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.
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.