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MCS, Masters of Computer Science

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Important Information

The USU Computer Science Department is excited to announce our new Master of Computer Science (MCS) program! This is a professional, coursework-only degree. Admissions are open now - please forward/share with your family, friends, classmates, and colleagues who may be interested in a career pivot to Computer Science (no previous CS experience required) or pursuing additional education. No GRE is required for admission!

The Master of Computer Science is a professional, coursework-only Master's degree which:

  • Invites students from all undergraduate backgrounds to apply.
    • No previous CS or coding experience required
    • Students without a grade of C or better in a course in Data Structures and Algorithms (CS 2420 at USU) must complete three (3) prerequisite courses (two or three semesters) before beginning their MCS coursework
  • Has no entrance exam requirement
    • Admissions requirements: previous transcripts, three letters of recommendation resume, and statement of purpose
  • Allows students to take courses according to their interests (no required curriculum)
  • Can be completed as quickly as three (3) semesters
    • Only 33 credits (or 11 courses) are required
  • Allows students to study Data Science, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Software Development/Engineering, Security, Algorithms, and more

Admission Information

Requirement Summary

The admissions committee will consider the following in their decisions: Current degree (B.S., M.S.) and the reputation of the programs where the degree was obtained, GPA, TOEFL/IELTS scores, performance in prerequisite courses, resume, statement of purpose, and recommendations.

Minimum Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • 3.0 GPA for the last 60 semester credits
  • TOEFL score of 79 or IELTS overall score of 6.0 and a minimum score of 5 on each subscale
  • A course in Data Structures and Algorithms (CS 2420)

Application Materials

  • Official Transcripts

    • Each previously attended college and/or university, including Utah State University, must be listed on the application form, and the applicant must have an official transcript from each institution (except Utah State University) sent directly to the Utah State University School of Graduate Studies. Transcripts accumulated on one record are not acceptable. Transcripts must be submitted for all coursework above the high-school level and all prior degrees. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a notarized translation. Transcripts submitted as application credentials become the property of the School of Graduate Studies and will not be copied for or returned to the applicant.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

    • Three letters of recommendation are required; each must address the applicant's potential for success in the proposed graduate degree program. At least two of the letters must come from persons from whom the applicant has taken academic coursework. The letters must be sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies. The request is sent out electronically through the online application.
  • TOEFL or IELTS Scores

    • International applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate competency in the English language by taking either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Dulingo does not provide sufficient proof of English proficiency. The minimum required scores are as follows:
      • TOEFL internet-based test: 79
      • IELTS exam: overall score of 6.0 and a minimum score of 5 on each subscale.
    • Scores that are more than 2 years old are not accepted. If an international applicant has a degree from a university in an English-speaking country, the TOEFL or IELTS is not required.
    • International applicants may apply to Utah State University as an undergraduate student in the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) and:
      • Take and pass the IELI placement exam, or
      • Take the IELI placement exam and complete the required classes.
    • Note: IELI does not offer level 0 or low-beginning English classes. IELI offers level 1, which is high-beginning. Students entering IELI must have a basic knowledge of English in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Passing the IELI placement exam or completing the required IELI classes does not guarantee matriculation into a graduate program.
  • Proof of Prerequisite Courses

    • Completion of CS 1400, CS 1410, and CS 2420 (or the equivalent) is required before you may enroll in MCS courses. Please upload a transcript showing completion of these courses. If you have not yet completed these prerequisite courses, please contact Caitlin Thaxton ( to get started!
  • Resume

  • Statement of Purpose

    • Elaborate on why you would like to pursue a Master of Computer Science degree and why you think you would be a good fit for the program.

Note: Application materials may be submitted after paying the $55 nonrefundable application fee. For more information on application materials, visit the School of Graduate Studies' Admissions Overview.

Application Deadlines

Semester All Students
Fall August 1
Spring October 15
Summer March 1

*Please note that MCS students are not eligible for Departmental Funding (Teaching Assistantships).

Coursework Information

Program Pathway 

  1. Be accepted to the Computer Science MS program and work with your temporary advisor: Caitlin Thaxton
  2. Register for courses.
  3. Second Semester (due Apr. 1st or Nov. 1st): Submit your Program of Study (POS) by emailing Caitlin Thaxton to let her know it is ready for approval
  4. Complete 33 credits of coursework, as listed on your POS.
  5. Notify Caitlin Thaxton the semester you plan to graduate. Complete the program when you have completed the coursework on your POS

Supervisory Committee

  • Master of Computer Science (MCS) students do not need to find a major professor or form a Supervisory Committee. Caitlin Thaxton with serve as the permanent advisor for MCS student.

Program of Study

  • The POS must include at least 33 credits of coursework
  • The POS must include at least four CS 6000+ courses (excluding CS 6250)
  • The POS may include up to 3 credits from the following group of courses: CS 5950, CS 6950, and CS 7950
  • The POS may include up to 3 credits of CS 6250
  • The POS must include 15 or fewer credits of 5000-level courses and no courses below 5000-level
  • The POS cannot include CS 6900, CS 6970, CS 6990, CS 7970, or CS 7990
  • The POS may include up to 6 credits outside the CS department. Any outside credits must be from the following courses/departments: ECE, MATH, STAT, PSC 6150, or SOC 6150
  • The POS cannot include independent study courses outside the CS department
  • If CS 5250 (1 credit) and CS 5260 (2 credits) are included, they must be taken the same semester

GPA Policy

Before Fall 2020 Fall 2020 and After
  • No more than two courses used to satisfy these requirements can have grades below B-.
  • No courses used to satisfy these requirements can have grades below C.
  • Students must maintain a 3.00 GPA on all courses they take as a graduate student on all courses numbered 5000 or above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.00 GPA on all courses shown on his or her Program of Study Form.
  • Student must maintain a 3.0 GPA on all courses taken as a matriculated graduate student.
  • Student must maintain a 3.0 GPA all CS courses numbered 5000 or above.
  • Graduate students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for degree-program courses. 
  • Grades of C or lower will not be accepted for a graduate degree.

Financial Aid Information

Departmental funding (in the form of teaching assistanships) is not available for Plan B students.
Some students are able to find campus employment with other departments or research groups: