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Computer science master's programs

We offer two master's programs in computer science: the research-based MCS program and the course-based MCSC program. We also offer a specialized Master of Applied Cybersecurity.

Master of Computer Science

The Master of Computer Science (MCS) program provides you with an opportunity to explore advanced knowledge in computer science. The balance between courses and research can follow one of two options:

  • master's with thesis, which requires fewer courses and has a more substantial research project
  • master's with report, which includes more courses and a limited research component

A master's degree can typically be completed within 16-24 months of full-time study. Part-time study is also possible.

A co-op option can be added to the MCS program. The co-op option incorporates eight to 12 months of work terms. This helps students financially and provides valuable job experience at an advanced level.

MCS thesis option

An MCS with thesis provides a research-oriented option to students wishing to make an original contribution to research in the field of computer science. Due to the focus on research associated with thesis preparation, an MCS with thesis requires fewer courses (see course requirements) than a MCS with report.

  • First term (Sept. - Dec.): finding a research area/supervisor; courses (typically three)
  • Second term (Jan. - Apr.): courses (typically two), preparation of proposal
  • Third term (May - Aug.): proposal (beginning of term), then research. Discussion with supervisor about workload expectation.
  • Fourth and fifth term: completion of research, thesis writing, thesis revisions and defense

Theses must be completed according to our policies and procedures, as well as the regulations and guidelines of the School of Graduate Studies.

MCS report option

An MCS by report provides students with the opportunity to contribute to research, but places more of an emphasis on classroom-based learning. Reports follow the same guidelines as the MCS with thesis but are typically of shorter length and may involve more development than original research.

Master of Computer Science by Coursework

The Master of Computer Science by Coursework (MCSC) program provides advanced education at the graduate level to students who want to pursue their computer science education further but are not interested in research. It enables students to explore computer science topics more deeply and learn current advanced techniques. It is a suitable program for people from the IT industry who want to upgrade their skills, develop and demonstrate their capabilities for working at a more advanced level, explore advanced interests and improve their credentials.

The program consists of a minimum of 10 graduate and undergraduate courses (see master's course requirements). This degree program can include a co-op designation, which is attained on successful completion of two graduate co-op terms.

Master's co-op for MCS, MCSC students

The Master’s co-op option offers students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in conjunction with their academic studies.

Part-time studies

We offer the MCS and MCSC degrees through part-time study. Part-time graduate students are subject to limitations on the allowable course load and time spent working towards their graduate degree. Currently, a part-time student must not take more than two courses or 6 ch, whichever is less, per term (not including the thesis or report) and must not use university resources on a full-time basis. There is no limit on the allowable hours of employment for part-time graduate students.

Part-time graduate students in the MCS program are required to provide a study plan in consultation with their supervisor, and they are often excluded from many available financial support sources, such as NSERC/SSHRC, GRA and student loans, fully or to a certain extent. A part-time degree will also take more than the estimated 20 months allotted for completion of a degree as a full-time student. Part-time studies are not practical for international students coming from abroad.