Indiana University Bloomington

School of Informatics and Computing

Computer Science Program




 Academic Integrity






Requirements for the

Master's Degree in Computer Science

Updated: 4 August 2009 by Amr Sabry
(Previous version, October 2001.)


Requirements for admission: Baccalaureate degree (not necessarily with a concentration in Computer Science) and Graduate Record Examination (subject test highly desirable). Prerequisites common to all graduate requirements are coursework in

  • Computer structures and organization.
  • Discrete structures and computing theory.
  • Data structures.
These prerequisites may be satisfied by undergraduate or more advanced courses, and in some cases by professional experience.

Master's Requirements Work Sheet

A work sheet in either Postscript or PDF format is available to help Master's students plan their courses. The same work sheet may be supplied to the Department by the student to facilitate validation of the degree application.

Course Classification

Most of the Computer Science Department's courses at the 400 level and above are classified into four areas:

  • Foundations (middle digit 0 or 1, e.g., B501, B502, B503, B510);
  • Programming Languages (middle digit 2, e.g., B521, B522, P523, B524 );
  • Systems (middle digit 3 or 4, e.g., P536, B538, B541, P542, B543);
  • Applications (middle digit 5, 6, 7 or 8, e.g., B551, B552, B553, B561, P565-566, P573, B581, B582).
General courses not associated with a specific area are numbered with a middle digit 9. Courses that involve a major programming project are designated as "Programming-in-the-large," and carry a course number with letter designation P.

The material between the next two horizontal bars is the text for the 2009-2010 edition of the Bulletin of the University Graduate School.


At least 30 credits in Computer Science or related areas. These include the Course Requirements and the Creativity Requirement, as defined below.

Course Requirements

  • A total of at least 30 credit hours is required, excluding all A500-level Computer Science courses, except as noted. No credit requirement below is to be read as additional to these 30 credits.
  • Six courses in Computer Science, subject to the following requirements.
    • Each course must carry at least 3 credits.
    • Normally all six courses should be Computer Science listings at the 500 level or higher.
    • With prior written permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, one course of the six may be selected from the Computer Science courses A595 (equivalent to B401), B403, P423, P436, B443, and the Mathematics courses M471 and M472.
    • One course must be a Computer Science P course.
    • One course must be a Computer Science course in Foundations.
    • Two of the three Computer Science areas besides Foundations (Programming Languages, Systems, and Applications) must be represented among the six courses.
  • Additional approved courses carrying graduate credit (courses listed in the university's Graduate School Bulletin). Courses outside of the School of Informatics and Computing must be approved in advance by the Director for Graduate Studies.
  • Y890 (Thesis Readings and Research) may not be used to satisfy the MS requirements.
  • No more than a total of 6 out of the 30 credits required can be earned from Y790 (Graduate Independent Study: Research and Reading, Software System Development, Master's Research Project, Master's Software Project, or University Master's Thesis), without authorization from the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in Computer Science courses.
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in all courses.

Creativity Requirement

One of the following options must be completed:

C: Adding to the CS Course Requirements three courses (9 credits or more) from the Computer Science listings: one P course carrying graduate credit, and in addition two CS courses at the 500 level or above, of which at most one can be a Y790 course.

Q: Pre-2009: Completing the department's written PhD qualifying exams with a full, unconditional, pass, along with six additional credits in the natural and mathematical sciences (CS and Mathematics permitted), approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies.

R: Master's Research Project (Y790, 6 credits), consisting of a survey or original research paper at a level appropriate for publication as a departmental technical report or as a conference presentation.

S: Master's Software Project (Y790, 6 credits), consisting of substantial individual input into a major software research and development project, documented in the public domain.

TH: University Master's Thesis (Y790, 6 credits), consisting of a formal master's thesis as prescribed by the Graduate School.

A: Adding to the CS course requirements three or more courses (9 credits or more) in an interdisciplinary program that applies computer science to another discipline. These courses must be in a program that has been approved in advance by the graduate faculty of the department; such a program may put additional constraints on the courses used to fulfill the CS course requirements.

End of material corresponding to the Bulletin of the University Graduate School.


  • All courses must be completed within 5 consecutive years, and there must be at least one semester of full-time enrollment (8 hours or more).
  • The Independent Research Permission Form must be signed by the research supervisor and turned in to the Graduate Secretary to obtain permission to register for any independent research course, including Y790 (Independent Study) courses to be applied to the R, S, or TH options of the Master's creativity requirement.
  • There is no foreign language requirement.
  • Graduate coursework previously applied to a degree in one department cannot be applied to a Master's degree in another department, unless you are concurrently enrolled in both departments. See, for example, "Dual Master's Program" in the Graduate School Bulletin.

Further Help

Questions may be addressed to appropriate faculty members, or to the Director of Graduate Studies.

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