Computer Science PSM

College of Sciences
Graduate degree / Professional Science Master’s

About this program

The Professional Science Masters in Computer Science (PSM) is a 38-credit program that combines advanced coursework in computer science with courses in professional skill areas such as team and project management, as well as verbal and written communications. Students are also encouraged to complete an industry internship that culminates in a technical project to be evaluated by a faculty member and the industry partner offering the internship.

Student outcomes

  • A solid foundation in the concepts of distributed systems, computer security, and data management/software engineering;
  • The ability to read peer-reviewed literature related to research problems in Computer Science, and to obtain the necessary background information to further explore the problems;
  • Experience in solving problems in a professional setting;
  • Professional skills such as critical thinking/decision making, team/project management, and written and oral communications.

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Enrolling in this program

Program eligibility requirements

The Computer Science and Cybersecurity (CSC) department bases admission decisions on the applicant's prior academic work (especially in Computer Science), professional or other non-academic background and experience in Computer Science, and recommendation letters. The following three items are the minimum criteria for the CSC department to consider an applicant for potential admission. Meeting these requirements is not a guarantee of admission.

  1. Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related discipline from a regionally accredited institution with either a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), or an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in all Computer Science and Mathematics or related courses. Applicants without a formal degree in computer science should have completed coursework in the following topics:  1) Discrete mathematics  2) Problem solving using a modern programming language such as C, C++, or Java  3) Data structures (stacks, queues, trees, graphs, etc.), algorithms, and computation complexity  4) Object-oriented programming and design. Note: In rare circumstances, an applicant not meeting the GPA requirements might be considered if their other application materials are stellar (e.g., outstanding recommendations, excellent GRE scores, etc.)
  2. Two positive recommendations from people qualified to judge the applicant's ability for graduate studies
  3. English language proficiency or permanent resident status, documented/demonstrated in one of the following ways:  
    • Is a US citizen or permanent resident
    • Has a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from an English-speaking institution in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand
    • Has a minimum TOEFL score of 80 (Internet-based), or 550 (paper-based) achieved within 24 months of intended matriculation.
    • Has an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher achieved within 24 months of intended matriculation.

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or a related field. Applicants are expected, at a minimum, to have intermediate programming skills with a good knowledge of data structures and concomitant mathematical background. Applicants who do not have such a background will need to take remedial courses before being admitted to the program.

Applicants lacking background in operating systems would be required, as a condition of admission, to take ICS 462 Operating Systems as part of their program. These four credits of coursework may count toward the 38 credits required to graduate.

Application instructions

Questions?

For questions about applying to the Computer Science PSM program, email graduate.studies@metrostate.edu (preferred) or call 651-793-1302.

Deadlines

Fall semester

Jun 15 - United States applicants
May 1 - Overseas international applicants

Spring semester

Nov 15 - United States applicants
Oct 1 - Overseas international applicants

There are no summer admissions. The CSC department Graduate Program Director will inform applicants of the admission decision for fall semester by July 1st and for spring semester by November 30th.

Application file

A complete application file consists of two parts (three for international students.) Begin the application process by first applying online using the online graduate application. All application materials become the property of Metropolitan State University and are not returned. All application materials must be received in the Graduate Studies Office by the application deadline, and will be made available to the MSCS Graduate Admissions Committee for review.

Part One - Apply Online

  • Complete the Online Graduate Programs Application. You will use your Minnesota State StarID to complete the application.
    • If you don't have a Minnesota State StarID, you will create one at the beginning of the application.
    • If you encounter difficulty with the online application please email graduate.studies@metrostate.edu.
  • Pay the non-refundable application fee online using the online application. The current fee of $20 is waived for graduates of Metropolitan State University.
  • Submit official transcripts or transcript evaluation showing a baccalaureate degree or equivalent earned from an accredited institution with grade-point average or narrative description describing courses completed.
    • Transcripts from ALL schools attended after high school and from any graduate or professional programs are required.
    • All transcripts from non-U.S. schools must be evaluated (course-by-course) by:
    • Educational Credential Evaluators (third-party website) (preferred)
    • World Education Services (third-party website)
    • Electronic transcripts (preferred) sent to graduate.studies@metrostate.edu
    • Paper transcripts sent directly from the sending institution (preferred) to:
    • Metropolitan State University
      Attn: Graduate Admissions
      700 East Seventh Street
      Saint Paul MN 55106

