SPRING '25 by 11/1


SPRING '25 by 11/1


Admissions Requirements for the Online Master of Computer Science

Apply for the Spring 2025 cohort by November 1st



Online Master of Computer Science Degree Requirements

UPCOMING DEADLINE: Apply by November 1st, 2024 to join Rice’s Spring 2025 cohort!

Jumpstart your career with the flexibility and rigor of an online Master of Computer Science at Rice University.

Accepting Applications Year-Round

The Master of Computer Science (MCS) online program at Rice University offers 3 intakes per year, accepting applications on a rolling basis. You can expect to hear about an admission decision within 2-4 weeks of the application deadline.

Upcoming Deadlines

  • Spring 2025 Application Deadline: November 1, 2024
  • Spring 2025 Classes Start: January 13, 2025
  • Summer 2025 Application Deadline: March 1, 2025
  • Summer 2025 Classes Start: May 5, 2025



What career-relevant skills and knowledge will I learn from Rice’s MCS program?

Two Master of Computer Science student male working on a solution to a problem.

Online Computer Science Master’s Degree Prerequisites

Learn more about the required prerequisites for the top-ranked online Master of Computer Science program.

Required for All Applicants

Have a bachelor degree in the field of science or engineering is not a strict requirement.

Bachelor's Degree

The ideal candidate will have a Bachelor's degree in a science or engineering field (not necessarily computer science). While all candidates must have a Bachelor's degree, it is not a strict requirement that it be in science or engineering.

The admission's department reviews for solid programming experience as part of the requirements.

Solid Programming Experience

Our admissions team specifically reviews for the following programming experience that includes:

  • Comfort writing short programs in a conventional programming language (Python, Java, Javascript, C, C++...)
  • Experience programming in a statically typed language (examples: Java, C, C++)
  • Elementary data structures (arrays, stacks, queues, trees, and graphs)
  • Basic algorithms (binary search and merge sort)
  • Calculus-level math
A applicant should have a least a 3.00 grade point average in their undergraduate work.

3.0+ GPA

The ideal applicant will have at least a 3.0 (B) grade point average in their undergraduate work. Admissions exceptions can be made if a student has sufficient work experience, GRE scores that show a high level of competence, a master’s degree, strong letters of recommendation, and/or specific circumstances that led to a low GPA.

Optional Prerequisites

The GRE is not a requirement but it is recommended for applicants with those students with a 2.9 or less.

Test Scores

For applicants with a 3.0+ GPA, taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required for admission to the online MCS program. For students with a <2.9 GPA, GRE test scores, several years of relevant work experience, and/or strong letters of recommendation are highly recommended.

Read more about international TOEFL/IELTS scores.

College graduates and working professionals who want to expand their careers and upskill, it is recommended that applicants have some industry work experience, but it is not required.

Work Experience

Because this program is aimed at college graduates & working professionals who want to expand their careers and upskill, we recommend that applicants have some industry work experience, preferably in an engineering or tech field. However, this is not required for admission.

Math courses is indicative of the appropriate level of mathematical sophistication for the online Master of Computer Science program.

Mathematical Sophistication

Success in the following math courses is indicative of the appropriate level of mathematical sophistication for this program: High-school level algebra and trigonometry, College-level calculus, Basic discrete math skills (understanding permutations, combinations, and basic probability), and Boolean logic (logical expressions using AND, OR, NOT and Boolean variables).

Application Materials

Required Materials

Resume or CV

A current resume or CV is required for all applications. Please be as thorough as possible in representing your work and academic history.

Official Transcripts

Either official and unofficial transcripts should be submitted with your application. Upon acceptance into the program, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to course registration.

Statement of Purpose (SOP)

A Statement of Purpose is required for all applicants to the Online Master of Computer Science (MCS) program. This statement should clearly and succinctly summarize your past academic and professional experience and achievements, discuss your motivation for seeking the Rice MCS degree, explain your interest in computer science, software engineering, data engineering, cybersecurity, IT or a related field, and lay out how you plan to apply your training to meet real-world challenges and advance your career. You should also briefly discuss any other factors you would like the admission committee to consider while reviewing your application, such as personal background, work experience, special projects and/or leadership roles.

For resources on how to write a Statement of Purpose, check our resources below:

Two Letters of Recommendation

The letters should be from direct supervisors or people in similar roles, professors, research advisors, or others who are familiar with your relevant educational, professional experiences, and interest in computer science and systems. Please do not submit letters from friends or family members. You may submit more than 2, but no less than 2 must be submitted with your application.

$85 Application Fee

You're almost ready for admission! Make sure to include your application fee of $85.00 upon submission.

