Master of Computer Science (MCS)



Financial Aid



If you would like to apply to our coursework-only master’s program, make sure to select “Master of Computer Science” not “Computer Science MS.” The Master of Computer Science program is listed alphabetically with the M’s.


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 (BS, MS) 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 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 Master of Computer Science 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. Duolingo 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.
  3. If an international applicant has a degree from a university in an English-speaking country, the TOEFL or IELTS is not required.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, Graduate Program Coordinator, 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' Steps to Apply and Admissions Policies.

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).

Note: Admitted students may defer their acceptance for a maximum of one year. Beyond one year, students need to reapply for their program.


Program Pathway

  1. Be accepted to the Master of Computer Science program and work with your advisor: Caitlin Thaxton, Graduate Program Coordinator.
  2. Register for courses.
  3. Second Semester (due Apr. 1st or Nov. 1st): Submit your Program of Study (POS) by emailing Caitlin Thaxton, Graduate Program Coordinator, to let them know it is ready for approval.
  4. Complete 33 credits of coursework, as listed on your POS.
  5. Notify Caitlin Thaxton, Graduate Program Coordinator, the semester you plan to graduate. Your MCS program is complete after you have completed the coursework on your POS.
  6. Check with Caitlin Thaxton, Graduate Program Coordinator, about any final closeout steps for the CS department.

Supervisory Committee

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

Program of Study

The Program of Study (POS) is a contract among the student, Caitlin Thaxton, Graduate Program Coordinator, 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 in the USU Catalog. Requirements for an MCS POS are as follows:


At least 33 credits


18 credits of CS 6000+ courses. Excluding CS 6250


15 additional credits of graduate coursework at the 5000-level or above.


Up to 3 credits of CS 6250


Up to one course from CS 5950, CS 6950, and CS 7950


Cannot include CS 6900, CS 6970, CS 6990, CS 7970, or CS 7990


If CS 5250 and CS 5260 are included, they must be taken the same semester.


May include up to 6 credits outside the CS department. Outside credits must be from: ECE, MATH, STAT, PSC 6150 or SOC 6150


Cannot include independent study, research, or continuing graduate advisement outside of the CS department.

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.

Info! Students with an overall GPA below 3.0 at the completion of fall and spring semesters will be issued an academic warning. If a student’s institution GPA remains below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, then they will be dismissed from the program.

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: