Master of Science in Computer Science

Admission Requirements 

The student must meet all criteria for admission and then apply to the Graduate School. In unusual circumstances, students may be admitted with scores lower than those listed below. In addition to the University Requirements, the CS department also requires GRE scores (quantitative, verbal, and analytical). ISU graduates with a 3.5 GPA or higher and a letter of recommendation from an ISU CS faculty member are not required to take the GRE. Criteria are:

GPA (4 point scale): 2.50 or better

GRE Quantitative: 60th percentile 

GRE Verbal: 40th percentile 

GRE Analytical: 3.0 

TOEFL*: Meet the Graduate School minimum requirement

*for international students who do not speak English as their native language. 

Although admission does not require a baccalaureate degree in computer science, applicants with a bachelor's in other fields should demonstrate in their application the skills needed to succeed in computer science coursework and research. This might include successful completion of university-level CS classes, CS-related work experience, etc. Applicants are expected to have completed or to demonstrate experience equivalent to the following courses: 

Math 1175 (Calculus II) 

CS 2235 (Data Structures and Algorithms) 

CS 2263 (Advanced Object-Oriented Programming) 

CS 4412 (Advanced Algorithms) 

Applicants without these prerequisites may be required to complete prerequisite coursework prior to full admission (note: CS 5512 can be taken in place of CS 4412). All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of at least a B-.

For students wishing to apply who have not completed the essential prerequisite coursework there are two options: 

  1. They can enroll as a non-degree seeking (or degree-seeking) undergraduate student to complete the prerequisites. Following successful completion of the prerequisites, they can apply to the graduate program. 
  2. The student can apply directly to the MS program and be admitted with performance requirements requiring that students complete the prerequisite coursework within 1 year of being admitted and prior to enrolling in graduate-level courses. 

Graduate students must complete all prerequisite coursework prior to being considered for graduate assistantships. 

General Requirements 

With the assistance of the Computer Science faculty, the student shall select an initial advisor during the first semester of residence to help in planning a program of studies and research. With the help of the advisor, the student must also complete a Plan of Study and form a complete advisory committee by the time six credits of course work have been completed. 

30 credit hours are required to complete the M.S. degree (at least 15 of the credits must be at the 6600 level). The Thesis or Computer Science Project should consist of study and research that complements the coursework selected. 

A maximum of 6 credits of CS 6692, Special Problems in Computer Science, may count towards degree requirements. 

Thesis Option (30 credits)

CS 6605Computational Theory3
Approved CS 66XX Electives6-9
Approved 55XX or 66XX Electives - At least 3 credits must be CS electives12
CS 6650Thesis6-9
Total Credits 30

Course-Only Option (30 credits)

CS 6605Computational Theory3
Approved CS 66XX Electives - A maximum of 6 credits of CS 6660, Computer Science Project, may count toward this requirement12
Approved 55XX or 66XX Electives - At least 3 credits must be CS electives15
Total Credits30

Doctoral Program in Engineering and Applied Science (Computer Science)

 A Computer Science doctoral program within the PhD in Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) program is administered through the College of Science and Engineering (CoSE). The complete description and requirements of the program are available in the PhD EAS program catalog at