What Is the Curriculum of a Master's Degree in Computer Science?

A Master of Science in Computer Science can be the launch pad to high-level research and development positions in fields like software development or computer systems. The curriculum for this degree is more focused than for the bachelor's degree. Read on for more information. Schools offering Computer Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Computer Science Master's Degree Overview

The curriculum of a master's degree program in computer science is more advanced and specialized than an undergraduate curriculum. Courses give students an in-depth knowledge of computer programming, computer systems and software development. Supplementary courses are offered in mathematics, and electives can be chosen in different areas of computer science. Additional courses may discuss artificial intelligence, bioinformatics and algorithm design. Students must also complete a final thesis project to obtain the master's degree.

Important Facts About a Computer Science Master's Degree

Continuing Education PhD programs available
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and online options available
Key Skills Analytical and critical thinking, oral and written communication, thorough knowledge of coding, creativity, multitasking, detail oriented
Possible Careers Senior Software Engineer, Software Developer, Software Development Engineer
Median Salary (2018) $105,590 (for all software developers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 24% growth (for all software developers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Computer Science Core Courses

Many graduate programs in computer science include a set of required core courses focusing on fundamental topics, like algorithms. These courses provide the foundation for more advanced study in a specific area of computer science. Some examples of core computer science classes include:

  • Software development
  • Algorithms and structures
  • Distributed systems

Math Courses

At least a few math courses may be required to supplement the computer classes. A high level of math is required to tackle most problems in computer science, like programming or developing algorithms. A master's degree in computer science might require some of the following math courses:

  • Statistics
  • Mathematical methods
  • Logic
  • Numerical analysis

Specialized Courses in Computer Science

In most computer science master's programs, students choose one specialization track, like computer systems, artificial intelligence, software development or computer programming. Specialized course offerings at the master's level could include:

  • Computational concepts in the sciences
  • Computer architecture
  • Bioinformatics
  • Game development
  • Object-oriented programming

Computer Science Project or Thesis

The curriculum of an M.S. in Computer Science is rounded out with a choice of electives and either a special project or thesis that demonstrates the skills and knowledge the student has acquired throughout the program. Students who write a thesis defend it to a panel of computer science faculty members.

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