Online Master of Computer Science
Which degree are you most interested in?
The Online Master of Computer Science (MCS) program, offered through an innovative partnership between ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering and Coursera, is a rigorous computing degree. You’ll gain a deep understanding of advanced topics like AI, cybersecurity, and big data while strengthening your new skill set through real-world projects.
The Online Master of Computer Science (MCS) is an advanced degree program offered by Arizona State University and hosted on Coursera’s platform, that is targeted at students with an undergraduate education in computing and related disciplines who can best profit from further breadth and background in computer science from a scientific and engineering discipline.
Designed for students seeking to expand their knowledge of computer science or computation, this program reflects the dual nature of computer science as both a scientific and engineering discipline by placing emphasis on both theory and practical applications. Students can study topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity, software engineering, big data and much more.
The MCS is a non-thesis degree that requires 30 credit hours of coursework. Students receive lectures through the Coursera platform, but are advised and assessed by ASU faculty and teaching assistants on the rigorous set of assignments, projects, and exams required for university degree credit.
Students will gain skills in:
- Design and analysis of computers, computational processes and information transfer and transformation;
- Design of software for networks, graphics, artificial intelligence and database systems;
- Improving software reliability, network security, or information retrieval systems;
- Inventing next-generation computer systems, computer networking, biomedical information systems, gaming systems, search engines, web browsers, and package distribution systems;
- Integrating computer and information sciences with biology, geography, anthropology, public health, urban planning, and mathematics.
Top 25% of all accredited engineering programs in the nation
- ASU #2 for online undergraduate degree programs in the nation
- ASU #5 university in the nation for producing the best qualified graduates
- #8 engineering online programs for veterans (2019)
- #9 engineering online graduate programs (2019)
- #38 engineering undergraduate program - 22nd among public institutions
- #44 graduate program - 24th among public institutions
- 60 engineering student organizations and student professional societies give students leadership opportunities and hands-on experience
- Fulton Schools' 22,000+ students represent 135 countries, all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ira A. Fulton offers a wide range of degree options. Students are engineers from day one–they don’t have to wait until they are juniors to be engineers.
To meet degree requirements, all online MCS students must take one foundations course, one systems course, one applications course, and any seven additional courses from the lists below. Students must also submit a project portfolio.
CSE 551 Foundations of Algorithms
CSE 579 Knowledge Representation and Reasoning
CSE 531 Distributed & Multiprocessor OS
CSE 535 Mobile Computing
CSE 539 Applied Cryptography
CSE 543 Information Assurance and Security
CSE 545 Software Security
CSE 548 Advanced Computer Network Security
CSE 565 Software Verification, Validation, and Testing
CSE 566 Software Project, Process, and Quality Management
The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering faculty are world-class engineers, teachers, scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs. Many of our 320+ faculty members have been honored with the highest awards in their fields.
Graduates with an ASU Online Master of Computer Science have career opportunities illustrated in the following list. Career examples include but are not limited to:
A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (3.25 recommended) in the last 60 credit hours (last two (2) years) of a four (4) year undergraduate degree. If your degree was completed in the U.S., it must be from a regionally accredited university.
Don’t yet meet GPA admission requirements? Learn more about the MCS Pathway.
Two (2) semesters of advanced math in Calculus I and Calculus II, and a background course in discrete math.
Students with an undergraduate degree in a STEM field have likely completed the math requirement.
Demonstrated knowledge on official transcripts of the topics below.
CSE 230: Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming
Register-level computer organization. Instruction set architecture. Assembly language. Processor organization and design. Memory organization. IO programming. Exception/interrupt handling.
CSE 310: Data Structures and Algorithms
Advanced data structures and algorithms, including stacks, queues, trees (B, B+, AVL), and graphs. Searching for graphs, hashing, external sorting.
CSE 330: Operating Systems
Operating system structure and services, processor scheduling, concurrent processes, synchronization techniques, memory management, virtual memory, input/output, storage management, and file systems.
