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Master of Computer Science (MCS)

30 or 33 credit hours

The Master of Computer Science (MCS) is a Professional Master's degree program designed for:

  • Computer science professionals currently working in business, government, or industry who want to advance their careers.
  • Recent computer science graduates who want to extend and deepen their knowledge of the field in order to gain a competitive edge in the job market.
  • People without a previous degree in computer science who want to prepare for a career as a working computer science professional.

The MCS program provides a conceptual and practical education in computer science by combining a broad core curriculum with user-selected areas of study. MCS coursework can include CS Professional courses. Students in the MCS program can choose to do a Master's Project (but not a Master's Thesis) or coursework-only. There is no master's comprehensive exam.

The general MCS program requires 30 credit hours of coursework and offers students the most flexibility in selecting elective courses. Students interested in an especially extensive study of a topic can choose one of 11 specializations, but specialization is not required.

Technical Specializations

There are eight specializations in areas of computer science: Computational Intelligence,  Cyber-Physical Systems,  Data Analytics,  Database Systems,  Distributed and Cloud ComputingInformation Security and Assurance,  Networking and Communications, and Software Engineering. Students in these specializations take four of their elective courses in their area of specialization, for a total (as in the general MCS) of 30 credit hours.

Application-Area Specializations

There are three specializations in areas that apply computer science: BusinessEducation, and Finance. Students take three courses in their area of specialization, for a total of 33 credit hours. Business and Finance courses are taken from the Stuart School of Business (SSB); Education courses are taken from the Department of Mathematics and Science Education (MSED).

A full-time student whose bachelor degree was in computer science can complete a general MCS program in three semesters plus a summer course. A student without a bachelor's degree in computer science may require extra time to make up deficiencies in prerequisite undergraduate coursework. The normal time required to earn an MCS with a specialization is two years, and students pursuing a specialization should start taking specialization courses as early as possible, even during their first semester.

Graduate CS classes are offered during the day and evening, and both day-only and evening-only student schedules can be accommodated. Students can complete a general MCS or an MCS with technical specialization as distance students, through IIT Online: Classes can be taken entirely through on-demand Internet, without ever visiting the IIT campus. (Business, Education, and Finance courses are not currently offered through IIT Online, so these specializations cannot be completed by distance students.)

In general, for admission into an MCS program, prospective students need a bachelor's degree (not necessarily in computer science) and are required to submit a transcript and possibly GRE and TOEFL scores. For more information about this program, contact Dr. Jim Sasaki.

MCS Specializations

Degree Requirements

Completing the MCS degree program requires:

  • A minimum total of 30 credit hours of coursework (33 for an MCS with an application-area specialization), approved by an advisor.
  • A GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 in the program of study.
  • Specialization courses, if an MCS with a specialization is desired.

Coursework used to meet degree program requirements must be listed in a student's Program of Study. This program of study must be approved before completing 9 credit hours of graduate study and must meet the following restrictions:

  • It must include at least one course in each of the three core areas of Systems, Theory, and Programming.
  • At least 20 of the total credit hours must be in CS or CS Professional (CSP) courses, from the IIT CS department, at the 500-level or above.
  • For a general MCS or an MCS with a technical specialization, the remaining 10 credit hours may include CS or CSP courses (at the 400-level or above) and transfer credit for coursework from other IIT departments or for CS courses from other universities.
  • For an MCS with an application-area specialization, at least 24 of the 33 credit hours must be in CS or CSP, with at least 20 at the 500-level or above and the remaining 4 at the 400-level or above. Only the specialization courses can come from outside CS or CSP.
  • At most 6 of the total credit hours can come from "short", accelerated courses.
  • At most 6 of the total credit hours can come from the optional master's project (CS 597). Credit hours from a master's thesis (CS 591) cannot be used.
  • Interprofessional Projects (IPROs) and deficiency courses (CS 201, 401, 402, and 403) cannot be applied toward the credit hour requirement.
  • All other relevant university and college requirements (such as time limits to graduate) must be met.

Academic Probation

A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0/4.0 falls out of good standing and is placed on academic probation. The CS department will not approve applications for graduate internships, CPTs, and OPTs for students on academic probation. In addition, students may not take more than 9 credit hours per semester. The Graduate College requires students on academic probation to file an Academic Probation Contract (Form 702) before being allowed to register for more classes. For more Graduate College policies on academic probation, see the 2010-2012 Graduate Bulletin (The University; page 33).

Practical Training

  • International master's students (students on F-1 visas) may be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while studying for a degree and Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completion of a degree. Information and forms are available from the Career Management Center (CMC) and the International Center.
  • The CS department is firm on the requirement of a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 and completion of 18 credit hours of coursework before a student can be eligible for a CPT. Note that a GPA falling below 3.0 will cause eligibility for a CPT to be revoked, even if permission forms have already been signed.
  • In addition to the university's requirements, the CS department requires second degree and transfer students to complete at least 9 credits of IIT CS coursework before they can be eligible for a CPT.

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