Masters in Computer Science Degrees and Programs

Why Earn a Computer Science Masters Degree?

Students in a masters in computer science program study the theory and practice of the computational process. Master's Degree Programs in Computer Science explore the structure and expression, as well as the processing, and communication of, information stored in computer memory.

Computer science draws from the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering, and can be applied to mechanisms ranging from cellular phones to weather forecasting systems. Computer science master's degree students focus on the study of algorithms, which are specific problem-solving processes.

High Demand for Masters in Computer Science Degree Program Graduates

Masters in Computer Science

GradSchools.com makes it easy to find the right program. Perform a simple location search to determine where you can earn your computer science degree; use the city, state, or country tabs to determine where you can study. For working professionals in IT or related fields interested in keeping current with skills and technical knowledge, a distance learning option may be the best fit. You can choose from the hybrid format or look into masters in computer science online programs. 

Individuals considering attending a computer science masters degree graduate program should ideally possess the following qualities:

  • Strong background in math, science and engineering
  • Analytical thinker
  • Adept at problem solving
  • Highly curious

Computer Science Masters Degree Program​ Application Process

To apply to computer science graduate school, you will need to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Top computer science graduate programs often have a minimum GPA and standardized test score requirement. Many computer science graduate programs require transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and relevant test scores, including the TOEFL, if applicable. You might enhance your resume by participating in volunteer research, or professional work in your field, as well as having publications in scholarly journals.

Masters in Computer Science Program Curriculum

Computer science graduate programs vary among schools. It’s important to ensure your personal research interests align with those at the schools to which you’re applying. A typical computer science graduate program might include the following courses:

  • Computer networking
  • Databases
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Mathematical foundations of computing
  • Programming methodology
  • Programming abstractions
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Network analysis
  • Cloud computing
  • Design and analysis of algorithms

Students can choose from a master’s in computer science or a Ph.D. in computer science. The average master’s program lasts from one to two years, and the average Ph.D. program takes four to six years to complete. Depending upon the program, completion of the master’s degree might involve a thesis or independent project. Completion of a computer science doctorate involves a passing grade on exams and a dissertation or independent project.

What Can You Do With a Masters in Computer Science?

Qualified computer scientists might be able to pursue a variety of careers. Those holding a Ph.D. may find work as professors or researchers in a university setting. Other doctoral and master’s level professionals might work with business, governmental or scientific organizations, in areas ranging from traffic control to security to automobiles. The following are examples of popular computer science careers:

  • Computer scientist
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer systems designer
  • Software engineer
  • Network administrator

Salary Potential for Graduates of Master's Degree Programs in Computer Science

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012 the median annual wage of computer and information research scientists was $102,190. The lowest 10%  of earners made less than $57,220, and the top 10 percent earned over $151,900.

Individuals with a master's degree in computer science might also pursue careers in computer and information systems management and computer programming. The 2012 median pay for computer and information systems managers was $120,950. The same year, computer programmers earned a median of $74,280. 

Computer Scientist Job Outlook

Career opportunities for computer and information research scientists are projected to grow by 15% between 2012 and 2022, according to BLS data.  This is means that about 4,100 new career opportunities are likely to open up during that time. Job opportunities for computer and information systems managers are also projected to grow by 15% between 2012 and 2022.  That is the addtion of 50,900 jobs!  Careers in computer programming are projected to grow at a slower pace than other related careers (8% between 2012 and 2022), but the BLS projects that this growth will still create about 28,400 new career opportunities for qualified individuals.

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