Frequently Asked Questions

Why get a Graduate Degree?

  1. A graduate degree can open doors that an undergraduate degree can't always open. The report "Should I get a master's degree?" from the United States Department of Labor indicates professionals in computer science-related fields with a master's degree earn $16,000 more than those with only a bachelor's degree. A survey commissioned by the Utah Technology Council indicated that 28% of engineering positions will be at the MS-level. This means that of the projected 11,050 computer science-related jobs in the Provo-Orem Metropolitan Area in 2022, roughly 3,000 could be MS-level software positions with another 9,000 being needed across the state.
  2. There are so many opportunities currently in CS, people get jobs with minimal training. Graduates of the CS BS Programs at UVU work at companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook every year. When you think about opportunities for yourself, focus on the type of opportunity more than the quantity. Focus on what you want to learn and do and how you wnat to grow.
  3. A graduate degree will expand both the depth and breadth of knowledge. While you may currently have all the knowledge you need to solve every problem where you currently work, how about completely new problems that will occur in the future? What about the types of problems that will arise in future startup companies? Do you have any interest in being a part of that? A graduate degree can provide you with insight and broaden your skill set to allow you to solve a problem that has yet to be encountered because you’ll be the one who identifies a new market space, a new product line, or a new feature.

Why an MCS from UVU?

  1. The MCS allows working professionals to continue working full-time while completing their degree. Courses are designed to be relevant and practical so that material learned in class can be taken back into industry and applied with confidence. Required courses  develop a broad base of competency on a wide range of topics. Elective courses and the graduate project develop depth in an area of personal interest.
  2. The MCS focuses on preparing students to enter the workforce rather than preparing them to conduct fundamental theoretical research. This focus will provide you with opportunities to explore emerging trends and advances in computer science that occur while completing your degree. Research-oriented projects can be done, but the MCS emphasizes applied research.

What are the prerequisites for the MCS?

  1. An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  2. An undergraduate degree in a computer-related field (Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, or a closely related field).
  3. A C+ or better in the following UVU or equivalent classes:
    • CS 2300 Discrete Structures I
    • CS 2420 Introduction to Algorithms and Data Structures
    • CS 2810 Computer Organization and Architecture
    • CS 3060 Operating Systems Theory
    • MATH 1210 Calculus I
  4. In some cases, the MCS committee may require a candidate to take additional CS courses beyond the minimum requirements. Such cases may include:
    • borderline grades in relevant courses
    • not having an undergraduate CS degree and not currently working in the field
    • time away from academia or from directly using CS programming skills, necessitating a refreshing of fundamental CS skills and knowledge

Am I a good fit for the MCS?

Motivation and passion are what make you a good fit for the MCS, not necessarily a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or C+ in all your courses.  Whether you are an undergraduate senior year or  already have some years in industry, if  you are ready to keep learning and have a passion to explore advanced topics, then you are who we are looking for to join the MCS. One of our former directors often tells students that when he completed his undergraduate degree, he could not have met all the requirements to enter our MCS--but after 2 ½ years at Hewlett Packard, he wanted to learn more to learn more about Computer Science. He  found people who believed in him and then made it happen. If you have this kind of motivation and passion for Computer Science, even if you've made some mistakes along the way, come and see the Director and an MCS Advisor and together we will create a plan that will get you accepted into the MCS.

How do I apply?

Go to the MCS website

When is the deadline for applying?

The MCS uses a rolling application evaluation process. This means that if you apply early, we can evaluate and accept you early into the program. Once all our available slots in the MCS are filled, the application process will be closed and no new application will be accepted. Application deadlines for Fall and Spring semesters are given on MCS website Domestic U.S. citizens can apply for either Spring or Fall entry.  International students are not eligible to apply.

Is this a full-time or part-time program?

