MCS Program

MCS Program

The Master of Computer Science (MCS) is a nonresearch, course-based program for students who wish to enhance their careers with advanced knowledge of computer science. The Master of Science is granted only to students working toward the PhD

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, Section X. Admission decisions are based on prior academic performance, letters of reference, and the applicant's statement about background and purpose.

The MCS requires a minimum of 32 s.h. of graduate credit, including at least 24 s.h. earned at The University of Iowa.

Basic MCS requirements are as follows. Consult the Computer Science Graduate Handbook for detailed information about specific degree requirements, such as required courses, examinations, and dissertation requirements; and graduate study policies.


One of these:

CS:4330 Theory of Computation 3 s.h.
CS:5340 Limits of Computation 3 s.h.
CS:5350 Design and Analysis of Algorithms 3 s.h.


One of these:

CS:5610 High Performance Computer Architecture 3 s.h.
CS:5620 Distributed Systems and Algorithms 3 s.h.
CS:5810 Formal Methods in Software Engineering 3 s.h.
CS:5850 Programming Language Foundations 3 s.h.


M.C.S. students must earn at least 2 s.h. in CS:6000 Research Seminar: Colloquium Series.


M.C.S. students fill their remaining 24 s.h. with a combination of computer science graduate courses, reading and project courses, and non-computer science graduate courses approved by their advisor.

Students must take at least six computer science graduate courses (18 s.h.), numbered above 120, excluding CS:5990 Individualized Research or Programming Project, CS:6990 Readings for Research, CS:7990 Research for Dissertation, and CS:6000 Research Seminar: Colloquium Series. They may count a maximum of 6 s.h. of technical or quantitative graduate courses outside of computer science, approved by their advisor, toward the elective requirement. Up to 3 s.h. of independent study courses (CS:5990 Individualized Research or Programming Project or CS:7990 Readings for Research) may be counted toward the requirement.