The Master of Computer Science (MCS)

The MCS is a non-research, course-based program for students who wish to enhance their careers with advanced knowledge of computer science. The requirements described here are in addition to the University-wide requirements for master's degrees described in the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, Section X.

Course Requirements
     Theory
     Algorithms
     Colloquium Requirement
     Elective Courses
Software Engineering Subtrack
Final Semester/Graduation
Academic Registration Requirement
Academic Standing
     MCS Plan of Study Form
Petitions

 

Course Requirements

The MCS requires a minimum of 32 semester hours of coursework beyond the bachelor's degree. This includes 2 semester hours of CS:6000-Colloquium and 10 additional courses (3 or more semester hours each).

Theory

All MCS students are required to take one of the following for a total of 3 semester hours:

CS:4330 Theory of Computation 3 s.h.
CS:4350 Logic in Computer Science 3 s.h.
CS:5340 Limits of Computation 3 s.h.
CS:5350 Design and Analysis of Algorithms 3 s.h.
CS:5360 Randomized Algorithms 3 s.h.
CS:5370 Computational Geometry 3 s.h.
CS:5850 Programming Language Foundations 3 s.h.
CS:5860 Lambda Calculus and its Applications 3 s.h.
Algorithms

All MCS students are required to take CS:4310 Design and Implementation of Algorithms.

Colloquium Requirement

All MCS students must accumulate at least 2 semester hours of CS:6000, the CS Department Colloquium Series. Students enrolled in CS:6000 are graded S/U. Students must attend at least 80% of scheduled talks to get a satisfactory score for the course. Please be aware that, occasionally, colloquia may occur on days and times other than when CS:6000 is normally scheduled.

Elective Courses

MCS students should complete their remaining 24 s.h. (8 courses) with a combination of computer science graduate courses, research and project courses, and non-CS graduate courses approved by their advisor. See our Computer Science graduate courses page for relevant courses. The choice of electives must satisfy the following constraints:

  • at least 6 courses (18 semester hours) must be classroom-based CS graduate courses. These are CS courses numbered 4300 or above, excluding CS:5110, CS:5990, CS:6000, CS:6990, and CS:7990.
  • at most 1 Individualized research/project course (CS:5990). This course is an excellent option for students interested in exploring an area in CS beyond the treatment provided by CS classroom-based courses. MCS students interested in pursuing a PhD usually benefit from taking CS:5990.
  • at most 2 technical courses (approved by the advisor) that are not CS graduate courses. For students looking for courses outside the department, courses in mathematics, statistics, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, management sciences, etc. are some popular choices. Students also may include up to 1 course at the CS:3000 level taken during a student's first year in the M.C.S. program, limited to the following: CS:3620 Operating Systems; CS:3640 Introduction to Networks and Their Applications; or CS:3820 Programming Language Concepts.

Software Engineering Subtrack

The Computer Science Department, with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, offers a subtrack in software engineering within the MCS program. Students completing CS:5800 Fundamentals of Software Engineering, CS:5810 Formal Methods in Software Engineering, CS:5820 Software Engineering Languages and Tools, and CS:5830 Software Engineering Project, receive a Software Engineering subtrack designation on their transcript. See the Academic Services Coordinator to file the appropriate paperwork when applying for the degree at graduation, if you were not originally accepted into this program.

Final Semester/Graduation

Besides the Application for Degree, MCS students must complete a Non-Doctoral Plan of Study Summary Sheet, found on the Graduate College website, with the help of the Academic Services Coordinator and filed by the appropriate deadline.

Academic Registration Requirement

The Graduate College has explicit residence requirements that must be satisfied in order to obtain the MCS. Of the minimum 32 semester hours required for the degree, at least 24 semester hours must be completed after admission to a UI graduate program. Various forms of extramural registration may qualify toward fulfillment of the aforementioned 24 semester hours residence requirement. See the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, Section X (D), and Section II (G).

Academic Standing

Students must maintain a minimum 2.75 grade point average to remain in good standing with the Graduate College. Falling below that level will result in academic probation at the collegiate level. The Department requirements are more stringent -- MCS students must maintain a grade point average of 3.00 and must demonstrate academic progress towards the degree. A student placed on departmental probation for failing to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 shall be given a written explanation of the reasons for this action, along with a reasonable time-period (typically one year) within which the student shall take corrective action or be dismissed from the graduate program. For details, see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

A policy defining procedures to be followed in the dismissal of students from graduate programs has been approved by the Board of Regents, and are contained in the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College; found on the web.

MCS Plan of Study Form

Each student is responsible for maintaining an up-to-date MCS Plan of Study document on file with the Academic Services Coordinator. The MCS Plan of Study is used to track student progress throughout the program, and should be updated each semester in collaboration with the student's advisor. It is also used to complete the Graduate College’s Plan of Study summary document when preparing for graduation.

Petitions

Students may submit petitions to the Director of Graduate Studies for deviations from the requirements outlined here. The petition form is available online.

 

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