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:

Fall 2017 Catalog (and later) Fall 2016 Catalog (and earlier)
CS 665 (Computer Architecture) CS 550 (Database Concepts)
and one of CS 562 (Cybersecurity Fundamentals)
CS 500 (Foundations of Computing) CS 600 (Algorithms and Data Structures)
CS 600 (Algorithms and Data Structures) CS 665 (Computer Architecture)

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.

Fall Spring Summer
CS 550 (Database Concepts) CS 500 (Foundations of Computing) – starting Spring 2019 CS 773 (Data Mining and Security)
CS 562 (Cybersecurity Fundamentals) CS 550 (Database Concepts)
CS 563 (Cryptography for Cybersecurity) CS 564 (Networked Systems Security)
CS 665 (Computer Architecture) CS 565 (Information Assurance)
CS 723 (Introduction to Bioinformatics) CS 600 (Algorithms and Data Structures)
CS 776 (Architectural Support for Cloud Computing) CS 724 (High-Performance Computing and Big Data)
CS 725 (Information Visualization)


  • CS 723 and CS 724 may only be offered online every other year.
  • CS 725 is typically taught as a hybrid course. This means that there is an in-class section as well, so online students will interact with and follow the same schedule as the in-class students.
  • Any CS 795 topics course that is taught online will be counted towards this degree.

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