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Computer Science

2
Years to Earn Your Masters
95%
CSU Online Grad Students have Plans Related to their Career
93%
Grad Students would choose CSU Online Again
$447M
Investment in research in FY21
Degree Overview Open Accordion

Hear Professor Indrakshi Ray explain how CSU's online master's in computer science provides opportunities to take part in current research and specialize in focused areas of interest.

Requirements and Curriculum Open Accordion

Requirements

  • A minimum of 35 semester credits covering a breadth of computer science, no more than 8 of which may be at the 400-level.
  • 24 of those credits must be earned at Colorado State University, 21 of which must be earned after formal admission.

Curriculum

The online courses follow a schedule parallel to courses offered on campus, are equivalent to the on-campus courses, are taught by the same CSU faculty, and carry the same academic credit.

Note: Courses may not be offered in the semester as listed below. The time of the course offering is determined on a semester-by-semester basis. For the most updated course offerings, please consult the course catalog through RamWeb.

Fall

Spring

Summer

Faculty Open Accordion
Chuck Anderson

Chuck Anderson

(970) 491-7491
chuck.anderson@colostate.edu

Dr. Charles W. Anderson is a professor of Computer Science at CSU. He graduated with a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1986, and worked at GTE Laboratories in Waltham, MA, until arriving at CSU in 1991. Dr. Anderson works with neural networks, reinforcement learning, EEG pattern recognition, neural modeling, HVAC control, adaptive tutoring, computer graphics, computer vision, and software and hardware testing.

Asa Ben-Hur

Asa Ben-Hur

(970) 491-4068
asa.ben-hur@colostate.edu

Asa Ben-Hur’s lab specializes in applications of machine learning in bioinformatics and is developing methods for predicting protein function and interactions. The lab is also studying the process of alternative splicing in plants using next-generation sequencing data.

Ross Beveridge

Ross Beveridge

(970) 491-5877
ross.beveridge@colostate.edu

I am a professor in the Computer Science Department at Colorado State University. The best part of being a professor is the balance between teaching and research. Teaching provides immediate gratification: There are always new lectures to prepare, and new and inquisitive students to question us as they learn. What and how we teach are constantly changing, and the intellectual give-and-take with students is invigorating.

Balancing the immediacy of teaching is research. I work in an area called computer vision. Most people can visually see and recognize objects effortlessly. The goal of computer vision is to develop machines that can do this just like people. Much of my own work on computer vision has been done in partnership with my colleague Bruce Draper. The two of us jointly run the Computer Vision Group at CSU. Our recent research is centered on enhanced human-machine communication via shared context, including mutual understanding of physical presence and non-verbal communication.

Bruce Draper

Bruce Draper

(970) 491-7873
bruce.draper@colostate.edu

I am a professor of Computer Science at Colorado State University. I also hold an appointment in the Molecular, Cellular and Integrated Neuroscience (MCIN) program and work with the CSU Energy Institute. I teach at virtually all levels of the curriculum. At the graduate level, I often teach CS510 (Image Computation) and CS540 (Artificial Intelligence). My research is in recognizing people, their gestures, and their actions, and applying this to complex systems of interacting people and machines. I have served the field in many capacities, including as General Chair of CVPR in 1999 and a senior program committee member for AAAI in 2015, 2016, and 2019.

Joe Gersch

Joe Gersch

(970) 492-4003
joe.gersch@colostate.edu

Dr. Gersch has been associated with the CSU Computer Science department since Fall 2013. Gersch is also the President of Invykta LLC, a computer security consulting and product development company. Prior to Invykta, he was President and CEO of Secure64 Software Corporation, where he has also served as CTO and COO over the past 13 years. Prior to Secure64, Dr. Gersch was a 24-year veteran of HP, where he managed Research and Development and Marketing departments that delivered innovative products across a wide range of technologies. Gersch holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science.

