The Department of Computer Science offers two separate master's degree programs.

Master of Science in Computer Science

The master's program in computer science consists of tracks, both of which require 30 hours of master's degree qualified graduate coursework, either of which may be done with or without a thesis. The two tracks are:

  1. Traditional / Theoretical - requires coursework in graph algorithms and the theory of computing
  2. Software Engineering - includes some coursework that is also part of the Software Engineering master's degree.

Both tracks include elective courses on a variety of standard computer science topics such as databases, networking, and operating systems.

Master of Science in Software Engineering

The master's program in software engineering requires 33 hours of master's degree qualified graduate coursework and may include a 6 credit hour thesis or a 3 credit hour special project. This program includes courses on software engineering and development topics such as:

  • Requirements and Design
  • Validation and Verification
  • Metrics and Models

Admission Requirements for Both Master's Programs offered by the Department of Computer Science:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • An overall grade point average of at least 3.25, or 3.0 with acceptable GRE score
  • Scores on the general GRE test should be a combined Verbal & Quantitative total of 300

Applications go to the Graduate School and not directly to the department. After an initial evaluation of a complete set of application materials by the Graduate School, applications are forwarded to the department. The department is generally unaware of your application until the Graduate School completes its evaluation. The Graduate School has a webpage for you to request information about the status of your application.

International Students

  • Apply to the Rinker Center for International Programs rather than the graduate school. The graduate school will not receive your application until the Rinker Center has completed its evaluation of your application.
  • Conditional admission is available for students whose English language skills are limited. Such students will take courses in the Intensive English Institute before taking classes that are part of the master's degree. Note that conditional admission implies that the GRE cannot be taken (because GRE is offered only in English), so the minimum GPA requirement is 3.25.


The department offers a very limited number of graduate assistantships which provide both a stipend and a tuition waiver. GRE scores and GPAs are both used when selecting students for assistantships. In addition, assistantships are available from other units on campus who seek students with computer skills. For a list of currently available assistantships, visit Cardinal Career Link. Note, that more assistantships in other units are likely to become available around the time the Fall semester starts.

Students with Limited Computer Science Backgrounds

Students with a limited undergraduate computer science background will be required to take directed courses in which an average grade of at least B is earned. No credit towards a degree will be granted for these courses. Any student whose transcript indicates they have not taken the following courses (or did not get at least a B grade in them) will be required to take them at Ball State

  • Two semesters of introductory computer programming
  • Discrete Structures / Discrete Mathematics / Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science
  • Computer Architecture and Organization
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms
  • Theory of Computation (not required for software engineering master's program)
  • Principles of Programming Languages (not required for software engineering master's program)
  • Differential Calculus
  • Integral Calculus (not required for software engineering master's program)
  • Statistics
  • Linear Algebra (not required for software engineering master's program)