The Graduate School provides general requirements for the Master of Science in all departments at CU Boulder. The following requirements specifically pertain to students pursuing a Master of Science in the Department of Computer Science. It supplements the Graduate School requirements; in all cases not specifically mentioned below, the general Graduate School requirements are understood to apply.

While pursuing the course based MS degree in CS, you may select between two options:

The department requires a candidate to complete an approved program of study consisting of at least 30 semester hours. At least 24 of these 30 hours must be in Computer Science courses at the 5000 level or above. (Any course that is cross-listed by Computer Science is considered to be a Computer Science course, regardless of the department in which the student actually registers.)

Up to 6 hours may be taken in courses at the 4000 level or above in other departments (CSCI 4000 level courses cannot be counted towards a Master’s degree), provided that those courses have "significant Computer Science content" and are taught by a member of the graduate faculty. The student must file a petition to allow these credit hours to be counted toward the degree. This petition must explicitly verify the above requirements and must be approved by the student's advisor and the Graduate Director of the Computer Science department.

There is no limit on the number of coursework credit hours that a professional MS student can be take via the Graduate School's distance learning platform, which offers graduate-level courses in an accessible, online format.

Computer Science Courses are listed in nine areas of research. All students must earn a B or better (not a B-) in at least one 5000-level course (not 6000 or higher) in four of these nine areas:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Computational biology
  • Human-centered computing
  • Numerical & scientific computing
  • Programming languages
  • Software engineering
  • Database systems
  • Systems & networking
  • Theory of computing 

For more information, visit the Graduate Breadth Courses page.

Master's students may request a maximum of nine semester hours taken at another University or within CU (either taken as a non-degree student OR taken as a non-CS student) to be transferred. All transfer requests must have departmental approval. Transfer requests can be made with the Graduate School's Request for Transfer of Credit form.

Students will be expected to submit a plan of study, in consultation with their departmental advisor, during the first semester of study. Changes to the plan of study must be approved by the advisor.

Students opting for course based MS degree do not have the thesis option OR the independent study research option, as this is a “course-only” degree. Research oriented plan, is only available to research based MS degree students.

The Graduate School requires that to receive a Master's degree a student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 in all courses taken as a graduate student.

Each graduate student is assigned to the gradute advisor when they are accepted into the program. Students consult with the advisor to plan their course of study.

Any student who does not enroll for any course work relevant to Computer Science in any one semester (summer semesters excluded) must supply the department with a written statement describing the reasons for such inactivity and the student's current intentions concerning work towards the degree. This statement must be received by the department by the end of the eighth week of the semester in question. Failure to do so will be regarded as evidence of a lack of interest in continuing in the program. Similarly, any student who does not enroll for any Computer Science course work for three consecutive semesters (summer semesters excluded) will be regarded as showing a lack of interest in continuing in the program. In either case, the student may be asked to explain to the department why the student should not be removed from the degree program, with the department making the final decision on the removal.

The Graduate School requires that to receive a master's degree, a student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in all courses taken as a graduate student. No grade lower than a C can be counted towards the master's degree. No grades lower than B can be counted towards breadth requirement or the sub-plan requirements.

All requirements for the course based MS degree must be completed within four years of the start of course work.

You may switch between the research-based and course-based MS degree options once for genuine academic reasons on a case-by-case basis via petition to the Graduate Committee and upon recommendation from the faculty member sponsoring your work. You may not switch during the term you plan to graduate. Your last term officially begins after census date of the prior term. Please fill out the petition form and submit it to the graduate advisor via email, along with a recommendation letter from your sponsoring faculty member.