Sudipto Ghosh

Sudipto Ghosh

(970) 491-4608
ghosh@cs.colostate.edu

Sudipto Ghosh received a Bachelor of Technology degree in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India in 1993. He received an M.S. degree in computer science from Iowa State University in 1995, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2000. He is currently an associate professor of computer science at Colorado State University.

Ghosh's teaching and research interests include modeling, designing and testing of object-oriented software, middleware technologies, and aspect-oriented and component-based software development. He is a member of ACM and IEEE Computer Society. He is on the editorial boards of four journals: IEEE Transactions on Reliability, Information and Software Technology, Software Quality Journal, and the Journal of Software Testing, Verification, and Reliability.

Ghosh was a general co-chair of the ACM/IEEE 12th International Conference on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems held in Denver in 2009, and the 14th International Conference on Modularity held in Fort Collins in 2015. He was a program co-chair of the Third International Conference on Software Testing, Verification, and Validation held in Paris in 2010.

Yashwant Malaiya

Yashwant Malaiya

(970) 491-7031
yashwant.malaiya@colostate.edu

My research interests cover several key areas in reliable and secure computing. I work on topics that include vulnerability discovery, security risks and economics, software reliability, test effectiveness, impact of testing on reliability, fault modeling, and fault tolerance.

Sanjay Rajopadhye

Sanjay Rajopadhye

(970) 491-7323
sanjay.rajopadhye@colostate.edu

Sanjay Rajopadhye holds a joint appointment in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He joined CSU’s faculty in 2001, and was previously a CNRS researcher at Irisa, Rennes, France, where he headed the COSI research group. Rajopadhye received the B. Tech (honors) degree in Electrical Engineering from the India Institute of Tech., Kharagpur and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Utah.

Rajopadhye’s interests cover parallel algorithms and architectures, embedded systems, functional programming, high-performance computing on multi- and many-care architectures, automatic parallelization, and optimization. He is one of the original developers of the polyhedral model, a formalism for reasoning about an important class of compute- and data-intensive programs. The model, originally developed in the context of automatic synthesis of systolic arrays from recurrence equations, has found increasing application from compilation to multi- and many-core architectures.

Indrajit Ray

Indrajit Ray

(970) 491-7097
indrajit@cs.colostate.edu

Indrajit Ray is an associate professor with the computer science department who joined the faculty at Colorado State University in 2001. Prior to that he was an assistant professor in computer and information science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Ray earned a Ph.D. in information technology from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA in 1997. His undergraduate and M.E. degrees in computer science and engineering were earned from the Bengal Engineering College and the Jadavpur University in India.

Indrakshi Ray

Indrakshi Ray

(970) 491-7986
indrakshi.ray@colostate.edu

Indrakshi Ray is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Colorado State University. She has also been a visiting faculty member at the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Naval Research Laboratory, and at INRIA in Rocquencourt, France. Prior to joining CSU, Professor Ray was a faculty member at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She obtained her Ph.D. from George Mason University under the joint supervision of Professor Sushil Jajodia and Professor Paul Ammann. She obtained a master's degree in computer science and engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India and a Bachelor of Engineering degree in computer science and technology from B.E. College, Kolkata, India.

Indrakshi Ray's research interests include security and privacy, database systems, e-commerce, and formal methods in software engineering. She has published more than a hundred technical papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. She is on the editorial board of Computer Standards and Interfaces. She has been a guest editor of ACM Transactions of Information Systems Security and Journal of Digital Library. She has served in various capacities for journals and conferences. She was the Program Chair of ACM SACMAT 2006, Program Co-Chair for CSS 2013, ICISS 2013, IFIP DBSec 2003, and General Chair of SACMAT 2008. She has served on the program committees of various conferences including ACM SACMAT, DBSec, EDBT, ESORICS, and ICDE. She is also a senior member of the IEEE and a member of ACM.

