Master of Science Degree Program - University of Houston
Skip to main content

Master of Science Degree Program

About the Program

The University of Houston, Department of Computer Science offers an M.S. in Computer Science, which has the choice of a thesis or non-thesis option. Students in the program must comply with all the rules and satisfy all the requirements set by the University, in addition to the department rules and regulations detailed below.

For details on Admission to the Graduate Program of the Department of Computer Science, please visit the Admissions page.

The department mandates that all students admitted to the graduate program have a sufficient background in computer science. Details on the requirements can be found on the Prerequisites page.

Select one of the following subjects to jump directly to that section:


M.S. Tracks

Tracks allow M.S. students to specialize in key areas within computer science.  The M.S. Core Computer Science track is the default track unless an alternate track is declared.  Students can declare a track using the form available at the front desk.  A track can be changed while enrolled in the M.S. program.  To graduate, students must complete all track requirements which includes completing all track courses, maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA in all track courses, and all other M.S. degree requirements including the total number of credits to complete the degree.

Core Track

The Core Track balances core components of the computer science program including theory, systems and computational science.

Minimum Course Requirements
Total Block 1
Thesis 4 ≥ 2
Non Thesis 5 ≥ 2

Block 1: Theory

  • COSC 6320: Data Structures & Algorithms
  • COSC 6342: Machine Learning
  • COSC 6364: Numerical Analysis
  • COSC 6369: Theory of Computation

Block 2: Systems

  • COSC 6340: Database Systems
  • COSC 6360: Operating Systems
  • COSC 6361: Language & Compilers
  • COSC 6377: Computer Networks
  • COSC 6385: Computer Architecture

Data Analytics Track

The Data Analytics Track emphasizes a practical approach to the study of data analytics, imparting fundamentals supported by hands-on skills acquisition and problem solving involving real-world applications.  The track facilitates preparation for positions in product development and research in industries pursuing image computing, data mining, and data analysis as well as for advanced studies in the field.

Minimum Course Requirements
Total Block 1
Thesis 4 ≥ 3
Non Thesis 6 ≥ 3

Block 1: Introductory

  • COSC 6323: Statistical Methods in Research
  • COSC 6335: Data Mining
  • COSC 6336: Natural Language Processing
  • COSC 6340: Database Systems
  • COSC 6342: Machine Learning
  • COSC 6344: Visualization
  • COSC 6368: Artificial Intelligence
  • COSC 6373: Computer Vision
  • COSC 6380: Digital Image Processing

Block 2: Advanced Topics

  • COSC 6391: Biomedical Image Analysis
  • COSC 7336: Advanced Natural Language Processing
  • COSC 7362: Advanced Machine Learning
  • COSC 7373: Advanced Computer Vision
  • COSC 7378: Advanced Image Computing

Parallel and Distributed Systems Track

This systems-focused track emphasizes theory, design and evaluation of parallel computations, protocols, and vector and distributed data applications.

Minimum Course Requirements
Total Block 1
Thesis 4 ≥ 3
Non Thesis 6 ≥ 3

Block 1: Introductory

  • COSC 6327: Shared Memory Programming
  • COSC 6365: Introduction to High Performance Computing
  • COSC 6374: Parallel Computation
  • COSC 6377: Network Systems
  • COSC 6376: Cloud Computing
  • COSC 6384: Real-Time Systems
  • COSC 6326: Distributed Algorithms

Block 2: Advanced Topics

  • COSC 6339: Big Data Analytics
  • COSC 6375: Computer Systems Performance Evaluation
  • COSC 7364: Advanced Parallel Computations
  • COSC 7388: Advanced Distributed Computing

Interactive Media Track

This track studies theoretical and applied aspects of interface, visualization, graphics and gaming.

Minimum Course Requirements
Total Block 1
Thesis 4 ≥ 3
Non Thesis 6 ≥ 3

Block1: Introductory

  • COSC 6344: Visualization
  • COSC 6355: Ubiquitous Computing
  • COSC 6356: Computer Animation and Simulation
  • COSC 6358: Introduction to Game Development
  • COSC 6372: 3D Computer Graphics
  • COSC 6373: Computer Vision
  • COSC 6380: Digital Image Processing

Block 2: Specialization

  • COSC 6348: Introduction to Game Art & Animation
  • COSC 6349: Intermediate Game Art & Animation
  • COSC 6359: Intermediate Game Development

Thesis Option

A student must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours subject to the following restrictions:

  • No less than 15 credit hours of Computer Science courses numbered COSC 6318 – COSC 6393 or COSC 7340 – COSC 7388.
  • An additional 9 credit hours must be taken from: regular COSC courses, special topics COSC 6397 (limit 2), special problems COSC 6398 (limit 2), outside department courses (limit 2-requires permission), or courses transferred from previous college (limit six credit hours).
  • 6399, 7399 in two consecutive semesters.
A student in the thesis option of the M.S. degree program must complete a thesis. Details on preparation of a thesis document can be found on the Thesis Guidelines page.

After completing 18 credit hours of course work toward the degree, a student must enroll in 6399. He/she must subsequently enroll in 7399 each semester until graduation.

No later than one semester before the anticipated graduation date of the student, a Thesis Advisory Committee must be formed, which consists of the advisor and at least two other members: one other member of the Computer Science faculty and one from outside the Department of Computer Science, either faculty from another department, another university or from industry. The Thesis Advisory Committee will be the comprehensive examination committee. The thesis is not considered to be complete until the student passes a comprehensive examination, which is primarily a defense of the thesis. The examination will be given upon the request of the student with the approval of his advisor.

The comprehensive examination is open to the University community and must be publicized at least two weeks in advance. Details on how to announce the defense can be found on the Thesis Guidelines page.

Non-Thesis Option

A student must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours subject to the following restrictions. There is no thesis requirement.

  • No less than 24 credit hours of Computer Science courses numbered COSC 6318 – COSC 6393 or COSC 7340 – COSC 7388.
  • An additional 12 credit hours must be taken from: regular COSC courses, special topics COSC 6397 (limit 2), special problems COSC 6398 (limit 2), outside department courses (limit 2-requires permission), or courses transferred from previous college (limit six credit hours).

General Rules

Students are reminded that they must complete their degree within 5 years of their initial enrollment in the program. (See time limitation in the graduate school catalog).

A student will be removed from the program if he has earned a grade of "C+" or lower in 12 hours while he/she is enrolled as a graduate student in Computer Science. All other scholastic regulations as specified in the Graduate School catalog must be satisfied.

A student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better for all prerequisites (if assigned) and all graduate courses taken at the University of Houston.

No more than 6 hours of coursework outside computer science in related fields of science, engineering and business may be counted. All these courses have to receive specific approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Upon admittance to the department and prior to registration for any subsequent semester, every graduate student must consult the Director of Graduate Studies to set up a tentative program for course work and obtain approval for registration.