Choice Schools for MSCS

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by JoAnnP38, Jul 5, 2003.

  1. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    Over the past 6 months I have been reading through information on DL programs that offer a MS degree in Computer Science. I've considered several things -- cost, time to completion, course coverage and reputation. While this is no where near a scientific evaluation, it consists mostly the feelings I have after looking at a program given my priorities. I would probably rate my priorities so:

    1) Reputation -- Good reputation in CS and instantly recognizeable as an accredited school.
    2) Course Coverage -- I wanted my MS to be more about breadth than depth, although I wanted to go a bit deeper in AI.
    3) Time to Completion -- Some schools have what seems to be good course selection but they offer these courses rarely. Also some schools offer little or no courses during the summer semester. Both of these factors contribute to what I'm calling Time to Completion.
    4) Cost -- factors 1-3 being equal, I wanted to choose the least expensive school.

    Here is the short list of schools I'm applying to -- no ordering implied:

    * UMass Amherst -- rated 6th in AI and 25th overall by US News. Tuition about $500 semester credit hour. Good summer semester course selection. This school is not a Division I football school (I don't think) but their US News rating looks good to me.

    * University of Florida -- rated 47th by US News and offers distance learning through FEEDS (Florida Engineering Education System.) Tuition is very low for in state students (me!) at less than $200 per semester credit hour.

    * Depaul CTI -- Not rated by US News, but offers an incredible selection of classes. Tuition is about $350 per quarter credit hour.

    * University of Illinois -- rated 6th by US News and as such has a very good reputation for Computer Science. Tuition is about the same as the others (about $540 / semester credit hour.) This degree may take less time to complete than the others because it only requires 8 courses (each course is considered 4 semester hours.)

    Okay, this is my short list. I will also be applying to some "safety schools" like University of Idaho and University of South Florida (not a DL school but I live nearby.) Unfortunately, these safety schools will take longer to complete the MS because of there course scheduling. Like I mentioned earlier, I won't even consider schools without big time names, but if anyone thinks I've missed some gems, please let me know.

    JoAnn Peeler
    BSCS - Florida State University (Planned Fall 2004)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2003
  2. manjuap

    manjuap New Member

    Have you looked at

    Florida Atlantic (FAU) and Florida International Universities (FIU) (both have FEEDS)
  3. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    You are right -- they do support FEEDS! You can see everyone from the following link:

    I'll have to look closer at FAU, they seem to have good course selection for the summer in Computer Science (better than UFL actually.) FIU doesn't really offer much at all though.

    Thanks for pointing out FAU!!! They won't score very high from me on reputation, but their course coverage looks good (at least from a cursory inspection) and I'm sure their tuition will be good for me since I'm a Florida resident.

    JoAnn Peeler
    BSCS Florida State University (Planned Fall 2004)
  4. oxpecker

    oxpecker New Member

  5. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    No doubt. Both are good schools. I just found their tuition too high. Columbias PD (Professional Degree) in Computer Science looks tempting. I may want to look at that as a way to polish my credentials after I get a masters degree somewhere else.

    JoAnn Peeler
  6. Jeff Walker

    Jeff Walker New Member

    I will be starting at Illinois in August, so I can't tell you much about the coursework yet. A few observations -

    1) The MCS degree actually requires 9 courses. They have an on-campus MSCS degree which is 8 courses plus a master's thesis. The I2CS option is actually an MCS degree (strange distinction, but there is an on-campus equivalent so it doesn't bother me) which requires 9 courses and no thesis.

    2) Each course is the equivalent of a 4 credit hour course. It may be difficult to take more than 1 course a session. If you can take 2 during the fall and spring and q in the summer, you could complete the program in 2 years. If you take 1 course a session (including summer), it will take 3 years. The good news is you can see a whole wealth of information (syllabus, assignments, tests, etc) on past courses on their website, so you can get a very good idea of the difficulty of the courses.

    3) They have been incredibly responsive in handling little issues I've had. They appear to have a wonderful support staff in the computer science department.
  7. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    Please post how things go for you. UI seems to be a very good school but I am curious how well they address distance learning.

    I have seen several Computer Science programs that offer the MCS degree to distinguish it from a MSCS. They consider this a terminal degree and from what I've seen none of them make you take comprehensive exams. Also from what I gather, its not intended to prepare you for a Ph.D. since you don't do a thesis. It seems to me its analogous to an MBA (i.e. M(BA) <=> M(CS)). In other words, its a professional degree. (Although MBA students sometimes go on to get a DBA.)

    If anyone is interested in getting more CS education past the masters that comes with an accompanying degree, take a look a Columbia. They offer a PD (i.e. Professional Degree) that requires you to have already completed a masters degree. I might consider this after I've completed my MSCS and MBA.

    JoAnn Peeler
    BSCS Florda State University (Planned 2004)
  8. manjuap

    manjuap New Member

    Had been to FAU main campus yesterday. I was very much impressed by the staff and they answered all my questions and almost ready to give me admission to MSCS (They have both thesis and non-thesis option). Its a good program to consider after my MBA.
  9. manjuap

    manjuap New Member

    Take a look at Mississippi State University (MS)

    They have online programs.
  10. marty

    marty New Member

  11. manjuap

    manjuap New Member

    Did you finalise any school/program ?
  12. Depending on what you ant the degree for - the new CIO for DHS? The Harvard and UMass degrees will carry the most weight.

    In academia - that's VERY important - not just the degree - but the school. :cool:

    I agree
  13. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Harvard Extension does offer online courses, but to earn the ALM degree, one would have to spend some significant time in Cambridge.
  14. And consideration Numbah One was reputation :cool:

  15. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    Hi all,

    This is my first time posting to this site. I am currently taking courses for Harvard's ALM in IT Program now. Although more than enough classes are available online to get the degree, you have to spend at least one term on campus. This can either be the fall, spring or summer term. I am from Chicago, and am doing my summer residential term now (I am writing this from my dorm room). There are several people who are in the ALM program that are doing their residential portion this summer with me.

    As far as the program goes, it is fantastic, but the courses are also very rigorous. The profs provide a wealth of information. The one caveat I would give is to know what you are getting into beforehand with this program. The degree is VERY programming intensive (which is what I was looking for). The most popular concentration is Software Engineering (the other two concentrations are Mathematics and Computation, and Mathematics for Teaching). The Software Engineering degree is the only one that can be taken mostly online (There are just not enough Math courses available online, yet).

    If you guys have other questions about the program, fire away.


  16. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    College Choice Update

    I just wanted to update the forum with my choices for schools. In my original post I was evaluating schools for a MSCS. Recently, I have finally decided that I want to get a PhD. For a time I was on the fence because I didn't know if my desire to teach was strong enough to propel me through a PhD program. Also, I didn't know whether I really wanted to go a different direction and get an MBA after a MSCS in order to prepare myself for a management position. In the end I've decided that I want nothing to do with management. It's too stressful and it takes me too far from my work of love.

    Okay,with that being said -- here is my short list for schools that I will apply to:

    Unversity of Florida
    Florida Atlantic University
    University of South Florida

    If you notice all of these are in-state schools (for me at least.) I've decided that price is a very important criteria since I plan on going all the way for a PhD. In the case of University of Florida and Florida Atlantic University, I would be able to complete most of the course work part time and by distance before I decide to throw myself full-time into research and disertation.

    Thanks to everyone for their contribution to this thread. Thanks to Andy Borcher for his advice in a private conversation.

    JoAnn Peeler

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