Professional Master of Computer Science

Join the ranks of leaders in computer science who have degrees from Illinois Computer Science, including founders and leaders of, Malwarebytes,, Microsoft, Netscape, Optimizely, PayPal, YouTube, and Yelp.

The Master of Computer Science (MCS) from Illinois Computer Science is a professional degree program that allows you to augment your education and accelerate your career by learning from world-class faculty who are advancing the frontiers of computer science. As an MCS student, you must complete 32 hours of graduate coursework, but you are not required to work with an advisor to write a thesis or dissertation. Your courses will cover the same cutting-edge content that's offered to students enrolled in our research-focused MS and PhD degree programs. 

Illinois Computer Science offers several ways to pursue your MCS degree:

The Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science, home to Illinois Computer Science.
The Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science, home to Illinois Computer Science.

On-Campus MCS.

 Join the student body on the Urbana-Champaign campus for full-time studies and earn an MCS degree in as little as three semesters. Space on campus is limited, but this option provides students with the greatest selection of courses to choose from in order to satisfy the MCS degree requirements. Students pay full tuition and fees, but they have access to Big 10 Division I sports; marquee theatre and performing arts; and outstanding health and recreational facilities.

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Online MCS.  

Busy professionals can complete a degree online while they continue to meet their current life and career obligations. Illinois Computer Science has partnered with Coursera to use its massive open online course (MOOC) platform to offer the MCS to students in a more flexible and affordable way than is possible on campus. This innovative format offers video lectures through Coursera's platform, but includes the additional assignments, projects, and comprehensive exams required for university degree credit, along with the advising, discussion, and feedback from Illinois faculty, staff, and teaching assistants so that they can be completed successfully. The Online MCS is designed to allow students to study at their own pace, to provide time for work, family, or other obligations. Students can earn the Online MCS aggressively in as little as one year, more leisurely over three years, or, with occasional pauses, over as many as five years.

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MCS-DS student Anu Agrahari accesses lectures with Coursera's mobile app.
MCS-DS student Anu Agrahari accesses lectures with Coursera's mobile app.

Online MCS in Data Science.

Learn about new statistical and computational methods that are transforming business and society from the Illinois faculty who are pioneering them. Illinois Computer Science offers a specialized track of courses that satisfy the MCS degree requirements, but with coursework that focuses on data science — the art of extracting new knowledge and finding meaningful information in a massive sea of data. The Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS) leads to the same MCS degree as above, but through core competencies in machine learning, data mining, data visualization, and cloud computing, as well as interdisciplinary data science courses offered in cooperation from the Department of Statistics and the School of Information Science. As with the Online MCS, the Online MCS-DS is offered through our partnership with Coursera on its MOOC platform. 

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Graduate Computer Science

The graduate program in Computer Science is ranked 5th in Best Computer Sciences Schools issue of U.S. News and World Report (last ranked in 2018).

U.S. News and World Report


The graduate engineering program at Illinois ranked 10th overall in the Best Graduate Schools issue of U.S. News and World Report (published in March 2020). The list provided here includes all ranked graduate engineering science specialties in The Grainger College of Engineering.

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