Master of Science (MS): Computer Science Degree Overview

Individuals wanting to advance in their IT or software development career may consider earning a Master of Science in Computer Science degree. This program allows students to specialize in an aspect of the field and complete research on a topic of their choice.

Essential Information

A M.S. in Computer Science program can offer students training in programming, processing, software engineering and artificial intelligence. Students participate in hands-on projects involving security, networks and embedded systems. Some programs may allow enrollees to select an emphasis, such as artificial intelligence, within computer science. A Bachelor's degree is required in order to apply. If it's in a field other than computer science students may be required to complete coursework in operating systems, programming and computer networking. Many programs also require internships and/or a thesis. Some schools offer this program fully online.

Master of Science in Computer Science

This graduate program might help students develop skills working with database systems, informatics and computer networks. Programs typically focus on the application of theories as they relate to real-world scenarios, such as digital game development and software engineering. Courses within the program may include:

  • Algorithm analysis
  • Operating systems
  • Computer architecture
  • Computer networking
  • Advanced computer graphics

Popular Career Options

Graduates may be eligible for employment with information technology firms and digital gaming companies. Individuals can also seek positions in web development, programming and software engineering. Opportunities might exist in fields such as biomedicine, Internet technology and digital gaming. Some possible job titles could include:

  • Programming specialist
  • Software engineer
  • Systems administrator
  • Database analyst
  • Database developer

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that programmers earned a median annual salary of $79,530 as of May 2015. During the same month, the BLS released data indicating that, depending on the type of software with which they worked, software developers saw a median income of $98,260 to $105,570 per year at that time, and systems administrators made a median yearly wage of $77,810. The median annual salary for database analysts was $58,879 as of July 2016, according to; the same website also reported a median yearly wage of $72,371 for database developers during the same month.

Continuing Education

Upon completion of a master's degree program, those interested in pursuing an advanced degree can apply to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science program. Ph.D. programs typically focus on research. Concentrations may be available in bioinformatics, cognitive science, computer networks and programming theory. Students can contribute to the field by developing software or creating new technology.

A master's in computer science can lead to numerous careers working with software development, systems administration, and database analysis. Different programs may offer students different specialized fields of study to pursue.

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