Getting into MS in CS without a CS Background

    Updated on: 21 Sep 2023

    Are you interested in pursuing your Master in Computer Science (MS in CS) but worried that your non-CS background can cause a hindrance? You do not have to worry anymore as there are several universities that can provide you admission into MS in CS without a CS background. These universities are open to many students from diverse academic backgrounds. In this blog, we are going to help you learn how you can also study MS in CS with a non-CS background. 

    Table of contents

    Advantages of MS in CS for Non-CS major

    Going for a Master's in Computer Science when you're not from a CS background has its own advantages, such as - 

    • Not very long duration i.e. you will be able to complete your course in 1.5 - 2 years. 
    • It will help you learn some foundational and master-level skills in this course. 
    • This is a very popular course, especially when employment prospect is considered, and thus doing this will only help you to increase your chances.
    • Doing an MS in CS opens a wide array of opportunities that you can choose from to shape your future career.

    Pre-requisite for MS in CS without CS background

    We're listing some fundamental prerequisites here, but they may differ depending on your chosen university. It's recommended to double-check with your target university to get a clear understanding of their specific requirements. These are -

    • You should have a recommended score of 300 or more on the GRE and if individual sections are considered then it would be good if you have the maximum marks in the quantitative section. 
    • You should have completed the bachelors course preferably related to STEM from a reputed university.
    • You should have maintained an average GPA of 3 points or above on a 5-point scale throughout your bachelor's degree. Use GyanDhan’s Grade Converter to help you convert your percentage into CGPA. 
    • If you can show work experience before starting MS in CS then it can be a plus point for you. 
    • A well-written statement of purpose that clearly explains your rationale for moving from non-CS background to MS in CS.
    • You should consider learning about Data Structures, Analysis of Algorithms, JAVA, C/C++, and Database Management Systems, as these make an integral part of CS.
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    Universities offering MS in CS with Non-CS background

    There are many universities that only require you to take either a pre-enrollment test, a preparatory program, or more before actual classes for MS in CS begin. Below are a few universities with their respective prerequisite that you will need to do apart from other general requirements. 

    University Name


    Wright State University

    Pre-enrollment test

    National University

    Need to take up some more subjects

    Montana State University

    Preparatory program

    West Virginia University

    Attend remedial coursework in the first year of study

    Northwest Missouri State University

    Pre-requisite knowledge of Data structure

    Florida Atlantic University

    Need to take up extra subjects

    New York Institute of Technology

    Required to take on an extra subject from the list that will be provided to student based on their application

    Arkansas State University

    Attend remedial coursework and a mock test

    College of Charleston

    Attend the pre-requisite courses and earn a minimum grade of ‘B’

    Long Island University

    Competency waiver exam or completing two preparation courses

    Boosting MS in CS admission chances without CS background

    Below are some tips and tricks that you as a non-CS background individual use to gain admission into MS in CS. 

    • GRE score - Your score on the GRE, especially in its quantitative section is proof that you have a good grasp of computational wit and mathematical reasoning. You should try to improve this as much as possible because it can give you an edge while changing your stream. 
    • Researching pre-requisite - There will be some prerequisites for the university considering that you are moving from a non-CS background to MS in CS. It is important that you know these prerequisites in advance and start to work on them timely. 
    • Increasing knowledge - This can also be considered as a way to bridge that knowledge gap between non-CS and CS majors. You do not have to learn everything that an individual was taught in Bachelor but having the knowledge of some basic computer science areas can be useful for you. This can be done via enrollment in an online course before admission to MS in CS.
    • Building portfolio - This again is a small step that can have a good impact when pivoting from a non-CS background to MS in CS. Joining online communities, taking on small CS projects, doing certifications and more can make your admission application different from others.
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    Preparatory programs - These programs help students without a CS background catch up on the knowledge they need. Check if these programs are available in your target university and you can enroll yourself in it.

    • Still confused? Join the GyanDhan discussion forum to seek guidance from experienced students who can help clarify your doubts.

      Career opportunities after MS in CS for non-CS background

      Now one last question that may arise in your mind - will doing an MS in CS without a CS background affect your earning potential in the future or not? The great news is that it will not. You will be able to earn similarly to an individual who has completed an MS in CS with a CS background. This will only be possible if you have completed your MS in CS with good academic records. A few job opportunities with their average payscale have been listed below - 


      Average Salary per annum

      Android Developer

      126,000 USD

      Network Engineer

      94,000 USD

      Information Security Manager

      150,000 USD

      Ethical Hacker

      120,000 USD

      Full Stack Developer

      115,000 USD

      Read Also 

      To summarise, pursuing an MS in CS without a CS background is not only possible but also offers various advantages, including learning more employable skills, increased career prospects, and more. Meeting university-specific prerequisites, improving GRE scores, acquiring foundational knowledge, building a portfolio, and considering preparatory programs are key steps to enhance admission chances. There are many universities that can offer you admission into MS in CS without a CS background and to help you plan better you can use GyanDhan’s admit predictor to make your planning more effective.

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      Frequently asked questions

      Is it worth it to change your stream from non-CS to CS?

      The answer totally depends on your personal opinion but it is an obvious point that there are multiple high-paying opportunities that you can get after you have completed your MS in CS. 

      Do non-CS majors have to take a lot of extra courses to catch up?

      There are chances that you will be required to take on extra subjects or another preparatory program while you plan to enroll yourself into MS in CS without a CS background. These are not much burden and can be easily managed by a student. 

      How Essential Are Meeting Prerequisites for MS in CS Admission?

      If you are from a non-CS background then it is very necessary for you to meet all the required prerequisites from your targetted university or else it will lead to an automatic rejection. 

      Can I pursue an MS in CS being an individual from a non-CS background and no professional experience?

      Yes, you can pursue an MS in CS even if you do not have a bachelor's in CS and no professional experience in related fields. There are other prerequisites like GRE scores and more that you need to take care of. Apart from it, in the blog some tips are mentioned to boost your admission chances will also help you. Having a professional experience in related fields can be helpful but you can still get admission without it. 

      Which country provides the cheapest MS in CS courses?

      The cheapest countries for MS in Computer Science abroad for Indian students include Germany, Australia, Norway, and Belgium.

    First published date: 15 Jun 2018


About author

Aishwarya Bhatt
A bookworm who transforms into a web-usability evangelist, when her favorite blend of coffee is flowing in her veins. Happiest in a bookstore and when she is painting with words on paper!

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