The program is designed around students who are working full-time. Classes are held in the evening, with multiple classes being offered each Fall and Spring semesters to support both first-year and second year students.The MCS does not offer classes in the summer. If you have identified a mentor for your Graduate Project, you can work on this in the summer but you would need to speak with your mentor about this.

How long does it take to complete the MCS?

The MCS program has a total of 30 credit hours. The MCS does not use a cohort system,, so the time it takes to complete the degree is up to the individual. A full-time load for a Graduate student is 3 classes or 9 hours, so most MCS students work full-time and attend the program part-time, typically 2 classes per semester. A plan such as the one below, if you choose to follow it, allows you to take 2 classes per semester on the same days of the week until you graduate.




1st Year

Block of Core Classes

Block of Elective Classes

2nd Year

Block of Elective Classes

Block of Core Classes

3rd Year

Block of Core Classes

Block of Elective Classes

4th Year

Block of Elective Classes

Block of Core Classes


Can I start my Graduate Project when I begin the program?

You are encouraged to find a Graduate Mentor and begin discussing ideas as soon as possible, but no Graduate Mentor should let you start Graduate Project I (CS 6600) until you have completed the bulk of your degree, typically 2nd year. We want you to use new skills and explore new topics that you've learned in the MCS.

Is the Graduate Project a heavy Research Project?

The graduate project does involve some research, but the emphasis is on applied research rather than theoretical research. For example, the main deliverable is a software product, not a Masters Thesis. The project is intended to allow you to demonstrate competency across broad areas of computer science and depth in one areas. MCS research does not need to be original--original research is typically PhD level--but can be, and should make some kind of contribution to the field.

The other two major elements of the MCS project are writing a 20-page journal-style technical report on the project, including a user's manual for the project, and and passing an oral defense. The paper does not need to be published, but the quality needs to be good technical writing. More details about Project guidelines and requirements are found on the Program Information page of the MCS website.

Is this an online Program?

This is not an online program. Classes may be simulcast/Livestreamed and recorded, but that is up to the individual instructor.

Are classes offered in summer?

Currently, only Graduate Project I (CS 6600) or Graduate Project II (CS 6610) are offered in summer, but you will need to discuss this possibility with your Graduate Mentor once you are ready to start your Graduate Project.

Are International students eligible to apply?

International students are not eligible to apply. 

Do you need to have a degree in CS to apply?

You do not need to have a BS degree in CS, but we would expect that you have some upper level CS classes and/or years of industry experience beyond the minimum required classes. Industry experience is not a substitute for computer science classes, but your industry experience will be considered when evaluating your application. The minimum required classes are just that—the minimum. If you have not yet taken those classes (or equivalent from another institution), you can register as an undergraduate at UVU to complete them or take them at another university. These courses must be completed prior to starting the MCS program. Once they are completed, we strongly suggest you take at least one or two upper-level CS classes to build your computer science skills to the level you will need to be successful in the MCS.

The prerequisite courses are not intended to be exclusionary--they are required so that you can be successful in the MCS program.

Can I still apply if I don't have a 3.0 GPA in my undergraduate degree?

The 3.0 GPA is a UVU Graduate School requirement, not an MCS-controlled requirement. If you don't have a 3.0 GPA talk with the MCS Director or the MCS Advisor Shandi Erickson [email protected]. They can help you devise a plan to get accepted.

How can I be more prepared/competitive for the MCS?

If you have an undergraduate CS degree, then likely you are already prepared.  However, if you are concerned about preparation, you may consider taking at least one or two upper-level CS classes to build your computer science skills to the level you will need to be successful in the MCS. If you have a 3.0 GPA, some upper level CS classes, or years of industry experience, DON'T WAIT--apply to the MCS now.

How much will this cost, and is there any financial aid available

Tuition rates can be found at Financial Aid information can be found at Currently, there are no scholarships available for the MCS program

Where can I find more information about the MCS program

You can find more information and how to apply at

You can also contact the MCS Academic Advisor Julie Marr at 801-863-6521 or [email protected]