Online Masters in Computer Science Without CS Undergrad

The field of computer science is rapidly evolving, and the demand for professionals with advanced skills is higher than ever. Many individuals from non-computer science backgrounds are now seeking to enter this dynamic field by pursuing an online master’s degree. This article explores the feasibility and options for obtaining an online master’s in computer science without a CS undergrad.

Is It Possible?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a master’s in computer science without an undergraduate degree in the same field. Many universities have recognized the need for accessible and flexible pathways for career changers and those looking to upskill. These programs often provide foundational courses to help bridge the knowledge gap for students who have a CS background.

Top Programs for Non-CS Undergraduates

  1. Georgia Institute of Technology
  2. Georgia Tech offers an Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) program to accommodate students from various academic backgrounds. The program includes foundational courses to ensure all students acquire the necessary skills for advanced CS coursework.
  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  4. UIUC’s online Master of Computer Science (MCS) program is open to students without a CS undergrad degree. The program provides preparatory courses in core computer science topics, enabling students to build a solid foundation before tackling more advanced subjects.
  5. University of Texas at Austin
  6. The University of Texas offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) program that welcomes applicants from diverse academic backgrounds. The curriculum includes introductory courses to help non-CS students catch up with their peers.
  7. Northwestern University
  8. Northwestern’s online MS in Computer Science program is designed for professionals looking to transition into the tech industry. The program offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes foundational courses in programming and algorithms.
  9. Boston University
  10. Boston University’s online MS in Computer Information Systems (MSCIS) is an excellent option for those without a CS background. The program includes a range of foundational courses to equip students with essential computer science knowledge.

Admission Requirements

While specific requirements vary by program, common prerequisites for non-CS undergraduates include:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: A degree in any field is generally required.
  2. Prerequisite Courses: Some programs may require the completing certain prerequisite courses, such as introductory programming or mathematics.
  3. Work Experience: Relevant work experience in technology or related fields can be beneficial.
  4. Statement of Purpose: A statement outlining your interest in computer science and career goals.
  5. Letters of Recommendation: Strong endorsements from academic or professional references.

Preparing for Your Application

To enhance your application and readiness for an online master’s in computer science, consider the following steps:

  • Take Online Courses: Platforms like Coursera and edX offer introductory computer science and programming courses.
  • Gain Practical Experience: Work on personal projects or contribute to open-source projects to build your skills.
  • Network with Professionals: Join online forums and professional groups to connect with current students and alums.


Pursuing an online master’s in computer science without a CS undergrad is an achievable goal with the right preparation and resources. Programs from institutions like Georgia Tech, UIUC, UT Austin, Northwestern University, and Boston University offer pathways for students from diverse academic backgrounds.

By leveraging these resources and carefully selecting a program that fits your background and career goals, you can successfully transition into the field of computer science and open up new professional opportunities.

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