Masters in Computer Science: What, Where and How
Updated on Oct 25, 2018 - 10:34 a.m. IST by Shraya Singh
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Masters in Computer Science: In the modern-day world, computer science is one of the most sought after and popular fields of education around the world. In fact, the sheer number of career and academic opportunities available in this domain are unparalleled by any other. From gadgets to websites and the great big web called the internet, computer science is hidden behind nearly every aspect of modern-day life. To top it all off, careers in computer science are often some of the most rewarding in terms of salary expectancies and job profiles. Professional growth in this domain is an incentive for those who enter this field of study. Therefore, a masters in computer science is one of the most popular academic fields in the world, with the best masters programs in computer science being highly competitive due to the monstrous size of the students opting for these programs. 


Masters in Computer Science: Who is a Computer Scientist?

A computer scientist is, in simple terms, an individual with knowledge and a strong theoretical and practical foundation of computation and information. A computer scientist is a person who takes a scientific and practical approach to computation and its various applications. Apart from this, computer scientists are generally specialized in a specific area or subdomain which falls under the umbrella term of ‘computer science’. These areas of expertise for computer scientists include algorithms, data structures, artificial intelligence, computer graphics and programming language theory amongst a multitude of others. Being such a versatile degree, a masters in computer science allows a computer scientist to even delve into different related industries in search of career opportunities. Computer scientists around the world are employed in different industries including government organizations, multinational companies, financial organizations, hospitals etc.


Masters in Computer Science: Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for MS in computer science often vary from university to university. Although most masters programs don't require candidates to have a bachelor’s in the same field, computer science is one domain where a background in mathematics is crucial to a candidate’s success. Therefore, most of the best computer science programs in the world require applicants to have a working knowledge of collegiate level mathematics. Other programs also require a strong foundation in the fundamentals of physics. Most of the universities additionally provide options for supplementary courses for applicants can pursue in case they don’t have the knowledge of physics and/or mathematics required for the program. 

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Apart from this, applicants for a masters in computer science program must have successfully cleared a four-year bachelor’s program or have at least four years of higher education succeeding 12th standard. For many of the top computer science masters programs, the candidate must have obtained at least 75% in his or her undergraduate education. 


A crucial eligibility requirement for admission to a masters in computer science program is the English language proficiency requirement which can be satisfied through scores from any of the globally recognized English language proficiency tests. These tests include:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT

  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)

The minimum scores required for admission to some of the best universities for a masters in computer science are given below.

English Language Proficiency Test Scores for Masters in Computer Science

University

English Language Proficiency Test

IELTS 

TOEFL iBT

PTE A

CAE

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

7.0

100

-

-

Stanford University

-

100

-

-

University of California, Berkeley

7.0

90

-

-

University of Oxford

7.5

110

-

191

University of Cambridge

7.5

110

-

193

ETH Zurich

7.0

100

-

Grade B

National University of Singapore

6.0

85

-

-

University of Toronto

7.0

93

-

-

The University of Melbourne

7.0

94

65

185

Masters in Computer Science: Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for a MS in computer science may vary for different programs, specializations and universities. These requirements generally include various forms of academic and professional records, supplementary documentation and standardized test scores. In some specific programs, candidates may also need to submit video essays and/or participate in a pre-admission interview. The general admission requirements for any masters in computer science program include:

  • GRE scores: For most MS in computer science programs, GRE General test scores are required for admission. For the top universities, the overall GRE score should be around 320+ with 160+ or 165+ in quantitative analysis. Additionally, for admission to some of the most competitive programs, candidates often also submit GRE subject test scores for the mathematics and/or physics subject tests in order to boost their application for consideration by the admissions committee. 

  • GMAT scores: Many universities also accept GMAT scores as a substitute for GRE General test scores for admission to a masters program. 

  • Statement of purpose (SOP): statement of purpose, or in some cases, a personal statement is required for admission to a masters in computer science program. This should include the candidate’s motivation, expectations from, and reasons for selecting the specific program in computer science and the concerned university.

  • Letter of recommendation (LOR): Applicants are required to submit two or three letters of recommendation for admission to any masters program.

  • Application form and fee: The online application form must be completed by the candidate and submitted along with the required supplementary documents along with the application fee before the application deadline. The application fee for most programs lies in the range of USD $60 - $100.

  • Official transcripts: Applicants to a masters in computer science must submit official transcripts from prior educational qualifications. Generally, the scanned copy of the transcript can be submitted at the time of application submission but the official transcripts must be mailed (via post) to the college or university prior to enrolment. 

  • Resume: The applicant’s resume should enlist all the professional and academic highlights which may be beneficial for a masters in computer science. Some universities require applicants to submit a curriculum vitae (CV) in lieu of a resume. 

Masters in Computer Science: Top Universities

Six of the top 10 universities in the world for a MS in computer science are located in the United States making it one of the most sought after destinations for prospective computer scientists. Other top universities in the world are spread across various nations including the UK, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, China, Singapore and Australia. Some of the best computer science masters programs at these top universities are:

Top Universities for Masters in Computer Science

University

Program

QS Rank

Program Duration

World

Subject

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MEng in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

1

1

2 years

MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

MEng in Computer Science and Molecular Biology

Stanford University

MS in Computer Science

2

2

2 years

University of California, Berkeley

MS in Computer Science

27

4

2 years

University of Cambridge

MPhil in Advanced Computer Science

6

5

1 year

University of Oxford

MSc in Computer Science

5

7

1 year

ETH Zurich

Master in Computer Science

7

9

2 years

Master in Robotics, Systems and Control

Master in Data Science

National University of Singapore

Master of Computing - Computer Science

11

10

2-3 years

University of Toronto

MSc Computer Science

28

10

2 years

MSc in Applied Computing

16 months

The University of Melbourne

MS in Computer Science

39

14

2 years

Masters in Computer Science: Fees and Funding

The tuition fee for the masters in computer science programs are generally higher than masters programs in arts due to the highly practical nature of the program as well as the equipment and technology required throughout. Certain highly intensive specializations such as artificial intelligence also cost more than classic routes like programming and data structures. The tuition fees also vary with the country and the university of application. 

Many of the masters in computer science programs offer a variety of graduate teaching assistantship opportunities alongside the program coursework in order for the students to cover up the tuition fee costs and earn a stipend simultaneously! Apart from the teaching and research assistantships, universities also offer a number of awards, scholarships and fellowships which prospective students can apply to. 

Some of the top universities around the world and the tuition for their masters in computer science programs are given below along with a few notable scholarships to which prospective students can apply to. 

Fees and Funding for Top University Programs in Computer Science

Country

University

Annual Tuition Fee

Notable Scholarships

United States 

University of California, Berkeley

USD $16,955 (per semester)

Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship

United Kingdom

University of Cambridge

£44,290

Cambridge Trust Scholarship

Switzerland

ETH Zurich

CHF 630 (per semester)

Master Scholarship Program

Singapore

National University of Singapore

SD $19,250 

National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarship

Canada 

University of Toronto

CAD $33,943.52

University of Toronto Admissions Awards

Australia

The University of Melbourne

AUD $34,386 

Melbourne Graduate Scholarship

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