Jul 22, 2018  
Graduate Catalog | 2016-2017 
Graduate Catalog | 2016-2017 Previous Edition

Computer Science, M.S.

The Master of Science in Computer Science program provides students advanced skills and knowledge in planning, design, implementation, testing, and management of computer systems and applications.  These skills form a good foundation for employment in high tech industry, or doctoral study in computer science. 

The active research areas in the Department of Computer Science include 3D HCI, Artificial Intelligence, Biomedical Imaging, Biomedical Signal Processing, Biometrics, Communication Networks, Cloud Computing, Cognitive Science, Computer Architecture, Computer Vision, Data Mining, Data Science, Game Design, Graphics, Haptics, Health Informatics, Heuristic Search, Image/Video Processing, Information Visualization, Intelligent Systems, Knowledge Based Systems, Knowledge Discovery, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Neural Systems, Parallel Computing, Recommender Systems, Robotics, Software Engineering, Virtual Reality, Visual Analytics, and Wireless Networks.

Additional Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, students applying for this program are expected to have knowledge of two higher languages, data structures, algorithm analysis, operating systems or computer architecture, and two additional upper-division computer science courses.  Also, knowledge of calculus, discrete mathematics, and linear algebra is required. Students without all the above undergraduate prerequisites in computer science and mathematics may need additional coursework after entering the program, as determined by the Graduate Program Director.

A bachelor’s degree in a high quality computer science is desired. Individuals who have worked at a high professional level in the computer industry may be able to substitute work experience for some of the specific subject area requirements, subject to review by the Department Graduate Committee.

Students must have an undergraduate grade point average of (or equivalent to) at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 point scale) and a Junior/Senior GPA of at least 3.0. A satisfactory score on the aptitude portion of the GRE is also required.

Early Entry Program

Exceptional undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte may be accepted into the M.S. in Computer Science and begin work toward a graduate degree before completion of the baccalaureate degree. The criteria for admission are the following:

  1. A student may be accepted into the Early Entry Program at any time after completion of 75 credit hours of undergraduate work applicable to the appropriate degree, although it is expected that close to 90 hours will have been earned by the time the first graduate course is taken.
  2. The application process and all required documentation (e.g., test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation) are the same for early entry students as for other applicants to the program, except that the GRE scores are waived. Admission must be recommended by the Department of Computer Science and approved by the Graduate School. The admission status will be “provisional” pending the award of the undergraduate degree.
  3. To be accepted into this program an undergraduate student must have at least a 3.2 overall GPA and a minimum 3.3 GPA in the Department of Computer Science.
  4. If an Early Entry student has not met the normal admission requirements of a 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA and a 3.0 Junior/Senior GPA at the end of his/her baccalaureate degree, she/he will be dismissed from the graduate program.
  5. Students accepted into an Early Entry Program will be subject to the same policies that pertain to other matriculated graduate students. Generally, it will be assumed that Early Entry students will finish their baccalaureate degrees before they complete 15 hours of graduate work.
  6. This Early Entry Program is also accelerated in which up to 12 hours earned at the graduate level may be substituted for required undergraduate hours. In other words, up to 12 hours of graduate work may be “double counted” toward both the baccalaureate and graduate degrees.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Computer Science program requires 30 graduate credit hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA, which may optionally include 6 credit hours of thesis.  At least 18 credit hours of the courses applied to the degree must be from the Department of Computer Science, and at least 24 hours must be from the College of Computing and Informatics.  At least 15 credit hours must be at the 6000-level or above courses.  No more than 6 credit hours may be in Individual Study. A maximum of 6 credit hours of graduate credit may be transferred from other institutions.

Core Courses (9 credit hours)

The three courses taken to satisfy the core requirement must each be passed with an A or a B grade. 

Breadth Courses (9 credit hours)

Select three courses, each from a different category, to satisfy the breadth requirements.  

Course Categories

Concentration Courses (9 credit hours)

Students must take at least three related courses to form an area of concentration.  There are six standard concentrations, as listed below.  Additionally, students may opt to create their own individualized concentration.

At most, one course can be used to satisfy both breadth and area of concentration requirements.  Core courses cannot be used in area of concentration.  At least two of the three courses forming an area of concentration should be from the Department of Computer Science, except for the Concentration in Information Security and Privacy.  The three courses taken to satisfy the concentration requirement must each be passed with grades of A or B.  In addition to the 9 credit hours of concentration coursework, a written study report on a subject in the area must be submitted to and be approved by the student’s academic advisor to complete the concentration requirement.  Students in the thesis option are waived from the study report requirement.

Concentration in Information Security and Privacy

Individualized Concentration

An individual concentration is available to students with unique career or professional goals not met by the above six standard concentrations.  The three courses forming a student’s individualized area of concentration must be approved through graduate academic petition. 


Financial assistance for qualified students is available on a competitive basis in the form of graduate teaching and research assistantships.  All M.S. students who entered “Yes” in the application form on the question “Assistantship Interest” are automatically considered.  No separate assistantship application is required.

Minor in Operations Research

The Department of Computer Science participates in the program leading to an interdisciplinary graduate Minor in Operations Research . See the individual program listing of this Catalog for complete information and program requirements.