Optional Materials


For applicants with a 3.0+ GPA, taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for admission to the Master of Computer Science program, but is recommended for all applicants. The GRE is required for applicants with a <2.9 GPA, unless an exception is granted by the Rice Admissions committee.

If you are submitting a GRE ID, you must have taken the GRE within five years of applying. You may submit your GRE scores sent directly to Rice University using code: 6609 (GRE subject tests are not required).

If GREs are absent from an application, the Admissions committee will consider relevant work experience instead. Although exceptions can be made, applicants who do not have GRE scores are expected to have some full-time work experience in the areas of math, analysis, research, computer science, and/or engineering.


TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for any student whose native language is not English. The code to send the electronic scores is: 6609. For the TOEFL score, the minimum is 90 on the iBT and 600 on the paper-based TOEFL.

For students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of the TOEFL, the minimum score is 7. Students with a degree from a university where English is the official language are exempt from submitting TOEFL/IELTS scores.


Get Additional Support

Rice University provides resources to help our prospective online students navigate the grad school process, including coaches, preparatory courses and degree pathways.

A woman student on a computer and on a video call with other online of Master of Computer Science students.

1:1 Enrollment Coaching

We know graduate school is a significant life milestone and one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Rice Enrollment Coaches are free, optional advisors available to discuss your personal and professional goals and help guide you through your Rice OMCS consideration process.

A teacher doing a online Master of Computer Science class in front of the camera.

CS/DS Bridge Course

This 6-week mini-course is designed to provide a pathway into the Rice online MCS degree, covering essential foundational materials in calculus, linear algebra, discrete mathematics, programming, including algorithms and data structures with practice in Python.


Online MCS Important Dates

We offer three intakes per year, so you can choose the best time to start for you. For more information on program prerequisites, see Admission requirements (above).

SPRING 2025 November 1, 2024 January 13, 2025
SUMMER 2025 March 1, 2025 May 5, 2025
FALL 2025 June 15, 2025 August 25, 2025



Strengthen Your Application
and Feel Prepared

Rice has curated extensive free and online courses to help applicants feel prepared for the MCS program. Covering math, programming, engineering, and business skills, brush up in relevant areas to bolster your application and career confidence.

A woman wearing headphones working on some work for her online Master of Computer Science class on the computer.

How to Satisfy Most Prerequisites

Rice University’s Computer Science & Data Science Bridge Course: Rice offers a 6-week CS/DS Bridge Course designed for those with a strong technical background who need a refresher in the following subject areas:

  • Essential foundational materials in calculus and linear algebra.
  • Discrete mathematics including first-order logic and inductive proofs as well as other important foundational material
  • Programming basics including algorithms and data structures with practice in Python language.

Rice University’s Fundamentals of Computing Specialization: This online specialization covers the bulk of the prerequisites, except for logic. Free to audit.


Looking for Tuition and Other Info?

Is Rice University’s Online Master of Computer Science an accredited program?

Yes, Rice University's Online Master of Computer Science degree program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

How much does the Online Master of Computer Science program cost?

Students in the online Master of Science in Computer Science program will pay the standard Rice University part-time rate of $1,666.70 per credit hour. The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.

Start your application today!

How long does the program take?

Since Rice's Master of Computer Science online program is designed as a part-time program for working professionals, most students take 1 or 2 courses per term. At this pace, students can expect to finish in approximately 2-3.5 years.

Students who are not working are welcome to attend the program full-time, which would allow them to complete the program in 18-24 months (pending strength of prerequisites upon admission).

How does Rice’s Online MCS program support veterans and military?

Veteran education benefits  are available to qualified full or part-time Rice students who are active duty or reserve military personnel, veterans, or in some cases, the dependents of deceased or disabled veterans whose death or disability is a direct result of their military service. There are a variety of options to help you pay for your education at Rice.

Please select one option that applies to you to learn more about veterans education benefits.

I am a Veteran

I am a Dependent of a Veteran

Should I apply if I don’t have a CS undergrad/graduate background?

While Rice MCS applicants should have a technical background (for example, engineering), Master of Computer Science applicants do not need to have a computer science background or degree, as the goal of the degree is to quickly cover foundational topics in computation and math. The program is interdisciplinary by design so that it has direct application for students across industries.

Does Rice’s Online Master of Computer Science program accept transfer credits?

Courses taken at another accredited college or university are not automatically approved for transfer credit. Transfer credit is only granted with the approval of Rice’s Graduate and Postdoc Studies Office. Contact us for more information.

Can I apply as an international student?

Yes, international students are welcome to apply! We would recommend connecting with an enrollment coach to ensure time zone differences won’t hinder your ability to participate in optional or required live sessions.

Please note that Rice University’s Online MCS does not sponsor foreign visas at this time.

Want More Information?

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