August 27, 2021

What’s the Difference between an MCIT and a Master’s in Computer Science?

We often get questions about whether MCIT Online is the same as a Master’s in Computer Science. The short answer is no, it isn’t exactly the same – our program leads to a Master of Computer and Information Technology rather than a master of science – but it does cover comparable material.

The primary difference is that the MCIT curriculum includes more foundational courses than a traditional master’s in CS. That’s because our students enter the program without the tech background that CS students are expected to have. 

Our core curriculum of foundational computer science courses is a series of six accelerated, graduate-level courses that impart foundational knowledge. After MCIT Online students finish the core curriculum and start taking electives, our students have the exact same course options as a CS student. From software development to blockchain to computer vision, our electives engage you in applied, industry-relevant projects that prepare you to enter the CS field with confidence – and to adapt as the field evolves in the years to come.

Unlike many traditional Master’s in Computer Science programs, Penn’s MCIT Online is offered in a fully online format that allows students from around the world to learn from Penn’s expert faculty without the requirement to attend synchronous sessions. Students can choose to take just one class at a time to maintain work/life/study balance while continuing to work full-time, or enroll in a full course load and earn an Ivy League graduate degree in less than a year and a half. 

Our graduates go on to successful careers that are comparable to those of Penn’s traditional CS master’s in terms of the types of companies, starting salary, and other compensation. They work as analysts, product managers, software engineers, and tech managers at top employers including Amazon, Apple, Atlassian, Google, and Microsoft. And their average starting salary is more than $100,000.For details, see our most recent Career Outcomes Report.

We’d love to tell you more about Penn Engineering’s MCIT Online program. Contact us, view one of our on-demand webinars, or sign up for an advising session with an admissions counselor. We look forward to hearing from you!