Getting a master's degree in computer science at a respected accredited university can be difficult, as most universities have strict requirements regarding prior coursework, along with the usual expectations of high grade-point averages and test scores. Understanding exactly what your dream school requires for admittance will help you focus your undergraduate or post-graduate studies.
Complete a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering or mathematics. Alternatively, make sure you have completed — and excelled at — a handful of upper-division computer science or advanced math courses. Unfortunately, introductory courses in programming, calculus or specific software programs do not count. Courses like artificial intelligence and compilers would work, however.
Make a list of schools to which you'd like to apply and get a full list of their requirements with regards to undergraduate coursework and GPA. Apply only if you meet those requirements, as this is a competitive field with many applicants.
Most schools will consider applications from students who show great promise, even if they come from other backgrounds. So it's worth having a conversation with an admission's officer at your school of choice to understand where the gaps in your education lie, and what type of coursework would be needed to address those gaps.
Take the GRE if it is required by your school of choice. You're expected to score competitively, and most schools will be able to tell you the average scores of applicants so you know what to shoot for.
Research another closely allied degree if you don't meet the basic requirements for an MCS. A master's in MIS or IS or a master's in IT would be much easier to qualify for than a Master's in Computer Science, and those other degrees will likely give you the bump up you're seeking in your IT career. Otherwise, you might need to go through the process of obtaining a bachelor's degree in math or computer science before you pursue a master's degree.
- Do not try to apply for master's degree in computer science if you only have a programming background without the computer science and math studies.
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