Principles of Programming Languages OR Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science
CSE 340: Principles of Programming Languages — Formal syntactic and semantic descriptions, compilation and implementation issues, and theoretical foundations for several programming paradigms.
- CSE 355: Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science — Introduces formal language theory and automata, Turing machines, decidability/undecidability, recursive function theory, and complexity theory.
If you have not taken at least 4 of these prerequisite courses, but feel that your industry experience, self-study, or other knowledge has prepared you for the MCS program, you have the option to take an online Computer Science Proficiency Exam. To take the exam, please submit your information above and make this request to your assigned advisor so they can set you up.
English Proficiency (if applicable)
If all college degrees are from a country outside the U.S., you may need to demonstrate English Proficiency. Note that the MCS degree requires higher English proficiency scores, which are listed below. Learn more about the ways you can demonstrate English Proficiency here.
- TOEFL: 575 paper-based / 90 Internet-based
- IELTS (Academic version): 7
- PTE: 65
- Official Transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you have attended
- Statement of Purpose or Resume
- OPTIONAL: Three (3) letters of recommendation
How to complete an application
- Submit online application and pay application fee
- Send official transcripts to ASU’s Graduate Admission Services. Scanned copies and/or transcripts sent by email will not be accepted. It is recommended to have your ASU student ID marked on the envelope of the transcripts. You can upload unofficial transcripts as part of your application. Unofficial transcripts are only accepted when uploaded directly in the application. If you are admitted to the university, you will be required to send official transcripts to the university.
- If you earned your degree from an international institution, please include an attested copy of your degree certificate.
- If you have submitted a request to take the computer science online proficiency test, please complete the test. ASU will immediately receive your score upon completion; you do not need to send ASU your score.
- If needed, send proof of English proficiency, as instructed here (including exemption rules). Please note that the MCS degree requires higher English proficiency scores, as noted above.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen but are living in the U.S., send a copy of your U.S. visa to email@example.com
- If you are based outside of the US “Select JN” under Visa
- For any questions, please call us toll-free at 1-844-353-7953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The MCS Pathway offers you an opportunity to establish a high Graduate GPA in order to meet admission requirements, while making progress towards the MCS degree.
Through the MCS Pathway, you choose and complete any three 500-level (3) courses that are part of the MCS degree program as a non-degree student. If you complete all three courses with a 3.25 GPA on the first attempt within a year, you have demonstrated ability to succeed in the subject matter and can apply to the program using this new GPA.
To begin, apply as a non-degree student here.
View the most commonly asked questions:
Prerequisite knowledge areas are subjects that the MCS program requires incoming students to have a thorough understanding of in order to be successful in graduate coursework. The following topics are prerequisites for the MCS Online degree:
• CSE 230 Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming
• CSE 310 Data Structures and Algorithms
• CSE 330 Operating Systems
• CSE 340 Principles of Programming Languages OR CSE 355 Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science
Completing Coursera courses alone does not waive a prerequisite, but completing the course and working through the material can be an excellent way to prepare for the computer proficiency test, which determines if there are topics a student is deficient in.
The statement of purpose should include your reasons for undertaking graduate work and an explanation of your academic interests, including their relation to your professional goals. There is no specific length for a statement of purpose. A resume will be accepted as a personal statement. Students are welcome to submit a resume or a personal statement or both.
If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, you do not need to demonstrate English proficiency.
We require all international applicants from a country whose native language is not English or applicants whose undergraduate degree was not at a U.S institution to provide the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Pearson English PTE scores. The MCS program requires a minimum score of 575 (paper-based) or 90 (internet-based) on the TOEFL exam, or a 7 for IELTS, or a 65 for PTE. English proficiency waivers are offered for degrees from certain countries. English proficiency will also be waived if you have completed at least 12 9 credit hours of graduate course work with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale or higher (all credits must be earned in the U.S. and official transcripts must be mailed to ASU). If you need to take an English proficiency test for your application but are unable to take the TOEFL or IELTS, please contact us toll-free at 1-844-353-7953 or email email@example.com for options.To see a full list of ways to demonstrate English Proficiency, go here.