MS Program

The Master of Science (M.S.) in computer science is a research-oriented degree that requires 28 credit hours of coursework and 4 credit hours of thesis. It can be counted towards the Ph.D. in Computer Science.

Degree Requirements

Requirements presented as a Table.

Degree Planning Document [PDF].

Breadth Requirement: 9-12 credit hours

Must complete three different courses, each from a different area, from the following eight core areas with a grade of B- or higher.

  • Architecture, Compilers, Parallel Computing: CS 426, 431, 433, 435, 462, 483, 484, 526, 533, 536
  • Artificial Intelligence: CS 440, 443, 445, 446, 447, 543, 546, 548
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (effective Fall 2017): CS 466, 581
  • Database and Information Systems: CS 410, 411, 412, 510, 511, 512
  • Formal Methods, Programming Languages, Software Engineering: CS 421, 422, 427, 428, 476, 477, 522, 524, 527, 528, 576
  • Graphics/HCI: CS 417, 418, 419, 445, 465, 467, 519, 565
  • Systems and Networking (includes real-time systems and security): CS 414, 423, 424, 425, 438, 439, 461, 463, 523, 525, 538, 541, 545, 563
  • Scientific Computing: CS 450, 457, 482, 554, 555, 556, 558
  • Theoretical Computer Science: CS 473, 475, 571, 573, 574, 579, 583

Advanced coursework: 12 credit hours

  • Courses must not have been completed in the breadth requirement and must have a grade of C or higher.
  • An additional course at the 500-level must be completed in one of the three core areas the student has chosen, which means at least two courses are completed in one core area.
  • Two additional 500-level courses must be completed, which may be chosen from any CS course numbered 500-590 or 598 (Note: CS 597 or 591 cannot be counted towards advanced coursework).
  • CS 599 (thesis) may satisfy four credit hours of this requirement but does not count towards the need for two courses in one core area and is not counted towards the total 28 hours of coursework required for the degree.

Example of Breadth and Advanced Coursework Requirement

  • Breadth Requirement: CS 433 (Architecture), CS 523 (Systems and Networking), and CS 450 (Scientific Computing)
  • Advanced Coursework: CS 538 (2nd 500-level course in Systems and Network core area), CS 598, and CS 599

Additional Requirements

  • A master's thesis and registration in 4 credit hours of CS 599 associated with the thesis research. It is each student's responsibility to secure a M.S. thesis advisor and start work on their thesis no later than the beginning of their third semester in the program.
  • At least 16 credit hours must be taken in computer science from the Urbana campus
  • Up to 4 credit hours of CS 591 and/or CS 491 may count toward the total credit hours required for the degree.
  • Up to 12 semester credit hours of previous graduate course work that is approved by the Department may be transferred and applied to the M.S. degree requirements.
  • Any course taken for letter grade must have a grade of C or higher.
  • All degree requirements must be completed within five consecutive semesters (only fall and spring semesters are counted).

Deposit of MS Thesis Process

M.S. with Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Option

The Master of Science with specialization in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) is an interdisciplinary program focused on computationally oriented research. All M.S. degree requirements apply with the "Breadth Requirement" slightly modified by requiring students to take one of the following Scientific Computing Courses.

  • CS 450 Intro to Numerical Analysis
  • CS 455 Numerical Methods for PDEs
  • CS 458 Numerical Linear Algebra
  • CS 459 Numerical Approximation and ODEs

M.S. Requirements Table

Credit Hours Hours
Total Credit for the Degree 32
Thesis Research – CS 599 (minimum applied toward degree) 4
Course Work 28
Breadth Requirement: One course from each of three different (out of eight) core areas 9-12
  • Courses must not have been completed in the breadth requirement.
  • An additional course at the 500-level must be completed in one of the three core areas the student has chosen, which means at least two courses are completed in one core area.
  • Two additional 500-level courses must be completed, which may be chosen from any CS course numbered 500-590 or 598 (Note: CS 597 or 591 cannot be counted towards advanced coursework).
  • CS 599 (thesis) may satisfy four credit hours of this requirement but does not count towards the need for two courses in one core area and is not counted towards the total 28 hours of coursework required for the degree.
12
Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below) 4-7

Other Requirements and Conditions (may overlap):*

  • A minimum of 16 CS credit hours must be taken from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.
  • A minimum of 12 500-level credit hours overall.
  • A maximum of 4 hours of CS 591 and CS 491 may be applied toward the degree.
  • A grade of B- or higher is required for Breadth Requirement course work.
  • The minimum program GPA is 3.0.
  • At most, 12 semester credit hours of previous graduate course work may be transferred and applied to the M.S. degree requirements and 12 credit hours of non-degree graduate courses completed in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may be transferred and applied to the M.S. degree requirements.
  • It is each student's responsibility to secure a M.S. thesis advisor and start thesis research no later than the beginning of the third semester in the program.
  • All degree requirements must be completed within five consecutive semesters (only fall and spring semesters are counted).