This is a named option with the Computer Sciences M.S.

The program is designed such that working professionals can complete the program and earn an M.S. 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 M.S. students in the Professional Master's Program. See the department website for faculty interests, research activities, courses, facilities, and degree requirements.

Fall Deadline March 15
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Students with a strong background in computer sciences or a related field are encouraged to apply for admission. At a minimum, the applicant should have had some programming experience, including courses in data structures and machine organization, and should have had a year of college-level mathematics at the calculus level or above. Applicants are evaluated based on their previous academic record, GRE scores, 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 Resources

Students enrolled in the COMP SCI Professional Master's Program cannot accept research assistantships, teaching assistantships, project assistantships or other university appointments that grant waivers of tuition and/or academic fees.

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


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

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements No other grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations None.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

To obtain the M.S. degree, students in the PMP should complete at least 30 credits, with an average grade of at least B, distributed as follows:

  • Fifteen credits must be received for core graduate-level courses: Computer Sciences courses numbered 700-889. Specific offerings of COMP SCI/​MATH  837, COMP SCI 838, and COMP SCI 880 are counted as core classes only with approval of the Graduate Advising Committee.
  • All remaining credits must be received for courses at 400 level or higher.
  • COMP SCI 799 Master's Research and COMP SCI 790 Master's Thesis (in case the student elects to write a Master's thesis) can only be taken at most three times, for a total of at most six credits, which count toward the 15 credit requirement above.
  • At most three credits can be received for attending Computer Sciences seminars offered by various groups in the department, or department-wide colloquiums. One credit can be earned per semester for attending at least four seminar lectures.

Many Computer Sciences courses have research-intensive project components. PMP students can elect to do instead a project that studies research papers in depth, surveys a cutting-edge topic, or examines how to apply what they learn to their daytime work. In addition, PMP students have the option of conducting independent studies, under the supervision of our faculty.

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

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 Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 14 credits of post-baccalaureate graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 7 credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 14 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five 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 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 SAP due to missed deadlines (criterion 3 above) will be dismissed from the department at the end of the subsequent summer session.


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


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence.

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.


Information on the Professional Master's Program is available at: Students in the Professional Master's program are not eligible for graduate assistantships.

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's student organizations, Student-ACM (SACM) and Women's ACM (WACM), are active partners in providing professional development opportunities for computer sciences graduate students.

Faculty: Professors Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau (chair), Akella, A. Arpaci-Dusseau, R. Arpaci-Dusseau, Bach, Banerjee, Barford, Cai, Chawla, Doan, Ferris, Gleicher, Jha, Livny, van Melkebeek, Miller, Patel, Reps, Ron, Sankaralingam, Sohi, Swift, Wright, Zhu; Associate Professors  Mutlu, Sifakis; Assistant Professors Albarghouti, Chatterjee, D'Antoni, I. Diakonikolas, J. Diakonikolas, Gupta, Hsu, Koutris, Liang, Rekatsinas, Sinclair, Tzamos, Venkataraman, Yu. See also Faculty on the department website.