Russell Wakefield

Russell Wakefield

(970) 491-2090
russ.wakefield@colostate.edu

Russell Wakefield has been an instructor in the computer science department at Colorado State University since 2008. He has a B.S. and a M.C.S. degree in computer science; his research areas include database systems, operating systems, and distributed systems. He has over 25 years of industry experience in systems programming and management at corporations including Control Data Corporation, Pyramid Technology, Evans & Sutherland, and most recently 7 years as Director of Engineering at Cisco Systems.

Faculty Awards and Recognitions

Associate Professor Shrideep Pallickara of Colorado State University’s Department of Computer Science was recently honored with a CSU Online Innovative Educator Award. Pallickara is a Monfort Professor and is also a recipient of the University’s Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Learn more.

Career Opportunities Open Accordion

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rapid increase in demand for highly educated computer scientists is due in large part to growth in the computer software industry, including new applications needed for mobile technology, security software to address concerns over cyber security, and the increase in computer systems and applications used in the healthcare industry.

With courses that develop critical thinking and investigatory and expository skills, CSU’s online Master of Computer Science program equips you with the knowledge to develop solutions to tomorrow’s challenges as the world of computer applications continues to advance.

Computer science career data

Like many other STEM-related fields, career opportunities in computer science are expected to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs in computer science will increase by approximately 24% between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary information

In a 2017 article, Forbes listed the Master of Computer Science degree in the top 10 for highest paid master’s degrees. As of 2018, Burning Glass Technologies estimates the average annual salary to be $90,587 for a graduate with a computer science master’s degree. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information research scientists earn an average salary of $114,520, computer network architects earn an average of $104,650, and software developers earn $103,560 on average.

In-demand skills

The field of computer science allows for many different areas of specialization. According to Burning Glass Technologies, the most sought-after computer science skills mentioned by industry employers include:

  • Software development
  • JAVA
  • Software engineering
  • SQL
  • Python
  • LINUX
  • JavaScript
  • Project management
  • C++

Job placement

According to the Department of Computer Science at Colorado State University, nearly 100 percent of CSU computer science master's students are employed in the field at graduation.

Build connections in the industry

Colorado State University’s Department of Computer Science maintains close connections to the computer industry. Our graduates are highly sought after by major high-tech, computer software, and aerospace companies, like Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Motorola, Raytheon, and Lockheed-Martin. In addition, employment opportunities are rapidly growing in small- and medium-sized companies.

Frequently Asked Questions Open Accordion

Questions about the study of computer science

What is computer science?

Computer science is a field of study that includes the theory, development, analysis, and application of computational processes, including computer programs. Areas of specialization within computer science include: software engineering, artificial intelligence, machine learning, human-computer interaction, and more.

Why earn a master's in computer science?

Earning a computer science master's degree provides access to knowledge that will be directly applicable to an array of technical career fields, from business intelligence to software development. CSU's graduate program also exposes students to world-class research conducted by practitioners in the field of computer science.

While students come into this program with a significant set of skills already, our master's program gives them a chance to add to that skill set in two important ways:

  • Research: Students explore field-specific research and incorporate it directly into their own work, which allows them to help improve performance, add more security, make processes more efficient, and create more user-friendly and expressive systems.
  • Problem solving: While bachelor's students learn the basics of computer science, our master's students learn the critical skill of examining entire systems and get a more hands-on, collaborative experience.
Additionally, earning a graduate degree increases lifetime earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees with a master's degree earn approximately 19 percent more on average compared to employees with a bachelor's degree alone. The average unemployment rate for individuals with a graduate degree is also 11 percent lower compared to those with an undergraduate degree only.

What is the difference between computer science and computer engineering?

Both computer engineers and computer scientists require an understanding of hardware and software. However, computer engineers generally focus more on the applied aspects of computer hardware, computer systems, and electrical engineering. Computer scientists typically focus more on computational processes, including algorithms, coding languages, computer programming, and the theory of computation.

Learn More »

What jobs can you get with a computer science degree?

