Computer Science

Graduate-level research in human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, programming, databases, and software engineering, among other areas, makes this one of the most prominent departments nationally. A key area of strength is the collaboration opportunities with other centers and departments. In one example of that collaboration, the department will share in a $250 million gift to the university from the Coleman Institute to develop technologies that will enhance the lives of people with cognitive disabilities. Over the next few years the department will also use four successive awards to improve its computing infrastructure.

Areas of study include:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computational Linguistics, Analytics, Search and Informatics
  • Databases
  • Data Science and Engineering
  • Hardware Systems
  • Human-centered Computing
  • Hypermedia
  • Machine Learning
  • Networks
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Parallel Computation
  • Program Analysis
  • Programming Languages
  • Scientific Computing
  • Security
  • Software Engineering
  • Software Systems
  • Speech and Natural Language Processing
  • Systems and Theory

Related areas of study:

  • Cognitive Science
  • Speech
  • Graphics/Virtual Reality

Degrees Offered


Degree Details


The Master of Engineering (ME) does not require a residency on campus and is intended to meet the needs of those practicing engineers who are working full time outside the university. It allows participants to pursue an integrated program of studies by specializing in one engineering discipline and selecting courses from other engineering fields and business subjects related to the individual student's professional work. 


The Master of Science degree permits graduate students the flexibility in defining specialized interdisciplinary fields that meet their professional needs. This degree offers the following two options:

a. Thesis Option

b. Non-Thesis Option

This traditional MS degree allows students to either work on a MS thesis OR take 10 graduate level CS courses to complete the degree requirements. More information is available on the department website. 

Professional MS 

This professional MS degree allows student to either complete a track in Data Science & Engineering (DSE) OR take 10 graduate level CS courses to complete the degree requirements (General Track). More information is available on the department website. Both tracks result in a Master of Science degree in Computer Science Engineering (MSCPS). 


Studies leading to the doctor of philosophy degree must be chosen to contribute to special competence and a high order of scholarship in a broad field of knowledge. Although the field of study will normally be in the department of computer science, except for essential related subject matter, studies may include one or more closely related departments. What shall constitute an acceptable organized program of study and research is established in consultation with a major advisor and without regard to the organization of academic departments in the university.

Distance Education

The computer science ME, Non-Thesis MS, and Professional MS are available completely online. 

Learn more about the MS in Computer Science with emphasis in Data Science & Engineering offered completely online

Download the Brochure 

Learn more about the Computational Linguistics, Analytics, Search and informatics master's degree available online

Download the Brochure 

Opportunities for dual degree include

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements: 

Applicants must:

  1. Hold a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution comparable to the University of Colorado.
  2. Have at least a 3.00 cumulative undergraduate GPA.
  3. The applicant's academic background should include a least three semesters of mathematics at the level of sophistication of calculus or above, courses such as calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability, statistics and abstract algebra. The courses should indicate that the applicant has achieved the mathematical maturity expected of an upper-level mathematics undergraduate.
  4. Provide at least three letters of recommendation.
  5. Applicants must fill out the departmental supplemental application.
  6. Applicants should have programming experience, and at least five one semester courses in Computer Science that are beyond the introductory level are required. These are intended to demonstrate the applicant's breadth of basic Computer Science knowledge in the areas of computer hardware, software and theory. The courses should include the equivalent of the following University of Colorado offerings:
  • Hardware Requirement: CSCI 2400 (Computer Systems).
  • Software Requirement: Any one of CSCI 3155 (Principles of Programming Languages) or CSCI 3753 (Operating Systems).
  • Theory Requirement: CSCI 2270 (Computer Science 2: Data Structures) and either CSCI 3104 (Algorithms) or CSCI 3434 (Theory of Computation).
  • Other Area Requirement: One upper division course (i.e., one at the junior/senior, 3000/4000 level) in another area of Computer Science. These areas include artificial intelligence, human centered computing, programming languages, databases, systems and networking, theory of computing, numerical computation, parallel processing and software engineering.

GRE Scores

PhD applicants are required to submit scores from the general GRE (scores are only valid for 5 years). GRE scores for MS and PME applicants are optional, in general; they are encouraged if the work is at an institution lacking a strong national reputation. General graduate record exam (GRE) scores of admitted applicants are 560 verbal and 775 quantitative using the old scoring system. GRE scores using the new scores are 157 verbal and 161 quantitative.

TOEFL Scores: A TOEFL score of 560 in paper based; 220 CBT or 83 iBT or an IELTS score of 6.00 is required for international students unless you meet the graduate admissions English Proficiency Requirements. The "Institute Code" for the University of Colorado Boulder for the TOEFL test is "4841." Note: Regardless of the conditions mentioned at English Proficiency Requirements site, if you want to be considered for funding, TOEFL is mandatory.

Applicant Instructions 

See also:

Fall Domestic and International Application Deadline 

All MS and PhD Applications must be SUBMITTED by: December 15th 2016

(Online Application, Application Fee, Statement of Purpose, scanned version of Transcript uploads, and any other supportive documents are ALL due by this date.)

All PhD Applications must be COMPLETED by: December 31st 2016

(Letters of Recommendations must be received by this date)

All MS/MSCPS/ME Applications must be COMPLETED by: January 31st 2017

(Letters of Recommendations must be received by this date)

Fall Domestic Application Deadline

December 15, 2016

Fall International Application Deadline

December 15, 2016

Contact Information

University of Colorado Boulder
Computer Science
430 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0430
Phone: 303-492-6361
Fax: 303-492-2844

Computer Science website