Carnegie Mellon University
October 14, 2011

Press Release: CMU's Top-Ranked Computer Science Department Adds New Course-Only Master's Degree Program

Program Begins Fall 2012; Offers Competitive Edge With Employers

Contact: Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Science Department has approved a new master of science degree for students who seek advanced coursework in computer science.

The course-only master's degree, which will begin in fall 2012, offers a unique opportunity for outstanding students to learn from leading researchers and earn a degree from one of the nation's top-ranked graduate programs in computer science. This program is appropriate for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of computer science to build on their educational background and work experience, and to enhance their professional and career development. Applicants are not required to have an undergraduate degree in computer science.

"Computer science is everywhere today — in every industry, in every academic discipline. No matter what profession you enter, the more computer science you know, the greater the advantage you have over your peers," said Jeannette Wing, head of the Computer Science Department.

"Increasingly, top industry recruiters are looking for Carnegie Mellon graduates who have taken specific computer science courses, or even taken courses from particular professors on our faculty. Recruiters recognize these courses as essential preparation for their technical leaders," Wing added. "This master's degree can give new graduates — and even professionals who have been in the workplace for a while — a competitive edge."

The application deadline is Dec. 15, 2011.

The Computer Science Department, created in 1965 and now part of the university's School of Computer Science (SCS), is a pioneer in computer science research and education, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary work and tackling real-world problems. SCS offers a number of specialized master's degree programs in such areas as human-computer interaction, software engineering and robotics.

The course-based master's degree program does not include a research component and does not have highly specific curriculum requirements. This gives students, in close consultation with faculty advisers, the flexibility to develop their own course of study, said Karl Crary, associate professor of computer science and director of the new master's degree program.

Some students with degrees in other disciplines, for instance, may seek general knowledge across the breadth of computer science. Others may want to develop expertise in specialized areas, such as algorithms, networking, cloud computing, programming languages or machine learning.

It is expected that most students can complete the degree in three semesters, though a few may be able to do so in just two. In some cases, students may need an extra semester for additional courses, depending on their undergraduate preparation. Crary said part-time students can also be accommodated.

In all cases, admissions standards will be uniformly high. "We're looking for people who have excelled or could have excelled in our undergraduate program," Crary added. "Successful applicants will need basic analytical skills and a strong aptitude in math, programming and logical reasoning."

For more information on the program and the application process, visit the program website,

Follow the School of Computer Science on Twitter @SCSatCMU.