There are many different job opportunities available to people with a degree in computer science. The top six occupations for graduates with a master's in computer science are:

  • Software Development
  • Networking and Systems
  • IT Managers
  • Database Specialists
  • Data Analysis and Mathematics
  • Business Intelligence
Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight. 2017.

Our graduates are highly sought after by major high–tech, computer software, and aerospace companies, like Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Motorola, Raytheon, and Lockheed–Martin. In addition, employment opportunities are rapidly growing in small– and medium–sized companies.

Learn more about career opportunities for computer science graduates.

How much do computer scientists make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent between 2016 and 2026. Glassdoor estimates that the national average annual salary (US) for computer scientists is $113,180. Payscale estimates that annual salary ranges currently fall between $50,000 and $124,000 annually depending on bonuses and profit sharing. However, with a master's degree, the average salary may be between $80,000 and $155,000. In 2017, Forbes listed computer science as one of 10 master's degrees with the highest earning potential. Learn more about career opportunities for computer science graduates.

How long does a master's degree in computer science take to complete?

It is possible to complete CSU's online Master of Computer Science program in two years, although most students choose to complete their degree in a three year timeframe. The timeframe to earn your degree depends on previous coursework, course availability, and how many courses you can successfully complete each semester.

What is the total tuition for the degree?

As of 2017, the total tuition cost for the online Master of Computer Science program (not including fees) is approximately $25,056. Please contact us with specific questions about tuition, fees, admission requirements, application deadlines, or any other questions.

Questions about the application process

Do I need to know Java or C++ before applying?

Yes. Students entering the master's program are expected to be fluent in an object-oriented language (e.g., Java or C++). To learn about resources and options for fulfilling this qualification, please contact us.

What if my undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0?

An overall GPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0, and a GPA of at least 3.2 in computer science and mathematics coursework is required to be considered for admission. If your GPA is below 3.0, you may want to consider taking two or three online computer science courses at CSU before applying for admission. This does not guarantee admission, but a strong performance in these courses may strengthen your application.

I haven't taken coursework in computer science, but I have a working knowledge of the field. Can I still apply?

Prior to admission, all applicants are expected to have the academic preparation necessary to do graduate-level work in computer science. Students entering the master's program are expected to be fluent in an object-oriented language (e.g., Java or C++). In order to be considered for admission into the program, you must possess the following:

  • An understanding of computer organization/architecture, data structures, algorithms, program/software design methodology, theoretical foundations, and operating systems design concepts.
  • A working knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, introductory probability, applied statistics, and discrete structures.
  • An overall GPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0, and a GPA of at least 3.2 in Computer Science and Mathematics course work.

Undergraduate coursework is the usual method of obtaining and demonstrating these requirements. Some beginning graduate courses require additional background, e.g. in mathematics or digital hardware design. The CSU Computer Science Department does not offer these background courses to distance learners. Students may be able to find equivalent online courses elsewhere.

Who should I ask for letters of recommendation?

Ideally, professional recommendations should come from recent instructors, supervisors, or colleagues. Anyone writing a recommendation should be able to articulate what in particular makes you qualified for admission into the program. Friends and family are generally not considered to be professional recommenders.

Note: During the application process, you will provide contact information for your recommenders. CSU will then contact them with instructions and a link to a secure form they will submit on your behalf.

How do I prepare a statement of purpose for my application?

Your statement of purpose should include the following:

  • Your future career goals or plans
  • The reasons you are seeking graduate study
  • What you hope to gain from the graduate program
Get more tips for preparing application materials.

Questions about computer science courses

May I start taking courses before being officially admitted to the graduate program?

Yes, up to three courses may be taken prior to admission and still count toward the degree.

Courses taken may count toward completion of the degree if you choose to apply for admission, per University transfer policy; however, successful performance in your course(s) does not guarantee admission to the program. There is no application process required to register for most individual courses, however, some courses have prerequisite requirements, and others are open only to students admitted to a degree program.

