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Frequently Asked Questions

Master of Computer Science Online Program

What are the eligibility requirements for the Master of Computer Science Online Program at Rice University?

This is a graduate degree program, requiring a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent (GPA minimum: 3.0 or equivalent).
A degree in computer science is not required.  We encourage qualified applicants with degrees and/or work experience across disciplines in science or engineering to apply for admission.
Preference is given to qualified applicants who have taken computer science courses and/or gained practical computer science knowledge through research projects or industrial experience. This knowledge is not a requirement for admission to the program, but the courses in the program will assume that you are proficient in these areas.  If your application demonstrates you have already obtained, or are working towards obtaining, this knowledge, that will be looked upon favorably.
For more information on application requirements, please visit our admissions page.

Is the degree the same as the Master of Computer Science Program offered on campus at Rice University?

The program is grounded in the same curriculum offered on-campus at Rice University. However, the program has been built from the ground up to utilize best-in-class online teaching methodology.
The mode of delivery for coursework is not included on student transcripts so there is no designation that courses were taken online. The same is true for the diploma earned, which does not reference this being an online program.

Is the online program designed for students to work at their own pace?

Yes, but with some structure. Course lecture material and content, assignments, and other types of assessments are available for students to work through on their own schedules. But there are due dates for all graded work. There is also a content release schedule for each course so that all students move through the course experience together. 
We consider the interaction between faculty and students and interactions among students to be crucial components to learning, and to student success. There will be many opportunities for students to engage with faculty and with each other throughout the course. 

What is the cost of the program per credit hour?

Students in the program will pay the standard Rice University part-time student rate of $2133 per credit hour. The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.


Scholarships are available to those who qualify. Talk to a coach to learn more. When you request program details, a Rice Enrollment Coach will follow up with you.

What topics will be covered as part of the course curriculum?

The core course curriculum covers the following topics:

Computer Systems 

  • Systems Software
  • Computer Architecture
  • Networks & Security


  • Databases
  • Machine Learning
  • Big Data
  • Data Visualization

Principles of Algorithms and Software

  • Software Construction Practicum
  • Programming Languages and Design
  • Algorithms

Can I specialize in a particular area?

Not initially.  The program is new and we are working to deliver 10 high-quality courses for the degree program.  As the program matures, electives will be added to the program.  At that point, further specialization will be possible.

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