Department of Computer and Information Science

Master of Science in Computer and Information Science

The Master in Computer and Information Science (MCIS) is a professional degree program that is designed to combine a thorough education in computer science, with applications in the areas of business, engineering, mathematics, or other relevant fields. The program emphasizes advanced programming using the latest technologies. At one end, it focuses on the theoretical capabilities of computing including problem solving and algorithms. At the other end, the MCIS program deals with techniques and design of advanced computing applications in various areas. Graduates of the program will be prepared for immediate employment in business, industry and government, or pursue higher studies in the discipline.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the Admission Requirements for the Graduate College, applicants to the MCIS program must meet the following requirements:

  • A cumulative grade-point average of 2.75 or better.
  • Test scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) are required if at least one of the following conditions is true:
    • The applicant's undergraduate degree if from a college or university outside of the United States.
    • The applicant's undergraduate degree is from a college or university without at least a regional level accreditation.
    • The applicant's undergraduate cumulative grade-point average is below 3.0.
  • If an applicant received a master's degree or higher from a college or university with at least a regional level accreditation in the United States and had at least a grade-point average of 3.0, the GMAT/GRE requirement can be waived.
  • For those applicants who need to complete GRE or GMAT, the following minimums will be required:
    • A minimum total score of 500 if GMAT is taken; or
    • A minimum of 50th perentile in the Quantitative Reasoning portion of the GRE(or a 158 in the current scale).
    • A minimum score of 5th percentile for the verbal portion of the GRE(137 according to old GRE scoring system) or GMAT.
  • An official transcript from each college and university attended.
  • For applicants whose native language is not English, proof of having met at least one of the English language proficiency requirements is required. This proof will be per the standards used by the University.
    • If the TOEFL is taken, the minimum requirements are at least 550 for the paper-based test, or 213 for the computer-based test, or 78 for the Internet-based test. (If the Internet-based test is taken, minimum distribution requirements are: Reading - 20, Listening - 21, Speaking - 20, and Writing - 17).
    • Equivalent scores will be used if any other form of English proficiency test is chosen.

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted and process throughout the year. Domestic applicants, to be eligible for that semester, must submit complete application materials at least six weeks before the start of a semester.

For international students, complete application packages, including a completed application form, transcripts for all college-level work, and appropriate GRE/GMAT and TOEFL scores, must be received by the application deadline:

  • March 15 for Summer admission.
  • May 15 for Fall admission.
  • November 1 for Spring admission.

Although the CIS Department makes every effort to honor students’ requested dates of admission, this is not always possible. In some cases, it may be necessary to delay the admission date because of the schedule of required courses.

MCIS Bridge Program for International Students

Students who have completed a three-year science or engineering degree from institutions outside the U.S. may be eligible for the College of Business Administration "Bridge" Program for the MCIS degree. The bridge program requires students to complete an additional twenty-four credits of courses in the field. The bridge courses should be selected after consulting with the program advisor. In general, these courses may be taken at the beginning of the program of study.

For more information about the bridge program, please call the Graduate Business Programs Advising Office at (216) 687-3730. The office is located in BU 327.

Non-Degree Students

A non-degree student is allowed to take a maximum of twelve credit hours. More information...

Degree Requirements

The MCIS program consists of 31 semester hours if a student completes a graduate thesis, or 33 semester hours otherwise. In addition, there is a preparatory program designed for students with an insufficient background in computer science. The preparatory program is designed to prepare students for graduate coursework. Any CIS course taken without prior satisfactory completion of all catalog prerequisite courses will not be counted towards fulfillment of graduation requirements.

Students whose native language is not English must take ESL 415 if their verbal score on the GRE or GMAT is between the 5th and 20th percentile. ESL 415 must be completed in the first semester after enrolling in the MCIS program. Students may register for ESL 415 through CampusNet or by contacting the Continuing Education Center directly.

