On-Campus Master of Computer Science

Join the student body on the Urbana-Champaign campus for full-time studies and earn a Professional MCS degree in as little as three semesters! The Professional MCS is a non-thesis (coursework-only) degree that requires 32 hours of graduate coursework to complete. At least four courses must be chosen from unique “core” areas of computer science, and 12 hours must be at the advanced graduate level (500-level). 

Space on campus is limited, but students have access to the greatest selection of courses to choose from in order to satisfy the MCS degree requirements. We also offer an Online MCS and Online MCS in Data Science, both through the Coursera platform, for busy professionals.

Application Information

Who may apply? Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, or if not, must have coursework (or commensurate experience) in object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithms, linear algebra and probability/statistics. The On-Campus MCS is designed to allow students to complete the degree in as little as one year with a maximum of three continuous semesters. (Full-time employees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be admitted only as on-campus students and may complete the program on a part-time basis.) The recommended undergraduate GPA for applicants applying to the Professional Master's program is a 3.2/4.0 or higher. The Department of Computer Science does not require GRE scores for any of its graduate programs. Applications for the MCS do not require letters of recommendation, but will be considered if included, especially if used to justify experience in lieu of required coursework, or other irregularities.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Master of Computer Science (MCS) Requirements Table.

Degree Planning Document [PDF].

Breadth Requirement: 12-16 credit hours.
Must complete four 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, 544, 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 with a grade of C or higher.
Must be computer science courses numbered CS 500-590 or 598. One 4 credit hour CS 597 course or an approved non-computer science 500-level course may be approved.

Additional Requirements

  • At least 24 credit hours must be taken in computer science offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Any course taken for letter grade must have a grade of C or higher.
  • Up to 12 credit hours of previous graduate coursework that is approved by the Department of Computer Science (including non-degree graduate courses completed within the Department of Computer Science) may be transferred and applied to the Professional MCS degree requirements.
  • All degree requirements must be completed in three continuous semesters or less (counting only fall and spring terms). 

MASTER OF COMPUTER SCIENCE (MCS) Requirements TABLE

Credit Hours Hours
Total Credit for the Degree 32
Course Work 32

Breadth Requirement: four different courses, each from a different core area out of the nine core areas.

12-16

Advanced courses – chosen from CS 500 - CS 590 and CS 598; CS 597, or an approved non-CS 500-level course may satisfy 4 credit hours of this requirement.

12

Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below)

4-8

Other Requirements and Conditions (may overlap):*

A minimum of 24 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 the Breadth course work.

The minimum program GPA is 3.0.

At most, 12 credit hours of previous graduate coursework that is approved by the Department of Computer Science (including non-degree graduate courses completed within the Department of Computer Science) may be transferred and applied to the Professional MCS degree requirements.

All degree requirements must be completed within three consecutive semesters (only fall and spring semesters are counted). 

Tuition & Fees

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

The Department of Computer Science generally does not offer Professional MCS students research or teaching assistantships. Students are eligible to accept an assistantship if one is offered. See the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information about financial assistance offered by the University.

Please note that all on-campus students must be registered as a full-time student, which is 12 credit hours per semester regardless of holding an assistantship. (Full-time employees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are eligible to register as part-time on-campus students.) These are department policies for this program.