Part two - upload remaining documents

Once you've applied online you can login to the Applicant Portal using your StarID and password and upload remaining documents and check on the status of your application. To be considered for admission you must provide:

  • Two Letters of Recommendation (required); Upload
    • From professional sources, at least one of which is a current or former college instructor, and at least one of which is a current or former work supervisor.
  • Current Resume (required); Upload
    • Documenting relevant work experience
  • Purpose Essay (required); Upload
    • Describing why you wish to enroll in the program
    • Address why you feel you have the necessary background to succeed in the graduate program (for applicants without a computer science major)
  • Official GRE Scores (recommended);
    • General or Computer Science Test
    • Send to Graduate Studies Office at address below

Part three - international students only

In addition to parts one and two, international applicants in the U.S. or abroad, on any type of visa, are required to provide this information for admission to the university.

  • Proof of English proficiency (official TOEFL or IELTS score)
    • Minimum scores: TOEFL 80 IBT, 213 CBT, 550 PBT or IELTS 6.5
    • IBT=internet based; CBT=computer based; PBT=paper based
  • Financial statement (F1 visa only)
  • Immunization records
  • Copies of passport, visa, I-94, and international home address and phone numbers

Visit International Student Services graduate admissions for part three details.

Program requirements

Guidelines for completing the Computer Science PSM program

Admission into the masters program and transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Computer Science and Cybersecurity (CSC) Department and initially evaluated upon admission. Once admitted into the program, the student must complete 38 credits of approved work, which include:

  • one course in computer security (4 credits) 
  • one course in distributed systems (4 credits) 
  • one course in Software Engineering / Data and Database Management (4 credits)
  • two courses in professional skill (6 credits)
  • one course in writing and communications (4 credits)
  • a set of elective courses covering advanced material in computer science and information technology.  (12 credits) 
  • completion of a contemporary project/study in computer science and information technology through either an internship or an SDIS course with a CSC department resident faculty as the evaluator along with a written report and a public presentation (4 credits)
  • Applicants lacking background in operating systems would be required, as a condition of admission, to take ICS 462 Operating Systems as part of their program. These four credits of coursework may count toward the 38 credits required to graduate.

Course requirements

Requirements (38 credits)

Core (12 credits)

Distributed Systems (4 credits)

Choose one

ICS 611 Distributed Database Systems

4 credits

This course covers the fundamental issues of distributed databases with focus on data fragmentation and allocation, query optimization and transaction processing. Topics include: Distributed database management systems architecture and design; data fragmentation, replication, and allocation; database security, authorization and integrity control; query optimization; transaction management; distributed concurrency control and replica control; distributed object database management systems; multidatabase systems.

Full course description for Distributed Database Systems

ICS 613 Introduction to Big Data Computing Systems

4 credits

The field of computer science is experiencing a transition from computation-intensive to data-intensive problems, wherein data is produced in massive amounts by large sensor networks, simulations, and social networks. Efficiently extracting, interpreting, and learning from very large datasets requires a new generation of data management technologies. This course gives an introduction to the Hadoop ecosystem as de facto big-data-management system and special consideration will be made to the Apache Spark data analysis framework. The fundamental concepts on which the emerging big data management systems are based are discussed first. Once a foundation is defined, technologies and algorithms that are used to work with big data sets are studied. Tentative topics covered include: distributed file system, map-reduce programming paradigm, Apache Spark basics, SparkSQL, Pig, Hive, Impala, and Scoop. The course is programming intensive and includes several programming assignment projects using…

Full course description for Introduction to Big Data Computing Systems

ICS 625 Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures

4 credits

This course introduces XML technologies, web services and service-oriented architectures. Current approaches to web service design and implementation will be discussed. Models for designing and implementing a service-oriented architecture will be discussed. Security considerations and emerging trends will be explored. Students will implement web services.

