Computer Science, MS

Degree: Master of Science (MS)
Field of Study: Computer Science

Program Overview

MS in CS has three tracks: a Course-Focused track, a Project-Focused track, and a Thesis-Focused track. Although all of the three options require 30 credit hours, they are structured differently to achieve different objectives. The Course-Focused track prepares students for advanced industry employment and should be treated as a terminal MS degree in CS. The Project-Focused track if for students who seek opportunities for completing an applied project, for example within the context of an established collaboration with industry. The Thesis-Focused track is mainly for students who have interests in research. Therefore, the three tracks have different requirements in admission, advising, and course work.   


Graduate students shall be admitted to the MS degree program upon recommendation of the faculty of the CS program.  Requirements for admission include a strong record of scholarship in a completed bachelor's degree program in computer science and related areas, and fluency in written and spoken English.  The University requires all foreign applicants to show English proficiency by achieving a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the internet-based exam for the thesis-focused or the project-focused track.  For the course-focused track, a minimum TOEFL score of 80 is required.  For students who are expected to have any professional student to student interaction, e.g., as a teaching assistant, a lab instructor, or a tutor, a minimum TOEFL score of 90 is required.  It is required that all students submit original copies of GRE scores, with the exception of CWRU students applying to the BS/MS program.

The MS program requires students to have substantial knowledge of undergraduate computer science material. Applications from students with a bachelor's degree in fields other than computer science may be granted admission on a provisional basis. Students should have knowledge equivalent to that in the courses:

  • CSDS 233 
  • CSDS 310 
  • Any one course listed as an undergraduate Computer Science Breadth Requirement 

Students deficient in one or more of these areas (admission with provision) may be required to satisfy this requirement by taking the corresponding courses listed above. These courses cannot be counted towards their MS requirement. However, a student taking and passing a course that subsumes one of the requirements automatically demonstrates knowledge of the material in the required course; e.g. taking CSDS 410 demonstrates knowledge of the material in CSDS 310. Such graduate level courses will be used to satisfy their MS requirement.

Applicants lacking the required background are encouraged to explore the  Computer Science pathway options. Additional information on the Computer Science pathway can be obtained by contacting the department.


Course registration can be performed through the SIS system. Each semester before registration, students should update any personal information that may have changed by logging onto the SIS and editing the appropriate information. All registration holds must be lifted in order to successfully complete the registration process.


Each MS student will be assigned an academic advisor, who will assist the student in formulating an academic program. A student in the thesis-focused or project-focused track is expected to pick a research advisor in the program by the end of their first semester. The research (co)advisor must be a faculty member of the university whose status is tenured, tenure-track, non-tenure-track, emeritus, or research faculty. Faculty with other status are not eligible to serve as a student (co)advisor. If the primary affiliation of the research advisor is not with the Computer Science program, the student must have a research co-advisor in Computer Science. The research advisor will supervise the student's thesis or project and also serves as the academic advisor.  Each student, in consultation with their advisor(s), must submit a Planned Program of Study preferably before completing 9 credit hours of coursework.  This should specify all courses and thesis/project work that will be counted toward the 30 credit hour requirement.

Graduate Policies

For graduate policies and procedures, please review the School of Graduate Studies section of the General Bulletin.