Online Master's in Computer Science Degree

Master of Science in Computer Science

Offered By: College of Science, Engineering, & Technology

What Is an MS in Computer Science?

A computer science master’s degree is a higher education program that explores topics of abstraction, complexity, evolutionary change, as well as a set of general principles, such as sharing common resources, security and concurrency. Upon completing the online master’s computer science program, students will have 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.

In our rapidly advancing, high-tech world, the computer science industry continues to grow and demand qualified, highly skilled innovators. Therefore, computer science professionals are likely to have a wide range of job prospects and expansive employment opportunities. Job growth for computer and information research scientists is on track to grow by an estimated 15% from 2019 to 2029, accounting for an estimated increase of 5,000 jobs in the field.1 The computer and information research field typically requires a master’s degree, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.2

Grand Canyon University’s Master of Science in Computer Science degree is designed for professionals in a variety of STEM and business disciplines, with a strong aptitude for mathematical reasoning, abstract thinking and computer programming. Graduate students will develop an understanding of the theoretical principles, concepts and methods of computer science and artificial intelligence as they actively engage in implementing them in applications throughout the curriculum.

Computer Science Master's Degree Courses at GCU

This online MS 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.
  • 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.

Curriculum 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

The Master of Science in Computer Science degree program culminates in a project or thesis. Students have the option of choosing between designing and implementing a software application, or conducting research and writing a research thesis, submitting interim milestones during each of the last four courses in the program

How Long Does It Take?

The MS in computer science degree requires 38 credits, and students can complete this online master’s in computer science program in under two years. This allows students to study in a modality that provides flexibility and allows them to meet their academic and professional needs.

What Are the Prerequisites?

Candidates must have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science, software engineering, computer engineering or electrical engineering. If the student does not have a degree in one of these programs, they may be required to enroll in a bridge program first.

This is also a math-intensive degree that includes computer science courses on advanced statistics, algorithm analysis and programming languages. Prior to enrolling, discuss these requirements with your enrollment counselor to make sure you have the skills needed to be successful.

Careers With a Master’s in Computer Science

Graduates in this program may move on to pursue senior and leadership roles within an organization such as:

  • Researcher
  • Algorithm designer
  • Enterprise software tool developer
  • Senior software architect
  • Senior software developer
  • Director of software development

This program also prepares graduates who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in computer science or related disciplines.

Potential workplace settings include:

  • Game developers
  • Social media companies
  • Health care providers
  • Large corporations
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Educational institutions
  • Technology suppliers
  • Consulting firms
  • Research facilities

Frequently Asked Questions

Studying for a computer science degree online comes with a number of benefits. Since it is an online program, you can earn your degree from anywhere. This gives you the advantage of not missing any assignments while giving you extra convenience to work around your career and personal life.

An online computer science degree is also less expensive than a traditional degree earned on campus. GCU’s online tuition rates are “per credit” and there are scholarships available for online students.

A computer science degree is absolutely 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, but the investment will be well worth it in the end if you have a strong interest in computer science and problem solving.

1COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 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 based on 2019, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Research Scientists.

2U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Research Scientists in August 2021

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Total Credits: 38
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $565 per credit [More Info]

Course List

38 credits
Total 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 Science, Engineering, and Technology. 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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