Information for Prospective M.S. Students

MS in Computer Science

Our Master of Science program is designed for individuals considering a career in computer science that requires research skills and rigorous training, but who are unsure if they are ready to commit to a Ph.D. program. The coursework is identical to that offered to our Ph.D. students. 

MS Degree Requirements

The Graduate Policy Manual details all of the information on degree requirements, but in summary,our graduate students receive the training and are expected to develop a mastery of their field and gain a broad familiarity with their discipline by the time they graduate. Admission criteria are similar to those of the Ph.D. program. 

Coursework: 30 credit hours of qualifying courses covering four out of the eight areas.

Research: Research is expected, but students can choose between two options:

  • Non-thesis: Requires a scholarly paper of journal or conference quality, under computer science faculty supervision. Students may optionally replace up to six credits with CMSC 798 (Master’s Non-thesis Research).
  • Thesis: Requires six hours of CMSC 799 (Master's Thesis Research) and write a thesis advised by a computer science faculty member. The thesis must demonstrate an independent accomplishment in a research, development, or application area of computer science. An oral examination (Thesis Defense) is required to graduate. 

The thesis option requires finding an advisor and a research topic within the specified time frame. The non-thesis option is the default option due to its more flexible requirements. 

Program Duration

The MS program typically takes two years. However, UMD Computer Science undergraduates eligible for our Combined BS/MS program may finish the program in one year. 

Note: Students eligible for the Combined BS/MS program should list their degree intent as the Combined BS/MS program when applying.

Financial Information

While the MS program does not guarantee funding as part of the admission offer. MS students may apply for hourly CMSC TA opportunities, RA opportunities with faculty members, or other jobs on campus.

  • Hourly TA Positions: MS students can apply for hourly CMSC TA opportunities with no graduate assistantship benefits, tuition remission or health insurance.
  • Campus Employment Opportunities: Beyond Computer Science (CMSC) RA roles, MS students can pursue RA, TA, or Administrative Assistant (AA) opportunities across different programs. These opportunities are listed on ejobs.umd or Handshake.
  • Research Assistants (RA): All M.S. students, including first-year students, are eligible for graduate assistantship appointments. Faculty members may appoint them as Research Assistants (RAs) depending on their research needs and available funding. 

Tuition and Fees

For detailed information about tuition rates and related expenses, please visit the Office of Extended Studies website.


Fellowships can be sourced both from within the University of Maryland and through external organizations:

To apply for these fellowships, you should contact the agency which administers them, check with the financial aid office in your current university, or contact UMD's Fellowship Office.