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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 an area of study of your choosing. MCS coursework can include CS Professional courses. You can choose to do a Master's Project (but not a Master's Thesis) or coursework-only to complete the MCS program. There is no master's comprehensive exam.

The general MCS program requires 30 credit hours of coursework and offers the most flexibility in selecting elective courses. You can choose one of 10 specializations if you are particularly interested in a specific area of study, however a specialization is not required.

If your bachelor's degree is in computer science, you can complete a general MCS program in three semesters plus a summer course. If you are without a bachelor's degree in computer science, it may require extra time to make up prerequisite undergraduate coursework. The normal time required to earn an MCS with a specialization is two years, and you should start taking specialization courses as early as possible, even during your first semester.

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


  • A Bachelor's Degree with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0/4.0 or its equivalent.

    The degree does not have to be in Computer Science (but see Prerequisite Undergraduate Coursework below). For students from the Indian educational system a "First Class" four-year degree is required. Applicants with a 3-year bachelor's degree must also have a master's degree in the same area. Applicants with a GPA less than 3.0 but greater than 2.5 may take courses as a Special, Non-Degree graduate student and then apply to the MCS program..

  • GRE: 295 (quantitative + verbal), 2.5 (analytical writing)

    The GRE can be waived for applicants to the MCS program who have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0/4.0.

  • TOEFL/PTE/IELTS: See the requirements at Graduate Admission.


  • Prerequisite Undergraduate Coursework

    Applicants whose Bachelor's degree is not in Computer Science or Computer Engineering can still apply to the program but may be required to take extra time to complete Prerequisite Undergraduate Coursework and take one or more of the courses below. A grade of "B" or its equivalent is required for a course to count toward meeting Prerequisite Coursework Requirements.

Additional Requirements

  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • A Personal Statement
  • One Calculus Course

    Applicants without a calculus course may be admitted but are required to take a calculus course. This course does not apply toward the credit hours required for the Master's program.

  • Good Academic Standing

    Applicants who are currently pursuing a graduate degree outside of the CS department at IIT must show good academic standing, by submitting a transcript for the final semester they are taking in this program / at this university.

  • Students with an MSCS degree from IIT are not eligible for admission to the MCS program.


The eight specializations in areas of computer science require taking four specialization courses to be taken as part of elective coursework.  They do not alter the requirement of 30 credit hours of coursework.

The Business and Finance specializations require 33 credit hours of coursework, with three specialization courses taken from the Stuart School of Business (SSB)

Program Requirements 

Completing the MCS degree program requires:

  • A minimum total of 30 credit hours of coursework (33 for certain specializations), approved by an adviser.
  • Specialization courses, if an MCS with a specialization is desired.
  • A GPA of at least 3.0/4.0, as reported by the Office of the Registrar. (See Grade Point Average for details.)

Coursework used to meet degree program requirements must meet the following criteria:

  • It must include at least one course in each of the three Core Areas of Systems, Theory, and Programming.
  • At least 20 total credit hours must be in 500-level CS or CS Professional (CSP) courses.  Transfer courses cannot be included, as courses must be taken through Illinois Tech's CS department.
  • 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 Ilinois Tech 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 and the remaining 4 at the 400-level or above. Only the specialization courses can come from outside CS or CSP.
  • At most 6 total credit hours can come from Accelerated courses.
  • Co-terminal students can share 9 credits of coursework with their bachelor's studies. (See Co-Terminal Graduate Advising for details.)
  • At most 6 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 undergraduate prerequisite coursework (CS 201, 401, and 402) 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 Advising

To ensure that degree requirements are being met, you are required to meet with your academic advisor before progressing too far into your studies.  A Graduate Program (GP) hold prevents registration until this meeting occurs.  The advisor can release the hold after the meeting.  (See Graduate Academic Affairs > Academic Advising and CS > Academic Advising.)  Graduate Degree Works is used to monitor progress toward completion of the degree requirements.

Practical Training

International master's 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. See Career Management Center (CMC) and International Center for details.

The CS department is firm on the requirements of a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 to be eligible for a CPT or OPT.  Students who do not meet this criterion should consult with the International Center to discuss their options.  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.

You must complete 18 credit hours of coursework to be eligible for a CPT.  In addition, the CS department requires second degree and transfer students to complete at least 9 credits of Illinois Tech CS coursework before they can be eligible for a CPT.

Program Contact 

James Sasaki, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer, Director of the Graduate Professional Program
Office: Stuart Building 208D
Phone: 312.567.5176

Last update: 8/29/2019

2019-08-29: Move admission requirements to its own block, tweak wording.

2019-08-27: Tweak wording of 33 hr requirement

2019-05-22: Remove references to plan of study.

2018-03-06: For OPT with < 3.0 GPA, suggest talking to international center.

2017-12-28: Transfer courses don't count toward 20 credit requirement

2018-03-06: emphasize 3.0 GPA needed for OPT signature, added suggestion to contact international center.

2017-12-28: Can't use transfer courses as part of 20 credit requirement

2017-10-23: link to co-terminal pgm

2017-04-12: "Plan" of study, not "Program" of study