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Masters of Science in Computer Science

The Master of Science in Computer Science offers students the opportunity to combine a sound foundation in computer science with concentrated knowledge in the latest developments in particular areas. Our faculty have expertise in many areas of computer science, including algorithms and theory, artificial intelligence, computer gaming, computer networks, databases, data mining, graphics, image and video processing, information security and assurance, information systems, knowledge engineering, pattern recognition, programming languages, real- time systems, robotics, software engineering, and vision.

Graduate classes are offered in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate the professionally employed students. Financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships may be available for full- time degree-seeking students. Appropriate courses may be transferred, with advisor approval, into the degree program. The Department of Computer Science offers additional degrees and certificates that are of interest to many MS students. Graduate certificates in computer networking, information security and assurance, and software engineering are available. Course work toward the certificates can be used for credit toward the MS in Computer Science. However, the certificates also may be pursued concurrently with any of the graduate degree programs in the Volgenau School of Engineering.

Masters or PhD?

In some cases it may be advantageous for you to apply to the PhD program instead of the MS. You can apply to the PhD program directly as an undergraduate; and if you do not complete the PhD, you can apply your work towards an MS. For more information about the MS vs PhD, see the PhD Admissions FAQ.

Admission Requirements

Admission is competitive among students who fulfill admission requirements for graduate study at the Computer Science Department of George Mason University. Students seeking admission to the M.S. in Computer Science program must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Fulfill admission requirements for graduate study at George Mason University.

  2. Hold a baccalaureate degree, preferably with a major in a technical field such as computer science, mathematics, physics, engineering, or information systems; and have taken Data Structures (CS 310), Formal Methods and Models (CS 330), and Computer Systems Architecture including Assembly Programming (CS 367 and CS 465) or equivalent courses. Students should have completed one year of mathematics beyond first-year calculus, including a substantial course in discrete mathematics (e.g., MATH 125). Students with some deficiencies in preparation may be admitted provisionally pending completion of foundation courses in mathematics or computer science. Undergraduate credit earned for this purpose may not be applied toward the graduate degree.

  3. Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate work.

  4. Submit transcripts of all post-secondary education, a self-evaluation form (the form is included in the on-line application package), three letters of recommendation, and an official GRE General test score report.

Applying to the Program

To apply to the program go to the GMU Admissions web page.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Computer Science is a breadth-based program. Students are required to complete 30 credits of graduate courses. Courses are grouped in the following five broad areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Databases
  • Programming Languages and Software Engineering
  • Systems and Networks
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Visual Computing
As part of the degree requirements, students have to take courses in at least three different areas. For more details on the MS degree requirements, see the MSCS entry in the GMU catalog .

Students in the MSCS program are required to complete the advising checklist with the help of their advisors.