Master's in Computer Science

14 mins

Computer science is more important than ever. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development jobs will expand faster than in other areas, making computer science degrees a 21st-century need.

The University of Texas at Austin is routinely ranked among the top 10 universities in the United States for computer science. Through the Master of Science in Computer Science Online, the University's Department of Computer Science has made it possible to combine that top-tier reputation with the flexibility of online study.

The challenging curriculum of the computer science program is taught by the same professors that teach in UT's on-campus degree programs, assuring that you will get the high-quality instruction that distinguishes a UT education.

In addition, the online Master of science track provides programs in a flexible format, allowing you to pursue your educational goals in the manner that best suits your employment objectives.

A computer science degree can help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to succeed, whether your interests include deep learning, machine learning, advanced operating systems, Android programming, virtualization, quantum information science, or robotics.

The Master's degree you obtain at the end of your studies is among the top online Master's degree programs. Moreover, it will be indistinguishable from its on-campus equivalent for a fraction of the on-campus program fees.

Our computer science graduates will have access to world-class teachers, a professional network of bright peers from all over the world, and a degree that will allow them to pursue some of the most in-demand occupations.

Why Get a Computer Science Master?

In the past, an undergraduate computer science degree and work experience may get you an entry-level job. Still, firms increasingly consider graduate school in their minimum hiring criteria, especially for leadership positions.

Indeed, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15.3 percent increase in the number of computer science occupations requiring a Ph.D. by 2022.

Depending on your job objectives, a graduate school may be what you need to get forward. Many computer scientists find rewarding employment in software development, information technology, cybersecurity, software engineering, data science, etc.

With a master's degree, you'll be more likely to experience a comfortable career due to high average incomes and abundant employment prospects due to continuous job development.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for competent computer science expertise is predicted to expand by 11% over the next eight years, creating additional opportunities for advanced degree holders to find full-time positions in computer science or related sectors.

Computer Science Professional Organizations

Association for Computing Machinery

ACM brings together computer experts to exchange resources, network, and progress the discipline. ACM is one of the largest and fastest-growing organizations for computer professionals, with almost 100,000 members (many of whom live outside the United States).

Members have access to various educational programs and publications, and most can join special interest groups or local chapters to interact with their peers. ACM also links members with leadership opportunities to help them build their portfolios and networks.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society

Pioneers in computer science and engineering founded the IEEE Computer Society to foster collaboration between the two areas. The association holds conferences regularly that provide networking and professional development opportunities.

IEEE Spectrum magazine, a digital library, networking events, and industry savings are all available to members. The organization has membership tiers for students, primary members, and preferred members, each with its privileges.

Association for Women in Computing

AWC is one of the oldest professional associations for women in computing, founded in 1978. AWC promotes professional development through online classes and networking. AWC provides chances for mentoring, ongoing education, and professional growth.

AWC provides in-person and internet-based networking to reach as many women in computing as feasible. Current students are encouraged to form college chapters of AWC.


CompTIA is a global leader in technology professional certification, education, and professional development. A+, Linux+, CySA+, and CTT+ are popular qualifications. CompTIA offers training, online study tools, instructor-led programs, and other valuable materials to assist members in preparing for certification examinations.

Members can also take advantage of continuing education options to help them achieve certification renewal criteria. Professional members receive discounts on CompTIA goods and enjoy access to a vast professional network, whilst student members receive scholarship possibilities, career counseling, and contests.

Choosing the Best Graduate Computer Science Program

Prospective students may learn a lot from our list of the top computer science master's programs. However, while deciding where to apply, you may wish to consider some of these different characteristics.

1. Accreditation

Attending a recognized school increases your chances of successfully transferring credits, gaining financial help, and qualifying for professional certifications. Master's programs in computer science are frequently accredited separately by ABET.

2. Reputation

Attending a prominent master's program in computer science may expose students to more chances while still in school. In addition, graduates of prestigious universities may also discover greater work possibilities following graduation.

3. Staff Qualifications

Check with program professors to discover if anyone is doing research similar to your interests. You may also look into where faculty members received their schooling and whether they have any accolades.

