Masters in Computer Science

What Could You Learn with a Masters in Computer Science?

A master’s degree in computer science may enable a student to work in a wide range of fields related to technology, including engineering, development, and management. Students typically learn a wide range of core and elective topics that enable them to apply both theory and skills to their future positions. Though each career path is a bit different, there might be a number of courses and programs many need in order to perform their skills.

At a graduate level, students may study more in-depth information and may take more electives to focus their education on topics that interest them the most. This may include a focus on computer design or development. Some might work within organizations to provide oversight to computer systems as well. The career path options may include jumpstarting your career as software engineers or computer specialists in a range of areas, including industry, business, or the government.

Featured Computer Science Online Programs

Top 25 Schools Graduating Students with a Master in Computer Science

The following are the top 25 schools based on the number of students they graduated in the 2019/20 school year in the master of computer science field, according to NCES data.

College / University GraduatesAcceptance Rate 
University of Southern California9960.11
Columbia University in the City of New York4420.05
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign3840.59
Arizona State University Campus Immersion3570.86
Maharishi International University3160.81
Stanford University3060.04
University of North Carolina at Charlotte2960.65
University of California-San Diego2940.31
North Carolina State University at Raleigh2810.45
Cornell University2790.11
Stevens Institute of Technology2410.4
Massachusetts Institute of Technology2390.07
University of Central Missouri2340.65
Stony Brook University2160.44
Boston University2000.19
Illinois Institute of Technology1830.6
George Washington University1740.41
University of Massachusetts-Amherst1650.64
University of Chicago1640.06

Courses in Computer Science Master Programs

A master’s level degree in computer science may offer a larger range of course options for those who are seeking a specific outcome.

1st course Introduction to Computer Graphics

Introduction to Computer Graphics

This course often covers the subject of turning a rendered image into a photo realistic image. Students may cover perspective projection, geometric modeling, reflectance, and illumination, among other topics. Students may need to use the newly acquired skills and knowledge to create a final project.

2nd course Object Oriented Design

Object Oriented Design

This course often covers large scale software systems. Students may cover topics such as software design for reuse patterns. Applications may include the world wide web and multiple programming languages, including JAVA.

3rd course Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

This course aims to introduce students to the concepts of artificial intelligence. Topics covered may include concepts, representations, and algorithms. Applications learned may include problem solving, logical reasoning, and machine learning.

4th course Introduction to Machine Learning

Introduction to Machine Learning

This course is often an introduction to machine learning for students. Concepts that may be covered include Computational data analysis. Some of the topics covered may include pattern classification, visualization, prediction, and deep learning.

5th course Computer Networks and the Internet

Computer Networks and the Internet

This course aims to introduce students to designing and implementing computer communication networks. Topics covered may include communications, local area networks, TCP/IP, communication protocols, and the internet.

6th course School-Community Relations

Parallel Programming

Students may be introduced to the concept of parallel programming in this course. Techniques covered may include message passing systems and shared memory. Other topics covered may include process synchronization, communication, and example languages. Different levels and styles of programming may be covered.

  • IT majors including cybersecurity, IT Management and software development.
  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year.

5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a masters in computer science

It’s not uncommon to have questions related to a computer science degree, especially at the graduate level. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions.

Making the decision to further a degree with a master’s program may be a great decision because it often allows students to further develop skills that may be valuable in the job market. It may increase the number of opportunities available to students while also creating a better potential for working in leadership positions in the field.

This is a master’s level course which often means students are typically learning more in-depth information and, in some cases, a wider range of topics covered. Students may be able to do well in it and build on the skills they already have.

This differs from one school to the next, but a master’s in computer science typically includes courses on natural computation, system development, artificial intelligence, mathematical foundations, software engineering, and similar topics. It may also include options in data analytics, applied communications, and software development.

There are some math courses that make up a master’s degree in computer science. Many of the higher skilled math courses are electives. The key here is to remember that computer science in general often involves a lot of use of math, and it is a component of day-to-day work.

