Graduate Program

The Department of Computer Science offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Computer Science. The master’s program is designed to prepare candidates for careers in industry or government, or for further study at the Ph.D. level. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available for the master’s program. The PhD degree program is sufficiently flexible to prepare candidates for careers in industry, government, or academia. These degree programs demand academic rigor and depth yet also address real-world problems.

CS@Mines has eight areas of research activity that stem from the core fields of Computer Science:

  • Algorithmic Robotics
  • Applied Algorithms 
  • Augmented Reality
  • CS For All
  • Cybersecurity
  • High Performance Computing
  • Machine Learning
  • Networked Systems

Additionally, students may study areas such as Embedded Systems and/or Robotics, which include elements from both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering disciplines. In many cases, individual research projects encompass more than one research area.

Combined Program

We offer combined BS/MS degree programs. These programs offer an expedited graduate school application process and allow students to begin graduate coursework while still finishing their undergraduate degree requirements at Mines. This program is described in the undergraduate catalog and more information can be found on the  CS Undergraduate Program website by clicking on the “BS+MS” tab.

The Computer Science Graduate Committee review applications for admission for the Fall and Spring semesters. Applicants must have a complete application submitted to the Graduate School by the posted admission deadlines to be considered for admission. We strongly encourage you to meet the Fall admission priority deadline of January 5 if you are applying to a thesis-based degree and seeking funding. Fall admission with funding decisions are typically determined by mid-February. The minimum requirements for admission to the MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science are:

  • A baccalaureate degree with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  • Completion of two semesters of calculus, and computer science courses in programming concepts, data structures, computer organization, software engineering and discrete math.
  • Students planning an MS in CS will be required to complete (or show knowledge of) the following foundational courses in CS:
    • CSCI 261: Programming Concepts
    • CSCI 262: Data Structures
    • CSCI 306: Software Engineering
    • CSCI 341: Computer Organization
    • CSCI 358: Discrete Mathematics
  • Competitive Graduate Record Examination scores (verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing), with a minimum quantitative reasoning score of 151 or higher (or 650 on the old scale). Applicants who have graduated with an engineering degree from Mines within the past five years are not required to submit GRE scores.
  • TOEFL score of 79 or higher (or 550 for the paper-based test or 213 for the computer-based test) for applicants whose native language is not English. In lieu of a TOEFL score, an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher will be accepted.
  • For the PhD program, prior research experience is desired but not required.

The CS Graduate Committee may require that an admitted student take undergraduate remedial coursework to overcome technical deficiencies. The committee will decide whether to recommend regular or provisional admission. Below are the application packet requirements required by the Graduate School at Colorado School of Mines.

Learn more about the graduate admission requirements and completing an online application. Additionally, questions can be directed to the Graduate Program Manager at or at 303-273-3658.


The master’s program is designed to prepare candidates for careers in industry or government or for further study at the PhD level. Following is a summary of the Master of Science program with a specialty in Computer Science. Additional information on Computer Science degree requirements can be found in the CS Graduate Catalog.



The M.S. degree in Computer Science (Thesis or Non-Thesis option) requires 30 credit hours. Requirements for the thesis M.S. are 21 hours of coursework plus 9 hours of thesis credit leading to an acceptable Master’s thesis; thesis students are encouraged to find a thesis advisor and form a Thesis Committee by the end of the first year.

The non-thesis option consists of two tracks: a Project Track and a Coursework Track.  Requirements for the Project Track are 24 hours of coursework plus 6 hours of project credit; requirements for the Coursework Track are 30 hours of coursework.  

All MS Non-Thesis students must take at least 12 credits of CSCI 500-level coursework, excluding Independent Study credits. The following four core courses are required of all students. Students may choose elective courses from any CSCI graduate course offered by the Department. In addition, up to six credits of elective courses may be taken outside of CSCI with advisor approval. Lastly, a maximum of six Independent Study course units can be used to fulfill degree requirements.


Students can also earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Master of Science (MS) degree simultaneously through the Combined Degree BS + MS degree. Normally a Master’s Degree requires 30 credit hours and takes two years to complete. Under the Combined Program, students will count two courses (CSCI406 and/or CSCI442 along with one additional CSCI 400-level course) toward both degrees, and 24 additional credit hours are needed to complete the degree. One additional 400-level course may be counted toward the graduate degree, if the course is not counted towards the undergraduate degree. Students selecting the Thesis option will be required to complete 21 hours of coursework and a thesis (9 credit hours). Students selecting the Non-Thesis option will be required to complete 30 credit hours of coursework. There are two required graduate-level courses: CSCI564 (Advanced Computer Architecture) and CSCI561 (Theory of Computation). The remaining courses are all electives except for the double counted courses.

