Prospective Graduate

Why get a Graduate degree in computer science or Cyber Security Operations at Mississippi State University?

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers high quality graduate education in computer science.

  • The curriculum is flexible to match your interests.
  • Research is pursued in some traditional areas of computer science, cross-specialty areas, and interdisciplinary projects.
  • Graduates are hired by quality employers.
  • A growing job market. Click here to find out more.

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What Graduate degrees are offered?

Available degree programs:

  • Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Computer Science
    • Thesis option. – You will perform scholarly research in the field of computer science.
    • Project option. – Your project for academic credit will simulate a professional experience in computer science.
    • Courses-only option. – You will expand your knowledge of computer science.
    • Accelerated B.S./M.S. Program
      • A typical student could complete a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science or in Software Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science in four academic years plus one calendar year. This will be accomplished by counting a maximum of nine credits of graduate courses toward both degrees.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Computer Science. – You will contribute significant scholarly research to the field of computer science.

Direct Ph.D. program is available. Students with a bachelor degree may be admitted to the Ph.D. program, as well as those who have already earned an M.S. degree.

Flexible coursework requirements. You can concentrate in traditional computer science areas, cross-specialty areas, or interdisciplinary areas in a coherent program of study.

Software engineering is available. You can have a program of study that is competitive with a degree in Software Engineering at other universities.

How many students are there? There are typically about 40 Ph.D. students and about 40 M.S. students in the computer science graduate programs at any one time.

Details for the degree guidelines:

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering participates in the graduate programs administered in other departments.

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Can I earn a computer-science degree via the Web?

Computer science courses are not taught via the web and therefore M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science degrees are not available via the Web.

The Bagley College of Engineering offers a Master of Engineering (M.E.) degree via the Web (distance learning). It is an interdisciplinary degree.

An M.S. in Computer Science is available via an electronic classroom in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where students attend class like on-campus students.

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Is Financial aid available?

What is an assistantship? Graduate research assistantships (RA) and teaching assistantships (TA) are part-time jobs that pay a stipend (salary) and about 71% of the tuition and fees for full-time enrollment. In our Department, stipends vary from $1,200 to $1,500 per month according to qualifications and available funds. Details about in-state and out-of-state tuition, fees, and related rules are explained in detail at

Hiring of assistants is decentralized.

  • The Department Head hires the graduate teaching assistants each semester based upon the needs of the department.
  • Faculty members hire their own graduate research assistants based on their needs and availability of funds.
  • Many computer science graduate students are hired by other departments on-campus where their knowledge and skills are needed. Each department has its own hiring process. Hiring of assistants is very competitive. A limited percentage of new accepted applicants receive assistantships.

About 80% of the Master’s students and almost all doctoral students are employed as graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, or other professional positions on-campus or off-campus. Some of these students receive assistantship offers prior to arriving on campus, while others receive offers after in-person interviews.

What scholarships and fellowships are available?

  • Information security scholarships (CyberCorps) are sponsored by the United States government for citizens who want a career as computer security/information assurance professionals employed by the government. One year of government service is required for each year of scholarship. Information security scholarships are available for M.S. and Ph.D.degrees.
  • Bagley College of Engineering fellowships. All qualified admitted students are automatically considered for these fellowships.

Other fellowships? Some doctoral students in our department have received three-year fellowships from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). The SREB Doctoral Scholars Program intends to increase the number of minority faculty in a 16-state region spanning from Texas to Delaware by providing support for minorities to pursue doctoral degrees. Applications should be sent directly to SREB.

For details, click here: Graduate Scholarships, Assistantships, Fellowships

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Is the Research interesting?

Research topics? The Department of Computer Science and Engineering has the following research focus areas.

Core competencies are the following.

The department is currently involved in the following research applications.

Faculty, research assistants (RA), thesis students, and dissertation students participate in a wide variety of research projects. Many research projects are multi-disciplinary or multi-specialty in nature.

Collaborators? Some research projects are in conjunction with MSU research centers, such as the following.


  • Motivate for genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology (LGBB)

Computer science researchers are also actively working with scientists at other universities and in industry. Graduate students are actively involved in the research of the department.

Who sponsors the research? Research projects are funded by government agencies such as the following.

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • US Department of Energy (DOE)
  • US Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • US Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  • Office of Naval Research (ONR)
  • US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)

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After graduation?

After earning an M.S. degree, some students choose to pursue a Ph.D. degree, either at MSU or elsewhere.

Recent graduates have gone to work for employers such as the following.

  • Ph.D. graduates
    • Microsoft Research
    • Palo Alto Research Center
    • Verari Systems Software
    • Fairmont State University
    • Jackson State University
    • Mississippi Valley State University
    • Nova Southeastern University
    • Tennesee Tech University
  • M.S. graduates
    • Microsoft
    • Google
    • Federal Express
    • Harris
    • Southern Company
    • NASA and its contractors
    • US Department of Defense and US armed forces
    • US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center
    • Other companies and government agencies

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