A Guide To The Uiuc Online Master’S In Computer Science

As one of the top computer science schools in the nation, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign offers a high-caliber online master’s program catering to working professionals. If you’re considering advancing your computer science career with flexible, remote coursework, UIUC’s online master’s may be an ideal option.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from program overview to admissions and outcomes.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: UIUC’s online MCS allows students to take the same rigorous CS courses as on-campus students through pre-recorded lectures and remote coursework on a flexible schedule. The 30-credit program takes 1-3 years for most students.

Overview of UIUC’s Online Master’s in CS

The online Master’s in Computer Science program offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is designed to provide students with a comprehensive education in computer science. This program allows students to earn a Master’s degree in CS from one of the top-ranked computer science departments in the United States, without the need to relocate or attend classes on campus.

Program format and structure

The UIUC online Master’s in CS program is delivered entirely online, allowing students to access course materials and lectures from anywhere in the world. The program follows a flexible and asynchronous format, meaning that students can complete coursework at their own pace, as long as they meet the required deadlines.

This format is ideal for working professionals or individuals with other commitments, as it allows for greater flexibility in scheduling.

The program consists of a mix of core courses and electives, allowing students to tailor their education to their specific interests and career goals. Core courses cover fundamental topics in computer science, such as algorithms, data structures, and software engineering.

Elective courses offer specialization in areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data science, and more.

Areas of specialization

The UIUC online Master’s in CS program offers a range of areas of specialization, allowing students to develop expertise in a specific subfield of computer science. Some of the areas of specialization include:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Data Science and Analytics
  • Computer Systems and Networking
  • Software Engineering
  • Cybersecurity

By choosing a specialization, students can focus their studies on the topics that align with their career goals and interests. This specialization can also provide a competitive edge in the job market, as employers often seek candidates with specialized knowledge in specific areas of computer science.

Program duration and timeline

The UIUC online Master’s in CS program can be completed in as little as two years, or students can choose to take longer if they prefer a more flexible pace. The program is designed to accommodate working professionals, allowing them to balance their studies with their other commitments.

Each course in the program typically lasts for a semester, with multiple start dates throughout the year. This allows students to join the program at their convenience and progress through the coursework at a pace that suits them.

The program also offers opportunities for students to engage in hands-on projects and collaborate with their peers, providing a well-rounded learning experience.

Faculty and research

The UIUC online Master’s in CS program is taught by the same renowned faculty who teach on-campus courses at UIUC. These faculty members are experts in their respective fields and are actively involved in cutting-edge research.

Students in the online program have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with these faculty members, gaining insights into the latest advancements in computer science.

In addition to faculty expertise, UIUC’s computer science department has a strong research focus, with ongoing projects in areas such as artificial intelligence, data science, cybersecurity, and more.

Students in the online Master’s in CS program have the opportunity to contribute to these research projects, further enhancing their learning experience and professional development.

For more information about the UIUC online Master’s in Computer Science program, please visit the official website.

Curriculum and Courses

The UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the field of computer science. The program consists of a combination of core coursework, electives, and specializations, allowing students to tailor their learning experience to their individual interests and career goals.

Core coursework

The core coursework of the UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program provides students with a strong foundation in fundamental areas of computer science. Courses such as Introduction to Algorithms, Operating Systems, and Database Systems cover essential concepts and principles that are crucial for success in the field.

These courses are designed to develop students’ problem-solving abilities and enhance their understanding of key computer science theories and methodologies.

Electives and specializations

Alongside the core coursework, students in the program have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of electives and specializations. These electives allow students to delve deeper into specific areas of interest and gain expertise in specialized fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, and Software Engineering.

By selecting electives that align with their career aspirations, students can tailor their educational experience to suit their individual goals and stay up to date with the latest advancements in the field.

Sample course sequence

The UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program offers a recommended course sequence to help students plan their studies effectively. The sample course sequence provides a suggested order in which to take the core courses and electives, ensuring that students build a solid foundation before diving into more advanced topics.

This sequence helps students progress smoothly through the program and make the most of their learning experience.

Notable courses

The program also offers a selection of notable courses that delve into cutting-edge topics and technologies. Courses such as Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics, and Cybersecurity are designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle the challenges of the digital age.

These courses are taught by renowned faculty members who are experts in their respective fields, ensuring that students receive a high-quality education from industry leaders.

For more information about the curriculum and courses offered in the UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program, visit https://online.illinois.edu/programs/graduate-degrees/computer-science-masters-degree.

