The Master of Science in Computer Science is a broad-based degree offering students
strong problem-solving, communication, and team skills to design, implement, and document
computer software systems. The program is known for sending well-prepared students
into a lucrative job market. MTSU graduates are valued by employers ranging from tech
titans such as Google to area companies. Employment in the field is projected to grow
at a rate of 15 percent through 2022, double the average rate of all occupations.
Students, who choose from thesis and non-thesis options, are able to concentrate in
specific areas or begin preparation for Ph.D. work. Master’s students also gain experience
working with systems administration and helping create apps for the university. There
are additional opportunities through professional organizations. Well-equipped computer
labs are available extensive hours and also provide 24/7 remote software access. Video-conference
attendance is possible in some classes. A limited number of graduate assistantships
Google taps MTSU computer science for new hires
Computer Science M.S. graduates Nathan Reale, Matt Houglum (pictured), and Anthony
Mills are the latest MTSU alumni hired by Web giant Google. Houglum and a student
team developed an Android mobile app to provide students easy access to a wide variety
of university information, while Mills and Reale helped create an online Schedule
Planner to assist with class planning. They also had systems administration responsibilities
as grad students, experience that sold Google recruiters on him, Houglum says. “It
is very difficult to get hired at Google, and the fact that a major company like Google
is hiring our students is indicative of the quality of the education being offered,”
department chair Chrisila Pettey says. Reale and Mills are working at Google headquarters
outside San Francisco, while Houglum is an enterprise technical solutions engineer
at the Seattle operations center. All three also earned bachelor's degrees from MTSU.
Reale applied the day after Google employee and MTSU alum Micah Chasteen spoke to
the Association for Computing Machinery student chapter. “Google was my dream job
from high school through college,” Reale says.
Student works on Greek papyrus research at Oxford
Master’s candidate Alex Williams (B.S., Computer Science) landed a job at the University
of Oxford in England a year before his scheduled 2015 graduation, programming with
a research team identifying ancient Greek papyrus fragments. Williams created a version
of BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool), which is used in computational biology
with genetic/DNA sequences, to align Ancient Greek papyrus fragments to known manuscript
texts. His Greek-BLAST adaptation helps dramatically accelerate the tedious process
of manual identification of a timeframe from days, months, or years, into minutes.
"Students are usually given the option to study what interests them. Had I not been
given these options, I would be weeks behind in my work here at Oxford," Williams
says. "I'm only halfway through the program and I've already got the best job imaginable."
He also had two undergraduate internships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory while at
MTSU. His research there focused on finding new attributes in mammograms that could
be used in an automated fashion by software to detect early signs of breast cancer.
MTSU College of Graduate Studies
Computer science graduates with an advanced degree should enjoy excellent job prospects,
with businesses reporting difficulty in finding highly skilled employees in the field.
Computer scientists are problem-solvers who teach themselves new technologies and
are able to work individually and in teams. They write programs ranging from mobile
apps to complex databases to websites to high-performance scientific computing and
more. Possible positions with this degree include
- Computer programmer
- Applications or systems software developer
- Database administrator
- Web developer
- Computer systems analyst
- Information security analyst
- Computer systems administrator
- Computer and information research scientist
Employers of MTSU alumni include
- Arnold Engineering Development Center
- Buzz Wireless
- Caterpillar Financial
- Decision Source
- Gibson Guitar
- Harris Corporation
- Ingram Digital Group
- Japanese American National Museum
- Mercury Intermedia
- Northrop Grumman
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Passport Health
- Riptide Software
- Schneider Electric
- State of Tennessee
- Vanderbilt University
The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Computer Science is offered with a thesis and
a non-thesis option.
With approval, a maximum of 6 hours of cognate courses may come from departments other
than Computer Science, or a single minor up to 12 semester hours may be included.
The following is required of applicants for unconditional admission to the M.S. program:
- An overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale.
- A demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in English (International students
must present acceptable TOEFL scores).
