The Department of Computer Science's Professional Master of Computer Science (MCS) in downtown Chicago, a partnership between The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Discovery Partners Institute, accepts domestic and international student applications.

Students learn from world-class faculty advancing computer science frontiers and will master in-demand skills to solve real-world problems throughout the computing landscape. Our MCS programs allow maximum flexibility for students. You can attend classes taught in person in downtown Chicago or through an online hybrid model. 

The MCS degree can be completed in as little as three semesters if enrolled full-time or can take up to five years as a part-time student. Busy professionals can complete a degree while they continue to meet their current life and career obligations. Students will also have opportunities for corporate engagement, such as attending professional networking events, industry-led presentations, and entrepreneurship events.

The Professional MCS is a non-thesis (coursework-only) degree requiring 32 hours of graduate coursework. You must choose at least four courses from unique "core" areas of computer science and 12 hours at the advanced graduate level (500-level). Students pay full tuition and applicable fees.

We also offer an Online MCS, an Online MCS in Data Science, and an on-campus MCS.

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. Students attend classes in downtown Chicago to pursue an MCS degree full-time in as little as three semesters, or take up to five years as a part-time student. 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.

The MCS in Chicago program is now available to all applicants, including International applicants who require a valid student visa. 

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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 ten core areas with a grade of B- or higher:

  • Architecture, Compilers, Parallel Computing: CS 426, 431, 433, 483, 484, 526, 533, 534, 536
  • Artificial Intelligence: CS 440, 441, 442, 443, 444, 445, 446, 447, 448, 540, 542, 543, 544, 545, 546, 588, 598 DL for Healthcare
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology: CS 466, 581, 582
  • Computers and Education: CS 500
  • Database and Information Systems: CS 410, 411, 412, 470, 510, 511, 512, 514
  • Interactive Computing: CS 409, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 445, 465, 467, 469, 519, 565, 567, 568
  • Programming Languages, Formal Methods, Software Engineering: CS 421, 422, 427, 428, 474, 475, 476, 477, 521, 522, 524, 527, 576, 584
  • Scientific Computing: CS 450, 482, 554, 555, 556, 558
  • Security and Privacy: CS 461, 463, 562, 563
  • Systems and Networking (includes real-time systems and security): CS 414, 423, 424, 425, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 461, 463, 498 Cloud Computing Applications, 523, 525, 537, 538, 541, 563
  • Theory and Algorithms: CS 473, 475, 507, 571, 573, 574, 579, 580, 583, 586

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.
  • Degree must be completed within five years from initial enrollment.

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 ten 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):*

Only 500-level and 400-level (when offered for graduate credit) coursework will be counted toward degree requirements.

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 five years from initial enrollment. 

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.