Frequently Asked Questions

Why get a Graduate Degree?

In short, 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. While additional opportunities are important, let's be honest. There are so many opportunities currently in CS, people get jobs with minimal training, and the CS Department is placing multiple undergraduates in great companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook every year. So when you think about opportunities, don't focus on sheer quantity—focus on the type of opportunity. Even more importantly, focus on what do you want to do, what do you want to accomplish, what do you want to know? A graduate degree should always expand both the depth and breadth of knowledge you have. 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?

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. The program uses required courses to develop a broad base of competency on a wide range of topics, while individual project work can be used to develop depth in an area of personal interest. The focus of the MCS on preparing students to enter the workforce rather than preparing them to conduct fundamental research will provide you with opportunities to explore emerging trends and advances in computer science that occur while completing your degree.

What are the prerequisites for the MCS?

  • An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • An undergraduate degree in a computer-related field (Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, or a closely related field).
  • 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
  • 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?

As the Director of the MCS program, I'll tell you from personal experience it is not a 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA or C+ in all your courses that makes you a good fit…it's motivation and passion. As you transition into your senior year or if after years in industry you find you are motivated to keep learning and have a passion to explore advanced topics, then you are exactly who we are looking for to join the MCS. When I completed my undergraduate degree, I could not have met all the requirements to enter our MCS, but after 2 ½ years at Hewlett Packard, I was motivated and passionate to learn more about Computer Science, so I found people who believed in me and then I 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 me and together we will create a plan that will get you accepted into the MCS. Curtis.Welborn@uvu.edu Director of the MCS.

How do I apply?

Go to the MCS website https://www.uvu.edu/mcs/.

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. If all the available slots in the MCS are not filled by the end of the Spring semester, we will set a deadline for applying in May or early June.

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

The MCS program was designed for students who are working full-time in the industry. Classes will be held in the evening, with multiple classes being offered each Fall and Spring semesters. Two of the classes offered each Fall and Spring are intended for students in their first year and while at least two other classes offered are intended for students in their second year. MCS has been approved to accept international students into the program. This, however, doesn’t change the design of the program to cater to students who work full-time and only take one or two classes per semester. International students must take at least 9 hours per semester. The MCS will offer at least 12 hours of courses each Fall and Spring, so international students will not have a problem taking the minimum course load. 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 will 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 credits. The program is not based on students being in a cohort, so the time it takes to complete the degree is individualized. Please note, a full-time load for a Graduate student is 3 classes or 9 hours. Most of the MCS students work full-time and attend the program part-time. The schedule 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.

Unless a scheduling issue occurs, you will find a block of 2 Core Classes offered back to back and 2 Elective Classes offered on the other days of the week. If the block of Core Classes is offered on Monday/Wednesday in Fall in one year, then you will find a block of Core Classes offered again on Monday/Wednesday in the Spring of that same year. If the block of Core Classes is offered on Monday/Wednesday in one year, then the next year the block of Core Classes will be on Tuesday/Thursday and the block of Elective Classes will be on Monday/Wednesday.

 

Monday/Wednesday

Tuesday/Thursday

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

 

 

 

Starting in Fall 2020, we will begin offering 5 rather than 4 classes per semester to accommodate those students who are attending the MCS on a full-time basis. We will not be able to teach all 5 classes unless each class has the minimum number of students enrolled as required by the University.

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. We want you to use new skills and explore new topics that you've learned in the MCS, not just rehash old ideas from your undergraduate degree.

Is this an online degree?

This is not an online program.

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?

The MCS has been approved to accept international students. However, international students wanting to attend the MCS should understand that because we are focused on full-time working students who attend school part-time, we have very limited funding opportunities for you. Unless you have prior contact with a professor who already has funding to support you, it is highly unlikely that you will receive funding while at UVU.

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 alone 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.

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, which the MCS can't ignore. If you don't have a 3.0 GPA but you are highly motivated to begin the MCS, talk with the MCS Director. He can help you devise a plan that can get you accepted.

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

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. If you have the 3.0 GPA, some upper level CS classes, and/or years of industry experience, what are you waiting for? Apply to the MCS now.

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

Tuition rates can be found at http://www.uvu.edu/tuition/. Financial Aid information can be found at https://www.uvu.edu/graduatestudies/guide.html#fa. 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 http://www.uvu.edu/mcs/.

You can also contact the MCS Academic Advisor Shandi Erickson at 801-863-6328 or shandi.erickson@uvu.edu