Full course description for Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures

ICS 640 Distributed Algorithms

4 credits

Study of distributed algorithms that are designed to run on networked processors and useful in a variety of applications., such as telecommunications, information processing, and real-time process control. Specific algorithms studied include leader election, distributed consensus, mutual exclusion, resource allocation, and stable property detection. Both asynchronous and synchronous systems will be covered and fault tolerance will be the major theme. Algorithms will be analyzed for complexity and proofs of corrections will be studied.

Full course description for Distributed Algorithms

ICS 661 Wireless Technologies

4 credits

This course is a Study of the theory and methodologies used in the construction of wireless networks. Topics include: Overview of computer networks and wireless systems; cellular concepts and design fundamentals; physical layer fundamentals; data link control protocols; security related concepts including authentication and privacy with message integrity; wireless medium access control (MAC) protocols; radio resource management (power control); resource allocation and call admission control; mobility management; wireless networking; wireless LAN; wireless mobile ad hoc networks and wireless sensor networks.

Full course description for Wireless Technologies

ICS 668 Cloud Forensics

4 credits

In this course, students will examine the scope of cloud computing and forensics as a multi-disciplinary field, including its foundations, methodologies, standards, procedures, applications, and then conduct an in-depth study and research in its challenges, impacts, and future trends through weekly exercises and discussions, extensive reading and writing, comparative analysis and research, and case studies and critiques. Competence Statement: Students in this course will study and comprehend the foundations, principles, theories, techniques and practice of this cutting edge field well enough to be able to define the scope of the field, outline the new procedures, familiar with the advanced technology, and conduct preliminary research on a self-framed emerging problem in the field.

Full course description for Cloud Forensics

Computer Security (4 credits)

Choose one

ICS 668 Cloud Forensics

4 credits

In this course, students will examine the scope of cloud computing and forensics as a multi-disciplinary field, including its foundations, methodologies, standards, procedures, applications, and then conduct an in-depth study and research in its challenges, impacts, and future trends through weekly exercises and discussions, extensive reading and writing, comparative analysis and research, and case studies and critiques. Competence Statement: Students in this course will study and comprehend the foundations, principles, theories, techniques and practice of this cutting edge field well enough to be able to define the scope of the field, outline the new procedures, familiar with the advanced technology, and conduct preliminary research on a self-framed emerging problem in the field.

Full course description for Cloud Forensics

ICS 684 Cyberspace Security Engineering I

4 credits

This course is the first of a two-course series that introduces the interdisciplinary field of cyberspace security. The technical foundation for the cybersecurity defender is a particular combination of network, operating system, hardware (mobile/desktop/server) and software engineering skills, all of which are required to protect and defend modern systems, networks and information assets. Students will explore in-depth technical foundations which underpin cybersecurity threats and corresponding defenses. Through hands-on training students will gain necessary skills to begin supporting and implementing cyberspace security. This course will cover the following topics: Security and Risk Management (security governance principles, compliance, legal and regulatory issues, professional ethic, and security policies), Asset Security (information and asset classification and ownership, data security controls and handling requirements), Security Engineering (secure Engineering processes,…

Full course description for Cyberspace Security Engineering I

ICS 688 Cyber Threat Intelligence

4 credits

The course will provide students with foundational concepts and practical skills in the field of cyber threat intelligence that can be leveraged to defend against sophisticated network intrusions and loss of proprietary information. The course will discuss various phases of the intelligence lifecycle including developing intelligence requirements, collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information; and using cyber threat intelligence to improve security at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

Full course description for Cyber Threat Intelligence

Software / Engineering / Data Management (4 credits)

Choose one

ICS 611 Distributed Database Systems

4 credits

This course covers the fundamental issues of distributed databases with focus on data fragmentation and allocation, query optimization and transaction processing. Topics include: Distributed database management systems architecture and design; data fragmentation, replication, and allocation; database security, authorization and integrity control; query optimization; transaction management; distributed concurrency control and replica control; distributed object database management systems; multidatabase systems.

