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Master of Science in Computer Science (CISC)

Concentrations in Theory, Software Engineering, Computer Systems, Database, Security, and Real-World Computing.

  • Program Overview
  • Program Format
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Admissions

The Master of Science in Computer Science (CISC) is a 36 credit-hour degree program at Nova Southeastern University’s Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences (GSCIS). It is designed to give students advanced knowledge of the field and to provide an enduring foundation for future professional growth. Offered online and on-campus in South Florida, the CISC degree program blends theory and practice into a learning experience that develops skills applicable to complex real-world problems.

The security concentration is recognized by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As a result of this recognition federal agencies may sponsor civilian and military personnel to take the school’s certified graduate courses, and the school is authorized to issue certificates to students who complete such courses. Individuals may apply to take one or more certified information security courses as non-degree students.

Program Sheet (pdf)


Students can select to take online or on-campus classes. Online classes can be taken from anywhere in the world where Internet access is available. NSU utilizes Blackboard as the learning management system to deliver online course content. On-campus classes are held on the main campus in Fort Lauderdale. Each on-campus class meets once a week from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for 16 weeks in the fall and winter terms and 14 weeks in the summer term.


A graduate with a M.S. in Computer Science will have the ability to (1) communicate computer science concepts, designs, and solutions effectively and professionally; (2) apply knowledge of computing to produce effective designs and solutions for specific problems; (3) identify, analyze, and synthesize scholarly literature relating to the field of computer science; and (4) use software development tools, software systems, and modern computing platforms.


The CISC program is designed for students with undergraduate majors in computer science, engineering, mathematics, or physics and who have completed courses or have equivalent experience in data structures and algorithms, assembly language, computer architecture, programming in a modern high-level language, systems software (compilers or operating systems), calculus (differential and integral calculus), and discrete mathematics.
Applicants who do not have adequate backgrounds may be required to take one or more of the following 500-level graduate courses during the first two terms of the student’s program:

MCIS 500 Assembly Language and Architecture
MCIS 501 Java Programming Language
MCIS 502 Mathematics in Computing
MCIS 503 Data Structures and Algorithms

These are in addition to the required 36 credit hours of courses at the 600 level. Courses at the 500 level, when required, must be completed prior to taking courses at the 600 level; however, some exceptions may be permitted by the program director. All 500-level courses must be completed with a grade of ‘B’ or higher to continue in the computer science degree program. MCIS 501 is a prerequisite to MCIS 503.

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The Master of Science in Computer Science has six concentration options described below. Student who opt to do a thesis will replace two of the five elective courses with thesis credits. Plans for the thesis option must be made with and approved by the program office.
Core Courses (required)


Concentration Options (choose at least one)


Security Concentration, Required Courses

Students select three of the four listed courses.

(Students who take all four courses plus MCIS 687 can request the award of the NSA-recognized Graduate Certificate in Information System Security.)



Elective Courses (choose five)

Any course in the concentrations described above is also an elective course in the master’s program in computer science. Additionally, any offerings of CISC 690, Special Topics in Computer Science, will count as electives. Students may also petition to count other courses in the graduate school as electives.

Option for Early Admission into the Ph.D. Program in Computer Science

This option provides the opportunity for master’s students in computer science to earn the Ph.D. in computer science or computer information systems in a shorter time. In addition to the requirements specified in the section Early Admission into the Ph.D. Program, the student must have completed CISC 610 Programming Languages, CISC 615 Design and Analysis of Algorithms, CISC 630 Compilers, CISC 631 Theory of Computation, CISC 640 Operating Systems, and CISC 680 Software Engineering.

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Current CISC Students




School Overview


Since the introduction of the graduate computer science program in 1975, the school has been a pioneer in computing research and education. The school began offering online programs in 1983 and created the first electronic classroom in 1985. In 1989 the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences (GSCIS) was formed.

Today, NSU is a not-for-profit, independent university that is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification.