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Computer Science Master's Degree

A computer science master's degree program can give you advanced skills in computer research, engineering, software planning and more. Find out about types of computer science master's degrees, online program availability, common topics of study and job opportunities upon graduation.

What is a Computer Science Master's Degree?

A computer science master's degree program can teach you how to work with computers for a wide variety of industries and businesses. You could head up IT departments or open your own consulting firm. These programs typically require about two years of full-time study beyond a bachelor's degree. You can earn a Master of Science (M.S.), which could qualify you for doctoral programs, or a Master of Computer Science, a professional degree. A M.S. program often requires you to complete a thesis.

Degree Options Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Computer Science (professional degree)
Course StructureOnline or in-person
Class TopicsJAVA, UNIX, C++, operating systems, web development
Job OpportunitiesComputer programmer, database manager, information systems manager, IT manager
Median Salary (2018)  $142,530 (for all computer & information systems managers

Are Classes Available Online?

You can find some online computer science master's degree programs. These typically allow you to access your course materials via Internet-based platforms. You might view video lectures, read lecture notes and communicate with your instructors entirely through the Web. While you can usually complete coursework on your own time, you must still adhere to school and course deadlines in most cases.

What Could I Study?

Some computer science master's degree programs allow you to specialize in a certain field of computer science, such as artificial intelligence, security or bioinformatics. You can gain skills in computer programming, operating systems, networking procedures and computer graphics. Additional courses often include:

  • Personal computing
  • Computer science concepts
  • Interactive programming
  • JAVA programming
  • UNIX programming
  • C++ programming
  • Data structures
  • Computer networks
  • Computer organization
  • Web development
  • Network administration
  • Software development

What Could I Do After I Graduate?

Depending on the type of computer science master's degree you earn, you could choose to pursue a Ph.D., but you can often qualify for a variety of jobs, including:

  • IT Manager
  • Computer Consultant
  • Corporate Information Systems Manager
  • Computer Technology Manager
  • Corporate Technology Supervisor
  • Computer Programmer
  • Database Manager

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers could see 12% job growth between 2016 and 2026, which is more than for most fields. Those who have advanced degrees could experience the most opportunities, the BLS said.