Online Master’s in Computer Science Degree

Master of Science in Computer Science

Offered By: College of Engineering and Technology


The estimated job growth for computer and information research scientists from 2021 to 20311

Study Advanced Technology Concepts Through an MS in Computer Science Degree Program

The Master of Science in Computer Science degree at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is designed for professionals in a variety of STEM and business disciplines, with a strong aptitude for mathematical reasoning, abstract thinking and computer programming. An online computer science master’s degree is a higher education program that explores topics of abstraction, complexity and evolutionary change, as well as a set of general principles, such as sharing common resources, security and concurrency. You will be taught an understanding of the theoretical principles, concepts and methods of computer science and artificial intelligence as you actively engage in implementing them in applications throughout the curriculum.

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Upon completing the online master’s in computer science program, you will have been taught the skills and training to design, implement and improve theoretical and functional systems based on quantitative and qualitative assessments of their functionality, usability and performance.

Job growth for computer and information research scientists is on track to grow by an estimated 21% from 2021 to 2031, accounting for an estimated increase of 7,100 jobs in the field.1 The computer and information research field typically requires a master’s degree, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.3

Benefits of GCU’s Online Computer Science Master’s Degree

Studying for a computer science master’s degree online comes with a number of benefits. Since it is an online program, you can earn your degree from anywhere. This allows you to study in a modality that provides flexibility and allows you to meet your academic and professional needs. This provides the benefit of allowing you to stay current with all assignments while affording you greater flexibility to balance your career and personal obligations.

To be eligible for consideration, you are required to hold an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science, software engineering, computer engineering or electrical engineering. In the event that you do not have a degree in one of these fields, you may need to complete a bridge program prior to enrollment.

Additionally, this degree program is mathematically rigorous and incorporates computer science coursework in areas such as advanced statistics, programming languages and algorithm analysis. Prior to enrolling, discuss these requirements with your university counselor to make sure you have the skills needed to be successful.

Build Your Foundation Knowledge in the Computer Science Master’s Degree Program

The MS in Computer Science is an advanced degree program for students seeking a curriculum that balances theoretical and practical coursework. You will be taught to develop a comprehensive understanding of the core principles and skills required for this rapidly evolving field. 

This online master’s in computer science degree program is broken down in these core domains:

  • Mathematics: Apply calculus and linear algebra methods to solve computing problems, use probability and statistics for decision making and create ideas based on mathematical concepts.
  • Algorithms and Complexity: Design algorithms, describe the architecture of parallel/distributed systems and calculate the computational complexity of algorithms that may solve a problem.
  • Computing Systems: Demonstrate an understanding of multicore/multiprocessor architectures, evaluate computing systems design alternatives and build software systems.
  • Research and Applications: Formulate research questions, design experiments, analyze results and communicate findings of computational problems.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Automate data for repetitive learning/discovery, develop applications adaptable through progressive learning algorithms and analyze data to uncover trends.
  • Professionalism, Ethics and Sustainability: Determine if a new data-driven business process uses customer data ethically, demonstrate ethical judgment and examine how a Christian worldview applies.

Topics You Will Study in the Master’s in Computer Science Degree

Through a combination of theoretical and practical coursework, you will have the opportunity to learn these core areas and to tackle practical challenges in the field of computer science. The Master of Science in Computer Science curriculum at GCU focuses on topics within computer science, such as:

  • Design and analysis of algorithms
  • Advanced operating systems
  • Programming languages
  • Parallel programming
  • Research methods in computational sciences
  • Machine learning for computer science
  • Artificial intelligence

GCU’s online MS in Computer Science degree program culminates in a capstone project or thesis. You will have the option of choosing between designing and implementing a software application or conducting research and writing a research thesis. During each of the last four courses in the program you will submit interim milestones.