4. The Program's Culture

Do you want a graduate school experience where you may develop close friends and participate in various extracurricular activities? Or do you prefer a more professional environment?

5. Cost

Before enrolling, determine your projected cost of attendance and budget. Keep in mind that most Master's programs in computer science provide funding options such as scholarships, grants, loans, and fellowships.

6. Competitiveness

How tough would it be to gain admission to your preferred program? Many colleges provide program acceptance rates on their websites.

Admission Requirements

Prerequisite courses

Applicants must have a strong background in computer science or a related field. The institute will assess a student's knowledge level based on their coursework and professional experience.

For admission to the online Master's program, applicants with a bachelor's degree in computer science from a regionally accredited university in the United States or an equivalent degree from a foreign academic institution are favored. Competitive applicants have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in junior and senior-level courses.

If an applicant has a degree in an area other than computer science and meets the following conditions, they may be considered for admission:

Their degree is in a similar discipline, such as electrical engineering, computer engineering, or mathematics.

Applicants for the degree program must have the following qualifications:

  • A bachelor's degree is required.
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.2 / 4.0 or above (from the last two years of bachelor's degree courses)
  • A solid foundation in object-oriented computer programming, data structures, and algorithms (this should include a "data structures" course or comparable experience). If you lack graded and transcripted necessary CS education in these areas but have a 3.2 GPA and 4-5 years of relevant CS experience. Those with essential coursework on their transcripts continue to be granted admission preference.
  • Not already a graduate degree holder in computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related discipline.
  • A bachelor's degree in computer science (or transcripted coursework in fundamental CS coursework, e.g. data structures)
  • C++ or Java programming knowledge is required.

Application prerequisites

Students must submit all items before the final application date. Please fill out the "Request Info" form above to obtain more information about the MSCS program, including specific resources for your application materials and the admissions process.

Admissions consider the following application items:

  • Bachelor of Science
  • CV/Resume
  • Transcripts from all universities attended Statement of Purpose GRE Scores - Currently Optional.
  • * TOEFL or IELTS - International Students Must**
  • Recommendation letter(s) (optional)
  • Important Application Note: It is strongly advised that applicants begin the application process early to have all essential paperwork received by the final date. Late applications will be rejected.
  • *GRE Score: As the globe grapples with COVID-19, many students find it challenging to take the GRE. GRE scores are not required for admission consideration for all candidates until Fall 2022. Please bear the following in mind:
  • We strongly encourage all applicants to submit their authentic GRE results to strengthen their application.
  • International applicants are highly advised to provide their GRE results with their application.
  • Please remember that the GRE waiver will not appear on your My Status site for 3-5 business days.
  • **TOEFL/IELTS: The Graduate School considers the following minimum scores to be acceptable for admission:
  • TOEFL score of about 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT)
  • Academic Examination: An overall band of 6.5 on the IELTS

Should You Pursue a Master's Degree in Computer Science Online?

Online Master's degree programs in computer science provide advantages such as convenience, cost, and flexibility. Many years ago working professionals, persons who finished a bachelor's degree, and students with family commitments are particularly drawn to distance education programs.

Many universities offer online degrees with the same curricula, faculty members, and access to university resources as their on-campus counterparts.

Some employers were hesitant to hire someone with an online degree in the past, but distance education is now widely recognized as being equivalent to many in-person programs.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic shifts the public perception of online learning, making distance learning even more popular and understood as a legitimate education.

Consider your learning style, budget, and the availability of distance education programs in your profession when deciding whether the online experience is ideal for you.

Many people flourish in online learning environments, but others prefer the conventional on-campus experience. Only you can decide whether or not to pursue an online master's degree in computer science.

Academic Details

This degree is designed for computer professionals who wish to expand their knowledge of advanced computer science disciplines such as artificial intelligence, database, and information systems, parallel computing, graphics, systems and networking, scientific computing, etc.

This degree will help you advance your career and lead a team of engineers. Develop your knowledge and job abilities in the most significant computer science areas. Courses and projects address topics such as

Compilers, Architecture, and Parallel Computing

Learn parallel programming and how to get the most out of multi-core CPU and multi-core GPU architectures. Master languages, compilers, and libraries suitable for a wide range of parallel applications and systems.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Develop your understanding of machine learning's core statistical models and numerical optimizations, including deep learning, with applications in computer vision, natural language processing, and intelligent user interaction.

