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Computer Science

Computer Science: MS

Department: Computer Science Department
College: College of Engineering

This department offers graduate students an extensive education in many areas in computer science. Its faculty members are engaged in research and cutting-edge advancements in computer science, and they teach a high percentage of courses in the department, giving graduate students individual attention. Students who graduate with advanced degrees in computer science have high job placement, and as computers are so crucial to nearly every industry, continued growth in computer science careers is expected in the future. Additionally, the MS in computer science at USU is the only graduate degree in computer science offered via distance education and available through evening classes, allowing working professionals to obtain a master’s degree.

There are four areas of research focus for graduate students and faculty within the department:

  • Artificial Intelligence: A complicated and broad field in computer science, AI deals with the development of systems (hardware and/or software) that in some way exhibit intelligent behavior. The four main categories of AI research are: systems that can think like humans; systems that can act like humans; systems that can think rationally; and systems that can act rationally.
  • Bioinformatics: Bioinformatics utilizes computers and computer-based algorithms to aid in the analysis of biological information. Research in this area involves the development of machine learning algorithms to solve specific bioinformatics problems, including identification of protein functional sites, gene finding, and more.
  • Distributed, Parallel, and Concurrent Computing: This area deals with the development of multiple processors and computers to achieve fast and efficient applications. Multiple processors are used in projects such as coordinating space shuttles and other major operations.
  • Software Systems: This is a broad area of computer science that covers every aspect of software development, with the goal to create more sophisticated, reliable, and secure software.

The Master of Computer Science (MCS) is a terminal degree with coursework requirements similar to the PhD, but lacking the PhD’s requirement for original research.

Note: The PhD and MCS are not available at this location.

Differential Tuition

The College of Engineering may charge differential tuition for this program. Differential tuition is an added cost per credit for courses in the program. See the last page in the USU Tuition & Fee schedule for more information.

Careers in computer science can be categorized into the following four areas:

Software development (software systems)

  • Business applications
  • Game development
  • Web programming
  • Scientific computing

Finding and creating new uses for computers (AI, parallel computing, or bioinformatics)

  • Searching for cancer and other disease treatments
  • Automating medical images such as mammograms
  • Autonomous vehicles for use in agriculture and more

Solving computer problems (AI, parallel computing, or bioinformatics)

  • Research in computer theory
  • Creating more effective algorithms

Managing computer systems (software systems or parallel computing specializations)

  • This can be done for a wide variety of industries and companies


Additionally, PhD graduates are qualified to pursue academia or research positions with government or private labs.