Masters Degree in Programming: Program Overview

Oct 11, 2019

Master's degrees in computer programming provide a background in programming fundamentals, such as algorithms, data structures, machine architecture and high-level programming. Learn more about the program and what you can expect to earn in this field.

Essential Information

Master's degrees specifically in computer programming are rare. Individuals who want to study computer programming should consider enrolling in a computer science program that has an emphasis in computer programming. In a computer science program, students will learn programming fundamentals. Students will also learn how to apply programming knowledge to real-world computer systems and how to apply database and network development skills in software application programming.

Programs also teach students to analyze the engineering requirements of a project and decide which methods are most appropriate based on a client's needs. A number of concentrations other than programming are usually available for students to choose from, such as computer networking, software architecture or information systems security. Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree and computer science competency.

Master's Degree in Programming

A master's degree in programming is available primarily to students who have already completed major undergraduate work in computer science. However, students who have a bachelor's degree in another field may be considered if they can demonstrate competency in basic areas of computer science. Admission can be competitive, so candidates with research experience, high test scores and recommendation letters are often given preference. Programs often combine hands-on learning together with classroom work. Core courses and elective topics include:

  • Networking architecture
  • Network protocols
  • Distributed systems
  • Concepts of artificial intelligence
  • Web applications security
  • Cryptography

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment rate for computer programmers will decline by 7% between 2018 and 2028 ( The median annual salary for computer programmers was $84,280 as of May 2018, the BLS reported. The lowest-paid ten percent of programmers earned less than $48,790, while the highest-paid ten percent earned more than $134,630.

Students looking to earn a master's degree in computer programming may want to consider a program in computer science, since these are more common. Degree seekers can study topics such as network protocols and cryptography to develop the skills needed for a career in the field.

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