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Comparison of the Master of Science and Professional Master's

The Master of Science in CS (MSCS) and Professional Master of CS (MCS) degree programs are similar but slightly different.

Admission Differences

  • The Admission Criteria are slightly higher for the MSCS than the MCS.
  • The GRE can be waived for some MCS applicants.
  • Applicants rejected for the MSCS program are automatically considered for admission to the MCS program.

Degree Requirements

The degree programs are similar in that they make nearly all CS courses available. As shown in the table below, they differ somewhat in admission policy; credit hour and core class requirements; and availability of a master's thesis, professional specializations, and courses.

ProgramMaster of Science in CS (MSCS)Master of CS (MCS)
Minimum GRE Composite: 300, AW: 3.0 Composite: 295, AW: 2.5
Credit Hours Required 32 hours 30 hours*
Core Classes Required 4 core classes 3 core classes
Specializations Not available Available, optional
Master's Thesis (CS 591) Available, optional Not available
CS Classes Available CS 401-590, 595, 600-799,
CS 591, 597
CS 401-590, 595, 600-799,
CS 597, CSP 5xx

*33 hours for the Business and Finance specializations.

Which Program Should I Apply To?

  • Both programs prepare you for a career as a working professional in computer science.
  • The MSCS is slightly more theoretically-oriented, since it requires one more Theory core course than the MCS.
  • Specializations and CS Professional courses are only available through the MCS program.
  • If you plan to continue studying for a Ph.D., you should consider writing a Master's Thesis, which is only available under the MSCS program (CS 591).
  • If you're not sure which program you want, we suggest applying to the MSCS program. If you're accepted, it's easy to change to the MCS program later; if you're rejected for the MSCS program, you'll automatically be considered for the MCS program.