuing a Ph.D.

  • Teaching assistants work under the supervision of department faculty and are expected to teach recitation sections or laboratories, help with grading and develop course materials and exams.
  • Research assistants conduct innovative research in cooperation with and under the supervision of department faculty. They are expected to conduct experiments, implement prototype systems, develop new theories, and attend conferences or publish work in scholarly journals.

Typical support for graduate assistantships covers the student's tuition and fees, health insurance, and a monthly stipend. If you are selected for an assistantship, you will receive additional details about your funding package at that time.

To be considered for graduate assistantships in the Computer Science & Engineering Department, you must officially apply to the M.S. in computer science and engineering. All official applicants will be automatically considered for both teaching and research assistantships.

International Students

International students should visit the Office of International Students and Scholars for more information.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Computer Science & Engineering Graduate Program Director

Phone (775) 784-6974
Location Scrugham Engineering and Mines