Can I Get a Master’s Degree in Computer Science?

Master's Degree in Computer ScienceJust a few decades ago, those aspiring to a career in computer program or information technology could leverage the power of a bachelor’s and get away without a Master’s degree in computer science. Over time, the Bachelor’s degree in computer science has become so popular and so commonly held that many employers simply find it difficult to distinguish between qualified job applicants who have not pursued even higher levels of education.

Today, it is entirely possible to get a Master’s degree in the field. In fact, many people in the tech industry might even go so far as to say that a Master’s degree in computer science is encouraged among today’s newest graduates and entry-level applicants. As with all degrees at the graduate level, students will have to meet certain requirements in order to obtain both admission and a successful petition for graduation.

A Look at How to Qualify for Admission to Graduate Programs

All graduate programs have slightly different requirements for admission, depending largely on the nature of the coursework and whether or not graduate-level learning is contingent upon having learned similar skills at the undergraduate level. According to an article in US News and World Report,  the best master’s degree programs nationwide have relatively similar requirements for those students who wish to earn a degree in computer science.

1. An Undergraduate Degree in Computer Science

A master’s degree in this field is not like attending business, law, or medical schools where a wide array of undergraduate degrees are considered perfect qualifications for admission. In most cases, schools will require applicants to submit proof of having earned an undergraduate degree in computer science. In some cases, similar computer-related degrees like those in management information systems, information technology, and computer programming, may be substituted.

Some schools do permit students with other degrees to enter a graduate-level program on a probationary basis. During this period, students would take between three and 12 credits of remedial coursework in computer programming, networking, and basic computer science skills. If they pass all of these remedial courses with at least a B, they’ll be granted admission to the master’s program and full degree candidacy.

2. A Minimum GPA is Often Enforced

The best computer science programs at the graduate level often require students to have at least a 3.2 cumulative, undergraduate GPA. Some might even require a 3.5 GPA or higher. Less selective programs will typically enforce varying requirements of between 2.5 and 3.0 GPA at the undergraduate level. This requirement is generally viewed as a way to accept only those students with the highest level of computer proficiency so that they can obtain the maximum benefit of graduate-level coursework in the field.

3. GRE Test Scores or Professional Experience

Some schools will require applicants to submit a resume at the time of their application, and that resume should show professional experience in a computer-related field. In place of professional experience, many schools accept test scores from a GRE examination taken within the last five years.

Related Resource: Software Careers

A Competitive Admissions Process Yields a Rewarding Graduate Degree

Computer science has never been the easiest major on campus and it certainly isn’t the easiest program to which students can gain admission. Even so, it serves as the chief indicator of a serious, professional, and highly skilled computer programmer or developer. With the help of a master’s degree in computer science, graduates will be empowered to seek better jobs, healthier salaries, and more positive long-term job outlooks overall.