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Computer Sciences: Professional Program

Master of Science in Computer Sciences

UW–Madison graduate students listen and take notes on their laptop computers during a class.

Develop knowledge for the fast-moving IT field, apply expertise on the job, and gain essential skills for career advancement.


Is this program right for you?

The UW–Madison Professional Master’s Program in Computer Sciences was created to expand your industry knowledge. The program fills a growing market demand: Hiring of computer scientists is expected to grow 30% in the next decade—far higher than the average for most other professions.

This degree is perfect if you are a working professional who wants to further your education, obtain up-to-date information in the fast-moving IT field, and immediately apply what you learn to your job. Take as many courses as you can handle each semester. Many people will complete two courses each semester, which should be a challenging but manageable workload.

We encourage you to apply for an internship after your first year of study to deepen your knowledge and gain more work experience. This internship can be counted toward your independent study credit. Our students have interned at companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and a number of tech startups; many of them received job offers prior to completing their degree.

Our Professional Master’s in Computer Sciences is distinct from the UW–Madison Master of Science in Computer Sciences, which evaluates applicants based primarily on their potential to do research and complete a PhD. Our Professional Master’s in Computer Sciences is a terminal master’s program. However, the UW–Madison Department of Computer Sciences grants only a single kind of Master of Science degree, so you will receive the exact same degree and designation that students in the traditional Master of Science program receive. Your transcript will include the phrase “Option: Professional Program.”

Is this program right for you?

The UW–Madison Professional Master’s Program in Computer Sciences was created to expand your industry knowledge. The program fills a growing market demand: Hiring of computer scientists is expected to grow 30% in the next decade—far higher than the average for most other professions.

This degree is perfect if you are a working professional who wants to further your education, obtain up-to-date information in the fast-moving IT field, and immediately apply what you learn to your job. Take as many courses as you can handle each semester. Many people will complete two courses each semester, which should be a challenging but manageable workload.

We encourage you to apply for an internship after your first year of study to deepen your knowledge and gain more work experience. This internship can be counted toward your independent study credit. Our students have interned at companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and a number of tech startups; many of them received job offers prior to completing their degree.

Our Professional Master’s in Computer Sciences is distinct from the UW–Madison Master of Science in Computer Sciences, which evaluates applicants based primarily on their potential to do research and complete a PhD. Our Professional Master’s in Computer Sciences is a terminal master’s program. However, the UW–Madison Department of Computer Sciences grants only a single kind of Master of Science degree, so you will receive the exact same degree and designation that students in the traditional Master of Science program receive. Your transcript will include the phrase “Option: Professional Program.”

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  • Submit evidence of English language proficiency, if applicable. The required proficiency scores are: TOEFL IBT 92, PBT 580; or IELTS 7.0.

Application materials required:

  • Online application
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of interest
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation

Connect with us

Pathways: Library & Information Studies

January 31
noon-12:30 p.m.
Learn more about the Master of Arts in Library & Information Studies programs. Program staff will discuss various concentration areas and potential post-graduation career paths.
Register for Pathways: Library & Information Studies

Meet the Academic Director: Design + Innovation

February 02
noon-1 p.m.
Meet Academic Director Trudy Watt for an in-depth conversation about the Design + Innovation Master's Program including curriculum, application process and potential career paths.
Register for Meet the Academic Director: Design + Innovation

View all events

Program highlights

  • You learn from the best: UW–Madison Graduate Computer Sciences programs were ranked 17th for Best Graduate Computer Sciences Programs in the latest U.S. News & World Report.
  • Graduates of our computer science master’s program go on to continue their careers at some of the world’s largest software and startup companies: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and more.
  • Our master’s program is not focused on research; instead, we emphasize real-world experience and industry-focused skills. Additionally, our program is tailored to working professionals, so you can complete your degree in 1-2 years while still holding down your full-time job.

UW–Madison graduate computer sciences programs were ranked 17th for Best Graduate Computer Sciences Programs in the latest U.S. News & World Report.

How you'll learn

  • Twelve to 24 months of study on campus to earn your degree.
  • Complete as many courses as you would like per semester; a typical workload is one to two courses each semester.

Sample curriculum

Year 1

Database Management Systems: Design and Implementation
Introduction to Algorithms
Foundations of Data Management
Human-Computer Interaction
Seminars
Master’s Research
Internship (optional)

Year 2

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Master’s Research
Topics in Database Management Systems
Machine Learning

Job outlook

Top Job Titles
  • Software Engineers
  • Systems Engineers
  • Data Engineers
  • Principal Software Engineers
  • DevOps Engineers
  • Software Development Engineers
  • Software Developers
  • Solutions Architects
  • Full Stack Software Engineers
  • Principal Systems Engineers
  • Top Industries
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Information
  • Market Salary
    $96.3K in 2021

    Projected Job Growth
    22% (2020-2030)

    Job Postings
    116,846 in 2021

    Top Employers
  • Meta
  • Capital One
  • Amazon
  • Deloitte
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Boeing
  • Dell Technologies
  • General Motors
  • Source: Lightcast™ 2022 and alumni data.

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    Connect with our enrollment coaches

    Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

    • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
    • Verify credit transfers
    • Get help with your application
    • Determine if financial aid is available

    Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events.

    Connect with a coach