Master of Computer Science

College of Engineering student works on a class project at the Havelock campus.

Program Overview

The Master of Computer Science (MCS) distance education program is designed for students with an undergraduate degree or sufficient undergraduate course work in computer science who wish to pursue a graduate degree in computer science. It is a 31 credit hour degree program that does not require a thesis, final oral exam or on-campus residency. All applicants must submit a GRE score.

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A Nation-Leading Program

Best College Reviews named us the #2 online master’s in computer science, and U.S. News & World Report ranked us the #6 online graduate computer information technology program in the nation.

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Admission Requirements

Students should have the following background in order to be considered for admission into the MCS degree program:

  • Undergraduate coursework in a three-semester sequence in differential and integral calculus, a calculus-based course in probability and statistics, and computer science courses equivalent to CSC 116, 216, 226, 236, 316 and either 333 or 456. See prerequisites.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.
  • Completion of the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for all applicants.
    The distance education MCS degree program is limited to those individuals who work or reside in the United States. The Graduate School requires that all international applicants take the TOEFL examination if they have not received a degree from a U.S. institution.

The distance education MCS degree program is limited to those individuals who work or reside in the United States. The Graduate School requires that all international applicants take the TOEFL examination if they have not received a degree from a U.S. institution.

Degree Requirements

It is preferable to seek admission to the MCS program as soon as possible to assure integration into the advising process. However, a person does not have to be admitted to a degree program to enroll in an online credit course. Prior to applying to Graduate School, a qualified individual may enroll in Engineering Online courses as a Non-Degree Studies (NDS) student. The NDS classification is designed for individuals who wish to undertake academic work but who are not currently admitted to a degree program. If the student is admitted to the MCS program, a maximum of twelve hours taken as a NDS student or from another institution may apply toward the 31 credit hour requirement. Students register for online courses through Engineering Online. Those who wish to take only a few courses and not pursue a degree do not need to apply for formal program admission to NC State University. However, students who wish to earn the MCS degree must formally apply for admission to the Graduate School. When completing the online application, please be sure to select the “Distance Track” version of the degree.

To register for an Engineering Online course, complete the registration form on the Engineering Online website. Students cannot register through the University MyPack Portal system for Engineering Online courses.

Course Offerings

A list of distance education courses available for each semester can be found on the Engineering Online website. Full-time employed individuals may only enroll in two online courses per semester. It is highly recommended that new students enroll in only one course during their first semester.

Courses for the Graduate Plan of Work are selected with the concurrence of the student’s advisor from the following courses and others that may become available.

CSC Core Requirements

At least two courses must be taken from one of the following categories and one from the other category.

Category 1: Theory Category 2: Systems
CSC 505 Algorithms CSC 501 Operating Systems
CSC 512 Compiler Construction CSC 506 Architecture of Parallel Computers
CSC 565 Graph Theory CSC 510 Software Engineering
CSC 579 Introduction to Computer Performance Modeling CSC 520 Artificial Intelligence
CSC 580 Numerical Analysis CSC 562 Introductory Computer Graphics
CSC 570 Computer Networks

For a list of distance education courses approved for the fall, spring or summer semester, visit the Engineering Online website.

Find more information about the Master of Computer Science degree program.

Course Logistics

Online courses are the same as on-campus courses in terms of content, requirements and academic rigor. On-campus class lectures are captured, digitized and placed on the Internet for distance students to access at any time and from any location. Students must, however, follow the on-campus class schedule in terms of submitting homework and taking exams. Course assignments, lecture notes, and handouts are made available to distance students on the course website. All in-class exams must be proctored.

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