May I apply some courses from other universities toward my master's degree?

Applicants with graduate work in computer science from another college or university may petition to apply up to 12 credit hours toward their Master of Computer Science degree at CSU. Credit cannot be given officially until a student is admitted. However, students having prior coursework covering topics similar to those found in 500- and 600-level computer science courses at CSU from accredited institutions, and passed with a grade of B or better, are very likely to have such requests granted.

Am I limited to taking courses that are offered during a specific term, or can I take any of the courses during any term?

Students must take courses within the terms in which they are offered. Courses run during two 16-week terms each year, plus a 12 week summer term, and must be completed on schedule within the designated term. The fall semester runs from late August to mid–December, the spring semester runs from late January to mid–May, and the summer semester runs from mid-May to early August. Students must join a course at the beginning of the term, or wait until the next semester.

I have a three-year undergraduate degree (from an institution outside of the U.S.). Can I be admitted to the master's program?

Only those with the equivalent to four year U.S. bachelor's degrees are qualified to apply for admission. A three-year degree is not equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree, nor is a three-year degree plus one year of a second degree.

Can I use computer science courses taken as part of my undergraduate degree toward my master's degree?

No. Courses used to complete one degree may not be used toward another.

Learning Experience Open Accordion

The computer science master's program gives you the flexibility to get the degree you want without a strict timeline. You can complete the program in two years, but it is not required that you do so. The duration of the program will depend on previous coursework, intensity of study, and course availability. Summer courses are required if you want to complete the degree in two years.

For this online program, you can expect a similar workload to a traditional on-campus program. You will spend approximately nine to twelve hours per week on a three-credit course. This will vary depending on your learning and studying style.

Your interaction with faculty and fellow students depends on the specific course. Online courses do provide you with online office hours and email contact as well as discussion board postings. You will also collaborate on projects and exchange ideas with fellow classmates through these same resources.

This self-paced online program allows you to earn your degree while maintaining your busy work and family schedules. Is online learning right for you?

Hear from Our Students Open Accordion

What do students have to say about our computer science master's degree program? Get a glimpse of their experiences, hear what they think about CSU's faculty and curriculum, and discover how online education is impacting people just like you.

Matt Barclay

See how Colorado State University's online computer science master's program allowed Matt to earn credentials to boost his career, while still being able to work and spend time with his family.


CSU's Online Students

Hear from students and faculty to get a sense of what it’s like to study online with CSU, and how a graduate degree can enhance your life.



Sigfrido "Sig" Narvaez

"My company is aggressively enhancing its product line with cloud and mobility features. As an architect, I need to stay abreast on technology trends, best practices and most importantly, possess advanced computer science foundations for building modern and resilient systems. I decided on CSU online because I can invest the commute to a campus university into study time at home; it was named as a "best buy" program by GetEducated.com; and the program and staff is top notch!"

Ian Elliott

"If you really want to go out there and find a job that pays well and has some merit to it, then computer science is a good place to go and I think that having a master's degree today in the job market is critical – it's a critical discriminator really for a lot of people."

Why Choose CSU? Open Accordion

As a student in CSU’s online Master of Computer Science program, you will receive a degree from a regionally accredited, renowned research institution while taking courses at times and locations that fit your busy life. Additionally, you can expect:

  • Training to Meet Growing Demand: Keep up with the pace of innovation with access to the most up-to-date research and trending advancements in the field. Our program equips you with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the ever-evolving demands of the profession in areas like software security and application development for mobile devices.
  • A Chance to Improve Job Prospects: The changing world of technology and our increasing reliance on its functionality has led to abundant employment opportunities for those who hold an advanced education in computer science.
  • A Well-Rounded Education: Our degree combines concepts in mathematics, science, and engineering to give you a comprehensive perspective when tackling new software challenges.
  • Practical Experience: This coursework-only degree gives you immediately applicable skills and knowledge in areas including software testing and design, network security, algorithms, and data structures.

