Master of Computer Science Online (MCS)

3 students working at a computer, while a teacher and 2 students in the back discuss at a whiteboard

WPI's Master of Computer Science (MCS) online is a program designed to help you strengthen your skills in programming, systems, and networks, and apply what you’ve learned right away in your profession. Rather than featuring research seminars or a thesis, the MCS is a terminal degree focused on helping you advance your career, grow your professional development, and contribute to the computing field. 

Value Proposition Description

During the program, you’ll work with a group of like-minded peers on real-world projects that are relevant to your profession. This includes a final capstone—a substantial evaluation your computer science experience. 

Uniquely, you can customize the program through electives that deepen your understanding in one of four specialized areas, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics & Management, Cybersecurity, or Business Intelligence. 

  • Deepen your skills in blockchain, operating systems, network programming, and more 

  • Work in commonly used program languages including C++, Python, Java, and others 

  • Learn from world-class faculty who are scholarly and industry leaders in their fields 

  • Collaborate on real-world projects that will equip you with experience you can use right away in your career 

  • Take advantage of bridge courses, which allows for no specific undergraduate degree to enroll 

No application fees or GRE required! 

Professor Craig Shue at a computer smiling
Top 30

Best Colleges for Computer Science Majors

Money Magazine (2020)

National Universities Where Grads Are Paid Well

U.S. News & World Report (2021)
Top 100

Best Graduate Schools in the U.S.

U.S. News & World Report

Curriculum for Master of Computer Science Online

The Master of Computer Science online program begins with a foundational track required for students without appropriate programming experience. After completing core courses, you can choose from four specializations in Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics & Management, Cybersecurity, or Business Intelligence. 

The Master of Computer Science degree program requires at least 30 credits hours of study, which will include 10 three-credit courses. 

Students with no prior background may complete this 30-credit plan: 

Foundation (6 credits) 

  • CS 5007 Introduction to Programming Concepts, Data Structures, and Algorithms 

  • CS 5008 Introduction to Systems and Network Programming 

Design Core (12 credits) 

  • CS 5084 Introduction to Algorithms: Design and Analysis 

  • CS 509 Design of Software Systems 

  • CS 542 Database Management Systems 

  • Either 

    • CS 528 Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing or

    • CS 546 Human-Computer Interaction 

Elective Courses (9 credits) 

  • Elective focus areas: 

    • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Focus 

    • Big Data Management Focus 

    • Computing Systems Focus 

    • Cybersecurity Focus 

Capstone Experience (3 credits) 

  • CS 588 Computer Science Capstone Experience 

Students with strong prior backgrounds may omit some foundation courses and instead complete additional elective courses. 

Make the Most of Your WPI Experience 

  • Current WPI students, even those whose undergraduate degree is not in computer science, may explore a BS/MS program option to gain both degrees in an accelerated plan. 

Learn more about WPI's MS in Cybersecurity and Cybersecurity at WPI.  

Application Qualifications

The program does not require an undergraduate degree in computer science, but applicants need experience with a programming language, such a Python, Java, C, or C++ and undergraduate math coursework in calculus, statistics, or probability.

The application is closed for Spring 2023 as of October 19, 2022. Applications submitted after that time will be considered for Fall 2023. Click here to apply now.


If you do not have a bachelor's degree, please view our list of undergraduate programs.

For specific application requirements, visit our admissions for online programs page. Have additional questions? Please contact our WPI Online team to review individual situations.

Is the Master of Computer Science the Right Degree for You?

If you’re looking for a degree that builds on an undergraduate Computer Science (or related) degree and has options for in-depth study of Computer Science, thesis-level research or PhD preparation, WPI’s Master of Science in Computer Science is a better fit. Find out which degree is right for you.

What Can I Do with a Master of Computer Science?

Information Security Analyst
  • 31% job growth from 2019 to 2029 

  • $99,730 median annual salary 

In-demand skills: 

  • Network systems 

  • Scripting 

  • Firewall administration 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 

Software Developer
  • 22% job growth from 2019 to 2029 

  • $107,510 national average salary 

In-demand skills: 

  • Data structures and algorithms 

  • Programming languages 

  • Encryption and cryptography 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 

Network & Computer Systems Administrator
  • 4% job growth from 2019 to 2029 

  • $83,510 median annual salary 

In-demand skills: 

  • Network visualization 

  • Automation and scripting 

  • Structured Query Language (SQL) 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 

Computer Network Architect
  • 5% job growth from 2019 to 2029 

  • $112,960 median annual salary 

In-demand skills 

  • System administration 

  • Network modeling 

  • Network security 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 

Computer Information & Research Scientist
  • 15% job growth from 2019 to 2029 

  • $122,840 median annual salary 

In-demand skills: 

  • Advanced mathematics 

  • Programming languages 

  • Computational theory application 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 

Computer Systems Analyst
  • 7% job growth from 2019 to 2029 

  • $90,920 median annual salary 

In-demand skills: 

  • Analytical skills 

  • Problem-solving skills 

  • Communication skills 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 

Meet Our Faculty

George T. Heineman
George T. Heineman
Associate Professor & Associate Head, Computer Science

Computer programming makes it possible to solve problems that otherwise could never be attempted. You can create worlds that could never be possible and help make this world a better place. Most of my professional and personal accomplishments were possible directly because of my understanding and practice of computer programming. For me, programming led me to appreciate fundamental concepts in computer science and directed me to major in CS. I've always been passionate about the possibilities of computer programming; this forms the basis for all of my teaching.

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Graduate Studies Series

Learn from our enrollment team members and other guests by attending quick and convenient 30-minute webinars we designed to highlight popular topics when starting grad school. Take a deep dive into specific areas of interest such as how to funding, how to ace your application, student services, and more!

Are You Ready for the Next Step in Your Computer Science Career? 

Whether you’re looking for a flexible program or an opportunity for rigorous research, WPI’s computer science department has myriad programs to fit your needs. The Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) degree program will advance your skills through work in the classroom and in WPI’s cutting-edge labs. You may target your academics toward what interests you—including areas such as artificial intelligence, data mining, learning sciences, game development, mobile computing, and security. 

Are you specifically interested in interpreting data for patterns and learning how to use that information to help organizations? The data science field is growing quickly and a Master's in Data Science might be your next step. 

If you are looking for a PhD in Computer Science, our program offers opportunities to push the boundaries of research. You’ll be able to explore the possibilities in specialties including robotics, image science, software engineering, artificial intelligence, and computer security. 

And if you’re already a working professional but don’t have the time for an advanced degree program just yet, look into WPI’s computer science graduate certificate to boost your skills in a manageable program.