Accredited diploma

Offered by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Taught in English

Engage in group discussions with professors and peers

12-36 months

8 courses total, 32 credit hours, 10-12 hours per week

100% online

Hands-on learning from anywhere, no travel required

$21,440 USD total cost

Advance your career with a master's from a top-5 computer science school; also voted best online master’s in data science.*

*Source: US News and World Report and Fortune

Earning your master’s degree with the pioneering University of Illinois faculty is an ideal way to launch and advance a successful data science or computer science career. The Master of Science in Computer Science is a non-thesis (coursework-only) degree that requires 32 credit hours of graduate coursework, completed through eight graduate-level courses each at the four credit hour level.

There are two paths available. Choose a data science (MCS-DS) or computer science (MCS) program, and apply today.

Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS)

Data science is transforming our global economy, redefining how we do business, and changing our lives for the better in countless ways. Data scientists are in high-demand across industries, valued for their ability to help businesses make date-driven decisions. If you’re interested in extracting knowledge and insights from massive data sets and are eager to put these skills to work in a rewarding career, then enroll in the Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS) program from the University of Illinois today, and start mastering the skills necessary for a successful data science career.

Fortune ranked University of Illinois as the #1 best online Master’s in Data Science program in 2022. With the MCS-DS, you’ll gain core competencies in machine learning, data mining, data visualization, and cloud computing. You can also dive into interdisciplinary data science courses offered in cooperation with the Department of Statistics and the nation’s top-ranked School of Information Sciences.

Master of Computer Science (MCS)

The University of Illinois offers a separate, more flexible track for students who are eager to explore several advanced topics in computer science as part of their degree program. This track is ideal for learners who want to build skills in at least four core areas of computer science, choosing from topics that include artificial intelligence, database and information systems, interactive computing, software engineering, scientific computing, and high-performance computing.

As a graduate of this program, you’ll be able to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory to real-word problems, and you’ll know how to analyze a problem and identify the computing requirements appropriate to its solution. You’ll also possess the skills to design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program, and apply design and development principles to construct software systems of varying complexity.

Application Information

Applications are open three times per year, for cohorts starting in the fall, spring, and summer.

Application Information:

  • Priority Application Deadline: April 1, 2023
  • Final Application Deadline: May 30, 2023

Prepare for the Entrance Exam: The Accelerated Computer Science Fundamentals Specialization is designed to help applicants prepare for the entrance exam for MCS. Enroll now!

Have questions? Please email the Illinois MCS team at

You may be able to earn transferable credit towards this degree by successfully completing one or more of these participating programs

Hear from our learners

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"One of the things this course has given me is the rigor and the knowledge that I can talk to my colleagues in the terms they want to hear."

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"Being able to get a top notch education and being part of that community brings a sense of pride."

Get started today

You don’t have to wait to get started towards your MCS degree — you can try out an open course, or MOOC, online and begin learning today.

If you later apply and are admitted to the degree program, any assignment that was only peer or auto-graded for a previous Coursera MOOC version of a course can be re-submitted when taking the Online MCS offering of the course for consideration by the faculty and staff to satisfy the requirements to confer university credit. However, for-credit course content may be revised and updated for course improvement, making previously completed MOOC assignments no longer compatible with the degree requirements.

If you do not have graded and transcripted prerequisite CS coursework in the areas of data structures, algorithms, and object-oriented programming, check out our new Accelerated Computer Science Fundamentals Specialization that is designed to help you prepare for the Data Structures Proficiency Exam, which can strengthen your application for admission.

Try a course

About the Program


Applicants must hold a 4-year bachelor's degree (or equivalent). Students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than CS are encouraged to apply, but to succeed in graduate-level CS courses, they must have prerequisites in object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithms, linear algebra, and statistics.

Learn more about admissions


The Master of Computer Science (MCS) is a degree program that includes advanced coursework in artificial intelligence, databases, interactive computing, software engineering, scientific computing, and high-performance computing. A well-known track specifically for studies in data science (the MCS-DS) is available.

Learn more about academics


Join the ranks of technology industry visionaries who have degrees from Illinois Computer Science, including founders and leaders of, Microsoft, Netscape, PayPal, YouTube, and Yelp.

Learn more about careers

Student Experience

The MCS program is developed and taught by the same faculty that teaches the on-campus MCS. The University of Illinois leverages Coursera’s online education platform to deliver the program curriculum, allowing MCS students to benefit from Coursera features such as interactive video transcription, in-course note taking, and seamless learning across multiple devices.

Learn more about student experience

About University of Illinois

From ILLIAC (one of the earliest computers) to Blue Waters (the fastest university supercomputer), from the first vectorizing compilers to LLVM (the modern industry-standard compiler), and from Mosaic (the first popular web browser) to the launch of YouTube and many other internet startups, Illinois Computer Science continues to define the forefront of computing education, innovation, and research.

Learn more about University of Illinois

Try A Degree Course

Wondering if the Master of Computer Science or Master of Computer Science in Data Science is right for you? From cloud computing to data visualization to artificial intelligence and machine learning, preview the curriculum and get started today!

Try a degree course


Frequently Asked Questions

Coursera does not grant credit, and does not represent that any institution other than the degree granting institution will recognize the credit or credential awarded by the institution; the decision to grant, accept, or transfer credit is subject to the sole and absolute discretion of an educational institution.