Program at a GlanceComputer Programming Computer Science Computer Software Engineering
Online Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is the flagship campus of the University of Colorado system and is globally recognized for its world-class research and a faculty that includes numerous Nobel Prize laureates. An innovator and leader in the distance education field for more than 45 years, CU-Boulder connects students to its campus from anywhere in the world anytime through its distance education delivery platform.
The distance education platform gives students access to a variety of graduate programs, including master's degrees, certificates, and individual courses, allowing CU Boulder online distance education students to earn the same degrees and have the same resources as on-campus students.
Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science program overview
"US News and World Report" ranks the Computer Science program at CU Boulder 40th overall and 22nd among public graduate programs (2017). It is one of the leading departments in the nation, as measured by the prominence of its research programs and the placement of its students. The program has research groups in human-computer interaction, machine learning, numerical and parallel computation, databases, networks, software engineering, systems, and theoretical computer science.
Computer Science faculty, staff, and students are engaged in cutting edge research projects that address some of the most important challenges facing society today. From harnessing the power of big data to modeling climate change to understanding the role of social media, advances in computer science today will change the world tomorrow.
Focus areas and dual degree option
Students in the online master's program choose an area of study from Artificial Intelligence, Computational Biology, Human Centered Computing, Numerical & Scientific Computing, Programming Systems, Systems & Networking, or Theory of Computing. Students interested in leadership and management have the option of pursuing a dual master's degree combining the MS in Computer Science with a Master of Engineering (ME) in Engineering Management. This option requires admission to both master's programs. Some courses may count toward degree requirements in both programs.
Students in the data science and engineering online master's program learn to extract and integrate clean data; use machine learning and computer algorithms; construct and maintain databases and data processing systems; and secure data and user privacy. Students interested in leadership and management have the option of pursuing a dual master's degree combining the MS in Computer Science with a Master of Engineering (ME) in Engineering Management. This option requires admission to both master's programs. Some courses may count toward degree requirements in both programs.
Computer Science Curriculum
The MS degree program must be completed within four years of the date coursework began. Typically, distance students including working professionals complete the program in three years.
Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours. ProMS students do not have to follow a specific focus area curriculum and can customize their degrees based on their personal interests; however, 18 credits in computer science courses is required.
Computer Science Courses are listed in seven areas of research: artificial intelligence, computational biology, human-centered computing, numerical & scientific computing, programming languages, systems & networking and theory of computing.
All students have automatic access to online course lectures (streaming or downloading) beginning the first day until the last day of the semester. Recorded lectures are uploaded to the portal within 24 hours after the lecture has been taught on campus. Students have the option to participate live from a distance in the real-time classroom experience and/or view the lectures asynchronously as it fits their schedule.
Library Courses, those that have been recorded in previous semesters, are available to take for academic credit with the instructor's approval.
CU Boulder faculty includes five Nobel laureates (four in physics and one in chemistry), eight MacArthur "Genius Grant" fellows, two US Professors of the Year and four National Medal of Science winners. CU Boulder faculty members contributed valuable data to the international climate change report that shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Department of Computer Science's award-winning faculty members are committed to advancing research, education, and practice in the field.
For example, Dr. Bor-Yuh Evan Chang focuses on tools and techniques for understanding, building, and ensuring dependable computation systems. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Career award.
Dr. Qin Lv, PhD, an associate professor and the co-graduate director, researches topics concerning data management, data mining, mobile systems, search systems, and social networks. She has published more than 30 papers on subjects including cryospheric data analysis, large-scale similarity search, mobile air quality sensing, and peer-to-peer networks. Her research about personalized driving behavior analysis won a Computational Sustainability Award presented by the Computing Community Consortium and Pervasive 2012. Her research has been cited more than 2,000 times.
CU Boulder offers a variety of financial assistance options for online distance graduate students. These include loans, grants, military and company tuition assistance programs.
Prerequisites & Transfer Credits
not requiredfor admission
Transfer Credits Accepted?
Credits must be from from a four-year college or university of recognized standing.
Additional Admission Requirements
TOEFL or IELTS test scores for applicants who did not attend an institution where the native language is English.
Services, Schedule, Reputation, Instructors and Student Info
|Online Office Hours|
|Social Discussion Forums|
|On-Campus Graduation Ceremony|
|Online Management of Coursework|
|Minimum Completion Time||No minimum|
|Average Course Length||16 Weeks|
- School Type:
- School Accreditation:
- Regional Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
- Program Accreditation:
Instructors & Students
- Teach both online and on-campus
- Students worldwide
Tuition & Fees
- $835 per credit hour
- Required for Completion
- 30 credit hours
- Total Estimated Cost*
- In-State/Province: $1050
- Out-of-State/Province: $1350
- International: $1350