A Master's degree in Computer Science (CS) is available to students enrolled in a PhD or MS/PhD program in the following fields:

  • Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Information Science
  • Statistics

(A Master's degree in Mathematics is also available to students enrolled in the PhD program in Computer Science; consult the Field of Mathematics for information.)


  1. 4 residence units
  2. A Computer Science field member on the special committee
  3. Passing an A-exam in the student's major field of study
  4. Knowledge of CS 2110, CS 3110 and CS 4410/4411 (e.g., by having taken these courses at Cornell, or equivalent courses at other institutions)
  5. Two of the following courses:  CS 6410, CS 6110, CS 6320, CS 6820
  6. In addition to 4 and 5, any two CS courses numbered 5000 and above (lecture/practicum pairs such as CS 5120/5121, CS 5320/5321, and CS 5620/5621 count as one course).

All courses taken in fulfillment of these requirements must be taken for grade credit, and grades of B– or better in all coursework are required.

Minor amendments to these requirements for a particular student, such as the substitution of one course for another, may be made on a case-by-case basis with the unanimous approval of the special committee and the DGS of CS.  Please note all course requirements must be completed within two semesters of taking the A exam.


A PhD candidate wishing to receive a master's degree from CS must apply formally. The student must obtain approval from all members of the special committee and apply to the Graduate School for this degree. There is an application form available for this purpose (link below). You must apply to the Graduate School for this degree. To apply, fill out the Application Requirements, have the appropriate parties sign the form and submit it along with your A Exam Schedule form to gradstudserv@cornell.edu or deliver to 143 Caldwell Hall. Once all requirements have been completed, have the appropriate parties sign the Approval part of this form and submit it to gradstudserv@cornell.edu or deliver to 143 Caldwell Hall.  

  • Special Masters Application Form
    • Latest form can be found under Exams and Research -> Special Master’s Degree in Minor Field Application and Approval Forms (PDF)

Formal registration in CS is not required.

The member of the student's special committee representing CS is primarily responsible for supervising the content of the program of study as it pertains to the master's degree. That member must be present at the A-exam. It is expected that substantial progress toward fulfilling the requirements for the master's degree will have been made by the time of the A-exam, and a suitable demonstration of understanding at the A-exam will be expected. It is not necessary for all requirements to have been met at the time of the A-exam, but the degree will not be awarded until all requirements are satisfied.

When all requirements have been satisfied, a copy of the application form should be signed by all members of the special committee and DGS of CS and submitted to the CS Graduate Office in Upson Hall for communication to the Graduate School.

Special Circumstances

If the student should leave the PhD program or transfer to a different major field that is not one of the approved major fields, the student may still receive the master's degree in CS if all other requirements have been met.

Financial Support

Financial support will still be the responsibility of the major field.