Master of Computer Science

University of Illinois

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Deepen your knowledge and boost your career with a degree from a top-5 Computer Science graduate program in the U.S.

The degree program is designed to be flexible and fast — you can earn your Master’s with 100% online courses in as little as 12 months, while applying your learning immediately to your job.

The Online MCS program requires 32 credit hours of graduate coursework, completed through eight graduate-level courses. The MCS requires that four of these eight courses are chosen from four different core areas of computer science, and that three of these eight courses are at the advanced graduate level (500-level). The Online MCS currently offers coursework in the core areas of artificial intelligence, databases, interactive computing, software engineering, scientific computing, and high-performance computing.

Master of Computer Science in Data Science

Students interested in data science can select the Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS) track. This track is for students who want to prepare for data science careers by learning how to mine useful insights from massive datasets. The Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS) confers the same MCS degree, but focuses on core competencies in machine learning, data mining, data visualization, and cloud computing, as well as interdisciplinary data science courses offered in cooperation with the Department of Statistics and the School of Information Science.

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  • Money
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    12 - 36 months

    Each course requires 10 - 12 hours per week, depending on the student’s background

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    32 credit hours (8 courses)
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    Completely online

Application Deadline: May 30, 2020

The next cohort starts in Fall 2020.

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

Update: In response to the temporary closings of testing centers in countries impacted by COVID-19, the Graduate College will temporarily accept Duolingo English Test examination results for tests taken between February 1 and August 1, 2020. Please refer to the Graduate College COVID-19 page for further details on how admissions requirements may have been impacted by COVID-19.

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You don’t have to wait to get started towards your MCS degree — you can try out an open course online and begin learning today. If you later apply and are admitted to the degree program, your assignments completed in open courses can count toward completion of degree courses.

Also, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Student Experience

Student Experience

Students watch lectures at their own pace on the Coursera platform. They are also advised and assessed by Illinois faculty and teaching assistants on rigorous assignments, programming projects, and comprehensive exams.

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About University of Illinois

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.

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Try A Degree Course

Try A Degree Course

Wondering if the Master of Computer Science or Master of Computer Science in Data Science is right for you? Preview the curriculum and get started today!

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Upcoming Events


Final application deadline for Fall 2020 cohort - Start your application here.

Remember, your application needs to be paid and submitted by 11:59pm Central Time on May 30.

Filled Play
The Master of Computer Science in Data Science: A top-ranked degree that fits your life

The Master of Computer Science in Data Science: A top-ranked degree that fits your life

"There are some 200,000 jobs in the data sciences that go unfilled each year. The MCS-DS degree unlocks those career opportunities. The main thing that we learn from the students is that they value practice and you have to show how what you're talking about in the fundamentals and the theory actually applies to the real world." - John Hart, Professor of Computer Science and Director of Online and Professional Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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.