UMKC Catalog


Master of Science in Computer Science

Upon graduating, students will have demonstrated that they can apply the core technologies from computer science and from their chosen emphasis areas. They will have developed an analytical mindset and understand the limitations of current theories and technologies. They will be able to design a system under realistic constraints, which they are able to implement using modern tools and techniques. They will have had an opportunity to take in-depth course work in the area of computer networking, telecommunications, software engineering and bioinformatics.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City's graduate program in computer science will accept college and university graduates whose past performance indicates an ability to succeed in graduate study in computer science. This ability can be demonstrated by the following undergraduate preparation.


  1. A sound background in computer science as indicated by an above-average understanding (e.g. a cumulative GPA in CS coursework of 3.0 or better with no single course grade lower than 2.0) of the content of the following courses:
  2. A sound background in mathematics as indicated by an above average understanding (e.g. a GPA of 3.0 or better with no single course grade lower than 2.0) of calculus (minimum of 10 hours) and of the content of at least two additional upper-level courses in areas such as linear algebra, differential equations, abstract algebra, numerical analysis or mathematical logic.
  3. An overall GPA of 3.0 or better in all undergraduate work.
  4. Official results of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test. The applicant must score in at least the 75th percentile on the quantitative portion of the GRE. Admission to our degree programs is competitive and a higher score is recommended.
  5. For international students, a minimum test score of TOEFL 550 or CBT 213 or IBT 79 is needed.A higher score makes the application competitive for DISA consideration.
  6. Prospective students who want to be considered for acceptance to the M.S. degree program should submit the following documents:
    • Transcripts for all graduate and undergraduate work completed so far; syllabi of these courses (or a URL to these) is strongly suggested.
    • Copies of academic and scholarly diplomas received.
    • GRE scores and, for international students, TOEFL scores, as well as a statement of purpose, i.e. a one- or two-page essay in which the prospective students indicate their career objectives.

It is possible that a prospective student has obtained a solid understanding of either computer science or mathematics through work or other experience rather than formal study. These students must submit a detailed description of such experience and ask a supervisor to write a letter of reference supporting the application.

Applications will be reviewed by the master's committee when all documentation is received. For full consideration for the semester indicated, completed applications should be received by the following dates:


  • For fall semester admission (semester starts in August):
    • U.S. students/permanent residents: June 1.
    • International students: Jan. 15.
  • For spring semester admission (semester starts in January):
    • U.S. students/permanent residents: Nov. 1 of the preceding year.
    • International students: Oct. 1 of the preceding year.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents should submit application forms and required supporting materials to:

Mailing Address
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Office of Admissions
120 Administrative Center
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Their telephone number is (816) 235-1111 and their e-mail address is

International students should use the international application form and return the application, along with required supporting materials to:

Mailing Address
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Office of International Student Affairs
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Their telephone number is (816) 235-1113 and their e-mail address is

Prospective students can request additional information or request information regarding their application by contacting UMKC at the above addresses or by sending e-mail to:

When accepted into the program, the student's first contact is with the computer science principal graduate adviser or with members of the graduate committee during the orientation session.  The most immediate concern is for the courses to be taken in the first semester. The principal graduate adviser will help the student select those initial courses.  At this initial meeting, a review will be made of the student's status in the program and the student will be required to provide a tentative program of study within the first semester. Such a program should reflect the deficiency and prerequisite courses that have been prescribed and may have to be taken prior to taking courses for graduate credit.

Within the first semester, the student will be assigned a graduate adviser (faculty) who will then become the primary contact person for that student until a thesis adviser (for thesis option) is selected. The chair of the CSEE graduate committee or his/her designee will notify the student of the identity of the specific graduate adviser. It will be the responsibility of students, in conjunction with their advisers/chairs, to devise a program of study using the degree requirements worksheet and the course planning worksheet. This should be submitted to the graduate committee, usually by the end of the second semester. The CSEE graduate committee is in charge of handling procedural issues related to the M.S. program in computer science. Any request for exception to rules, regulations or policies should be directed to this committee.


The graduate committee reviews and evaluates all applications for admissions to the M.S. degree programs. Frequently, they review applications from students whose past academic record show strong positive indications for success as a graduate student, yet have not satisfied all courses needed for full admission. Students with an undergraduate degree in computer science from an ABET accredited program are well prepared. Others may have deficiencies in their preparation. The committee may offer these students admission to the program on a conditional basis and compile a list of "deficiency courses". The successful completion of these courses with a grade of B or better will be a condition of full admission to the program. The student is then required to complete all such deficiencies as a contractual obligation at the earliest opportunity.

