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7 Top Universities

Master’s Degrees in Computer Science

Pursue a world-class master’s in computer science in the USA. Gain a deeper understanding of key concepts like language theory, software developments, or advanced algorithms. Common course options include data analytics, high performance computing, mobile computing, software engineering, algorithms, programming, computer systems, and more.

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Master Degree in Computer Science FAQs

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    Where can I study for a computer science master’s degree in the US?

    As the number-one higher education destination for international students, the US is home to top-ranked universities with the best computer science master’s programs in USA. When selecting the university you wish to attend, make sure to consider factors such as the location and university rankings.

    Top-ranked Shorelight universities in the USA for masters in computer science include: 

    • Adelphi University—Located in New York City and ranked among the best colleges nationwide (U.S. News & World Report, 2021), Adelphi University offers STEM-designated master’s in computer science including two specializations in cybersecurity and software engineering.

    • Auburn University—Ranked the #69 Graduate Engineering School by U.S. News & World Report, 2020, Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering offers a master’s in computer science and software engineering with research opportunities in state-of-the-art laboratories.

    • Cleveland State University—Partnered with Fortune 500 companies, CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering offers a master of computer science (MCS) program. The MCS is also available through the CSU Live digital classroom experience which gives international students the opportunity to earn credits toward their MCS from anywhere in the world!

    • University of Dayton—The University of Dayton provides offers faculty research opportunities, graduate assistantships, and graduate student summer fellowships to international students through its master of computer science (MCS) program.

    • University of Illinois Chicago—Ranked #64 in Computer Science by U.S. News & World Report, 2020, UIC offers a STEM-certified master’s degree in computer science with coursework focusing on computer algorithms, artificial intelligence, introduction to machine learning, and more.

    • University of the Pacific—Ranked #133 among national universities by U.S. News & World Report, 2021, UOP International offers a master of science in computer science (MSCS) at its Stockton campus. Through the accelerated undergraduate program provided by Pacific’s College of Engineering and Computing, you can earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years total.

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    What are typical courses international students need to take to earn a computer science master’s degree?

    Unlike the course curriculum for bachelor’s degree programs in computer science, the course curriculum for computer science master’s USA may offer multiple specializations. Depending on your goals and interests, as well as advice from your advisors, you can build your own curriculum. However, this may vary depending on the US university you wish to attend and your specialization.

    Here are some popular courses international students need to take to complete a computer science masters USA:

    • Artificial intelligence (AI): Artificial intelligence teaches students the impact of AI on search, cognition, and smart devices. During the course, students will explore AI applications in everyday life and study language, probability, and logic to inform decisions in the fields of robotics, machine learning, and probabilistic modeling and inference.

    • Computer and network security: In this specialization, students take classes in areas like cryptography, networking, and network security to learn how to secure information from threats such as malware, hackers, and virus attacks.

    • Information management: Also known as data analytics, this course area offers knowledge on designing systems, mining data, and developing database applications. Students also learn the importance of information management in various industries like finance, manufacturing, health care, and more.

    • Human-centered computing: As an interdisciplinary specialization at many universities in the US, this course allows students to work with students outside of the computer science department while taking classes. This concentration is well suited to students who are interested in the future of computing, and concepts like augmented and virtual reality.

    Our advisors are here to set you up for success. To learn more about courses you need to take for a computer science masters USA, please refer to academic support.

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    What requirements are needed to study for a computer science master’s degree in the US?

    The master’s in computer science in the USA requirements vary depending on the university you hope to attend. However, most programs consider the following criteria when evaluating applicants:

    1. Bachelor’s degree—Completing your undergraduate studies before you apply for a master’s degree in computer science is mandatory. Many universities in the US require a four-year undergraduate degree in computer science, software engineering, information technology, or equivalent qualification from an accredited university.

    2. Grade point average (GPA)—When applying for computer science programs in USA, the admissions committees will carefully look at your grades from your undergraduate studies. Depending on the university, GPA requirements may differ.

    3. Test scores—Generally, the graduate school you wish to attend will require your GRE and TOEFL or IELTS test scores. The GRE test evaluates your verbal and quantitative reasoning, as well as analytical writing and critical thinking skills. TOEFL and IELTS English language tests evaluate your ability to speak, write, read, and understand the English language.

    4. Professional experience—Many US universities may consider any relevant work experience you have gained when evaluating your application. However, this requirement may vary depending on the university you wish to attend.

    5. Letters of recommendation—Depending on the university’s requirements, you may be asked to submit letters of recommendation. Usually, at least two different letters are required from your current or previous employers, managers, supervisors, coordinators, or senior colleagues. If you have no working experience at the time of applying, but have participated in an internship or other extracurricular activities, recommendation letters can come from those supervisors. You may also be able to ask your undergraduate professors or academic advisors for letters of recommendation. 

    To help you work toward a computer science master’s USA, Shorelight provides dedicated international student support services such as career development assistance for international students, US student visa assistance, English language assistance, and more.

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    How many years does it take to earn a computer science master’s degree in the US?

    For most international students, a full-time master’s in computer science in the USA typically takes two years to complete. Some universities in the USA for a master’s in computer science may offer accelerator programs that allow you to complete your degree in one year or less. Some universities may also offer online programs which involve streamlined courses, allowing you to complete your degree in less than two years. A part-time degree program could take as little as 18 months or as long as six years to complete, depending on your planned courses. 

    Additionally, your program’s duration will change depending on the courses you select, your academic performance, and the number of semesters you plan to enroll. The duration of your course can also change if the program has a placement system that requires you to work in a co-op, internship, or similar. If you plan to pursue a dual-degree program with another master’s degree from a different discipline, for example, this will usually increase the duration of your program.

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    What can you do with a master’s degree in computer science?

    A master’s degree in computer science helps you explore the topics you have learned during your bachelor’s degree studies, while exploring new and advanced concepts in computer technology. Additionally, by learning about the different aspects of computer science, you can discover the field you want to specialize in once you start your career. The IT industry has a wide variety of specializations to select from, such as digital security, software development, robotics, artificial intelligence, data analysis, and many more. 

    As IT-related careers highly value real-world experience as much as your academic qualifications, many universities in USA for master’s in computer sciences will require you to gain experience by working at a US IT company through internships or co-op programs. In addition to developing real-world working experience, this gives you the opportunity to build your professional portfolio and a network of contacts as you interact with industry experts. 

    Graduating with a computer science master’s USA allows you to become eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT allows you to work in an internship or a full-time job in the US for a maximum of 12 months after completing your program. As computer science is a STEM-related field, you can further request an additional two years of OPT, giving you a total of three years of working or training in the US.

    Here are some examples of careers you can work toward with a computer science masters USA: 

    • Artificial Intelligence Engineer

    • Computer Network Architect

    • Computer Systems Analyst

    • Data Scientist

    • Data Security Analyst

    • Database Administrator

    • E-commerce Analyst

    • IT Security Specialist

    • Mobile Application Developer

    • Network Administrator

    • Software Development Manager

    • Software Engineer

    • UX Designer

    • Video Game Designer

    • Web Developer

    Need help with finding the best colleges for master’s in computer science in the USA? A Shorelight advisor can help you explore your career prospects with US Master’s degrees in computer science.

Growth & Opportunity

By the Numbers

$118,370

median salary for computer and research scientists (May 2018)

+16%

projected job growth by 2028

26%

of computer and research scientists work in government sectors