  • CSCI406 Algorithms (offered every semester)
  • CSCI442 Operating Systems (offered every semester)
  • CSCI561 Theory of Computation (offered every fall)
  • CSCI564 Advanced Computer Architecture (offered every spring)

Students are required to take 6 credits of CSCI700 to fulfill the MS project requirement. (It is recommended that the 6 credits consist of two consecutive semesters of 3 credits each.) At most 6 hours of CSCI700 will be counted toward the Masters non-thesis degree. Deliverables include a report and a presentation to a committee of two CS faculty including the Advisor (at least one committee member must be a CS faculty member). Deliverables must be successfully completed in the last semester in which the student registers for CSCI700. A student must receive two “pass” votes (i.e., a unanimous vote) to satisfy the project option.

After successfully presenting the final project, students are required to submit project details and report via the MS-NT Project Submission quiz on the CS Graduate Program canvas site. Current students may direct questions regarding this to the CS Graduate Program Manager at


At the conclusion of the MS (Thesis Option), the student will be required to make a formal presentation and defense of her/his thesis research. A student must “pass” this defense to earn an MS degree.

The PhD degree in Computer Science requires 72 credit hours of course work and research credits. Required course work provides a strong background in computer science. A course of study leading to the PhD degree can be designed either for the student who has completed the master’s degree or for the student who has completed the bachelor’s degree. The following five courses are required of all students. Students who have taken equivalent courses at another institution may satisfy these requirements by transfer.

  • CSCI406 Algorithms (offered every semester)
  • CSCI442 Operating Systems (offered every semester)
  • CSCI561 Theory of Computation (offered every fall)
  • CSCI564 Advanced Computer Architecture (offered every spring)
  • SYGN502 Introduction to Research Ethics

Students in the PhD program will be required to pass a qualifying examination, thesis proposal, and dissertation defense. More details can be found in the CS Graduate Catalog by clicking on the “Majors” tab.


A complete list of graduate courses can be found in the Computer Science Graduate Catalog by clicking on the “Courses” tab.


  • Need help or have questions? Contact the CS Graduate Program Manager at or 303-273-3658.
  • CS Graduate Program CANVAS page: All current students have access to this one-stop resource for advising and policy questions. The CANVAS page consolidates links to resources from across Mines and contains lots of helpful information!
  • Graduate Student Listserv:  All current students are subscribed to the CS Graduate Student Listserv – Watch for important messages from the department!
  • Mailboxes: All enrolled thesis – based graduate students have a mailbox in BB W350.



The Center of Academic Services and Advising provides links to valuable resources related to time management & productivity, the importance of sleep, stress management, test anxiety, focus aids and more. Check out the tools & strategies on this resource page to help you be academically successful! 


The Academic Calendar provides important deadline information enforced by Mines.


The Career Center provides many valuable resources to students including: job searching support and strategies, choosing a career path, career day(s), cover letter, resume, and mock interview services, recruiting events, and graduation check-out requirements. ALL students should connect with the Career Center and explore the the valuable resources and services this office provides. 


The Office of Graduate Studies provides additional student services and academic support, from recruitment to graduation. Check out the Quick Reference Guide for important information regarding your Advisor and Thesis Committee, Degree Audit, Admission to Candidacy, and more! The Forms website contains important forms which you will need to reference throughout your academic career at Mines.


CS graduate seminars are typically held on Thursdays at 4:00pm. Watch for email announcements. All graduate students are EXPECTED to attend graduate seminars hosted by the CS Department.


In some cases CS will be able to provide financial aid for its full-time graduate students, in the form of a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA) appointment. The amount and financial aid conditions when applicable are clearly specified in your acceptance letter. Normally, financial aid is not offered to provisionally accepted students or non-thesis MS students. If a non-thesis MS student decides to switch to the thesis option, he or she may become eligible for financial aid.


The Graduate Catalog provides academic policies and program requirements. This is an important resource for all students.


As stipulated by the Mines Graduate School, a candidate for a thesis-based Master’s degree must complete all requirements for the degree within five years of the date of admission into the degree program. A candidate for a doctoral degree must complete all requirements for the degree within nine years of the date of admission into the degree program.


Graduate level courses taken at other universities for which a grade equivalent to a “B” or better was received will be considered for transfer credit with approval of the Advisor and/or Thesis Committee, and CS Department Head, as appropriate.  Transfer credits must not have been used as credit toward a Bachelor degree. For the M.S. degree, no more than nine credits may transfer. For the Ph.D. degree, up to 24 credit hours may be transferred. In lieu of transfer credit for individual courses, students who enter the Ph.D. program with a thesis-based master’s degree from another institution may transfer up to 36 hours in recognition of the course work and research completed for that degree.