Students whose scores in the quantitative section of the GRE or GMAT are below the 25th percentile must take OSM 500, regardless of mathematics courses previously completed.

Preparatory Courses

A preparatory program is available for students without adequate background in Computer and Information Science.

MCIS Group 1 Courses

Eleven credit hours of computer science courses are required from Group 1 for all MCIS students.

  • Students must take each of the following courses from Group 1:
  • Students must take one of the following courses from Group 1:

If CIS 600, 606, 620, or 650 is waived based on prior graduate course work, an advanced course in the same area must be taken in its place. CIS 601 may not be transferred or waived.

MCIS Group 2 Courses

A student must complete a minimum of six credit hours (two or more courses) from the following list:

Additional Rule

A student may choose a maximum of two courses from the following list and may apply those credits to the MCIS degree:

  • CIS 524 Comparative Programming Languages
  • CIS 554 Data Communications and Networking
  • CIS 580 Introduction to Computer Architecture
  • CIS 590 Foundations of Computing
Hours earned in any other 500-level courses will not be counted towards the MCIS degree.

MCIS Electives

MCIS students will be required to take 14-16 credit hours of MCIS electives beyond the preparatory program. The exact number depends on whether the Thesis Option is chosen:

  • 16 hours of electives are needed if the thesis option is not chosen.
  • 14 hours of electives are needed if the thesis option is chosen. In addition, the student must register for CIS 699, Master’s Thesis Research in Computer Science. A faculty member supervises the thesis. The student must pass the Final Oral Defense, which is conducted by the Thesis Committee. For more information, please see the Thesis Rules.

Independent Study & Professional Internship

  • No more than three credit hours of CIS 698 (Independent Study) can be counted towards the MCIS degree.
  • No more than two credit hours of CIS 690 (Professional Internship) can be counted towards the MCIS degree.

Credit Transfer & Courses Taken Outside of the CIS Department

  • Up to six hours of credits transferred from another university may be counted towards the MCIS degree, if such credit is beyond the level of the preparatory program and has the approval of the director of the MCIS program.
  • Up to nine credit hours of Computer Science related courses outside of the CIS department can be counted towards the MCIS degree with the prior approval of the director of the MCIS program. Students without an undergraduate degree in Computer and Information Science must take all courses in the CIS department.

How to Apply

Applicants to the MCIS program must meet the Admission Requirements for the Graduate College, as well as the Admission Requirements for the MCIS program.

Students applying to the MCIS program apply to the College of Graduate Studies, will be required to take either the GRE or GMAT exam and submit results before being considered for admission. Most College of Business graduate applicants are not required to submit letters of recommendation.

Applicants should adhere to the detailed application procedure and recommended application schedule as outlined on the Graduate College web site.

Applicants should note that GRE/GMAT test registration forms and fees must be received by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at least three weeks before the selected testing day. The GRE/GMAT test is given continuously throughout the year. Information and applications may be obtained from the CSU Testing Center, room RT 1237, (216) 687-2272. Alternatively, you may contact GRE/GMAT at 1-800-717-GMAT or visit their web site at


The faculty in the department have a wide range of research interests and offer students the opportunity to work closely with them on research projects. Faculty publications over the past few years have been in the areas of multimedia computing, database analysis and design, numerical analysis, optimization, performance measurement and evaluation, operating system design, data communications and network design, artificial intelligence, new computing paradigms, simulation, object-oriented systems analysis and design, object-oriented programming, and decision-support systems evaluation and selection. Many CIS faculty members are also active in professional organizations.

Financial Assistance

The College of Business Administration has a limited number of tuition grants and graduate assistantships available each year. These grants and assistantships are competitive and are based on students' undergraduate performance as well as GRE/GMAT scores. Tuition grants require 10 hours of service per week to the College. Graduate assistantships require a nine- to 12-credit-hour course load, and 20 hours of service per week. Application forms may be obtained in the Academic Advising Office, BU 327.