Online MCS

Complete a Master’s degree part-time, online! 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, Siebel Systems, YouTube, and Yelp.

The Online Master of Computer Science (MCS), a graduate degree designed for professionals, consists of eight advanced courses in computing. Choose four core areas from which you’ll build expertise such as machine learning, data mining, software engineering, scientific computing, parallel programming, computer systems, and more. 

Students receive lectures through Coursera's massive open online course (MOOC) platform, but are advised and assessed by Illinois faculty and teaching assistants on the more rigorous set of assignments, projects, and exams required for university degree credit.

Students specifically interested in a data science focus should consider the University of Illinois Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS) Track.  

Apply by October 15 for Spring 2019 admission.

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Who may apply? Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree. If it is not in computer science, applicants must have sufficient background in computer programming as well as data structures and algorithms. The recommended undergraduate GPA for applicants applying to the Professional Master's program is a 3.2/4.0 or higher. For questions, please first read the FAQ, then email if your question is not addressed there.


Tuition for the Online MCS is $600 per credit hour, for a total of $19,200 for the complete 32 credit hour degree.

Additional Fees

  • Coursera fees:  $79 per each Coursera MOOC course that is applied toward the Online MCS. (Each credit-bearing course of enrollment at the University of Illinois has two associated MOOC courses.)  

    Note: If a required Coursera course has been completed for a certificate before the official Online MCS course started, students do not need to re-pay.

    More information on Coursera payments and Coursera financial aid can be found here.
  • ProctorU fees: Most Online MCS courses require one or more exams. Exams are proctored online through the ProctorU service, which will be billed directly to the student when an exam is scheduled, at $8.75 (30-min. exam), $14.75 (1-hr. exam), $21.50 (90-min. and 2-hour exam), or $30.25 (3-hour exam).
  • Other fees: Some courses can require additional fees, such as the Amazon Web Services cloud programming platform used for the cloud computing courses

Financial Assistance

The Department of Computer Science does not offer research or teaching assistantships to students enrolled in our online programs, including the Online MCS. The Online MCS program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and enrolled students are eligible for financial assistance. See the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information.

Get Updates

If you are interested in receiving updates about the Online MCS, please complete Coursera's Interest Form.