Master's Degree in Computer Science


Am I qualified to get into an online computer science master’s program?






2+ Letters

At least two letters of recommendation from professors or former employers

Writing Samples

Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose; some program applications may require a personal essay or writing sample to test the candidate's English proficiency



In lieu of an official entrance examination for master's-level computer science programs, most applicants will be admitted as long as they provide a GRE score. The GRE subject test for computer science was discontinued, but applicants who took this test within the last five years can still submit their scores for consideration. In general GRE scores, C.S. admissions committees will look for higher quantitative scores.

Additional Requirements

Programming Portfolio

A portfolio of work is often required for certain computer science specializations. Applicants should choose work samples that demonstrate their interests and abilities in specific programming languages and tools that they like to work with (i.e. aspect-oriented, data-structured, or functional languages and preferred approaches to creating and using machine code).

CS Prerequisites

Courses in foundational computer science (i.e., algorithmic analysis and computer systems management) may be required for admission.

What undergraduate degrees do computer science students typically hold?

  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering

What can I do to better my chances of getting into an online master’s program in computer science?

  • Take courses in computer science, IT, mathematics, and computer/software engineering in high school and as an undergraduate.
  • Hone code-writing skills on free sites like Codecademy and Khan Academy.
  • Contribute code to open source projects online. Participate in discussion threads of updated and improved OS projects on Ycombinator’s Hacker News.
  • Sign up for an undergraduate internship with a software or technology firm.
  • Join student-led organizations that focus on computer-related skills and projects.
  • Explore student membership opportunities with computer science-related professional organizations.

Financial Aid

What scholarships and grants are available to online computer science master’s students?

  • Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship is reserved for female graduate and undergraduate students majoring in computer science-related fields around the world.
  • CyberCorps: Scholarships for Service: This federally funded program awards full tuition for an accredited computer science program, as well as $25,000 in additional funding for master’s-level students.
  • Wayne V. Black Scholarship: This award from Entelec ― reserved for students pursuing degrees in fields like engineering and computer science ― has given out more than $35,000 in student financial assistance since being established in 2006.
  • The Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in Computer Science: This scholarship award of $3,000 is given out to a legally blind student enrolled in an accredited degree program related to the fields of computer science and/or computer engineering.
  • Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund: Every year, this scholarship award of $2,500 is given to two students majoring in computer engineering, programming, and/or design.
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP): This NSF-funded fellowship is reserved for new graduate students planning to earn an advanced degree in a science or technology field.
  • Woodrow Wilson STEM Teaching Fellowship: This fellowship is available to candidates with STEM backgrounds from five states (Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio) who are interested in pursuing a career in education.
  • Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program: Graduate students are welcome to apply for a fellowship at the Smithsonian if they are majoring in any field of research listed in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (such as computer science/technology).

Careers & Salary

Upon graduation from an online computer science master’s degree program, what skills will I have?

  • Thorough command of different standardized data structures, algorithm and matrix operations and computer architecture
  • Deeper knowledge and functionality in a specialty like machine learning or computational linguistics
  • Fluency in multiple programming languages and tools, particularly those most commonly used in your chosen field of C.S.
  • Knowing how to own a project from start to finish, including managing other engineers, automating framework development, maintaining networks and staging servers and tracking tickets and bug lists
  • Ability to learn and use new programming languages and tools quickly

Once I’ve earned my online master’s in computer science, what will my job prospects look like?

  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      New Jersey — $81,160
    • City with Highest Pay

      San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA — $98,570
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Virginia — $78,290
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Olympia, WA — $64,490
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      California — $155,020
    • City with Highest Pay

      San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA — $183,870
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Massachusetts — $140,210
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA — $183,870
  • Software Developers (Applications)

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      California — $104,450
    • City with Highest Pay

      El Centro, CA — $136,390
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Washington — $97,190
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA — $117,150
  • Computer Network Architect

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      Oregon — $122,150
    • City with Highest Pay

      Gary, IN — $156,220
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Virginia — $110,590
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Olympia, WA — $82,380
  • Computer Programmer

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      Washington — $90,820
    • City with Highest Pay

      Rochester, MN — $129,350
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Utah — $77,640
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO — $59,670

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook and Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor and Statistics; Collected July 2014

* Highest concentration of jobs refers to the location with the highest number of jobs (by field) for every thousand jobs. Average annual wage is then identified for the career in each location.


What are some of the most important publications in the computer science field today?

  • International Journal of General Systems: This cross disciplinary publication looks at emerging trends in the fields of both basic and applied system science.
  • Software and Systems Modeling: SoSym is a quarterly international journal that focuses on “software and system modeling languages, techniques, tools, practices” and other related topics.
  • Systems Research and Behavioral Science: This Wiley publication aims to cover different topics related to information systems, project management, and computer engineering.
  • Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science: This computer science journal published by the University of Chicago features archived articles dating back to 1998.
  • Complex Systems: Founded in 1987, this journal is “devoted to the science, mathematics, and engineering of systems with simple components but complex overall behavior.”

What RSS feeds related to accounting are worth subscribing to?

  • Science Daily: This wide-reaching site features an RSS feed exclusively dedicated to stories and trends in the field of computer science.
  • TechCrunch: This technology-oriented site features more than a dozen RSS feeds categorized by subject (including ‘Startups,’ ‘Gaming,’ and ‘Greentech’), as well as RSS links for nearly 30 site authors.
  • WIRED: Feeds for top news stories, product reviews, videos, and 20 blogs are included in the RSS list for this popular tech/gadget site.
  • TechRadar: The RSS feeds listed on this site include 16 specifically devoted to different news topics (such as ‘Digital home’ and ‘Mobile computing’) and seven product-specific review feeds.


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