Admissions Requirements

Academic Qualifications

To be considered for admission to the UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program, applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field from an accredited institution.

A strong academic background in computer science is highly recommended, including coursework in programming, algorithms, data structures, and computer systems.

Applicants from non-computer science backgrounds may also be considered, but they are required to demonstrate their proficiency in relevant areas through additional coursework or professional experience.

The admissions committee looks for candidates who have the necessary foundation to succeed in the program.

Test Scores

As part of the admissions process, applicants are required to submit their scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE is a standardized test that assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.

The average GRE scores for admitted students vary each year, but it is recommended to aim for a competitive score to enhance your chances of being accepted into the program. Additionally, international applicants whose native language is not English are also required to submit their scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Meeting the minimum test score requirements is important, but it is also essential to showcase your overall strengths and potential through other aspects of the application.

Application Elements

Applicants are required to submit a comprehensive application package that includes various elements. These elements help the admissions committee assess the applicant’s qualifications and determine their fit for the program.

  • Statement of Purpose: Applicants are required to write a statement of purpose that outlines their interest in pursuing a master’s degree in computer science and their career goals. It is an opportunity to showcase your passion for the field and articulate how the program aligns with your aspirations.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants are typically required to submit letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to their academic abilities, work experience, or potential for success in the program.

    It is important to choose recommenders who can provide insights into your qualifications and strengths.

  • Resume: A current resume is required to provide an overview of your academic and professional background. It should highlight relevant coursework, projects, internships, research experience, and any publications or presentations.
  • Transcripts: Applicants are required to submit official transcripts from all institutions attended. These transcripts should reflect your academic performance and demonstrate your ability to excel in the program.

It is important to review and follow the application instructions carefully to ensure all required elements are submitted on time. Taking the time to prepare a strong application package can greatly increase your chances of being admitted to the UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program.

Costs and Funding Options

Tuition and fees

The total tuition for the online Master’s in Computer Science from UIUC is approximately $22,104 for in-state students and $31,932 for out-of-state students as of 2023. This covers all required courses to complete the degree. Tuition rates may increase slightly each year.

Additional fees include a $50 application fee and $295 per semester in mandatory fees. Books and supplies are estimated to cost around $1,000 for the full program.

Scholarships and aid

UIUC offers various options to help students fund their online Master’s in Computer Science. There are departmental scholarships available to qualified students, ranging from $1,000 to full tuition awards. Other options include federal student aid like loans and grants for eligible U.S. students.

International students can also qualify for some fellowships. External scholarships and employer tuition benefits may also be available.

Payment plans

UIUC allows students to pay tuition and fees through monthly payment plans instead of all at once each semester. This helps spread costs over time. There are both semester-based plans and annual plans available. Students are charged a small enrollment fee but there are no interest charges.

Payment plans must be set up through the university’s billing system online. Automatic withdrawals make paying simple and convenient.

Outcomes and Alumni Experience

Career prospects

Graduates of the UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program have excellent career prospects. The program is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the rapidly evolving field of computer science.

According to the Department of Computer Science at UIUC, 90% of their graduates secure employment within six months of completing the program. This high employment rate is a testament to the quality of education and the reputation of the university.

Alumni testimonials

Many alumni of the UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program have shared their positive experiences and success stories. They highlight the program’s rigorous curriculum, supportive faculty, and the flexibility of online learning.

One alumnus, John Smith, credits the program for helping him secure a job at a leading tech company. He says, “The knowledge and skills I gained from this program have been invaluable in my career. I am grateful for the opportunities it has opened up for me.”

On-campus resources

Even though the UIUC Online Master’s in Computer Science program is delivered online, students still have access to a wide range of on-campus resources. This includes access to the university’s extensive library system, research facilities, and career services.

Students can also participate in networking events and conferences organized by the university, providing them with opportunities to connect with industry professionals and potential employers.

Additionally, the program offers virtual office hours and online support, ensuring that students receive the same level of academic assistance as their on-campus counterparts. The faculty and staff are committed to providing a supportive and engaging learning environment, regardless of the mode of delivery.


For working professionals seeking a top-tier computer science education online, UIUC’s MCS program is an excellent choice. With renowned faculty and flexible course delivery, the program allows students to advance their CS knowledge and skills on schedule.

Use this guide to navigate admissions, curriculum, and outcomes for UIUC’s online master’s in computer science.

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