Master of Science in Computer Science Career Pathways 


Median annual wage for computer and information research scientists in May 20212

Graduates in the online master’s in computer science degree program may move on to pursue roles within an organization such as:

  • Computer and information systems manager
  • Computer and information research scientist
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer network support specialist
  • Database architect
  • Data scientist
  • Information security analyst
  • Postsecondary computer science teacher
  • Software developer
  • Software quality assurance analyst and tester
  • Web and digital interface designer
  • Web developer

A master's degree in computer science can open a wide range of career opportunities in various industries. Graduates with a master's degree in computer science will have been taught the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in various workplace settings, such as:

  • Social media companies
  • Healthcare 
  • Large corporations
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Educational institutions
  • Technology 
  • Consulting firms
  • Research facilities

Online Master’s in Computer Science Degree FAQs

By exploring these frequently asked questions, you can make informed decisions about whether an online master's in computer science degree is the right choice for you.

GCU’s online MS in computer science degree requires a total of 38 credits for completion. Most of the classes are eight weeks in length. Fill out the form on this page to speak to a university counselor to better understand how long it takes to earn your online computer science master’s degree.

An online computer science master’s degree is worth it for anyone looking to get into software engineering, web development, artificial intelligence, information technology or any career with a computer science focus. Computer science courses are generally more math-intensive than other degrees, especially in master’s-level degrees like this one. If your goal is to be taught skills in computer science and problem solving, this could be an ideal pathway for you. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information research scientists had a median annual wage of $131,490 in May 2021.2

Like any rigorous academic program, the coursework and assignments in this graduate-level online computer science master’s degree can be challenging and require a significant time commitment. However, you will receive support from experienced faculty and peers who thrive on ensuring you graduate with a complete understanding of the program concepts. With dedication and hard work, you can complete this MS in Computer Science degree and gain the knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career in the field of computer science.

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Research Scientists, retrieved on April 28, 2023. 

2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Computer and Information Research Scientists as of May 2021, retrieved on April 28, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as computer and information research scientists. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates. 

3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (n.d.). Computer and Information Research Scientists. Retrieved on April 28, 2023. 

Total Credits: 38
Online: 8 weeks
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Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $575 per credit [More Info]

Course List

38 credits
Degree Requirements:
38 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Natural Sciences. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course reviews probability, distributions, statistical methods, and data analysis, in the context of computational science. Students use statistical computing software to analyze, visualize, and communicate results.

Course Description

The course covers the theoretical fundamentals of computing, and analysis of the inherent capabilities and limitations of computation. Topics include advanced techniques in formal algorithm analysis, classical and modern algorithms, P and NP, polynomial-time reduction, NP-completeness and NP-hardness. Prerequisite: DSC-510.

Course Description

This course covers essential concepts in the design and implementation of advanced modern operating systems. Focus areas may include distributed systems and computer networks, interprocess communication, distributed processing, multi-core processors, sharing and replication of data and files. Prerequisite: CST-520.

Course Description

This course focuses on theoretical models for advanced programming paradigms: functional, imperative, concurrent, and probabilistic programming. Various models of programming languages and type systems are discussed. Students learn to apply programming methodology, transformations, and logic. Prerequisite: DSC-510.

Course Description

This course introduces programming models and languages for programming parallel platforms. Additional topics may include parallel and distributed platforms, parallel and distributed algorithms, message passing, shared memory, and parallel programming applications in a variety of domains. Prerequisite: CST-540.

Course Description

This course prepares students for the research process in computational sciences, while developing an appreciation for the philosophy and ethics related to how research is conducted. Students learn how to design experiments, how to test the results using statistical methods, and communicate the findings. Prerequisite: DSC-510.

Course Description

This course covers fundamental techniques in statistical machine learning, focusing on computational methods for supervised and unsupervised data analysis. Topics may include classification, regression, dimensionality reduction, and clustering. Students will learn and apply a variety of training models and algorithms. Prerequisite: CST-560.

Course Description

This course covers key areas of AI focusing on theoretical and practical approaches to designing intelligent systems. Central themes include search, neural networks, probabilistic modeling, and game theory. Students explore specific algorithms and applications in depth, using modern programming paradigms. Prerequisite: CST-570.

Course Description

Students conceptualize, design, and present an innovative idea, process, or a product in the field of computer science. Projects synthesize and apply knowledge from previous courses and include a scientific report anchored in current theory and research. Prerequisite: CST-580.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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