Getting an MCS Part II – What is the program like?

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Getting an MCS Part II – What is the program like?

When preparing to apply for an online MCS, students often ask the essential question – am I prepared for this degree program? In part two of this three part “Getting an MCS” series, we will be going in-depth on how to prepare for the MCS program once you have applied.

Once you have applied to the program (this may have involved applying the first day you heard about the program, or working on your math requirement, mastering prerequisite skills, or improving your GPA to prepare your profile), it is typical to wonder what the program will be like. 

What is an MCS and can I earn it online?

Many students want to understand exactly what an MCS is, and what it is like to earn it online. The MCS program is a master’s degree that aims to educate its students around the most topical, important subjects in the computer science field. This means students will spend a total of 30 credit hours (which translates to 10 courses) mastering advanced computer science topics such as AI, Software Engineering, Cloud Computing, Big Data, and Cybersecurity. All online MCS students take one foundations course, one systems course, one applications course, and any seven additional courses. Students in the ASU online MCS program earn the same degree as students who study on-campus upon graduation. 

For students in the online program, the day-to-day learning experience includes attending live classroom sessions with professors, participating in group projects using Zoom and Slack, and accessing instructors during live office hours. The Coursera platform provides students with features like interactive video transcription, in-course note taking, and seamless learning across multiple devices. Faculty in the online program are hands-on and interactive in classes and projects, and hold weekly live class sessions that cover multiple time zones across the world.  Online ASU MCS students have access to many of the benefits of ASU that make the program unique. For example, as an online student, you can opt to work with on-campus organizations such as the one-of-a-kind Blockchain Research Laboratory, which offers a rich ecosystem of partners including private companies and government agencies. 

Is it hard?

Students often want to know how difficult the MCS program is. The answer is that the MCS program has rigorous coursework, but also has systems and people in place to support its students and empower them to succeed. 

The coursework is challenging; students are assessed by ASU faculty and staff on a rigorous set of assignments, projects, and exams required for university degree credit. Each course is about a 15-20 hour commitment. However, the MCS program is also set up to support its students at every stage of the degree program. One crucial piece of this support system is the role of the Success Coach. Each student who enrolls at ASU online is assigned a Success Coach. Success Coaches are segmented based on student affiliation, and work one-on-one with students to tackle time management, goal attainment, and connecting to ASU resources. Coaches are experts in asking the right questions, uncovering challenges, and working through difficulties that may arise during one’s time in the program. Many ASU students cite success coaches as instrumental to their success. The Success Coach has two components to their role. One is to provide coaching sessions that cater to the student’s personal, professional, or academic goals. These coaching sessions are unlimited to students in the online degree program. The second component is to perform proactive outreach based on a list of critical flags, such as not being registered for a course as the registration date approaches. 

The MCS program’s goal is to prepare its students for success in the world of computer science, which means that the program is proportionately rigorous in its academic expectations to what will be required by a career in computer science and that the program is structured to allow students to gain mastery and confidence in the field over the course of the program, often with the help of faculty, staff, and success coaches. 

Where can my MCS degree take me? Is it worth it? Why should I earn an MCS?

Finally, students considering the MCS program often want to know where the MCS degree will take them. The ASU online MCS program is focused on making certain that its students will succeed in the current computer science field. The degree’s coursework includes applied problems that are relevant to modern businesses. Students submit a project portfolio, which is a great tool for students to showcase their experience to prospective employers. When thinking about their educational plans, students should also consider what options they hope their education will open up for them. The ASU MCS program focuses on preparing its students for the computer science jobs that are in the world today by teaching cutting edge topics and by guiding each student through their career search. This holistic preparation and guidance means that ASU Online Master of Computer Science graduates have (but are not limited to) career opportunities for jobs in Computer Networks, Computer Programming and Science, Software engineering, Computer systems, Database administration, Information technology, Computer Software Quality Engineer, Computer System Architect, Computer Systems Analyst, Geospatial Information Technologists, Information Technology Manager and more.

ASU plays a very active role in the career search process. All students enrolled in the online degree program have access to the Fulton Schools of Engineering Career Center, a one-of-a-kind dedicated career center for ASU’s engineering students with a robust offering of online services and resources. Their office is designed to help strengthen student’s job search skills, build their resume, enhance their interview skills and more. These career advising sessions are easy to access for all online students, as the office provides virtual services like online resume reviews, online tools to practice interview questions, online chat with career advisors, and downloadable information and sample resumes. 

ASU’s MCS program will prepare you to thrive in whichever computer-related field you should choose.