Professional Master of Computer Science (MCS) Program

Join the ranks of those with 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 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 offered to students enrolled in our research-focused MS and PhD degree programs. 

Explore several ways to pursue your MCS degree

On-Campus MCS 

The Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science.
The Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science.

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 gives students the largest selection of courses to satisfy the MCS degree requirements.

Students pay full tuition and fees and can access Big 10 Division I sports, marquee theatre and performing arts, and outstanding health and recreational facilities.

Learn About the On Campus MCS


MCS in Chicago 

The Chicago skyline and lakefront with sunlight and clouds in 2017.
The Chicago lakefront and skyline.

The program was designed with maximum flexibility in mind for students. Students can attend classes taught in-person in downtown Chicago or attend classes taught 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. Students pay full tuition and applicable fees.

Learn About the MCS in Chicago


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 more flexibly and affordably than is possible on campus. This innovative format offers video lectures through Coursera's platform. Still, it 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.

Learn About the Online MCS

Online MCS in Data Science 

A woman smiles and holds a laptop displaying online students in the Siebel Center for Computer Science lobby.
Photo Credit: Holly Birch Photography
An online computer science class in the Siebel Center for Computer Science lobby.

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 course track that satisfies the MCS degree requirements but with coursework focusing 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. 

Learn About the Online MCS in Data Science