BU MET’s 10-course Master of Science in Computer Science provides students with the skills, knowledge, flexibility, mentorship, and support to advance and thrive in the diverse field of computer science.

When choosing where to pursue a graduate degree education, students face a host of considerations: What is the school’s reputation? What have past graduates accomplished? What will my cohort of peers look like? What kind of support can I expect as I pursue professional following my degree program?

As part of a highly respected university with an exceptional roster of successful alumni, Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) emerges as a top choice. Metropolitan College is distinguished by its commitment to multidisciplinary knowledge and lifelong learning for working adults. With cutting-edge programs that embrace the rapid pace of innovation across industry sectors, BU MET offers ideal preparation and upskilling for those navigating evolving careers and looming skills gaps, while providing meaningful mentorship opportunities in academic research and industry. Studying with faculty experts and fellow professionals opens the door to valuable new opportunities and career advancement in the field.

A master’s degree in computer science from BU MET helps students take the next step in their careers by developing confidence and capability in important sectors like data analytics, software development, networks, IT security, IT project management, and electronic health records and health informatics, bolstering the shine on their résumés with a prestigious credential from a globally recognized, leading research university.

When you study computer science at Boston University’s Metropolitan College, you plug into forty-plus years of experience preparing students to succeed at the cutting edge of the technology industry.

A Legacy of Computer Science Education in Boston

When it was established in 1979, the MET Department of Computer Science was Boston University’s very first department dedicated to the field. In the decades since, the department has played a vital role in the emergence of IT not only at the University but throughout the region, growing from one full-time faculty member, a single computer lab, and a lone master’s degree in computer science to a highly esteemed, flourishing academic center for the study of the latest technologies.

The department’s recipe for success arises from its vigilant commitment to identifying emerging technology areas, maintaining a strong reputation, and finding the best part-time instructors—who are active in the tech industry—to complement its full-time research and teaching faculty.

“Our faculty have been teaching cutting-edge technology for over 40 years,” says Dr. Anatoly Temkin, assistant professor emeritus of computer science. “Employers know about our program, and I think we are doing a fabulous job of preparing students for the challenges and opportunities that are out there when it comes to finding jobs, changing jobs, or moving to better positions within their companies.”

Today, the flagship Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) is one of five distinct computer science graduate degree programs at BU MET, supplemented by more than a dozen graduate certificate programs.

Thanks to these deeply respected information technology programs, the BU MET computer science department has become a trusted leader in the professional world of computer science. Over the past decade, thanks to the leadership of its full-time faculty and their commitment to innovation and excellence in pedagogy, BU MET’s online master’s degrees in information technology systems have persistently ranked among the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report.

The Computer Science department at BU MET surfed the crest of a technology wave that brought advances such as the IBM personal computer in 1981, the Mac in 1984, the World Wide Web in 1991, Google in 1998, the iPhone in 2007, and the Internet of Things in 2008—to name a few. Whether it was the emergence of deep machine learning and artificial intelligence, or the increasing need for security in data and network management and governance, or new abilities to harness and analyze health data, each new development in the world of computing brings with it the introduction of new courses and coursework, preparing generations for success in the industry.

“The field of computer science never stops changing, and as soon as the students see something new it always excites them,” says Dr. Suresh Kalathur, assistant professor and director of analytics programs. “As a professor, I am also learning new techniques and technologies for myself that I am able to incorporate into the coursework so that the students can apply them in a practical way.”

BU MET’s computer science faculty are notable for their accomplishments in integrating technology with business, with many coming from leadership positions or research and development roles in organizations like Bell Labs, AT&T, Verizon Labs, General Electric, Oracle, Dell Labs, and the US federal government. As a result, students get the benefit of lessons with real-world relevance that they can apply on the job immediately.

Cutting-Edge Computer Science Curriculum and Specialized Concentrations

Designed to help you compete for positions in high-growth technology areas, Metropolitan College’s Master of Science in Computer Science core curriculum provides a strong foundation in algorithms, computer language theory, databases, networks, operating systems, and software engineering.

For those who opt to focus their studies, the Computer Science master’s offers concentrations in three increasingly vital areas of information technology: Computer Networks, Data Analytics, and Security. U.S. News & World Report ranks “Information Security Analyst” #3 on its list of Best Technology Jobs of 2024. “Data Scientist” ranks #4 and “Computer Network Architect” ranks #7.

