M.S. / M.C.S. in Computer Science

General Degree Information

The M.S. program in the Computer Science and Engineering (CS&E) department has three tracks a student may choose to pursue: Plan A, a thesis based degree, Plan B project-based degree and Plan C a coursework only M.S. Degree. Each track has a separate set of requirements through the general structure remains the same. All M.S. degrees in the Computer Science and Engineering department require a total of 31 credit hours 16 of which must be taken within the Computer Science Department, a minimum GPA of 3.25 and a minimum of 3 breadth requirements courses as well as one credit hour of the CS Colloquium. All CS credits must be 5000 level or above, and at least 3 of the total credits must be from an 8000 level CS course. Early on in your career as an M.S. graduate student you will determine which track you would like to pursue and begin to take courses to fulfill requirements for your program. More information about the process for each plan is outlined below.

Plan A Master's Degree

Degree Requirements:

  • Each student must complete 31 credits of graduate-credit coursework, including:
    • 16 graduate credits from 5xxx or 8xxx courses with a CSci designator
    • 3 breadth courses (9 credits)
    • 6 credits of CSci 8000 level courses).
    • 1 credit of CSci Colloquium (CSci 8970)
    • Other graduate-level credits to reach a total of at least 21 regular coursework credits which may include related field courses from programs other than CS (graduate level courses in the College of Science and Engineering) or courses for a graduate minor.
  • 10 thesis credits for a total of 31 overall credits.
  • All CSci courses included in the graduate degree plan must be taken A-F if the A-F grading basis is offered. All major credits must be 5xxx or above.
  • Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25 on courses appearing in the graduate degree plan and no courses with a grade below a C- can be included.

A Plan A or Thesis based M.S. requires at minimum 21 credit hours of coursework and 10 credit hours of thesis coursework for a total of 31 credit hours.  During the first two semesters of your time in school you will focus on coursework, during the second half of your degree you will focus on research for your master's thesis. The final semester of your program you will turn in a Graduate Degree Plan and assign your thesis committee while continuing your research on your chosen thesis topic. Following the approval of your Graduate Degree Plan you will be able to download your Graduation Packet which contains forms you need for your final defense.  Once your research is complete you will defend your thesis and prepare for graduation. Please visit here for more information about your thesis defense examination. A timeline for the Plan A master's degree may be found here.

Thesis Committee
An M.S. thesis degree committee consists of three faculty members who have formal graduate education responsibilities. Two must be from the Computer Science program (which includes a student’s advisor who also serves as the chair) and one from an outside program. The outside committee member typically represents a related or minor field if declared.  Once members have agreed to serve, the student must submit their names via the Examining Committee site.  Committee members cannot be appointed until after a Graduate Degree Plan has been approved and entered into the student’s record through GSSP. Your thesis committee will also serve as a reading committee for the thesis.The committee must approve the thesis is ready for defense and will administer the final oral examination.

More Information

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Master's programs

Certifications & Titles

M.S. / M.C.S.

Study Options

Full Time


Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

Minneapolis , United States

Start Date:

End Date:


United States



Master's programs

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