University of Illinois
Who is this degree for?
Master of Computer Science
This degree is for computing professionals who want to build skills in advanced topics in computer science, such as artificial intelligence, database & information systems, parallel computing, graphics, systems & networking, scientific computing, and more. This degree will accelerate your career and help you move into leading a team of engineers.
The MCS-DS is a data science program grounded in a computer science masters degree that gives its graduates full programmable control of the instrumentation of big data as well as the full-stack understanding of how to process the data to discover new insights and optimize organizational decision-making. Students in this track earn the same MCS degree, but their curriculum concentrates on data science courses.
The next cohort starts Spring 2022.
Application Deadline: Oct 15th, 2021 | Apply now
Applications are open three times per year, for cohorts starting in the fall, spring, and summer.
Applicants for the degree program must have:
- An eligible bachelor's degree (check to see if your degree is eligible)
- 3.2 / 4.0 or higher undergraduate GPA (from the last two years of bachelor's degree coursework)
- A strong background in object-oriented computer programming, data structures, and algorithms (this should include a "data structures" course or comparable experience). If you do not have graded and transcripted prerequisite CS coursework in these areas, but have at least a 3.2 GPA and 4-5 years of relevant CS experience, consider enrolling in our Accelerated Computer Science Fundamentals Specialization. This series of courses is designed to help you prepare for the Data Structures Proficiency Exam, which can strengthen your application for admission. Admission preference is still given to those who have prerequisite coursework on their transcript.
- Not already completed a graduate degree in computer science, computer engineering or a closely related field
Additional Admissions Recommendations
Applicants for the degree program are recommended to have:
- A bachelor's degree in a computing field (or transcripted coursework in fundamental CS coursework, e.g. data structures)
- Programming experience with C++ or Java
- All applicants must submit an application form, resume, statement of purpose, and unofficial transcripts from all completed university coursework (Official transcripts will be required if you are admitted)
- Three letters of reference are not required, but highly recommended
- TOEFL/IELTS scores may be required for international applicants. Additional details about applying to the Master of Computer Science can be found here
- GRE scores are not required, but you are welcome to submit them with your application
- All applicants must pay the application fee before their application can be reviewed. There are no exceptions.
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, 2020 and August 1, 2022. Please refer to the English proficiency page for further details on how admissions requirements may have been impacted by COVID-19.
Admitted and enrolled students may transfer up to 12 credit hour of previous CS graduate coursework approved by the department. Credits must be no more than 5 years old at the time of the transfer request. Credits used to confer a previous degree are not transferrable.
How to Select the Data Science Track
In your application, under the “Program Section,” you will be asked if you are interested in enrolling in the Data Science track. Select “Yes” if you would like to enroll in the data science track. Admitted students can decide later whether or not they will utilize the data science track as they work with program advisors on course selection.
Online MCS and MCS-DS Application Fee Waiver for Recent Illinois Graduates
UIUC graduates may immediately meet the admissions requirements for the program. Qualified applicants may receive an application fee waiver when they apply by meeting the following criteria:
- Completed any CS or CS + X major or a CS minor at Illinois with a GPA of 3.0 or better in the last two years of their undergraduate degree.
- Had a GPA of 3.2 or better in CS coursework.
- Graduated by the end of Fall 2021.
This application fee waiver is only available for a limited time. Applicants must apply to the Online MCS or MCS-DS for the Spring 2022 cohort by October 15, 2021.
To receive the application fee waiver, eligible applicants must check "yes" on their application at the statement: "Please indicate if you are eligible for an application fee waiver." They must then check "yes" to the subsequent question: “Are you applying for the online MCS app fee waiver for graduating UIUC undergraduate students?”
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.