Overall, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects that employment in computer science and IT occupations will grow much faster than the average for all occupations throughout 2032. Meanwhile, in 2022, the median annual wage of $100,530 for these occupations exceeded that of all other occupations. BU MET’s Computer Science master’s curriculum prepares students to enter a talent pool of software developers, information security analysts, network administrators, database developers, data analysts, IT project managers, and health informatics professionals with a cutting-edge education from one of the world’s most esteemed and trusted institutions—Boston University.

Lecturer Warren Mansur (MET’09), himself a graduate of MET’s MSCS program, has an informed perspective on its merits. “I have seen firsthand the value of a BU education in the industry, because I personally regularly utilize skills learned at BU,” he says. “I encourage learners to invest as much as they can in their education at BU, knowing that these skills will help set them apart in their current and future work.”

An MS in Computer Science from Boston University

Founded in 1839, Boston University today is internationally recognized as a top institution of higher learning and research. With 17 schools and colleges along with the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, the University offers more than 300 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and special degree programs, along with the resources of 12 libraries and over 130 academic centers and institutes. With more than 33,000 students from all 50 states and 140 countries—and more than 407,000 living alumni—Boston University is among largest independent universities in the United States.

For over half a century, BU’s Metropolitan College has made the scholarly rigor and resources of an internationally respected research university convenient for busy, working adults thanks to innovative, part-time programs. BU MET offers more than 80 graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs evenings on campus, online, and in blended formats designed to meet the needs of both the local and global professional community. A laboratory and incubator for new programs, pedagogy, and educational technologies, BU MET ensures that students have access to cutting-edge facilities and the latest learning tools—as well as the opportunity to build networks with classmates and industry peers.

“As a department, we excel in data analytics, health informatics, security and forensics, database management, mobile development, and project management,” says Dr. Temkin. “But our primary areas of strength are always the quality of the people and the courses.” The goal, Temkin says, is simple: help those who come to MET advance in their goals beyond the classroom.

Metropolitan College students benefit from access to Boston University’s array of valuable academic and social resources, such as the Center for Career Development, Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security (RISCS), Educational Resource Center, Fitness & Recreation Center, IT Help Centers, Mugar Memorial Library, Center for Antiracist Research, Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, George Sherman Union, Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, Newbury Center for First-Generation Students, and many others.

When you study at BU MET, you participate in an exciting exchange of ideas—a spirit of innovation that reaches far beyond the classroom into the global arena. You’re connecting to students and faculty from around the world, engaging in new perspectives, fresh challenges, and novel solutions.

A Computer Science Master’s for Working Professionals

Since 1965, Metropolitan College has ensured that adults and professionals have access to Boston University’s world-class resources through flexible part-time study and convenient evening and online courses. More importantly, BU MET faculty are committed to supporting nontraditional learning experiences, designing lessons to be of immediate use on the job and, in some cases, even measuring the success of their courses by how effectively they help students advance their careers.

“I like to prepare students for industry-grade problems so that they have the ability to understand the problem, and to master the tools needed to create a solution,” says Jack Polnar (MET’03, MET’08), a lecturer who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at BU MET. As Polnar describes, the computer science faculty’s philosophy is to teach students how to adopt new techniques and tools efficiently, since the industry changes so rapidly. “This is a key factor in helping them stand out from their peers in the workplace—knowing how to learn quickly,” he says. “This is not an industry where you can learn something and then stay with it; rather, you must constantly refine and sometimes even re-invent yourself to stay relevant.”

“I learned a lot of things that I was able to use at my job, and that played a major part in getting promoted,” says Kathleen Kudzma (MET’08), whose MS in Computer Science supported her advancement to senior software engineer and eventually senior software developer. “I was able to take what I had learned working on projects in class and transfer that knowledge to projects I was developing.”

With the option to study part-time or full-time, the MS in Computer Science program at BU MET can be completed in 18 to 24 months. Program courses are held during convenient evening hours in the fall, spring, and summer.

For Shu Zhou (MET’20), that flexibility was the key to networking professionally even as he pursued his degree. “One of the most attractive points is that most of the courses are held at night, which meant I could fully use the daytime to get an internship or be a teaching assistant,” he says.

