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Can You Get a Master’s in Computer Science Online without CS Undergrad?

Careers in computer science have gotten a lot of attention recently — and for good reason. 

Today, industries ranging from manufacturing to finance depend on computer science professionals to run their businesses, and many companies are struggling to find qualified employees. According to Lightcast, a leading labor analytics firm, demand for computer science professionals will grow 23.9% by 2032. A master’s degree in computer science can help you enter this high-paying field — even if you have a nontraditional background.

What Is a Master’s in Computer Science?

A master’s in computer science (CS) is a graduate program that explores the theoretical underpinnings and practical applications of software architecture and development. CS master’s programs prepare students to take on roles in software development, cybersecurity and web development and to move into leadership positions. Typically, CS master’s programs involve both coursework and a capstone project, which may involve a written report, presentation or development project. 

What matters most when choosing a master’s program? Compare features, benefits and cost to find the right school for you.


What Do You Learn in a Master’s in Computer Science?

While master’s programs each have their own curricula, most programs include core coursework in advanced programming, algorithm analysis, database management, distributed systems and software verification and testing. Elective courses may cover topics like cryptography, data analysis and artificial intelligence. 

Some master’s programs, like Franklin University’s online M.S. in Computer Science, allow students to choose optional focus areas to prepare for more narrowly focused careers in areas like cybersecurity, data analytics or software systems

It’s important to note that master’s programs don’t just focus on technical topics. Since they are meant to prepare students for higher-level roles within organizations, they also cover the skills you need to work with other business leaders effectively to help the company achieve its business goals. 

Can You Get a Master’s in Computer Science without a Bachelor’s Degree?

Accredited master’s degree programs in the United States almost always require that applicants earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university before enrolling. If you have not yet completed an undergraduate degree, you may wish to consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science. 

Earning a bachelor’s degree doesn’t have to mean putting your life on hold or paying high tuition. Franklin’s B.S. in Computer Science program is offered 100% online and offers flexible scheduling and affordable tuition. If you’ve already earned some undergraduate credits, you may be able to take advantage of Franklin’s generous credit transfer policy to graduate sooner. 

Can You Get a Master’s in Computer Science without a Bachelor’s in Computer Science?

Entrance requirements for master’s in computer science programs vary by school. Many programs require or prefer that applicants hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a closely related field such as mathematics or engineering. Other CS master’s programs are open to students with an unrelated bachelor’s degree but require them to complete prerequisite courses before applying.

Franklin University’s M.S. in Computer Science program offers a special pathway for students with an unrelated bachelor’s degree. You don’t need to complete any prerequisites to be accepted into the program. Instead, you’ll complete three corequisite courses designed to give you foundational computer science skills after you enroll:

  • Foundations of Programming 
  • Foundation Data Structure and Object-Oriented Design
  • Foundations of Mathematics for Computing

You’ll take two of these courses before starting your master’s courses, and you may choose to take the third either before or at the same time as your first master’s-level course. Altogether, you can complete your master’s and corequisite coursework and graduate in as little as two years. 

Is a Master’s in Computer Science Worth It?

A master’s in computer science offers strong preparation for a wide range of technical careers and can offer an excellent return on investment. Jobs that require a master’s degree pay higher salaries on average, and a master’s degree can also help you advance into well-compensated leadership positions. If a master’s degree in computer science allows you to pivot into tech roles from a lower-paying field, the long-term payoff can be significant. 

While a master’s degree requires an upfront investment of money and time, it may be more affordable than you think. Even if you’ve never studied computer science before, you can earn a master’s for less than $30,000 through Franklin’s online M.S. in Computer Science pathway for students with an unrelated undergraduate degree. You may also be eligible for programs that lower the cost of a degree, such as Choose Ohio First’s scholarship program for Ohio residents pursuing science and technology degrees. 

Launch Your Computer Science Career at Franklin University

No matter what you studied as an undergraduate — whether it was art history or nursing — Franklin’s provides the resources and support you need to shift into computer science.

In about two years, you can be on your way to a rewarding new career with Franklin’s M.S. in Computer Science pathway program for students without a computer science background. Learn 100% online with the flexibility you need to balance your studies with your existing commitments while building a powerful network of fellow students, faculty and alumni. 

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