The committee creates this list based on the transcripts and syllabus submitted by the applicant. However, it is possible that applicants have indeed satisfied one or more of their listed deficiencies. In these cases, the student should contact their academic adviser as soon as possible in the first semester to initiate a petition to waive the deficiencies in question. The written petition with all the needed supporting documentation (such as course syllabus) attached, must be submitted no later than six weeks (two weeks for summer) after the start of the first semester of enrollment. The decision of the committee is final and can be one of three:

  • The waiver is granted.
  • The student is allowed to take an examination.
  • The waiver is denied and the student must pass the class with a B (3.0) or higher.
The committee's decision is final, so it is important that students consult with their adviser to ensure that all the proper documentation supporting the waiver is submitted.

If the student is allowed to take an examination, it must take place no later than the second semester of enrollment. Deficiency examinations are offered once each semester and the student may take the exam only once.  If the student does not perform satisfactorily on the exam, then the student must enroll in the course to satisfy the deficiency requirement.

All deficiencies shall be satisfied within three semesters of admission. If deficiencies are not satisfied within this time period, enrollment will be limited to deficiency courses until all deficiencies have been satisfied.

Graduate Course Prerequisites

Note that there are graduate level courses that have an undergraduate course as prerequisite and that not all undergraduate courses can be taken for graduate credit. All students are required to complete a core curriculum of COMP-SCI 5592 and two courses selected from COMP-SCI 5520, COMP-SCI 5551, COMP-SCI 5566 or COMP-SCI 5570.

All students are required to complete courses in a CS-emphasis and/or concentration areas. The approved areas and their associated courses are:

  1. Bioinformatics Emphasis - COMP-SCI 5566 (Introduction to Bioinformatics), COMP-SCI 5567 (Machine Learning in Bioinformatics), COMP-SCI 5590CI (Computational Intelligence),  COMP-SCI 5590NN (Neural and Adaptive Systems), COMP-SCI 5590BB (Machine Learning with Biomedical Applications), and others.
  2. Database and Information Management Concentration COMP-SCI 5570 (Architecture of Database Management Systems), COMP-SCI 5572 (Mobile Computing), Informaton Security and Assurance (COMP-SCI 5573), COMP-SCI 5574 (Large Scale XML Data Mgmt), COMP-SCI 5670 (Architecture of Distributed Database Systems) and others
  3. Networking and Telecommunications Emphasis - COMP-SCI 5511 (Advanced Telecomm. Networks, cross listed as E&C-ENGR 5590TC), COMP-SCI 5513 (Digital Cellular Communications, cross listed with E&C-ENGR 5590DC), COMP-SCI 5514A (Optical Networking, cross listed with E&C-ENGR 5590ON), COMP-SCI 5520 (Network Architecture I, cross listed with E&C-ENGR 5590NA), COMP-SCI 5521 (Network Architecture II, cross listed with  5590NT), COMP-SCI 5522 (Computer Network Design and Analysis, cross listed with  5590ND), COMP-SCI 5526  (Network Routing, cross listed with  5590NR), COMP-SCI 5594 (Introduction to Queueing Theory) and others
  4. Software Engineering and System Emphasis - COMP-SCI 5531 (Advanced Operating Systems), COMP-SCI 5551 (Advanced Software Engineering), COMP-SCI 5552A (Formal Software Specification), COMP-SCI 5554 (Software Tools and Programming Environments), COMP-SCI 5560 (Knowledge Discovery and Management) and others.

If a student desires a concentration other than these, a petition must be submitted to the graduate committee requesting that a concentration be recognized for the student's specific degree plan. It should specifically state which courses the student wants to include in this concentration, it should explain why these courses together form a coherent group and how these courses fit the student's academic goals. Students must petition before including other courses in their program of study.

Please note that many of our bioinformatics courses also count towards a MS in Bioinformatics, administered in the Department of Informatic Medicine and Personalized Health in the School of Medicine.  Please contact Dr. Stan Edlavitch for more information, 1000 East 24th Street, 5th Floor, Phone: 816-235-6617, Email:

The curriculum requirements shown below (approved by the faculty in May 2009) are taking effect for students entering the degree program in Fall 2010.  The changes are mainly in the emphasis and concentration courses, credit hours, and the counting of courses at the undergraduate level.  All students already in the program can satisfy either the program requirements in effect when they entered the program, (available in the catalog archives or from your advisor), or the program requirements below.  Please ask your advisor for full details.

To earn an M.S. degree in computer science, the student must satisfy both the general master of science degree requirements of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the requirements of the CSEE Department for either the thesis or non-thesis option as outlined below.

