Why Does Laurier’s Master’s in Computer Science Require a Bachelor’s Degree?

person doing advanced computer programming on two screens
person doing advanced computer programming on two screens

Everyone’s heard the stories of self-taught computer wunderkinds who launch game-changing apps or hack some of the world’s most secure databases. So why, some prospective applicants might ask, does Wilfrid Laurier University’s online Master of Computer Science program require an undergraduate degree? The simple answer to that question is that a master’s degree is by definition a program intended for university graduates. The concepts addressed in our computer science program are of an advanced nature, and students without an undergraduate degree may not have the full relevant background required to benefit from the courses.

Let’s take this opportunity to explore what students can expect to learn in the program so you can get a clearer understanding of why an undergraduate major in computer science or a related discipline is indispensable.

What Bachelor’s Degrees Qualify For Entry into the Master’s?

We currently recognize undergraduate degrees in the following disciplines:

  • Computer science
  • Computer engineering
  • Information systems
  • Mathematics
  • Applied computing
  • Other areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

We also specifically look for completed courses in computer algorithms and object-oriented programming. Exceptions may be made for those with current or recent employment as a computer science professional. Interested applicants who do not meet the academic requirements but who have significant work experience or previous education in computer programming may also be eligble for upgrading opportunities, such as a qualifying year (Q year) with Laurier.

A Q year consists of two courses designed to upgrade candidate knowledge and skills to meet the admission requirements for the MCS program. Candidates who pass both Q year courses with a B average or higher will be recommended by the department for acceptance into the MCS program upon reapplication.

If you’re unsure of whether your own degree would qualify or have questions about a Q year, reach out to us to discuss your situation.

As you might guess, the program seeks students with a firm grasp of the mathematical and logical principles which gird the science of computer programming. Because the course is typically completed in as few as 16 months, there is little time to dwell on the lessons one would typically learn as an undergraduate. Where these basics are revisited, it is typically as a refresher before the class embarks on a more challenging stream.

Real-World Challenges

Our master’s program is intended to prepare students to apply their skills to real-world scenarios. The continued credibility of our program rests on turning out exceptionally skilled and professional graduates. Some of the core skills our program teaches include:

  • Python, Java, SQL, C/C++, Java, Hadoop, Spark, Kali Linux, CUDA, MapReduce, Metasploit and Nmap
  • Advanced machine learning techniques, big data, software development, application development, data mining, penetration testing and information security

Having a basic knowledge of some or all of these programming languages, development suites and concepts boosts your ability to quickly apply more advanced techniques to your own ideas.

Core courses in our computer science program include Android and iPhone application programming, practical algorithm design and data analysis. Conceptual work is married to the practical, and students can expect to have a robust array of hands-on experience in the field by the time they graduate.

What a Master’s Degree Means

By being demanding about the credentials students must have before they enter our program, we help to ensure in turn that the credential of a Master of Computer Science degree from Laurier remains one that can reliably open professional doors for our graduates. The degree signifies expertise in the field, and, in a dynamic but highly competitive job market, that prestige can make a big difference in terms of where you find employment. After that, the skills you learned in the program should be more than enough to take you as far as your ambition will go. To take your next step today, get your program guide or set up a time to connect with on enrolment advisor on your schedule.