About

Do you enjoy problem solving? Do you enjoy working with computers and computing systems? Do you want to be able to build software and see it work? Can you picture yourself gaining a further understanding of design methodology?

The master of science in computer science—offered both on campus and online—is the systematic study of computing systems and computation. The program focuses on knowledge related to theories for understanding computing systems as well as methods, design methodologies, algorithms, and tools used in software development. The program also encompasses methods for testing software, method of analysis and verification, knowledge representation and implementation, and ways of understanding what computing can and cannot do. The program is structured for both students and professionals.

Individuals with a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, or who have a bachelor's degree in another area with some experience in software development or who are willing to take some courses to get going are invited to apply for the MSCS. The degree helps you to expand your knowledge and experience in computer science.

ECU Advantage

The small size of our program means students receive individual attention throughout their studies. Job prospects and salary for graduates of the master of science in computer science are very good. All students are required to complete a project or thesis under the direction of a faculty member, and the project or thesis represents an important part of the education.

What You Will Study

Admission Requirements

Applicants should follow the admissions requirements and process as stated in the admission and readmission section of the graduate catalog and the graduate admissions website. A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a score of 30th percentile on the GRE General test are required. Applicants whose native language is not English must score 6.5 in the IELTS or 80 on the TOEFL (20 on each section) and must have met all other admission criteria prior to registering for first semester courses.

    Pathways for Entry into the Program

    Two pathways are available for completing requirements for the master of science in computer science program. The appropriate pathway depends on the undergraduate major.

      Traditional Pathway

      The traditional pathway is for students whose bachelor's degrees are in computer science, software engineering, computer engineering, information technology, management information systems, or a similar computing discipline. Thirty (30) semester hours are required to earn the degree.

        Nontraditional Pathway

        The nontraditional pathway is for students whose bachelor's degrees are in engineering, mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, or similar analytic and quantitative disciplines. Students entering through this pathway are required to complete two specially designed courses during their first semester of study (SENG 5000 and SENG 5005). The goals of these two courses are to impart prerequisite knowledge and skills essential to succeed in the program. Thirty-eight (38) semester hours are required to earn the degree.

        Plan of Study

        Students are required to complete a Plan of Study Form in consultation with the graduate program coordinator before they begin their graduate study. This is usually done during the week before the first day of classes of the first semester.

          Degree Requirements

          (Select one of the below plans of study in consultation with the graduate program coordinator.)

          The program requires 30-38 s.h. as follows:

            Traditional Pathway

            Minimum degree requirement is 30 s.h. as follows:

              Core - 6 s.h.
              • CSCI 6020 - Machine Learning
              • CSCI 6410 - Design and Analysis of Algorithms
              Options - 24 s.h.

              Choose one of the following three options:

                Thesis (CSCI 7000 - 6 s.h.) and electives (18 s.h.)

                A thesis is required for this option. Students summarize their research in the form of a formal written document and deliver an oral presentation. Thesis research is typically conducted over two semesters.

                Six (6) s.h. count toward the degree requirements.Eighteen (18) s.h. of 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses and 6000-level software engineering (SENG) elective courses are required for this option. The semester hours from SENG courses must not exceed six (6).

                  Project (CSCI 6995 - 3 s.h.) and electives (21 s.h.)

                  A research project with a written report is required for this option. Students select topics for their projects in consultation with research advisors prior to the beginning of the last semester of study. The project involves collecting research literature on a topic of interest, critically examining it, and summarizing the research in the form of a formal technical report. This option may also involve developing software systems or proof of concept systems. Students must deliver an oral presentation of their findings. The research project is typically completed during the last semester of study.

                  Twenty-one (21) s.h. of 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses and 6000-level software engineering (SENG) elective courses are required for this option. The semester hours from SENG courses must not exceed nine (9).

                    Coursework (24 s.h. of electives only)

                    Twenty-four (24) s.h. of 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses and 6000-level software engineering (SENG) elective courses are required for this option. The semester hours from SENG courses must not exceed nine (9).

                      Note:

                      The coursework option requires an e-Portfolio comprehensive assessment. Please contact the program coordinator for more information.

                  Nontraditional Pathway

                  Minimum degree requirement is 38 s.h. as follows:

                    Bridge courses - 8 s.h.
                    • SENG 5000 - Programming and Data Structures Foundations
                    • SENG 5005 - Discrete Structures and Algorithmic Foundations
                    Core - 6 s.h.
                    • CSCI 6020 - Machine Learning
                    • CSCI 6410 - Design and Analysis of Algorithms
                    Options - 24 s.h.

                    Choose one of the following three options:

                      Thesis (CSCI 7000 - 6 s.h.) and electives (18 s.h.)

                      A thesis is required for this option. Students summarize their research in the form of a formal written document and deliver an oral presentation. Thesis research is typically conducted over two semesters. Six (6) s.h. count toward the degree requirements.

                      Eighteen (18) s.h. of 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses and 6000-level software engineering (SENG) elective courses are required for this option. The semester hours from SENG courses must not exceed six (6).

                        Project (CSCI 6995 - 3 s.h.) and electives (21 s.h.)

                        A research project with a written report is required for this option. Students select topics for their projects in consultation with research advisors prior to the beginning of the last semester of study. The project involves collecting research literature on a topic of interest, critically examining it, and summarizing the research in the form of a formal technical report. This option may also involve developing software systems or proof of concept systems. Students must deliver an oral presentation of their findings. The research project is typically completed during the last semester of study.

                        Twenty-one (21) s.h. of 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses and 6000-level software engineering (SENG) elective courses are required for this option. The semester hours from SENG courses must not exceed nine (9).

                          Coursework (24 s.h. of electives only)

                          Twenty-four (24) s.h. of 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses and 6000-level software engineering (SENG) elective courses are required for this option. The semester hours from SENG courses must not exceed nine (9).

                            Note:

                            The coursework option requires an e-Portfolio comprehensive assessment. Please contact the program coordinator for more information.

                      For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

                      Careers With This Degree

                      Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

                      • Computer Science
                      • Computer and Information Systems Managers
                      • Communications, Entertainment and Information
                      • Computer and Information Systems Research
                      • Computer Software Engineers, Applications
                      • Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software
                      • Computer Specialists
                      • Education and Training
                      • Computer Science Teachers, Postsecondary
                      • Computer Science

                      Career Opportunities

                      ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

                      NC Tower

                      This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

                      • Self-employed;
                      • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
                      • Work outside of North Carolina.

                      US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

                      This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

                      Degree-specific internships

                      For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.