This is a named option with the Computer Sciences MS.

The program is designed such that working professionals can complete the program and earn an MS degree within two years. Professional Master's students can take coursework in many areas: artificial intelligence, computational biology, computer architecture, computer graphics, computer networks, computer security, database systems, human–computer interaction, numerical analysis, optimization, performance analysis, programming languages and compilers, systems research, and theoretical computer sciences. The Professional Program's committee advises all computer sciences MS students in the Professional Master's Program. See the department website for faculty interests, research activities, courses, facilities, and degree requirements.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline February 15
Spring Deadline December 1*
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy:
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Spring application is only open to pre-admitted Plus One Pathway applicants.

Applicants with a strong background in computer sciences or a related field are encouraged to apply for admission. At a minimum, the applicant should have some programming experience, including courses in data structures and machine organization, and should have a year of college-level mathematics at the calculus level or above. Applicants are evaluated based on their previous academic record, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. All applications must be submitted online. For more information on admissions, visit the department website.


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Information

Students enrolled in this program are not eligible to receive tuition remission from graduate assistantship appointments at this institution.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements

Mode of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy:
Other Grade Requirements No other grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations None.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

To obtain the MS degree, students in the Computer Sciences: Professional Master's Program (PMP) must complete a minimum of 30 credits distributed as follows:

  • Fifteen credits must be received for core graduate-level courses: Computer Sciences (COMP SCI) courses numbered 700-889. Students in the program who enroll in instances of COMP SCI 838, COMP SCI 839, or COMP SCI 880 must verify with the Professional Program Committee that the courses will satisfy program credit requirements.
  • COMP SCI 799 Master's Research, COMP SCI 790 Master's Thesis (in case the student elects to write a Master's thesis), and COMP SCI 702 Graduate Cooperative Education can be taken for a combined total of at most six credits for the degree, and may only count in the 15 core credit requirement. COMP SCI 799COMP SCI 790, and COMP SCI 702 courses taken beyond six credits do not count towards the required degree credits. COMP SCI 702 can be taken a total of two times.
  • All remaining credits must be received for Computer Sciences (COMP SCI) courses numbered 400 or higher.
  • COMP SCI 900 Advanced Seminar in Computer Science and COMP SCI/​B M E/​B M I/​BIOCHEM/​CBE/​GENETICS  915 Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine can be taken for a combined total of at most three credits and count towards the remaining credits received for Computer Sciences (COMP SCI) courses numbered 400 or higher.
  • COMP SCI 699 does not count toward program requirements. Students in the program are expected to enroll in COMP SCI 799 for research credits, if desired.

More details about the sample course plan that allows a working professional to complete the PMP in two years, see the department website.

Students in this program may not take courses outside the prescribed curriculum without faculty advisor and program director approval. Students in this program cannot enroll concurrently in other undergraduate or graduate degree programs.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions

This program does not accept graduate transfer credits from other institutions.  

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

With program approval, students are allowed to transfer no more than 7 credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. This program does not accept undergraduate credits from other institutions.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special Student at UW–Madison

With program approval, students are allowed to transfer no more than 14 credits of Computer Sciences coursework numbered 400 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


At the end of any regular (non-summer) semester, a student is considered to be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) if the following conditions are all satisfied:

  • The student has completed at least 6 (if full load) or 3 (if part load) credits of approved courses during the semester.
  • The student has removed all Incomplete grades from any previous regular semester or summer session.
  • The student has passed any required exams and procedures within designated time limits.

Any graduate student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) during two consecutive regular semesters (fall and spring, or spring and fall) will be dismissed from the department at the end of the subsequent summer session. Any graduate student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) due to missed deadlines (criterion 3 above) will be dismissed from the department at the end of the subsequent summer session.

Advisor / Committee

A member of the Professional Programs Committee must formally approve all graduate schedules each semester.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Refer to the Graduate School: Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.


Information on the Professional Master's Program is available on the Computer Sciences graduate degrees and programs page

Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

The Department of Computer Sciences hosts many professional development opportunities, including job fairs, workshops, seminars, talks, employer information sessions, mentoring, and student socials. The Department of Computer Sciences' student organizations, Student-ACM (SACM) and Women's ACM (WACM), are active partners in providing professional development opportunities for computer sciences graduate students.


Visit the CS website to view our department faculty and staff.