Many students may earn a master’s degree in computer science within 2 years. Sometimes this may be done faster, especially in situations where accelerated programs may be available. Students attending part time may need more time to complete the program.

How Much Does A Masters in Computer Science Cost?

Paying for higher education may seem difficult. Most often, there could be multiple ways to fund your graduate education, though. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

NCES reports the average graduate tuition for the 2018 to 2019 school year for private institutions was $25,929 for full time students. This cost varies based on the school. Additionally, NCES provides these insights into graduate funding:

About 10.4% of graduate level students used federal loans to pay for some or all of their education

2016 to 2017

The average amount borrowed during that year was $25,600

2016 to 2017

The above data includes subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans as well as Perkins Loans, and Graduate PLUS loans. For those considering pursuing a master’s degree in education, it is important to consider the availability of student loans and other funding options. Take a closer look at some of the options available to help pay for a graduate degree.

Find Funding

It is often critical for students to have the proper funding to pay for their education. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. At the master’s degree level, funding options may change a bit, though. Not all undergraduate student loans may be available for grad students. Nevertheless, NCES reports that the average master’s degree student spent $19,792 on their education in the 2019-2020 school year.

There may be other funding options for students who are pursuing their master’s degree in computer science. Here are a few suggestions to consider.


Once you fill out the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) you may find you are eligible for loans through the U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan program. These loan programs may provide a wide range of opportunities for borrowers, but each may have eligibility requirements. Private student loans may be another source of potential funding to pay for graduate school. These loans are often not available through the federal government. Rather, they may be from a range of financial institutions and private banks or credit unions. Some may also be from state-affiliated organizations. Private loans may be more accessible to those who may not qualify for federal loan programs. However, many could be more expensive than federal student loans. Learn more about private student loans and availability for them.


One of the ways to reduce or eliminate the cost of a master’s degree may be through scholarships. These are often available through a variety of sources, including some schools, private companies, various organizations, and others. It may be well worth considering them as scholarships often do not require repayment. Students may check out available scholarships for computer science master’s students to get them started.

For many students, paying for a master’s degree can seem challenging. Yet, scholarships may help to cover those costs. There may be scholarships available for a master’s degree in education from various organizations, programs, and schools. A few options may include:

Employment BOOST Business And STEM Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Employment BOOST Business and STEM College Scholarship is available for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who have a grade point average of 3.6 or higher. Applicants must be majoring in a field related to business, science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1

Apple HBCU Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: The Thurgood Marshall College Fund partners with Apple to provide eligible outstanding students who attend a Historically Black College or University with a $15K merit based scholarship and 12 week internship opportunity.

Amount: $15,000

Deadline: Multiple

DFBSST Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology (DFBSST) provides scholarships to African-American undergraduate students who enroll in scientific or technical fields of study at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Amount: $15,000

Deadline: June 15

William R. Reaugh Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The William R. Reaugh Scholarship is an annual award for college students seeking an education in an accredited degree program related to information technology.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 31

Federal Loans

Federal loans may be a common method for paying for computer science master’s degree programs. These are often loans that are backed by the federal government. These loans are typically not the same for master’s students as they are for undergrad students. That means it may be critical to learn as much about teach option and determine if you qualify for them before moving forward. For many students, these loans may offer ample benefits including lower interest rates and better availability.

There are three types of loans available at this level:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These may be available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which are often made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans typically do not have a need-based requirement. Many students may be eligible for them.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: These are usually made available to professional or graduate level students. They are often designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is often not based on financial need. However, some may require a credit check to be performed, and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans often enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan is typically provided after a student completes their education.

It may be important to choose federal student loans with care as a master’s student. These may be a great way to help pay for your computer science degree.

What Can I Do With A Master’s In Computer Science?

After you earn a master’s in education, there are positions that may be available to you including education administrators, or instructional coordinators.

Is a computer network architect a perfect career?