No matter your goal, at BU MET you’ll be supported as you develop and master your chosen discipline.

Hands-on Community Support and Professional Guidance

The Department of Computer Science is a tightknit community, known for gathering students and faculty on Friday afternoons for fun social wind-down activities like competitive ping pong tournaments. The investment in the sense of community and achievement is a part of the department’s character. With computer science at MET, camaraderie is a fundamental component to success, and many computer science students take on roles working with the MET IT department, connecting socially even as they put their talents to work.

There is always meaningful programming to be found via the Computer Science department Events calendar. With the TECH Talks series, employers and industry experts visit with students to offer key insights into the latest trends, emerging challenges, and research. Students get intimate knowledge of the real-world applications of things like robotics and automation, and are even privy to insider scoops on hiring opportunities. When employers come to campus, students are encouraged to bring their résumés to discuss job and internship opportunities.

Computer science students at BU MET are also known to benefit from networking with peers who are already employed by the tech sector. The opportunities to share knowledge and life experiences are plentiful, whether through the Online Career Panel Series that sees panelists present their insights into job-hunting and interview techniques, or by the Computer Science Research Seminar Series, where graduate students get the chance to learn from top researchers in the computer science field about their current projects.

Vikash Sahu (MET’20) earned his MSCS in 2020. He attests that he and fellow 2020 graduates Anshu Goel and Asutosh Patra benefited from the steady guidance from Metropolitan College computer science professors. “The faculty helped guide us to the best stepping stones for building a successful future,” Sahu says. The trio landed prized research internships at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, thanks both to the support of Associate Professor of the Practice Eugene Pinsky and to the benefits of computer science career programming, which primed them with lessons about important trends in the field. “The connections that we gained from the TECH Talk series that MET organizes helped us a lot,” says Sahu, who now works as a software development engineer at Amazon.

BU MET Emphasizes Practical Application of IT Principles

Metropolitan College takes pride in ensuring that the principles you learn in the classroom can be applied immediately on the job.

“Our programs are different than many, tilted toward practical application rather than doctoral studies. It is vital for us to be aware of, and teaching, the latest products and technologies,” says Dr. Tanya Zlateva, dean of Metropolitan College. Dr. Zlateva, who earlier in her tenure served as the chair of the Computer Science department, notes BU MET’s commitment to rigorous academic standards, with courses that reflect clear, industry-relevant topics concerning the latest developments, approaches, and technologies within the industry.

This practical, hands-on education helps you to master emerging software technologies, applications, and approaches in real time, so that you are equipped to pursue new professional development goals even before you complete your studies.

“Most of our students are working in the industry, so a big motivator for them is to apply the techniques that they have learned from their classes in their careers,” says Dr. Kalathur. “They immediately see the benefit, and are often recognized by their peers as well.”

The computer science master’s curriculum at BU MET develops advanced understanding and command of software design, and ensures that you become proficient in programming, algorithms, operating systems, databases, software development, and the management of data, networks, or security.

The more recent explosion of mobile devices and the ensuing era of big data, with its impact on business, healthcare, marketing, machine learning, AI, and just about every other facet of the modern world, continues to provide exciting and challenging opportunities for BU MET graduates with highly sought-after education in information technology.

This data-driven approach is more and more in demand. “There has been an explosion of data analytics in practically all industry fields,” explains Dr. Lou Chitkushev, MET senior associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of computer science. “MET serves a very important leadership role in implementing educational programs to meet industry needs.”

As Dr. Pinsky describes, this expanded jurisdiction for computer scientists with knowledge of data-driven practices means greater opportunity. The needs for professionals who can learn and use data science and machine learning in everyday applications, even without an advanced command of mathematics, is growing. Machine learning and data science principles are now used in all manner of businesses, like algorithm-informed marketing, for example.

“In computational advertising, we try to solve the problem of finding the best advertisement for a given target,” Pinsky, who specializes in performance analysis, data science, and machine learning, explains. These applications require complex problem-solving tools and expertise in data mining, recommendation systems, optimization, and forecasting. “As data science and machine learning algorithms are increasingly employed in advertising and marketing, it becomes essential to have a basic understanding behind this science,” he says.

