My Background: I am an EE graduate, working in a Software Company from last 2+ years as an Application Developer(Java & J2EE). Recently I started thinking of going back to college and do my Master's in CS, as most of the jobs in industry require a degree in CS.

Country of Residence: India

Countries of Interest for University Applications: US, UK, Australia and EU.

I have noticed that there are prerequisites to get admitted to those programs. Specifically, I need to have completed courses in Data Structures, Algorithms, Operating Systems, Theory of Computation, Compilers and Computer Networks. My undergraduate degree did have courses like Computer Networks, but nothing else.

In some other Universities, I can get admitted to MS in CS, but then I need to complete those courses at the College before starting graduate school coursework. I understand all of those things, as I took various Computer Science Courses online. I understand all the things that there are in undergraduate Computer Science Course. So here are my options:-

1) Take a post-bacc Course in computer science. (That Costs a lot in money and Time)

2) Do Nothing and apply without requirements being completed and let them decide whether or not I should enroll in UG CS courses at college.

3) Do some online Computer Science courses on edX, Coursera and show them that.

Which one of them is more favourable to a person working in Software Industry with an EE background?

4 Answers 4


I had two bachelors in Music and Art, minors in Marketing and CS. I then held a Computer Science career. When I went into the CS Masters program 7 years after obtaining my last bachelor degree, I had several deficiencies. I was accepted with two understandings. (1) I will complete the deficiency courses that are prerequisites to Masters courses I am to take, and (2) my current career in CS demonstrates I have the aptitude to succeed despite my entering the program with deficiencies.

I believe your best option is your #2, to enter the Masters program and complete the deficiencies in your coursework. When you write your letter of intent for application to the Masters program, I would describe these two aspects as they apply to your situation, personality, and drive to complete your degree.

Your other option for the US market is your #1, to complete the deficiencies from an accredited institution, then transfer the completed coursework with you when you apply. You must be careful with this option, to ensure the University you are to apply for a masters with will accept the coursework from the other institution. Before taking the coursework, it is best to call the University to ensure the courses will transfer.

This other option is best if you are under the following circumstances:

  1. Currently working, and can take the deficiencies at night through an online University, or through a local college offering.
  2. You will save money/time from taking the deficiencies from the alternate institute.

Your option #3 will not work, as they require the coursework credit from an accredited institution. Internationally, they usually require a demonstrated bachelors degree in CS. But post-bacc work needs to be completed as previously described.

Otherwise, you are best to just enroll in the University Master program and take the deficiencies there.

When I took the deficiencies for my masters program, I'd take deficiency courses one semester, and then the Masters courses that required the deficiency the next semester. In this way, except for the first semester, I was taking at least one Masters course every semester. Look at the University course catalog to see which courses have the least number of prerequisites that are your deficiencies, and then take those deficiencies first.


New York University offers a preparatory accelerated course in computer science specifically for people in your situation. Check the "What material is covered in the PAC Program?" section in the link below to see what they expect an incoming master's student to know:



In the US, it will depend on the school.

At my university they rely heavily on testing for foreign students, because the course on algorithms that is accepted as standard in your country may or may not be comparable to the algorithms course here. This is bad news if you pay a lot of money for a course that doesn't give you the preparation to pass the exam, but great news if you learned the material on your own (or through Coursera, for example) and were able to pass the test.


Maybe you should add your country of residence to your question since this might affect the answer. In Germany, only 1) would be accepted since all others are not from an accredited institution.

It might be possible to enroll to a program and do all exams in one semester, but you should check this in advance.

  • Country of Residence: India, And Countries of Interest for University Applications: US, UK, EU and Australia.
    – user12618
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 19:25

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