Computer network architects may work in a range of private sector and government positions. They often design and implement computer and information networks. This may include wide area networks (WAN), local area networks (LAN), as well as extranets, intranets, and data communications networks. Their work may include designing and implementing these networks as well as analyzing, updating, and modernizing existing systems. Some people may also do research work in this field.

Those working as computer network architects may work to develop network security measures, including handle audits, improve security measures, and handle automated security probes. They may work in monitoring and analyzing network performance within their organization, handle inefficiencies, and develop options for changing hardware and software needs.

Work activities often include interacting with computers most of the day, including developing security policies and procedures, recommending and implementing solutions to problems, and maintaining contingency plans for disaster recovery. They may also analyze data, make decisions to solve problems, monitor the performance of computer networks, and ensure up to date information.

Those working at this field may need high levels of technology skills, including development software, network monitoring software, web platform development software, video conferencing, and operating system software. In addition to this, they may also need critical thinking skills, active listening skills to determine concerns and correct them, and complex problem solving skills to handle situations as efficiently as possible. They might also need great decision making and judgment skills.

Their high level of skill needed often makes it necessary for employees to have a master’s degree, though some may receive a bachelor’s degree and then begin working in the field. They may need to have work experience as well.

  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

2020 Median Salary for Computer Network Architects

Take a look at the median annual salary for those working as computer network architects in each state in 2020, as supplied by

New Jersey$128,970Missouri$92,910
New York$123,100Nebraska$98,040
North Dakota$94,330New Hampshire$129,470
Oklahoma$92,720New Mexico$101,070
Pennsylvania$106,780North Carolina$109,210
South Carolina$96,290Ohio$103,220
Utah$107,180Rhode Island$127,570
Virginia$131,850South Dakota$115,780
West Virginia$111,120WyomingN/A

Is a computer and information systems manager a great career?

Those working as computer and information system managers may work in a range of environments including in government and private sector positions. Their typical job is to plan, direct, and coordinate activities, including systems analysis, computer programming, information systems, and data processing. They typically interact with computers on a daily basis, including to enable developing computer or information systems, developing organizational goals and objectives for the company, and coordinating all operational activities with stakeholders.

There may be numerous skills needed in this position, including good deductive reasoning skills, inductive reasoning skills, and the ability to communicate with others well. There may also be the need to handle problems and think critically, as well as manage problem sensitivity.

Individuals could also work with other people in the field, including gathering data, processing information, creating solutions and plans, and implementing them. They may analyze data to better inform operational activities and decisions made.

This type of work often requires at least a bachelor’s degree with some employers seeking out those with an up-to-date master’s degree that incorporates the latest innovations and strategies. In addition to this, there may be some support for skill building at the time of obtaining the job. Other companies may require individuals to have extensive experience in the field. Work-related experience is often valued in this industry.

  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software…
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. Including customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and more.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. Including applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of goods and services.

2020 Median Salary for Computer Information Systems Managers

Take a look at the median annual salary for a computer information systems manager in each state in 2020, as supplied by the

New Jersey$175,620Missouri$131,020
New York$179,830Nebraska$120,360
North Dakota$116,160New Hampshire$142,000
Oklahoma$117,130New Mexico$109,870
Pennsylvania$139,350North Carolina$139,000
South Carolina$122,930Ohio$133,410
Utah$132,440Rhode Island$152,310
Virginia$166,500South Dakota$138,660
West Virginia$129,570Wyoming$98,600

Sandy B


Sandy has extensive experience writing educational articles for topics ranging from online education to college degrees. She’s worked with several Ivy League colleges to create blogs, newsletters, sales material for recruiting as well as “how to manage” college lifestyle pieces. Additionally, she’s written for well-respected study abroad programs helping students to find international opportunities spanning the globe from South America to Africa and Asia.

Sandy’s experience also includes writing about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarship searches, and managing college loans and grants. This includes aiding both students and parents in managing the application and financial aid process from start to finish. Her writing in this area has been featured in The New York Times, Cleveland Magazine, and several blogs.