- A satisfactory Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score (verbal and quantitative score
of at least 150 each). Applicants with a 3.3 or higher undergraduate GPA on all CSCI
courses taken at MTSU (which must include at least 15 upper division CSCI hours) are
not required to submit a GRE score for admission to the graduate program.
- Completion of CSCI 1170, 2170, 3080, 3110, 3130, 3160, and 3250 or equivalent of each
- Completion of MATH 1910 (Calculus I) and 2050 (Probability and Statistics) or equivalent
of each course.
Qualified students who lack background in computer science may be granted conditional
admission to complete the prerequisite courses with a 2.67 (B-) or higher.
A student already holding a master's degree from MTSU may complete a second master's
degree in Computer Science with a minimum of 27 semester hours (at least 18 hours
at the 6000 level).
A minor in Computer Science is also available at the graduate level.
For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.
MTSU's Computer Science Department offers a Bachelor of Science degree with two options,
the professional concentration program, accredited by the Computing Accreditation
Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org, and the business applications concentration (not accredited).
MTSU students may also choose to minor in Computer Science.
Computer Science, M.S.
Dr. Zhijiang Dong, Program Director
The Department of Computer Science offers the Master of Science with a major in Computer Science and a minor at the graduate level. The department also offers courses and participates in the Ph.D. in Computational Science. In addition, the department offers the Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program allowing exceptional undergraduate students an opportunity to complete the requirements for both the bachelor's and master's degrees within five years by enrolling in the program during their junior year. Students interested in this program should contact the graduate program director for additional information.
Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.
Admission to the Master of Science in Computer Science program requires a satisfactory Graduate Record Examination score. Applicants with a 3.3 or higher undergraduate GPA for all computer science courses taken at MTSU (which must include at least 15 upper-division CSCI hours), are not required to submit a GRE score for admission to the graduate program.
Applicant must also meet the following requirements:
- have completed CSCI 1170, 2170, 3080, 3110, 3130, and 3240 or equivalent of each course;
- have completed MATH 1910 and 2050 or equivalent of each course.
All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
- submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
- submit official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);
- submit official transcripts showing an acceptable GPA in previous academic work.
The Master of Science in Computer Science offers two options: the Thesis Option and the Non-Thesis Option. Students pursuing either option must meet the following requirements:
- complete CSCI 5700 if he or she did not complete CSCI 4700 or an equivalent course as an undergraduate;
- complete CSCI 5560 if he or she did not complete CSCI 4560 or an equivalent course as an undergraduate;
- complete CSCI 6620 as part of their required 30 hours (Thesis option) or 36 hours (Non-Thesis option).
Curriculum: Computer Science
Candidate must complete 30 (thesis option) or 36 (non-thesis option) hours in the following curriculum:
Thesis Option (30 hours)
The Master of Science in Computer Science requires a completion of 30 hours of graduate coursework in the thesis option. Up to 3 hours in CSCI 6640 may be included in the 30 hours. Students must present an oral defense of the thesis. A minimum of 21 hours must be at the 6000 level.
Non-thesis Option (36 hours)
The Master of Science in Computer Science requires completion of 36 hours of graduate coursework in the non-thesis option. Candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive examination. Credit for CSCI 6640 may not be included in the 36 hours. A minimum of 24 hours must be at the 6000 level.
A student already holding a master's degree from MTSU may complete a second master's degree in Computer Science by satisfying either of the above options with a minimum of 27 semester hours. A minimum of 18 hours must be at the 6000 level.
With the approval of the Computer Science graduate faculty, a maximum of 12 semester hours of residence credit (maximum of 6 in Computer Science) may be transferred from another institution and applied to the master's degree.
- complete at least 24 semester hours of graduate computer science courses at MTSU;
- file a degree plan with the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
- take all courses in the Computer Science Department with the following possible exceptions:
- with the prior approval of the Computer Science graduate faculty, a maximum of 6 hours of cognate courses may come from departments other than Computer Science;
- with the approval of the candidate's graduate advisor, a single minor up to 12 semester hours may be included. Such a minor must also be approved by the department offering the minor.
- file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which candidate intends to graduate.
CSCI Document Templates