Master of Science in Computer Science

Learn the fundamentals of software engineering, database theory and design, and cloud computing for a career in computer technology.

Available Online

The Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) degree program at National University provides students with a solid foundation in the fundamental knowledge and skills of software engineering, database theory and design, and cloud computing, exposing them to best practice methodologies using a variety of tools and techniques required for solving real-world problems and to be of immediate benefit to the computing industry.

National University’s San Diego computer science degree program not only prepares students in the theoretical and practical aspects of solving complex computing problems, but also it develops other essential communication skills. MSCS graduates are able to clearly discuss issues, trends, and solutions with both technical and non-technical audiences. In addition, every part of the curriculum is devoted towards developing people skills, ethics, and standards of professionalism.

The rigorous scientific and analytical techniques taught in the MSCS online program have four primary goals: (1) to provide a clear understanding of scope and limitations of computational models, (2) to facilitate acquisition of marketable skills throughout the program, (3) to facilitate logical discussion of concepts, trends and issues including cloud computing and security in computing, and underlying problem solving strategies, and (4) to facilitate lifelong learning. National University s approach to teaching in the MSCS program allows graduates to immediately become highly productive members of a real-world computing team.

After acquisition of common fundamental concepts, students select one of the following three specializations in order to concentrate on specialized knowledge and skills in one of the advanced areas: (1) Advanced Computing, (2) Software Engineering, and (3) Database Engineering.

The two master s project classes provide an integrating mechanism for acquiring realistic experience through building a computationally complex project. It is a three-month project solving a real problem for a real client against a time deadline using all available tools and resources as students work together in teams. This component addresses the need to integrate a broad range of technologies and skills. Students are given the opportunity to crystallize the ideas learned earlier and to implement comprehensive systems across an organization.

Career Tracks
In the MSCS program, graduates are proficient in analytical and critical thinking skills, have a sense of professionalism, and are instilled with a strong set of values essential for success in computer science. This program reflects current and future industry needs, and graduates are trained and prepared to assume a leadership role in the field.

Admission Requirements
Candidates seeking admission to the program should possess a baccalaureate degree in Computer Science (CS), Software Engineering (SE), Information Systems (IS), Information Technology (IT) or a closely related area. Non-CS students should fulfill the program prerequisites either through additional equivalent coursework or waiver through a course challenge exam.

MSCS Transition Program
National University students who completed a transition program as part of their undergraduate degree and who satisfy MSCS transition program requirements described in the catalog must complete a minimum of 45 quarter units for their MSCS degree. The number of units required for the MSCS program is dependent on the coursework completed in the Bachelors transition program and the grades earned.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Create software requirements specifications, and design and develop complex software systems.
  • Evaluate computer security vulnerabilities and threats, and countermeasures that are effective and ethical.
  • Analyze, design and develop database solutions by translating database modeling theory into sound database design and implementation.
  • Analyze and design complex front-end applications for cloud and client-server architectures and integrate them with backend databases.
  • Compare and contrast alternative systems for process and memory management.
  • Demonstrate ability to conduct in-depth research, both individually as well as in teams, in a specific computer science area.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and ability to analyze and synthesize computer science concepts and skills with ethical standards.


(15 courses; 67.5 quarter units)
To receive a Master of Science in Computer Science, students must complete 54 quarter units of graduate coursework. A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another accredited institution, as it applies to this degree, and provided the units were not used in earning another advanced degree. The degree program consists of ten courses plus the two-part MSCS graduate project (two courses, 4.5 quarter units each) that cannot be taken until all other courses have been completed.
Program Prerequisites (3 courses; 13.5 quarter units)
    Students with non-computer related baccalaureate degrees can qualify for admission to the program by choosing one or a combination of the following options:
    Complete the following prerequisites:
  • CSC 242 Intro to Programming Concepts
  • CSC 252 Programming in C++
  • CSC 262 Programming in JAVA
  • OR
    Gain permission of the lead faculty of the MSCS program based on equivalent coursework supported by verifiable documented proof.
Core Requirements (8 courses; 36 quarter units)
Core Requisite(s):
Requirements for the Specialization (4 courses; 18 quarter units)
    All students must choose one Specialization defined below: