Part-Time Master's in Computer Science in California

Students who are looking for part-time master's degree programs in California have a number of options to choose from. In this article, we will cover five different master's degree programs in computer science that students can enroll in on a part-time basis and will explore the curriculum of these programs as well as admission requirements.

Part-Time Master's Degree Programs in Computer Science in California

Stanford University

Part-time students in Stanford University's Master of Science in Computer Science program generally complete the curriculum in three to five years. All students must complete the program within five years. The degree is generally designed for students who do not intend to continue on to doctoral studies, though students who do plan to pursue a Ph.D. later can earn a distinction in research, which requires that students complete significant research and write a research report. The M.S. program also offers ten specialization areas, of which students can select one or two depending on if they enroll in the single or dual depth program. Specialization areas are artificial intelligence, biocomputation, computer and network security, human-computer interaction, information management and analytics, mobile and internet computing, real-world computing, software theory, systems, and theoretical computer science.

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California offers a master's degree program in computer science that can be completed on a part-time basis in two and a half to three and a half years. The curriculum is offered entirely online, with online students having access to the same courses, lectures, and faculty members as on-campus students. It is also possible for online students to visit campus if they so desire. Students in this program can choose either a thesis or non-thesis track. Students who enroll in the non-thesis track must complete three required courses and then select elective courses in order to earn the minimum 28 units required for graduation. In the thesis track, students must complete 32 units, four of which come from specific master's thesis courses.

San Jose State University

Another option for students is the Master of Science in Computer Science program offered at San Jose State University. Courses in this program are typically offered in the afternoon and evening, making it possible for students to continue working while also completing the program on a part-time basis. Students in this program must complete 30 units of courses. These courses are split into various subject areas, of which students must take courses from at least three. In addition, students can select two elective courses and must complete a either a master's thesis or a master's writing project as a culminating experience in their program.

University of California San Diego

The University of California San Diego also offers a Master of Science in Computer Science that can be completed by part-time students. Students can elect to enroll in a thesis option, in which they write an in-depth research thesis under the advisement of a faculty member, or the comprehensive exam option, which would require them to take and pass an exam at the end of their program in order to receive their degree. The program requires that all students fulfill both a breadth and depth requirement. In order to fulfill the breadth requirement, students must complete a course from the three breadth areas of theory, systems, and applications. To fulfill the depth requirements, students also must select one of nine specialty areas and take three courses within this area. These options are artificial intelligence; computer engineering; computer systems; database systems; graphics and vision; human-computer interaction; programming languages, compilers, and software engineering; bioinformatics; and theoretical computer science.

California State University, Fullerton

Students seeking a part-time Master of Science in Computer Science at California State University, Fullerton must complete 30 units of courses, 15 of which are required core curriculum courses and 15 of which are electives. Elective courses are split into seven different focus areas: software engineering, database and web programming, computer networks and security, distributed systems, machine intelligence, bioinformatics, and computer graphics and multimedia. Students must take elective courses from at least two different focus areas. In addition to coursework, students also must choose to either complete a master's project or a master's thesis.

Admission Standards for Part-time Master's Degrees in Computer Science

In general, students who apply to master's degree programs in computer science have either completed a previous degree in computer science or a related field like engineering or information technology, or they have taken a significant number of courses in these fields. Programs may require that students have completed certain courses in computer science before being able to begin the master's curriculum. Students should check the admission requirements for each program they intend to apply to. The application process for many of these programs is similar and requires that students supply a completed application form, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and official GRE scores.

To summarize, there are a number of part-time master's degree programs in the field of computer science that are offered by universities in California. Students will likely want to take a number of factors into consideration when choosing a program, like what types of courses are offered, what their options are as a part-time student, and how flexible the program is.

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