Learn more about CSU's rankings and accolades.

How to Apply Open Accordion

How to Apply

Before applying to the degree program, it is strongly recommended that you contact the program coordinator well in advance of the application deadline to understand and fulfill all requirements.

Minimum Admission Requirements

The Computer Science (M.C.S.) degree requires applicants to have the following:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution.
  • A demonstrated understanding of computer organization/architecture, data structures and algorithms, program/software design methodology, theoretical foundations, and operating systems design concepts.
  • A 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate coursework and a GPA of at least 3.2 in Computer Science and Mathematics coursework.
  • GRE test scores are recommended, but not required for admission.

Note that meeting the minimum department standards does not ensure admission to the program. Admission to Colorado State University graduate programs is based on a number of factors, including prior academic and professional experience and the statement of purpose.

Step 1 – Complete Prescreening Process

After submitting all the items required as part of the prescreening process, the Computer Science Graduate Admissions Committee reviews your file to determine if it recommends that you formally apply for admission. If you are recommended to apply for admission, move on to Step 2.

Step 2 – Apply Online

  • If you're recommended to apply for formal admission, complete the online graduate application form and pay the $50 nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online).
    • Select “Computer Science MCS - Distance” when choosing the program of study.

Step 3 – Submit Application Materials

[The program] provided great insight into my area of interest [and I had] the ability to be anywhere in the world and still attend class. At the time I started it was the only completely online Masters in Computer Science, and I traveled a lot so it fit perfectly with my schedule to attend classes. The class matched perfectly where the students work hard, make mistakes, and there is a professor there to provide guidance."

– Trevor Fradsham, Master of Computer Science graduate

Because you submitted most of your application materials as part of the prescreening process, you only need to submit official transcripts and test scores (as applicable) to complete your formal application.

  • Official Transcript
    Submit one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from every institution attended, whether or not you received a degree from those institutions. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts should be submitted to:
    Graduate Admissions
    Computer Science Department
    Colorado State University
    1873 Campus Delivery
    Fort Collins, CO 80523-1873
  • GRE Test Scores
    Though not required, GRE test scores are recommended. Submit official GRE General Test scores through the Educational Testing Service (select institution code: 4075). Scores are typically received by the University 4-6 weeks after your testing date.

International Applicants Only

Submit the following items in addition to those listed above:

I felt more connected to the classes than many others I've taken. This feeling is probably the result of the dozens, if not hundreds, of well-written responses to questions given by email. It might be because the videos of the classes add so much to the distance learning experience. It might also be because the preparation, presentation, organization, expectations, and knowledge of CSU's teaching staff is just that good."

– John E.

  • Official Transcript Translation
    Ensure official transcripts include a certified translation into English (only one set of transcripts is required).
  • Official TOEFL Scores
    Submit official TOEFL scores through the Educational Testing Service (select institution code: 4075). In general, all applicants from countries in which English is not the official language and who do not have an undergraduate degree from a country in which the official language is English (Canada, U.K., Australia, USA, New Zealand, etc.) must submit TOEFL scores. The minimum score for applicants is 92 on the internet-based test (580 on the paper-based test or 6.5 on the IELTS). The TOEFL may be waived for applicants who have been working in the United States for several years. Contact gradinfo@cs.colostate.edu for details.

Once the Department of Computer Science receives a complete application, the admissions committee reviews the application and promptly notifies the applicant of its decision.

Application Deadlines

Fall and Spring admission is available; Summer admission is not available.

Fall Semester July 1
Spring Semester November 1

Questions?

We love learning about your goals and answering any questions to help you on your journey.

Nicole Schmidt
Computer Science
Student Success Coach
Schedule Time to Talk

Program Details

Delivery
Credits
35
Tuition
$730 per credit
Degree Awarded
Master of Computer Science
Time Frame
Can be completed in 2 years

Application Deadlines

Fall semester
May 1
Spring semester
November 1

Request Information

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