University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to Launch Professional Master of Computer Science Degree with the Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago

9/22/2022 Aaron Seidlitz, Illinois CS

Illinois Computer Science, through The Grainger College of Engineering, will, for the first time, offer a professional degree program in Chicago.

Written by Aaron Seidlitz, Illinois CS

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is launching a new Professional Master of Computer Science degree in Chicago with the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), designed as a path for CS students to continue their education and accelerate their careers.

The Grainger College of Engineering’s Computer Science graduate program, ranked 5th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, has begun accepting applications for its first cohort of 20 students to start in the Chicago location in January. Among the program’s notable alumni include founders and leaders of, Malwarebytes,, Netscape, Optimizely, PayPal, YouTube, and Yelp.

Nancy Amato
Nancy M. Amato

"The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign CS program is growing strategically to meet the tremendous demand for a world class CS education," said Nancy M. Amato, Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering and University of Illinois Computer Science Department Head. "By offering this Professional Master of Computer Science degree in Chicago, we are providing a unique opportunity for our students to make connections with and contribute to the Chicago tech community."

Connections throughout the state understand the opportunity ahead and support the growth of computing education.

“Here in Illinois, we know that innovation is critical to economic prosperity,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With this new Professional Master of Computer Science degree program at DPI in Chicago, the next generation of computer science students will be prepared for the jobs of the future—all while contributing to the economic sustainability of our great state. This first-rate program is also accessible, thanks to a hybrid model, and will greatly increase diversity in the tech world. This is what I call a partnership at its finest.”

Skyline of Chicago with text MCS in Chicago - Built to accelerate your career.
Connections throughout the state of Illinois have supported the growth of computing education through this new Professional Master of Computer Science degree offering in Chicago.

“The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has produced some of the world’s brightest minds in the tech industry, and I am so excited that students right here in our city will be able to join their ranks,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “I applaud the effort of this new program to tap into Chicago's talent pool and look forward to seeing the incredible innovations the inaugural cohort will create.”

The program will be hosted at DPI, a unit of the University of Illinois System, which aims to propel Chicago into a pre-eminent and inclusive tech economy over the next decade.

“As a Grainger Engineer myself, I know that having a talent pipeline between Urbana-Champaign and Chicago  — for faculty and students alike — will only make our state stronger,” said Bill Jackson, executive director of the Discovery Partners Institute. “The labor market is at its tightest in recent memory, and demand for computer scientists is skyrocketing. The addition of this program creates a clear next step for UIUC graduates to stay in state and get another degree from one of the best computer science programs in the world.”

The Professional Master of Computer Science degree program, which does not require the GRE, includes 32 hours of graduate coursework led by world class CS faculty from UIUC. They will be teaching student cohorts in-person or through an online hybrid model at DPI. 

Grainger Engineering Dean Rashid Bashir
Rashid Bashir

“Bringing our world-class CS program to Chicago is just one way Grainger Engineering is broadening participation in computing and attracting new talent to Chicago and the State of Illinois,” said Rashid Bashir, Dean of The Grainger College of Engineering. “Our drive and influential ideas will address the needs of diverse professional learners in Chicago and create a new pathway for them to forge their own commitment to excellence, teamwork and success in computing.”

International applicants are advised that the Spring 2023 MCS program in Chicago is available only to those who do not require a valid student visa. However, the program is expected to be available to all applicants at a future time. The application deadline is October 31, 2022.

“This new program connects two pieces of the University of Illinois System to help meet the growing need for top-flight computer scientists in Chicago and across the state,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “This partnership is a great example of just one way the system is working to develop the kind of sustainable economic future that will benefit all Illinoisans.”

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This story was published September 22, 2022.