Program Overview

Offered through the Department of Computer Science, the M.S. program in Computer Science is designed to equip students with excellent skills at the forefront of computing. Through research and teaching, the Department contributes to computing breakthroughs that are fueling advances in medicine, communications, transportation, security, and other areas vital to society and the world.

The Master's degree is based on 10 courses (30 credit hours). A student may do a thesis, but this is optional. There are no comprehensive examinations. Three of the 10 courses are required (core courses). The other seven courses can be selected based on consultation with the student's advisor. Two of these courses can come from a different department.

Courses focus on the following areas:

  • Algorithms and theory;
  • Computer architecture, networks, parallel and distributed computing;
  • Computer security and information assurance;
  • Database and information retrieval systems;
  • Machine intelligence and cognition;
  • Multimedia, animation, graphics, and user interface;
  • Software engineering and systems.

The program is designed to prepare students for exciting and rewarding careers in information technology, medicine, film, business, government, and engineering. With the unique location of Washington, D.C., students have access one of the highest concentrations of high-tech companies in the country and federal institutes, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NASA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Naval Research Laboratory.

Master of Science in Computer Science (M.S.)


  • Credit hours: 30
  • Thesis options: Two - thesis and non-thesis options are available to M.S. students.
  • Duration: Full-time (enrolled min. 9 credit hours per semester) or part-time (min. 3 credit hours per semester).
  • Other requirements:
    • Core courses: Three - Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Advanced Software Paradigms, Computer System Architecture. The remaining seven courses can be selected in consultation with the student's adviser. Two of these courses may come from a different department.
  • Selecting an area of focus is encouraged, but not required.


Master’s Degree Program Requirements

  • Three core courses: CSCI 6221, 6461, 6212.
  • No area of concentration is necessary.
  • Seven additional courses that can be taken for graduate credit.
  • At least 8 of the 10 courses (24 of 30 credits) must be taken at the 6000 level or above.
  • Normally no more than two courses may be taken outside of the department.
  • At least 3.0 GPA to meet graduation requirements.
  • A student who receives 2 (or more) grades of F will be dismissed from the program.
  • A student who receives three (or more) grades below B- will be dismissed from the program.

Courses for Graduate Credit

There is no requirement that students take courses in any particular subject area or across areas.

Algorithms and Theory

  • CSCI 4314 - Discrete Analysis in Computer Science
  • CSCI 6311 - Theory of Computation
  • CSCI 6312 - Graph Theory and Applications
  • CSCI 6213 - Advanced Data Structures
  • CSCI 6318 - Numerical Solutions of Differential Equations
  • CSCI 6343 - Continuous Algorithms
  • CSCI 6351 - Data Compression
  • CSCI 8211 - Advanced Topics in Algorithms

Computer Architecture, Networks, Parallel and Distributed Computing

  • CSCI 4415 - Real-Time Computer Systems
  • CSCI 4314 - Discrete Analysis in Computer Science
  • CSCI 6433 - Internet Protocols
  • CSCI 6434 - Design of Internet Protocols
  • CSCI 6421 - High-Performance Computing
  • CSCI 8401 - Advanced Topic in Operating Systems
  • CSCI 8431 - Advanced Topics in Computer Networks and Networked Computing
  • CSCI 6431 - Computer Networks

Database and Information Retrieval Systems

  • CSCI 3571 - Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • CSCI 4511 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • CSCI 6351 - Data Compression
  • CSCI 6441 - Database Systems I
  • CSCI 6442 - Database Systems II
  • CSCI 6448 - Scientific Databases and Knowledge Formation
  • CSCI 6451 - Information Retrieval Systems
  • CSCI 8440 - Advanced Topics in Data Management

Software Engineering and Systems

  • CSCI 4417 - UNIX System Programming
  • CSCI 6213 - Advanced Data Structures
  • CSCI 6231 - Software Engineering
  • CSCI 6232 - Software Engineering Development
  • CSCI 6233 - Software Testing and Quality
  • CSCI 6234 - Object-Oriented Design
  • CSCI 8231 - Advanced Topics in Software Engineering
  • CSCI 8401 - Advanced Topic in Operating Systems
  • CSCI 8431 - Advanced Topics in Computer Networks and Networked Computing