Full course description for Distributed Database Systems

ICS 670 Contemporary Issues in Software Engineering

4 credits

This course presents Software Engineering topics of interest to students in the graduate Computer Science program. Topics vary with each offering of this course, but will be related to Software Engineering concepts such as verification, validation, secure systems, quality control, or formal methods. Check the class schedule for details about topics and course prerequisites.

Full course description for Contemporary Issues in Software Engineering

ICS 613 Introduction to Big Data Computing Systems

4 credits

The field of computer science is experiencing a transition from computation-intensive to data-intensive problems, wherein data is produced in massive amounts by large sensor networks, simulations, and social networks. Efficiently extracting, interpreting, and learning from very large datasets requires a new generation of data management technologies. This course gives an introduction to the Hadoop ecosystem as de facto big-data-management system and special consideration will be made to the Apache Spark data analysis framework. The fundamental concepts on which the emerging big data management systems are based are discussed first. Once a foundation is defined, technologies and algorithms that are used to work with big data sets are studied. Tentative topics covered include: distributed file system, map-reduce programming paradigm, Apache Spark basics, SparkSQL, Pig, Hive, Impala, and Scoop. The course is programming intensive and includes several programming assignment projects using…

Full course description for Introduction to Big Data Computing Systems

Professional Skills coursework (6 credits)

Graduate courses covering topics such as team and project management, decision making, and related topics. Suggested courses are listed below and as approved by the director of CSC graduate programs.

MGMT 610 Managerial Communications

2 credits

This course acquaints participants with the written assignments and oral presentations required in the master's program. It focuses on dyadic and small group communication models, various models and strategies for communication in different types of organizations, the nature of listening, negotiation and conflict resolution, task-oriented group communication processes, teambuilding and leadership, persuasion, and the nature of evidence. The course improves your ability to use appropriate communication devices and strategies in achieving organizational objectives, and sharpens your written and oral communication skills.

Full course description for Managerial Communications

ICS 698 Research Seminar

2 credits

In this course, the student will perform the following activities: search the literature on specific areas, read papers in a selected area, study the methodologies used in the applied computer research, write and submit a survey paper based on the reading, and make an oral presentation of the results. It should be taken no later than the second semester.

Full course description for Research Seminar

DSCI 620 Project Management

4 credits

This course provides a systematic and comprehensive overview of project leadership and management. Topics covered include all aspects of project management from project initiation issues, RFP formulation, proposal decisions, preparation, and evaluation, project planning and implementation to organization, risk assessment, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Also included are project planning techniques such as PERT, CPM, Earned Value Analysis, and project monitoring and simulation using Microsoft Project software.

Full course description for Project Management

DSCI 630 Project Risk Management

4 credits

This course provides a comprehensive study of project risk management, including concepts, methodologies, and applications. It includes systematic approaches to risk identification, risk modeling, risk impact assessment, respond planning, and documentation. Decision science methods such as System Dynamics, Monte Carlo Simulation, Decision Analysis, Probability Analysis, Analytic Hierarchy Process, and Scenario Analysis will be utilized in risk assessment. Use of computer software in risk analysis will also be emphasized.

Full course description for Project Risk Management

DSCI 681 Operations Management

4 credits

The growing interdependence of business functions such as marketing, accounting, finance, information systems, and engineering requires effective and efficient operations management strategies and practices. The main objective of this course is to develop basic skills and knowledge necessary for managing the operations function in both manufacturing and service delivery firms. Special emphasis will be placed on contemporary issues facing operations managers such as supply chain structure and strategy, enterprise resource planning issues, product and process design, process management, value chain, and lean systems. Another objective of this course is to develop analytical skills necessary to identify and solve problems in the operations management arena.

