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MS Requirements

CICS has two unofficial tracks within its Master's of Science degree program, differing by interest in pursuing a Ph.D.

  • Professional MS is the track for students who do not expect to apply to a Ph.D. program. These students, instead, are pursuing the MS degree to learn more about Computer Science so they are better prepared for a job in the field.

  • Research MS is the track for students who are planning to (or thinking they might) apply for Ph.D. programs. This group includes students who intend to apply for a transfer into the Department's MS+Ph.D. or Ph.D. programs.

Broadly speaking, the requirements for the two tracks are identical, but we suggest different ways of meeting the requirements depending on the track.

The college also offers Concentrations in Data Science and Security which meets all of the regular Master's degree requirements. The requirements for the Concentrations in Data Science and Security differ from the regular MS by emphasizing data science and security related courses.

All Master's program students are expected to have a solid undergraduate background in computer science. If you are unsure of your background, you should consult your advisor.

MS students are required to:

  • Satisfy 4 Core Requirements (at least one from each area)
  • Complete 30-course credits meeting the Course Requirements (core courses taken to satisfy core requirements are included)

Students in the Research MS track are encouraged to participate in research after their first two semesters of coursework.

Sample Schedule

Our MS degree usually takes two years (four semesters) to complete. We recommend the following distribution of courses of those four semesters:






core (3cr)
non-core (3cr)
non-technical/non-core (3 cr) 

*International students must be registered for 9 credits to fulfill fulltime Visa requirements

core (3cr)
non-core (6cr) 

Internship (optional)

*CPT approval requires students to be enrolled in two consecutive semesters before applying


core (3 cr)
non-core (6 cr) 

core (3 cr)

*International do not need to be registered for fulltime credits in their last semester if IPO is notified


Your background and the available course offerings may cause you to shift from this model. This list is intended only as a guide. We strongly recommend that students take no more than three graduate-level classes in any semester.

International Students

International students should consider a Curricular Practical Training. See the CPT policy.