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College of Engineering and Applied Science

College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UC Denver

Computer Science and Engineering

Master of Science

 Master of Science

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers a master of science degree in computer science. An MS in computer science provides ample opportunities in state-of–the-art research and professional development in various interdisciplinary areas.​

Research areas of emphasis include:

  • algorithms
  • automata theory
  • artificial intelligence
  • big data management and mining
  • communication networks
  • combinatorial geometry
  • computational geometry
  • computer architectures
  • computer graphics
  • distributed computing
  • high performance computing
  • graph theory
  • Internet
  • operating systems
  • parallel processing
  • simulation
  • software engineering​

If you're interested in the master of science in computer science, you should hold a bachelor's degree from an institution comparable to the University of Colorado. You need to have sufficient programming experience and mathematical maturity to understand advanced courses.

Qualified applicants holding a degree outside computer science, computer engineering or equivalent fields may need to take additional undergraduate courses before starting the graduate program.  Admission decisions are based on prior academic performance, letters of recommendation, English proficiency, if applicable, and your written statement of purpose.

Additional requirements:

10 semester hours of university-level calculus and at least one math course beyond calculus, such as advanced calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability, statistics or combinatorial analysis.

Students lacking some of these requirements, whose background is otherwise satisfactory, might be admitted with the understanding that the certain undergraduate courses must be completed after admission.

Grade point average (GPA):

Applicants are expected to have GPA of at least 3.0. 

All computer science graduate applicants must submit the following materials:

  1. Application form​
  2. Application fee
  3. Statement of purpose
    This may be included on your application form.
  4. Transcripts
    We require one official copy of each previous transcript. E-transcripts should be sent to the Graduate School at​​.
  5. References
  6. We require three (3) letters of recommendation.
  7. GRE scores (effective for fall 2015 admission)
    Applicants must submit evidence of adequate preparation for graduate study by either (a) submitting official GRE scores, or (b) documenting an earned bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.00 or higher from an institution accredited by a U.S. accreditation body, or an earned master’s degree with a GPA of 3.50 or higher from an institution accredited by a U.S. accreditation body.  Use Institution Code 4875, Department Code 1102. Strong candidates typically have verbal plus quantitative scores exceeding 310. (For students that took the exam prior to August 2011, strong candiates have verbal plus quantitative scores exceeding 1200.)

International Students:

If your native language is not English, you must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, and you must score above 537 (paper), 197 (computer) or 75 (Internet-based) or 6.5 on the IELTS.
You are not required to take the TOEFL test if you have completed a baccalaureate or graduate-level degree program from a U.S./U.K. accredited school abroad with English as the medium of instruction.


Applicants must make arrangements to ensure all their materials (including transcripts, references, and any required test scores) have been received by the relevant deadlines below. If there are outstanding materials, the application is considered incomplete and will be deferred.

Domestic applicants: 
Fall - May 1​
Spring - October 1

International applicants: 
Fall - April 15
Spring - September 15

Applications received after the deadline will be processed for the following semester.

Admission decision:

Candidates applying for the MS program will be individually evaluated by the department's graduate committee. A letter with a decision will be sent by the CSE chair.

Provisional admission:

Applicants may be accepted as "provisional degree students." This status is indicated in the acceptance letter along with the conditions that must be satisfied by a specified deadline in order for the student to obtain regular status.

For additional information on MS CS degree program, refer to:

Master's Handbook Fall 2016​
Master's Handbook Fall 2015​​
Master's Handbook Spring 2015
Master's Handbook Fall 2014
Master's Handbook Fall 2013
Master's Handbook Fall 2012
Master's Handbook 2011​​​​​ ​​​​​​

Send all application materials to the Graduate School at the following address:

Graduate School
Campus Box 163
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Graduate School
1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 1251
Denver, CO 80204

Phone: 303-315-2179​​

Master’s degree candidates are required to complete a program of study consisting of at least 30 semester hours of graduate level computer science courses while maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.0. According to the Graduate school rules graduate courses with grades below B- cannot be applied toward the completion of the graduate degree. With prior approval by the Graduate Committee a student may substitute up to nine semester hours by graduate mathematics or other engineering courses.

Students need to submit an approved Plan of Study to the Department during the first semester of their admission. An academic advisor will consult students to develop a Plan of Study. 

Students may choose Plan I (thesis), Plan II (project), or Plan III (course only). Both Plan I and II require successful defense of thesis or project in student’s graduating semester. Plan III requires successful completion of MSCS capstone course (CSCI ​6970) during student’s graduating semester.

  • Plan I – Thesis:

Students take 24 hours of graduate course work, and additionally write and defend a thesis, which counts for 6 hours of graduate thesis work.

  • Plan II - MS Project:

Students take 27 hours of graduate course work, and additionally write and defend a MS project report, which counts for 3 hours of graduate MS project work.

  • Plan III – Course Only:

Students must take 27 hours of graduate course work, and additionally take the MSCS capstone course (CSCI 6970), which counts for 3 credit hours. Independent study course will not be counted toward graduation in this course only option.

​Students are allowed a maximum of 3 credit hours of CS Independent Study (except in Plan III, course only option).

Students may only take graduate Engineering or graduate Mathematics courses that are offered towards an MS degree in a degree granting department, while at least 21 hours must be CS. It is advisable that students get prior approval of a graduate committee before taking any course that does not have a CSCI prefix.

For example, courses offered through Continuing Education are not counted toward an MS degree in Computer Science.

The only exception for a student to take a graduate course from any other department is when the course satisfies all of the following conditions:

  1. It appears in a graduate program. 

  2. It is taken instead of 3 hours of CS Independent Study. 

  3. It is approved by the CS Graduate Committee.

​No more the 6 hours may be in the form of online courses.

For additional degree requirement information, refer to:
Master's Handbook Fall 2016​
Master's Handbook Fall 2015​
Master's Handbook Spring 2015
Master's Handbook Fall 2014
Master's Handbook Fall 2013
Master's Handbook Fall 2012
Master's Handbook 2011​​​​​​