Graduate cost of attendance information is found under Financial Aid.

The Admissions office has additional information about how to pay for graduate school.


Since 1981, EPA’s NCER has managed the AAAS Science and Engineering Fellows Program, in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The fellowship program is designed to provide an opportunity to learn first-hand how scientific and technological information is used in environmental policy-making; to provide a unique public policy learning experience; to demonstrate the value of science, technology, and economics in addressing societal problems; and to make practical contributions to the more effective use of scientific and technical knowledge in the programs of the U.S. government. Fellows will work in offices throughout the EPA on projects of mutual interest to the Fellows and the hosting offices. Applications are accepted by AAAS in the fall of each year. Must hold a doctoral level degree and be a US Citizen. Engineering disciplines (applicants with a MS in engineering and three or more years of professional experience also qualify.


The C-MAPP program is designed to improve relationships between inudstry and computer science at Mines, while also providing opportunities that will help Mines computing students ‘mapp’ their careers. C-MAPP Partners have a professional interest in the well being of computing at Mines. C-MAPP is a program for companies that are interested in (1) giving back, (2) helping the students at Mines, (3) networking with the students at Mines, and/or (4) increasing diversity in computing.


Today, women remain a distinct minority in science and engineering, representing approximately 10 percent of professionals in these fields. The Amelia Earhart Fellowship program helps talented women, pursuing advanced studies in the typically male-dominated fields of aerospace-related sciences and engineering, achieve their educational goals. The Fellowship enables these women to invest in state-of-the-art computers to conduct their research, purchase expensive books and resource materials, and participate in specialized studies around the globe.


GEM’s fellowship programs span the entire recruitment, retention, and professional development spectrum. GEM’s principal activity is the provision of graduate fellowships at the MS and Ph.D. levels coupled with paid summer internships. GEM also offers programming on the importance of graduate school and tools for access and successful matriculation.


Graduate Continuance Fellowship, GSG Lecture Series Grant, Meeting Attendee Travel Grant, Presenter Travel Grant, UG travel Grant, and Family Assistance Grant.


The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Awards Program is an intensely competitive worldwide program, which honors exceptional Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. These include: computer science and engineering (including cyber security, cloud, and mobile computing), electrical and mechanical engineering, physical sciences (including chemistry, material sciences, and physics), mathematical sciences (including analytics of massive scale data with uncertainty, operations research, and optimization), public sector and business sciences (including urban policy and analytics, social technologies, learning systems and natural language understanding), and service science, management, and engineering (SSME).


IEEE offers a variety of scholarships, grants, and fellowships for IEEE Student members. Submit a project or paper for consideration and have the opportunity to win and gain peer recognition for your effort. Terms and conditions may apply.


NASA is an investment in America’s future. Our activities contribute to the achievement of the Nation’s science and technology goals and priorities, one of which is “Educational Excellence: We involve the education community in our endeavors to inspire America’s students, create learning opportunities, and enlighten inquisitive minds.” NASA uses its unique resources to support educational excellence for all. This vision guides all NASA activities and programs, and guides the unique contribution that our Education Program provides to America’s education community.


As a means of increasing the number of U.S. citizens and nationals trained in science and engineering disciplines of military importance, the Department of Defense (DoD) plans to award approximately 200 new three-year graduate fellowships in April 2014, subject to the availability of funds. The DoD will offer these fellowships to individuals who have demonstrated the ability and special aptitude for advanced training in science and engineering


The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. The NSF welcomes applications from all qualified students and strongly encourages under-represented populations, including women, under-represented racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities, to apply for this fellowship.


The purpose of the SAE Doctoral Scholars Program, now in its 16th year, is to provide funding to assist and encourage promising engineering graduate students to pursue careers in teaching at the college level. The program is designed to help alleviate the increasing shortage of engineering college faculty by attracting qualified citizens of North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico) who are interested in pursuing teaching careers, through the promise of financial assistance during their doctoral study program.


The SMART Program aims to increase the number of scientists and engineers in the DoD. The program is particularly interested in supporting individuals that demonstrate an aptitude and interest in conducting theoretical and applied research. As such, the program primarily targets “hand-on-the-bench” researchers and engineers. Individuals applying to the program should have a strong interest in working for the DoD as a civilian research scientist or engineer.


The Society of Women Engineers strives to advance and honor the contributions of women at all stages of their careers as well as recognize the successes of SWE members and individuals who enhance the engineering profession through contributions to industry, education and the community.