Information and database systems

Learn the fundamentals of database systems as well as data mining strategies for extracting information from organized datasets (for example, for a sales recommendation system) and unstructured data (e.g. from natural language text).

Formal Methods, Programming Languages, and Software Engineering are all examples of standard methods. Learn software engineering principles, including function-based and object-oriented analysis and design methodologies.

Learn how to manage a significant software project from conception to completion, including implementation, testing, and maintenance. You'll also gain experience working with huge enterprise-level codebases.

Interactive Computing, Graphics, and Visualization

Learn the foundations of interactive computing that foster computer-user synergy. For example, the Data Visualization course demonstrates how to present and alter data to express understanding and insight to the general audience.

Networking and Systems

Learn how to connect computers to develop distributed systems and create a cloud computing platform or the Internet of Things. Learn how to construct cloud-based apps by working on programming projects that use Amazon Web Services.

Computing in Science

Learn the basics of numerical analysis and its use in scientific and engineering simulations, with applications ranging from generating video game worlds to virtual medicine.

After graduation, you will be eligible to:

  • Real-world issues need the use of mathematical underpinnings, algorithmic concepts, and computer science theory.
  • Analyze an issue and determine the computational requirements for its solution.
  • Create, implement, and test a computer-based system, procedure, component, or software.
  • Construct software systems of varying complexity using design and development concepts.

Degree Options

Computer Science Courses

1. Machine Learning

The science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed is known as machine learning. Self-driving cars, realistic speech recognition, successful web search, and a much-enhanced understanding of the human genome have all been made possible by machine learning in the last decade.

Machine learning is now so common that you probably use it thousands of times per day without even realizing it. Many academics believe it is the most effective technique to get closer to human-level AI.

This course covers machine learning, data mining, and statistical pattern identification in general. Supervised learning (parametric/non-parametric techniques, support vector machines, kernels, neural networks) is one of the topics covered.

(ii) Learning without supervision (clustering, dimensionality reduction, recommender systems, deep learning).

(iii) Machine learning best practices (bias/variance theory; machine learning and AI innovation process). You'll learn how to apply learning algorithms to developing intelligent robots (perception, control), text understanding (web search, anti-spam), computer vision, medical informatics, audio, database mining, and other fields through a variety of case studies and applications.

2. Advanced Algorithms

This course covers advanced algorithms (graph algorithms), focusing on graph traversal, shortest path issues, spanning trees, and maximum flow problems, as well as a wide range of applications ranging from Google Web Crawler to stock market arbitrage.

  • Find out what data structures are used.
  • Learn the graphs and graph theory fundamentals to efficiently implement advanced algorithms (graph algorithms).
  • Learn graph traversal techniques like breadth-first and depth-first searches.
  • Discover the concepts of topological ordering and cycle detection.
  • Learn about Dijkstra and Bellman-Ford algorithms (shortest path algorithms).
  • Learn how to span trees.
  • Learn about components that are tightly linked.
  • Find information about Hamiltonian and Eulerian cycles.
  • Find out about maximum flow (max flow min cut theorem)

3. Advanced Computer Architecture

Advanced Computer Architecture is the topic of this course. It will introduce students to advanced processor design concepts, with a focus on out-of-order pipelines, GPUs, and compiler approaches for improving ILP. The course will cover cache design and leading memory technologies like DDR-4.

The theory of on-chip networks and memory models will take up a significant section of the system. The course will conclude with a discussion of low-power design, hardware security, and reliability.

4. Database Systems

This specialized program is designed for computer professionals who want to learn about information systems and their various requirements, architectures, performance, techniques, and tools.

So they can know when to use business intelligence, data mining, data science, databases, databases in memory, or big data to create reliable, maintainable, and scalable data-intensive systems.

You'll learn about transactional relational databases, business intelligence, data warehousing, NoSQL technologies, and reliable, scalable, and maintainable data-intensive applications throughout four courses, which will prepare you for a career as a specialized information system consultant or data scientist.