Specific Requirements for the Thesis Option (30 cr. hrs.):

  1. Complete a minimum of 24 hours of approved COMP-SCI coursework for graduate credit with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
  2. Additionally, complete a minimum of six additional graduate COMP-SCI hours, including at least three hours  COMP-SCI 5599 (Research and Thesis). The total number of hours of COMP-SCI 5597 (Directed Readings) or COMP-SCI 5599 (Research and Thesis) should not exceed six.
  3. Contact a thesis adviser in the semester in which the student completes 12 hours of graduate work.
  4. Present evidence of research abilities in the form of a master's thesis resulting from enrollment in at least three hours of  COMP-SCI 5599 Research and Thesis.
  5. Pass a general oral examination which may cover all the work covered in the student's graduate program.
  6. Satisfy the requirements listed under the common requirements, see below.

Specific Requirements for the Non-Thesis Option (33 cr. hrs.):

  1. Complete a minimum of 30 hours of approved coursework for graduate credit with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
  2. Additionally, complete another 3 hours of approved course work, or 3 hours of approved COMP-SCI 5597 (Directed Readings). Only 3 hours of COMP-SCI 5597 can be applied to the degree.
  3. Contact an adviser after completing 12 hours of graduate work to complete the program of study.
  4. Satisfy all common requirements, see below.

Common Requirements and Limitations for both MS-CS Thesis Option and Non-Thesis Option:

  1. Satisfy the core requirement: COMP-SCI 5592 (Design and Analysis of Algorithms) and two of the following four courses: COMP-SCI 5520 (Network Architecture I), COMP-SCI 5551 (Advanced Software Engineering), COMP-SCI 5566  (Introduction to Bioinformatics), and COMP-SCI 5570 (Architecture of Database Management Systems).
  2. Complete a minimum of nine hours in one CS-emphasis or CS-concentration area and a minimum of six hours in another CS—emphasis or CS-concentration.
  3. Each student must have a plan of study approved by both the student's supervisory committee and the graduate officer before the end of the semester in which the student completes 12 credit hours of graduate work.
  4. No more than six credit hours total from any graduate coursework taken outside the CSEE department and from COMP-SCI 411 (Intro to Telecommunications Systems), COMP-SCI 421A (Foundations of Data Networks), COMP-SCI 423 (Client/Server Programming and Applications), COMP-SCI 457 (Software Architecture: Requirements and Design), COMP-SCI 470 (Intro to Database Mgmt Systems, COMP-SCI 493 (Intro to Computability) and COMP-SCI 494R (Applied Stochastic Models) can be used to satisfy degree requirements. Each of these courses must be completed with a 3.0 or higher.
  5. Courses cannot be identical to courses already taken for a prior degree.
  6. No more than three hours of COMP-SCI 5597 (directed readings) can be used to satisfy degree requirements. All COMP-SCI 5597 hours to be applied to the master of science in Computer Science degree requirements must be approved by the CSEE Master's Committee at least six weeks before classes begin.
  7.  No more than one course grade below 3.0 may be applied toward the degree requirements.

Transfer Credit

Not more than six hours of graduate credit may be transferred from another recognized graduate school or from another academic unit within UMKC. Transfer credit may be applied toward the master's degree requirements on the approval of the student's graduate adviser and the Master's Committee. No credit hours may be transferred when those hours have been used toward the completion of any other degree program, graduate or undergraduate. The total amount of transfer credit and credit from approved COMP-SCI 400-level classes shall not exceed six hours. Master's degree candidates in computer science who decide to do the thesis option are required to demonstrate knowledge and maturity in the discipline by completing at least three hours of COMP-SCI 5599 - Research and Thesis. Students may enroll in more than three hours of COMP-SCI 5599, however, only six hours combined from COMP-SCI 5597 and COMP-SCI 5599 may be applied toward the degree. The research program will be defined by the student in conjunction with the student's thesis committee. Under the direction of the thesis adviser, the student will investigate a topic of current interest in computer science and prepare a master's thesis on that topic.

The final requirement for conferral of the M.S. degree is defense of the thesis, where the supervisory committee is the examining body. The thesis must be submitted in complete typewritten form to the adviser and supervisory committee at least six weeks before the date the advanced degree is to be conferred. Also, the supervisory committee must have access to the thesis at least one week before the date of the defense. Students must comply with all rules and regulations governing theses outlined in the general catalog under General Graduate Academic Regulations and Information.

 Up to three hours of COMP-SCI 5597 Directed Readings is allowed toward a master of science. Such a course must be approved in advance (i.e., before the student takes the course) by the professor supervising the course and the graduate committee. The following information must be furnished:
  • Title of the course.
  • Detailed syllabus for the course.
  • Textbook and references.
  • The manner in which the course will be conducted (i.e. meetings, assignments, etc.).
  • The manner in which the students are assessed (i.e. how many exams, presentations, reports, etc.).
  • The course which it replaces, if appropriate.
  • Name(s) of the instructor(s).
  • Name(s) of the student(s).
  • Reasons for offering this course in a directed readings format.

See the Fast Track section under Computer Science in the undergraduate catalog for information about the Fast Track Computer Science Program.