It’s one of many examples of the ways MET computer science faculty bring real-world relevance to the classroom for the benefit of students. In addition to lecturing in computer science, Dr. Edward Matthews is the senior security engineer for Partners Healthcare. An expert on networking, security orchestration, and the compatibility of security tools, Matthews has designed, tested, and deployed applications on government and enterprise system, and even has experience thwarting the kinds of high-profile cyberattacks organizations are keen to keep out of the media, having worked to rebuild what hackers destroyed.

Matthews loves the challenge of tracing data from the firewall through the internal systems (i.e., app servers, web servers, load balancers) to the database. It’s a passion he brings to his course, Network Security (MET CS 690), a requirement of the MSCS Computer Networks concentration. “I enjoy seeing students’ reactions to in-class exercises as they walk through how easy it is to carry out different attacks,” he says. By walking through a Structured Query Language (SQL) code cyber-attack that manipulates a database and gains access to potentially valuable information, students can visualize and see how such an attack works in real time, meanwhile learning transformative lessons about the importance of their work.

Meaningful Connections Between Research and Practice

AT MET, students benefit not only from learning from industry leaders—but even collaborating with them on key research. An accomplished expert in artificial intelligence, machine learning, networking, and analytics, Dr. Farshid Alizadeh-Shabdiz holds more than fifty patents, largely focusing on the area of beacon positioning.

Dr. Alizadeh-Shabdiz teaches Data Analysis and Visualization with R (MET CS 555) and Foundations of Analytics with R (MET CS 544), both of which are required courses for the MS in Computer Science with concentration in Data Analytics. Bulwark companies like Apple and Google license the patents of the senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), who got his start as part of the system and modem design team for the first three satellite-based mobile networks at Hughes Network Systems.

MET’s philosophy is rooted in real-world practicality, blending opportunities between academic research with the professional world. Looking back to his time as a student, it was an approach that Warren Mansur, who today teaches Database Design and Implementation for Business (MET CS 669), found invaluable to his career.

“I have found academic and industry experience to be synergistic in both directions,” he says. “As a technical manager, I often conduct research, see the results in action, and observe what works well for those using our business intelligence systems and what could be improved.” That dynamic, where theory and trials inform practice, provides indelible lessons for students, he explains. “Something may be technically sound, but there may be a usability issue that makes it less effective, so we must focus both on functionality and usability.”

As Dr. Chitkushev sees it, MET’s blend of research and teaching practical application is vital. “I’ve seen research faculty who are never exposed to students and that has a lot of disadvantages, because you don’t bounce your ideas off anyone, you’re not part of the process,” he says. “MET wasn’t designed just to train students. We focus on research that students can apply.”

As education director of information security for the Boston University Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security (RISCS), Dean Tanya Zlateva has some cause to be proud. “We were the first to develop cybersecurity programs,” she explains. Launched in 2004 thanks to the efforts of Dean Zlateva, Dr. Chitkushev, and BU’s College of Arts & Sciences, RISCS is dedicated to promoting research in system reliability and information security.

“That effort led to our information assurance curriculum being certified by the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS), and the Department of Defense soon designated Boston University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education and Research,” explains Chitkushev, who was instrumental in developing the information security curriculum for programs such as the MS in Computer Science with concentration in Security that led to Boston University’s National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security-certified recognition.

“RISCS is one of the most vibrant research centers at the university and one of the most successful,” Dean Zlateva says, adding that there is “no question” about its regard, whether judged by grants, image, or activity in the field.

Bryan Dina (MET’09), who earned his MS in Computer Science and Graduate Certificate in Information Security (’07), started with a single course in information security. “I took the first course and I was blown away. Based on that, I decided to pursue my master’s at BU,” he says. Today, Dina works as principal software engineer on the core engineering team at ChaosSearch, helping customers index cloud data through a fully managed search and analytics platform. One of MET’s countless success stories, Dina credits his time in a lively, committed classroom, full of eager learners as well as instructors, for his positive experience.

“During class discussions, I got a variety of firsthand perspectives on the theories we covered,” he says, affirming his decision to join the hallowed ranks of computer science students at Boston University Metropolitan College. “You learn a lot from other students’ personal experiences, not just from books.”

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