Online MS

In addition to the traditional, on-campus version of our general MS Degree in Computer Science, we also offer a fully online (asynchronous, web-based) MS Degree. This program is particularly targeted towards working professionals who are either already in the computing field or desire to transition to the computing profession. (Note that the MS in Computer Science with a CIS concentration is not available online.)


As this is a full MS Degree, the same admissions standards and prerequisites apply as for the on-campus MS Degree. Students who need to complete prerequisites may take advantage of the online undergraduate courses that are offered through our online BS in Computer Science program.


The following core courses are required:

  • CS 665 (Computer Architecture)
  • CS 500 (Foundations of Computing) or CS 600 (Algorithms and Data Structures)

MS students in the thesis option are required to take CS 600 and CS 665 to satisfy the core requirements.

As with the on-campus MS program, three options are available:

  • Courses-only Option: A minimum of 34 credit hours is required, including 33 credits of course work and 1 credit of colloquium.
  • Project Option: A minimum of 34 credit hours is required, including 30 credits of course work, 3 credits of project work and 1 credit of colloquium.
  • Thesis Option: A minimum of 31 credit hours is required, including 24 credits of course work, 6 credits of thesis research and 1 credit of colloquium.

Course Offerings

The online program has cybersecurity as its primary emphasis, with 5 courses that have a direct focus on security. In addition to cybersecurity and the core, we offer courses in data mining, information visualization, high performance computing, bioinformatics, and cloud computing. By completing the MS program including the 4 500-level cybersecurity courses (CS 562, CS 563, CS 564, CS 565), students will also earn a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity.

We expect to have the following course rotation, though these are not guaranteed.

Online in the Fall:

  • CS 550 (Database Concepts)
  • CS 562 (Cybersecurity Fundamentals)
  • CS 563 (Cryptography for Cybersecurity)
  • CS 665 (Computer Architecture)
  • CS 723 (Introduction to Bioinformatics)
  • CS 752 (Wireless Communication and Mobile Computing)
  • CS 776 (Architectural Support for Cloud Computing)

Online in the Spring:

  • CS 500 (Foundations of Computing)
  • CS 550 (Database Concepts)
  • CS 562 (Cybersecurity Fundamentals)
  • CS 564 (Networked Systems Security)
  • CS 565 (Information Assurance)
  • CS 600 (Algorithms and Data Structures)
  • CS 724 (High-Performance Computing and Big Data)
  • CS 725 (Information Visualization)
  • CS 762 (Memory Analysis and Forensics)

Online in the Summer:

  • CS 773 (Data Mining and Security)


  • Any graduate CS course that is offered online may count towards the degree requirements, as long as it meets the requirements for the on-campus MS Degree.
  • CS 723 and CS 724 may only be offered online every other year.

Other Requirements

The remaining requirements are the same as for the on-campus MS Degree with the following exceptions:

  • number of 500-level courses – Students completing the Cybersecurity certificate may count 5 500-level courses (CS 500, 562, 563, 564, 565) towards their MS degree.
  • colloquium – In lieu of physically attending 10 talks, students may view 10 talks from an approved list. Most of the approved talks will be online broadcasts of the on-campus colloquium events in the Department of Computer Science, but other types of talks may be substituted (including technical talks local to the student) with approval of the GPD. For each talk, the student will submit an online form providing feedback on the talk.
  • comprehensive examination – The oral examination may be given via phone, Adobe Connect, WebEx, or Skype.

Sample Course Plans

Here are two sample course plans, assuming a full-time load (9 credit hours/semester). Most of our online students attend part-time, but these sample plans show a path for completing the degree in 22 months (starting in Fall).

Option 1 includes the Graduate Cybersecurity Certificate (CS 562, 563, 564, 565), while Option 2 does not. Note that any CS 795 course offered online can substitute for any course other than the required courses of CS 665 and (CS 500 or CS 600).

Option 1 (with cybersecurity certificate)

Year 1 – 21 credits

  • Fall: CS 562, CS 563, CS 665
  • Spring: CS 500, CS 564, CS 724
  • Summer: CS 773

Year 2 – 13 credits

  • Fall: CS 723, CS 776, CS 690 (1 cr.)
  • Spring: CS 565, CS 725

Option 2

Year 1 – 21 credits

  • Fall: CS 550, CS 562, CS 665
  • Spring: CS 500, CS 564, CS 724
  • Summer: CS 773

Year 2 – 13 credits

  • Fall: CS 723, CS 776, CS 690 (1 cr.)
  • Spring: CS 600, CS 725