5. Financing and Tuition

The cost of a master's degree in computer science varies depending on the school. Program format (online or in-person), school type (private or public), and tuition cost are all factors that might affect how much you pay (in-state or out-of-state).

Public institutions are sometimes the cheapest option, especially if you qualify for in-state tuition. However, prospective students should consider expenditures other than tuition and fees that they may incur while earning their degrees, such as accommodation, transportation, food, and textbooks.


Technical Knowledge

Computer science Master's degree programs train students in high-demand, specialized technological abilities. Because few individuals have this sophisticated expertise, computer science experts earn high incomes and have many work choices.

Expanding Field

As more firms put their information online, practically every sector may benefit from computer science workers' skills and knowledge. From 2020 through 2030, the BLS predicts considerably faster-than-average growth in computer and information technology employment.

Salary Packages

Graduates of Master's programs in computer science frequently earn excellent wages. According to the BLS, computer and information research scientists had a median annual income of $126,830 in March 2022.

Career options for Graduates

Graduates of Master's programs in computer science work in a range of well-paying computer and information technology. Computer science specialists earn high incomes due to their superior knowledge and in-demand technological abilities.

For example, computer network architects made a median annual pay of $116,780 in March 2022. At the same time, computer and information research scientists earned a median yearly salary of $126,830. Computer and information systems managers earned an even more excellent median annual pay of $151,150.

We outline prospective career prospects for graduates below, including typical work requirements, compensation, employment outlook, and why a computer science degree is significant.

Scientists in Computer and Information Research

Computer and information scientists develop new technology and find innovative methods to apply current ones to address industry, education, healthcare, and government issues. They may choose to concentrate on fields such as programming or robotics.

Typical job responsibilities include creating new programming languages, devising software experiments, and doing human-computer interaction research.

  • A master's degree is required.
  • Job Prospects (2020-30): +22%
  • Annual Median Salary: $126,830

Managers of Computer and Information Systems

Computer and information systems managers manage computer challenges in firms of all sizes, making them one of the highest-paying jobs for computer science graduates.

These individuals work in computer systems design, information, finance and insurance, and management. Negotiating rates with vendors, organizing computer gear installation, and directing IT personnel are all possible job responsibilities.

  • Bachelor's degree is necessary; a master's degree is typically desirable.
  • Job Prospects (2020-30): +11 percent
  • Annual Median Salary: $151,150

Managers of Computer and Information Systems

Computer and information systems managers manage computer challenges in firms of all sizes, making them one of the highest-paying jobs for computer science graduates.

These individuals work in computer systems design, information, finance and insurance, and management. Negotiating rates with vendors, organizing computer gear installation, and directing IT personnel are all possible job responsibilities.

  • Bachelor's degree is necessary; a master's degree is typically desirable.
  • Job Prospects (2020-30): +11 percent
  • Annual Median Salary: $151,150

Engineers in Computer Hardware

Computer hardware engineers deal with computers and components such as processors, networks, memory devices, and routers. They may develop new hardware, test it, evaluate the findings, and supervise the manufacture of new gear. They have strong analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities.

  • Bachelor's degree is necessary; many major organizations require a master's degree.
  • Job Prospects (2020-30): 2% increase
  • Annual Median Salary: $119,560

Computer Network Designers

Data communication networks, such as intranets, wide area networks, and local area networks, are designed by computer network architects.

They must grasp their organization's business plan to assist in achieving organizational goals through the use of technology. Typical responsibilities include studying networking technologies, updating gear, and providing management suggestions.

  • Bachelor's degree is necessary; some businesses prefer a master's degree.
  • Job Prospects (2020-30): 5% increase
  • The average annual salary is $116,780.

Analysts of Information Security

Information security analysts implement security procedures to protect their businesses' computer systems and networks.

They watch for security breaches on networks, deploy data encryption software and firewalls, and analyze IT security trends. Information security architects can expand their job possibilities and pay potential by seeking industry qualifications.

  • Bachelor's degree needed; Master's degree required by some companies.
  • Job Prospects (2020-30): a 33% increase
  • The average annual salary is $103,590.
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