Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 531,200 MORE COMPUTER SCIENTISTS BY 2029

    Employment opportunities for computer and information technology occupations is projected to increase by 11% through 2029, which is much faster than average.

  • COMPUTER SCIENTISTS HAVE ENDLESS JOB OPPORTUNITIES

    With jobs available in every sector due to the pervasiveness of computer technology, computer science degrees are highly marketable. A few of the many careers include computer programmer, software developer, and database administrator.

  • THOSE WITH A MASTER’S CAN EARN OVER $122,000 YEARLY

    The median annual salary for all computer and information technology workers is $88,240 nationally. However, computer scientists in occupations that require a master’s degree earn a median $122,840 per year.

Our Research

This list focuses on graduate programs in computer science that offer master’s degrees. Computer science programs typically award a master of science in computer science degree, although some award a Master of Computer Science degree. We reviewed programs that are offered online, in person, and in hybrid formats.

Several regional organizations accredit master’s degree programs that meet high standards of quality in computer science within the United States. One such example is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). All listed programs are accredited by a regional organization to ensure that they meet the highest standards of quality and that employers will recognize your degree.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 78 hours to write this article
  • 196 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 265 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Master’s in Computer Science Degree Programs

Best Master's in Computer Science Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

The field of computer science is broadly applicable and touches every industry, so it’s important to determine your goals when considering a career in computer science. A master’s degree in computer science generally helps develop a foundation for a career in technology research and development. It’s also an excellent path to enter a specialized field such as machine learning, informatics, or cybersecurity. A master’s degree can also help you develop industry expertise in domains that are difficult to break into, such as biotechnology, chemical engineering, and video games.

In addition to opening up more opportunities in the field, a master’s degree in computer science gives graduates the potential to earn some of the industry’s highest salaries. The median annual salary for all computer science and technology workers was $88,240, while the highest earned more than $120,000 per year. Computer support specialists earned as little as $54,760, on average, while computer scientists in the physical, engineering, and life sciences industries had a median salary of $134,490. Master’s degree-holders typically earn higher wages than those who only have a bachelor’s degree.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching MS programs in computer science:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Admission requirements vary by program, but most applicants hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or closely related field from an accredited institution. If your bachelor’s degree doesn’t demonstrate an adequate background in computer science fundamentals, you may be required to complete prerequisite courses before beginning graduate studies.
  • How long does it take to complete this degree? Full-time graduate MS programs in computer science generally require two years to complete. Some programs allow you to complete your degree on an accelerated schedule. Part-time students typically complete an MS program in three to four years.

As you research programs, review admission requirements, including application materials, and take note of application deadlines. You can usually find information about the graduate application process online or by contacting the admissions department.

Financing your graduate education is another important consideration. Tuition and fees vary by program. Some provide funding in the form of assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships. To see if you’re eligible, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you’re working, ask your employer about educational assistance programs.