M.C.S. in Computer Science overview

The Master's of Computer Science degree is a coursework-only program aimed to help working professionals and recent grads gain expertise in a computational area. Our M.C.S. grad go on to work in big tech, data analytics, healthcare, finance and software engineering. Advance your career in this fast-growing field!

General degree information

The Master of Computer Science (M.C.S) degree is our coursework-only program. Applicants to this degree are interested in expanding their skills but are not interested in the research aspects of computer science. Students are currently working in industry in the U.S., typically in the Twin Cities area, and have been out of school for a period of time. The minimum GPA for an M.C.S. student is 3.0.

Candidates for this degree must complete a minimum of 31-semester credits in graduate courses with a minimum of 16 credits in the major. One credit of the Computer Science Colloquium is mandatory and should be taken before submitting a GPAS Planner. Related field or minor courses are not required but are optional.

Students in this program can take most of their coursework online (through UNITE) or at night. Students should expect to visit campus for various reasons connected to a course and degree completion steps. Courses that are offered online may require a student to be on campus for various things such as exams or presentations at the instructor's discretion.

Degree requirements

For the M.C.S. degree, each student needs to satisfy the departmental breadth requirement, however, none of the M.S. research requirements (including the Plan C course project requirements, the Plan B project, or Plan A thesis of the Master of Science degree) are required. There is no requirement for a final oral examination.

Each student must complete 31 credits of graduate-credit coursework, including:

  • 16 graduate credits from 5xxx or 8xxx courses with a CSCI designator
    • 9 credits (3 courses) breadth courses (no courses may be transferred from an outside institution to meet breadth requirements)
    • 1 credit of CSCI colloquium (CSCI 8970)
    • 6 credits of additional CSCI 5xxx or 8xxx coursework
  • Other graduate-level credits to reach a total of at least 31 credits, which may include related field courses from programs other than CSCI or courses for a graduate minor

Things to remember

  • All CSCI courses counting towards degree requirements must be taken A-F if the A-F grading basis is offered.
  • All major credits must be 5xxx or above.
  • Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25 for courses counting towards degree requirements and no courses with a grade below a C- can be included.

If you have questions regarding your individual degree plan, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Graduate Program Coordinator for help.

Degree completion

All requirements for the M.C.S. degree must be completed and the degree awarded within 5 calendar years after initial enrollment in the graduate program. Progress guidelines are available in Appendix A of the Graduate Student Handbook. Students who are unable to complete the degree within the time limits described due to extraordinary circumstances may submit a petition to the Director of Graduate Studies and the College of Science and Engineering for an extension of up to 12 months.


Throughout your career as an M.C.S. student, you will receive support from your academic advisor(s), peer groups, and the departmental program administrator as well as a number of individuals across campus who work to best facilitate your progress through your degree program. Our primary goal is to make sure that your experience is positive, productive and prepares you for a successful career beyond the University of Minnesota.

The Graduate Program Coordinator can answer most questions and advise students on degree requirements, department procedures, or general issues about being a graduate student. All new students are expected to meet with the coordinator upon arrival in the program, as well as several times throughout your graduate career in order to best facilitate your program. 

The Director of Graduate Studies is the official advisor of record for all students unless an advisor was assigned at the time of admission.

Stephen Guy

Stephen Guy

Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

Kenneth H. Keller Hall
Room 5-225F

Goldy Gopher on a gold background

Allison Small and Joe Nieszner

Senior Graduate Program Coordinators