Master of Computer Science (MCS)



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Financial Aid




The USU Computer Science Department is excited to announce our new Master of Computer Science (MCS) program! This is a professional, coursework-only degree. Admissions are open now - please forward/share with your family, friends, classmates, and colleagues who may be interested in a career pivot to Computer Science (no previous CS experience required) or pursuing additional education. No GRE is required for admission!

The Master of Computer Science is a professional, coursework-only Master's degree which:

  • Invites students from all undergraduate backgrounds to apply.
    • No previous CS or coding experience required
    • Students without a grade of C or better in a course in Data Structures and Algorithms (CS 2420 at USU) must complete three (3) prerequisite courses (two or three semesters) before beginning their MCS coursework
  • Has no entrance exam requirement
    • Admissions requirements: previous transcripts, three letters of recommendation, resume, and statement of purpose
  • Allows students to take courses according to their interests
  • Can be completed as quickly as three (3) semesters
    • Only 33 credits (or 11 courses) are required
  • Allows students to study Data Science/Data Analysis/Data Mining, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Computer Vision, High Performance Computing, Visualization, Virtual Reality, Security, Algorithms, and more


Requirement Summary

The admissions committee will consider the following in their decisions: Current degree (B.S., M.S.) and the reputation of the programs where the degree was obtained, GPA, TOEFL/IELTS scores, performance in prerequisite courses, resume, statement of purpose, and recommendations.

Minimum Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • 3.0 GPA for the last 60 semester credits
  • (International Students) TOEFL score of 79 or IELTS overall score of 6.0 and a minimum score of 5 on each subscale
  • A course in Data Structures and Algorithms (CS 2420) with a grade of C or better

Application Materials


Official Transcripts

Each previously attended college and/or university, including Utah State University, must be listed on the application form, and the applicant must have an official transcript from each institution (except Utah State University) sent directly to the Utah State University School of Graduate Studies. Transcripts accumulated on one record are not acceptable. Transcripts must be submitted for all coursework above the high-school level and all prior degrees. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a notarized translation. Transcripts submitted as application credentials become the property of the School of Graduate Studies and will not be copied for or returned to the applicant.


Three Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required; each must address the applicant's potential for success in the proposed graduate degree program. At least two of the letters must come from persons from whom the applicant has taken academic coursework. The letters must be sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies. The request is sent out electronically through the online application.



  1. International applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate competency in the English language by taking either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Dulingo does not provide sufficient proof of English proficiency. The minimum required scores are as follows:
    • TOEFL internet-based test: 79
    • IELTS exam: overall score of 6.0 and a minimum score of 5 on each subscale.
  2. Scores that are more than 2 years old are not accepted. If an international applicant has a degree from a university in an English-speaking country, the TOEFL or IELTS is not required.
  3. International applicants may apply to USU as an undergraduate student in the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) and:
    • Take and pass the IELI placement exam, or
    • Take the IELI placement exam and complete the required classes.
  4. Note: IELI does not offer level 0 or low-beginning English classes. IELI offers level 1, which is high-beginning. Students entering IELI must have a basic knowledge of English in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Passing the IELI placement exam or completing the required IELI classes does not guarantee matriculation into a graduate program.

Proof of Prerequisite Courses

Completion of CS 1400, CS 1410, and CS 2420 (or the equivalent) is required before you may enroll in MCS courses. Please upload a transcript showing completion of these courses. If you have not yet completed these prerequisite courses, please contact Caitlin Thaxton to get started!



Include a detailed Resume showing your skills and experience.


Statement of Purpose

Elaborate on why you would like to pursue an MCS degree and why you think you would be a good fit for the program.

Note: Application materials may be submitted after paying the $55 nonrefundable application fee. For more information on application materials, visit the School of Graduate Studies' Admissions Overview.

Application Deadlines

Semester Deadline
Fall (Begins in August) August 1
Spring (Begins in January) October 15
Summer (Begins in May) March 1

Please note that MCS students are not eligible for Departmental Funding (Graduate Teaching Assistantships).


Program Pathway

  1. Be accepted to the Master of Computer Science program and work with your advisor: Caitlin Thaxton
  2. Register for courses
  3. Second Semester (due Apr. 1st or Nov. 1st): Submit your Program of Study (POS) by emailing Caitlin Thaxton to let her know it is ready for approval
  4. Complete 33 credits of coursework, as listed on your POS.
  5. Notify Caitlin Thaxton the semester you plan to graduate. Complete the program when you have completed the coursework on your POS

Supervisory Committee

Master of Computer Science (MCS) students do not need to find a major professor or form a Supervisory Committee. Caitlin Thaxton will serve as the permanent advisor for all MCS students.

Program of Study

The Program of Study (POS) is a contract among the student, committee members, and the School of Graduate Studies outlining which courses the student will take to meet the School of Graduate Studies requirements and complete their degree program.

Students joining the department in a Fall semester will need to submit a Program of Study by April 1st of their second semester. Students joining the department in a Spring semester will need to submit a Program of Study by November 1st of their second semester.

In order to be approved, the POS must follow the Master of Computer Science (MCS) degree requirements listed on the USU Catalog. Requirements for a Computer Science MCS POS are as follows:

  • The POS must include at least 33 credits of coursework
  • The POS must include at least four CS 6000+ courses (excluding CS 6250)
  • The POS may include up to 3 credits from the following group of courses: CS 5950, CS 6950, and CS 7950
  • The POS may include up to 3 credits of CS 6250
  • The POS must include 15 or fewer credits of 5000-level courses and no courses below 5000-level
  • The POS cannot include CS 6900, CS 6970, CS 6990, CS 7970, or CS 7990
  • The POS may include up to 6 credits outside the CS department. Any outside credits must be from the following courses/departments: ECE, MATH, STAT, PSC 6150, or SOC 6150
  • The POS cannot include independent study courses outside the CS department
  • If CS 5250 (1 credit) and CS 5260 (2 credits) are included, they must be taken the same semester

GPA Policy

Fall 2020 to Present
  • Graduate students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for degree-program courses. 
  • Grades of C or lower will not be accepted for a graduate degree.

Financial Aid

Departmental Funding (in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships) is not available for MCS students. Some students are able to find campus employment with other departments or research groups: