Northern Arizona MS in CS Curriculum Deep Down Insights

  1. Blogs
  2. Northern Arizona University
  3. Northern Arizona MS in CS Curriculum Deep Down Insights
3 mins

Understanding the Northern Arizona University MS in Computer Science Curriculum

Embarking on a Master's degree journey requires a comprehensive understanding of the curriculum. The Northern Arizona University (NAU) MS in Computer Science program offers a well-structured path to academic and professional growth. Let's delve into the details of this curriculum to gain insights into its components and what it has to offer.

Program Structure

This Master's degree program requires a total of 30 units, strategically divided into three categories:

1. Statistics and Mathematics: 3 units

2. Computer Science Coursework: 3 units

3. Thesis or Non-Thesis Option: 24 units

Let's explore these components in detail:

Statistics and Mathematics (3 units)

To establish a strong foundation in quantitative skills, students are required to complete 3 units of coursework in statistics and mathematics. This helps students develop the analytical skills necessary for advanced computer science studies.

Required Computer Science Coursework (3 units)

Students can choose one of the following courses to fulfill this requirement:

  • CS 552
  • INF 503

These courses provide essential knowledge and skills that form the basis of the program's core.

Thesis Option Requirements

For students opting for the thesis track, the program mandates the completion of 6 units of CS 699. This coursework is conducted under the guidance of a computer science research advisor. It involves in-depth research, analysis, and the development of a thesis.

Additionally, students pursuing the thesis option must complete 18 units of graduate-level coursework, with at least 9 of these units in CS-prefixed courses. These courses contribute to the development of a well-rounded understanding of computer science.

One significant responsibility for thesis option students is selecting a research advisor who will act as their thesis committee chair. This advisor, along with other committee members, plays a pivotal role in guiding the student's research journey.

The successful completion of a thesis and a thesis final defense is required. Students must also adhere to all applicable NAU Requirements for Theses and Dissertations.

Non-Thesis Option Requirements

For those choosing the non-thesis option, the curriculum entails the completion of 24 units of graduate-level coursework, with at least 15 of these units in CS-prefixed courses. This path is tailored for students who prefer a broader exploration of computer science topics without the intensive research focus of a thesis.

As a flexible feature, students in the non-thesis track can apply up to 6 units from CS-prefixed 400-level courses to fulfill part of their elective requirements. This allows students to tailor their coursework to align with their interests and career goals.

It's essential for students to ensure they meet all prerequisites for their chosen courses to maintain a smooth academic journey.

Learning Outcomes and Competencies

Graduates of the NAU MS in Computer Science program demonstrate a range of competencies and program learning outcomes. These include:

  • Fundamental Knowledge: Graduates can identify, explain, and synthesize fundamental concepts of computer science, encompassing computer networking, cybersecurity, high-performance computing, and software engineering.
  • Literature Analysis: They can analyze and critically distill scientific literature to identify computer science theories, development, and research methods suitable for science, engineering problems, and research areas.
  • Problem Solving: Graduates can apply computer science theories and development and research methods to formulate, develop, and assess computer system solutions for relevant science and engineering problems and research areas.
  • Communication: Graduates excel in written and oral communication within the realm of computer science, facilitating effective dissemination of their ideas and findings.


The NAU MS in Computer Science program offers a structured and flexible curriculum designed to equip students with a profound understanding of computer science. Whether you choose the thesis or non-thesis track, this program provides you with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in various computer science domains. By the end of your journey, you'll not only have a comprehensive education but also the ability to apply your expertise to real-world challenges. Your adventure in the world of computer science starts here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the total duration of the MS in Computer Science program at Northern Arizona University?

The program typically takes two years to complete on a full-time basis. However, the duration may vary depending on whether you choose the thesis or non-thesis option and your course load per semester.

NAU allows a limited number of transfer credits, usually up to 9 units for graduate programs. Transfer credits are subject to approval by the program director and must align with the curriculum.

No, the thesis option does not require a comprehensive exam. Instead, students focus on in-depth research, culminating in the completion of a thesis and a thesis final defense.

In the non-thesis option, you can complete 24 units of graduate-level coursework, with at least 15 of these units in CS-prefixed courses. You can use a maximum of two courses (up to 6 units) from CS-prefixed 400-level courses to fulfill elective requirements. Choosing courses from other departments may require approval from your advisor.

Graduates of this program are well-prepared for a variety of career paths, including software development, cybersecurity, data analysis, and more. You’ll have the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the dynamic field of computer science, opening doors to roles in tech companies, research institutions, and beyond.

Mentr Me
Follow us on:
Reach Out to us:
MentR-Me Education Pvt. Ltd.
Fourth Floor, Vijay Tower, Panchsheel Park North, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110049
Copyright © 2021 MentR-Me. All rights reserved.