A little background on my question. I recently gradated with my BS in Computer Information Systems and am looking to pursue a Master's program. I am also married with 3 children. I am looking for advice on which path to take. The two paths I am looking into are to either take on the Master of Computer Science in Computer Science program at Colorado State University or the Master of Science in Computer Science program at Boise State University.

The reasons I am looking into CSU's program is because it able to be completed 100% online. With my recent departure from the military, starting a new career, and the fact that I have taken many online classes in the past push me toward this program.

I am torn by BSU's program because the CSU program does not have a thesis requirement while BSU's does. My plans are to continue on to a PhD program at some point so the benefits of completing a thesis seem rather large. I am also local to BSU and would be able to complete the program as a traditional student. However, that "traditional student" status is sort of my deterring factor. As a father of 3 children, it would be very difficult to be gone most nights at class.

A long story short, is completing a thesis worth the stress that it would put on my family to have to take night classes? Would I be just as competitive for a PhD program later by completing CSU's Master's program? To be clear, I am not asking for a comparison of the two different programs.


I think that it is partially depends on an institution that you plan to or, eventually, will be studying toward the Ph.D. degree. Note my emphasis on "partially", perhaps, I could have used "somewhat" or, even, "potentially". The implies that it might have some impact or it might not. If you don't plan to attend a Ph.D. program at a top university, then I would think that it will have a minimal effect in terms of admission. However, from a perspective of gaining experience in semi-dissertation-level-writing, the thesis option could be useful to you. However, at the end of the day, IMHO family should be a priority and, thus, I would suggest choosing the route that puts less strain on your family. It is possible to graduate in a Ph.D. program with a dissertation after previously graduating in a 100% online Master's program - I am speaking here from my own personal experience. It is somewhat more difficult, but doable. Again, family should be a priority in my book. Good luck!

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    I appreciate the response. It is good to here the possibilities from someone who has "been there and done that". Your response will aid me in my decision greatly. My main reason to looking into a program with a thesis requirement was for the future. However, if this is not a solid requirement then this sort of program is looking less attractive. Jun 28 '15 at 23:28
  • @MattRowland: My pleasure. Just don't base your decision on a single answer, even if it's mine :-). Hopefully, you'll get some more helpful opinions. Jun 29 '15 at 0:11
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    I wouldn't never base such a large decision on a single factor and I hope nobody else would either. Jun 29 '15 at 5:55

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