MCS Degree Requirements

The Professional MCS program is a non-thesis (no research) degree that requires 32 credit hours of graduate coursework. This program can be completed as a full-time student on campus or as a part-time student online! 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.

Applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science must have sufficient background in computer programming, data structures and algorithms, computer architecture, and theory of computation. We highly recommend applicants complete courses in these areas at a local university near them prior to submitting their application.

The Professional MCS is designed to allow students to complete the degree in as little as one year with a maximum of three continuous semesters.

Degree Requirements

Master of Computer Science (MCS) 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, 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 may be transferred and applied to the Professional MCS degree requirements. In addition, 12 credit hours of non-degree graduate courses completed within the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign may be transferred and applied to the MCS degree requirements.
  • All degree requirements must be completed in three continuous semesters or less (counting only fall and spring terms). Students in the online MCS program can complete the requirements in as little as 2 ½ years (one course per semester) and must complete requirements within 5 years.

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. To learn more about the tuition and fees for this program, please visit the links below. 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.

The professional Master of Computer Science (MCS) degree is offered on-campus as a full-time program or online as a part-time program for working professionals.

Master of Computer Science (MCS) 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 eight 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 semester credit hours of previous graduate course work may be transferred and applied to the MCS 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 campus may be transferred and applied to the MCS degree requirements.

All degree requirements must be completed within three consecutive semesters (only fall and spring semesters are counted). Off-campus students have 5 years in which to complete this degree.