Full course description for Operations Management

Writing coursework (4 credits)

All students will be evaluated before placement into graduate writing courses. A student lacking the necessary writing skills will be required to complete additional writing classes, where those credits will not be applied toward this graduate program.

Choose one

ICS 698 Research Seminar

2 credits

In this course, the student will perform the following activities: search the literature on specific areas, read papers in a selected area, study the methodologies used in the applied computer research, write and submit a survey paper based on the reading, and make an oral presentation of the results. It should be taken no later than the second semester.

Full course description for Research Seminar

PSYC 610 Applied Research Methods

4 credits

The course will present a wide variety of research designs, analyses and conceptual approaches appropriate to improving our general understanding of behavior and social problems in communities. Methods such as experimental, quasi experimental, survey research, interview and observational may be covered along with issues of sampling, measurement, reliability and validity.

Full course description for Applied Research Methods

Electives (12 credits)

Covering advanced subject matter in computer science. Electives may include additional work in distributed systems, computer security, software engineering /data management or may be taken from other advanced topics such as the courses listed below.

ICS 664 Real Time Operating Systems

4 credits

This course is the study of fundamentals of design and implementation of real-time operating systems. Most embedded computer systems have dedicated microprocessors as their computational and controlling elements and run real-time operating systems. This course covers concepts, programming languages, tools, hardware, and methodologies used in the construction of real-time operating systems and their peripheral components. Topics include: applications of real-time operating systems; communications between PC computers and embedded systems; fundamental concepts of scheduling (multitasking and interruptions); introduction of basic hardware components used in most real-time operating systems; Hardware description language[VHDL]; and the writing of a real-time operating system [RTOS] using industrial standard C language, debugging, and loading the code to the target hardware.

Full course description for Real Time Operating Systems

ICS 650 Simulation Modeling and Queuing Theory

4 credits

This course is the study of fundamentals of computer simulation modeling and queuing theory at graduate level. Computer simulation can be an extremely powerful tool, yet few in industry seem well trained in the design, implementation, and interpretation of a useful simulation experiment. The instructional materials in this course are designed to familiarize the students with the use of computer simulation and queuing theory. Students will be taught to focus simulation studies on tractable and intractable questions, to draw conclusions from simulations results, and to bring these conclusions into appropriate domain context. This is a hands-on course. Students are taught simulation theory through the practice of developing models and of writing software. Examples of application areas include: Computer Networks, Bioinformatics, Public Health Issues, Trends in Education, Trends in Industry and many, many more. Topics include: Introduction to Simulation; Introduction to the Arena…

Full course description for Simulation Modeling and Queuing Theory

Intership or Independent Study on Contemporary Issue (4 credits)

Students are encouraged to take 12 credits of elective coursework and do a 4-credit internship. However, students may alternatively take a 4-credits of Student Designed Independent Study (SDIS) course (ICS 660I) on a contemporary issue in computer science and technology with a CSC resident faculty as an evaluator. The completion of this SDIS must include a written report and a public presentation.

ICS 650I Information and Computer Sciences Individual Internship

1-5 credits

Students obtain internships in selected areas of study to gain deeper understand of knowledge, skills and the context of a given field. Site supervisors give guidance and direction to customized internship projects. Faculty members serve as liaisons between the internship sites and the university, providing information to students and potential supervisors and supervising the learning experience. Students should contact the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES) at Metropolitan State University for more information.

Full course description for Information and Computer Sciences Individual Internship

ICS 660I Information and Computer Sciences Student Designed Independent Study

1-5 credits

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

Full course description for Information and Computer Sciences Student Designed Independent Study

Internship Guidelines

1) Requires an approval by the director of CSC graduate programs

2) Should involve at least 300 hours of work of which at least 250 hours must be spent on highly technical activities involving design or implementation or both.

3) The level and quality of the work must be appropriate for a professional with a master's degree in computer science

4) Must culminate in a technical project to be evaluated by a CSC resident faculty member and the industry partner offering the internship. The outcome of the internship must include a written report and a public presentation.