Master of Science in Computer Science

The program for the Master of Science in Computer Science (MS CS) prepares students for more highly productive careers in industry. Graduates receive the MS CS for completing one of three options in the program as described in this section. Students may apply to the program if they possess a bachelor's degree in computer science from an accredited institution. Students without a bachelor's degree in computer science are encouraged to apply as well, with the understanding that they will be required to complete remedial coursework appropriate to their background in addition to the requirements of the MS CS degree. All applicants are evaluated according to their prior academic record, scores on the Graduate Record Examination, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Applicants are selected for fall semester admission only. The application deadline is February 1. However, all applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible because the selection process may begin well before the deadline.

The College's master's degree requirements supplement the Institute's master's requirements listed in this catalog. Students must achieve a grade-point average of at least 3.0 to graduate, and no course grades below C will count toward graduation. Undergraduate courses required for the BS CS degree may not be used toward the MS CS degree. In addition, no graduate credit will be given for 3000 level courses or lower-level courses. Students must take all master's degree coursework on a letter-grade basis. The maximum total credit hours of Special Problems that may be applied toward the MS CS degree is three. Students may choose from one of three options in pursuing the MS CS degree, including:


Course option: This option requires the student to complete 36 hours of coursework.

Total Course Credit Hours 36
Minimum Credit Hours in CS 24
Minimum Credit Hours(6000/8000 Level) in CS 18
Minimum Credit Hours (6000/8000 Level) 24


Project option: This option requires the student to complete 27 hours of coursework and a 9 hour project. The project requires approval by a faculty advisor and the MS program coordinator in the semester prior to its inception.

Total Credit Hours 36
MS Project Hours 9
Total Course Credit Hours 27
Minimum Credit Hours in CS 24*
Minimum Credit Hours (6000/8000 Level) in CS 18*

Thesis option: This option requires the student to complete twenty-four hours of coursework and a 12 hour thesis. The thesis process is defined elsewhere in this catalog.

Total Credit Hours 36
MS Thesis Hours 12 hour
Total Course Credit Hours 24
Minimum Credit Hours in CS 24*
Minimum Credit Hours (6000/8000 Level) in CS 18*


* May not include MS project or thesis hours.


All three of these options require students to complete 3 hours of courses in each of the core areas of Systems and Theory at the graduate-level. In addition, students entering the program must demonstrate a core competency in computing equivalent to undergraduate-level courses in the following areas: systems, design and analysis of algorithms, formal languages and automata theory, databases, networking and communications, computer architecture, and human-computer interaction. This requirement can be satisfied by having taken undergraduate courses as a part of an undergraduate degree, taking remedial courses in the MS CS program, or by examination. Beyond the core requirements, students may specialize in areas of their choice. A specialization is achieved by completing at least two graduate-level courses in the selected area. Every student must complete at least one specialization as a part of his or her degree program. The current eleven specialization areas are: computer architecture, database systems, graphics and visualization, human-computer interaction, information security, intelligent systems, networking and communications, programming languages and compilers, software methodology and engineering, systems, and theoretical computer science.

A student who is enrolled in another graduate program of the Institute may pursue an MS CS while that student is also pursuing his or her degree in the other major. To be granted permission to pursue the MS CS, a student must submit to the MS program coordinator of the College of Computing the material required for admission to the MS CS program. This includes transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE General Test and Computer Science Subject Test scores. If the student is approved by the College to pursue the MS CS, the student will be notified in writing. At no time will a student outside the College be allowed to pursue a concurrent degree without prior permission of the MS program coordinator of the College of Computing.

A student enrolled in the MS degree program in computer science who wishes to be admitted to the PhD program in computer science should apply via the same process as external students. It is expected that such a student will have at least two letters of recommendation from College of Computing faculty.

For more information about the MS CS program, visit www.cc.gatech.edu.