Multimedia, Animation, Graphics and User Interfaces

  • CSCI 4554 - Computer Graphics I
  • CSCI 4455 - Computer Game Design and Programming
  • CSCI 4561 - Design of User-Interface Programs
  • CSCI 6561 - Design of Human-Computer Interface
  • CSCI 6554 - Computer Graphics II
  • CSCI 6555 - Computer Animation
  • CSCI 6562 - Design of Interactive Multimedia
  • CSCI 8554 - Advanced Topics in Computer Graphics

Computer Security and Information Assurance

  • CSCI 6331 - Computer Cryptography Principles
  • CSCI 6431 - Computer Networks
  • CSCI 6433 - Internet Protocols
  • CSCI 6531 - Computer Security Principles
  • CSCI 6532 - Information Policy
  • CSCI 6541 - Network Security
  • CSCI 6547 - Wireless and Mobile Security
  • CSCI 8331 - Advanced Cryptography
  • CSCI 8531 - Advanced Topics in Security

Machine Intelligence and Cognition

  • CSCI 4511 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • CSCI 6511 - Artificial Intelligence
  • CSCI 6512 - Adaptive Learning Systems I
  • CSCI 6515 - Natural Language Understanding
  • CSCI 6519 - Models of Cognition
  • CSCI 8511 - Advanced Topics in Artificial Intelligence

M.S. Admissions Requirements

Applicants must submit the following materials in order to be considered for admission into a master's program at SEAS. All materials except test scores must be uploaded to the online application form:

Online Application


  • Scanned copies of unofficial transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned; the program was not completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript.
  • Please ensure that all transcripts are properly scanned and attached to the online application form. Otherwise, applicants will receive notifications requesting legible transcripts, which may delay review of their application.
  • Please do not mail official transcripts unless you are instructed to do so by a SEAS admissions officer. Admissions decisions are based on unofficial transcripts.
  • For international applicants, please see additional requirements for attaching foreign transcripts to the online application.

GRE scores

  • The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants, except for those applying for a Combined Five-Year Program.
  • GRE scores must be sent to institution code 5246 through the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
  • There is no minimum score required on the GRE for admission. However, applicants are encouraged to score within the 90th percentile of the Quantitative section of the exam in order to be considered competitive. To see average GRE scores from the most recent incoming class, visit the Graduate Student Profile.

English proficiency exam scores (international applicants)

  • International applicants who did not receive a degree from an institution situated in the United States or English-speaking country must also submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic exams.
  • Please view the International Admissions section for information on English language exam score requirements and sending scores to GW.

Letters of Recommendation

  • A minimum of two (2) letters of recommendation is required to be submitted with the online application form. These may be from your academic advisor, professor, and/or employer.

Statement of Purpose

  • Applicants must include an essay of 250-500 words that clearly states their purpose in undertaking graduate study at the George Washington University; explains their academic objectives, research interests, and career plans; and discusses related qualifications including collegiate, professional, and community activities, as well as any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned.
  • It is strongly encouraged that essays stay within the 500-word limit. While applicants are not penalized for submitting longer essays, concise essays are more effective in demonstrating an applicant's motivation.
  • The Statement of Purpose must be written by the applicant. Any essay found to have been written by anyone other than the applicant, or plagiarized from other published materials, will be withdrawn from consideration.


  • A current résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) should be uploaded with the online application form.
  • If you have published articles in peer-reviewed publications, please include them as a hyperlink.

M.S. applicants must also demonstrate the following requirements in order to be considered for admission:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 credits of undergraduate work.
  • Completed two courses in mathematics beyond pre-calculus during the undergraduate curriculum.
  • One year of science with laboratory.
  • Prior coursework in computer science using a structured language, discrete structures, data structures, and computer architecture.
Program taught in:
The George Washington University - School of Engineering & Applied Science
Last updated November 13, 2018
This course is
Start Date
Sept. 2019
Feb. 2020
2 - 3 years
By locations
By date
Start Date
Sept. 2019
End Date
Application deadline
Start Date
Feb. 2020
End Date
Application deadline
Sept. 2, 2019

Sept. 2019

Application deadline
End Date

Feb. 2020

Application deadline
Sept. 2, 2019
End Date

Graduate Student Research: Computer Science at GW