M.C.S. in Computer Science overview

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. 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. All major credits must be 5000 level or above, and at least 6 of the total credits must be 8000-level courses. These 8000-level credits must be Department of Computer Science course credits. 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. Due to limited 8000 level courses offered through UNITE, it is challenging to complete the degree completely online. 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 although the final report form must be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator to be signed by the Director of Graduate Studies.

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)
    • At least 6 credits of CSCI 8000 level courses (this requirement must be completed through regular, 3-credit, CSCI 8xxx courses taken on the A-F grading scale. CSCI 8001, 8002 and 8970 can not satisfy this requirement)
    • 1 credit of CSCI colloquium (CSCI 8970)
  • 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 and research 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.