Professional Master’s Program – Program Details

Degree Requirements & Curriculum

Degree Requirements

Refer to the UW-Madison Guide for degree requirements. 

Prior Coursework

A student may apply up to 14 credits of prior course work to meet PMP requirements and must complete at least 16 credits in the PMP (to meet the current residency requirement). 

Coursework in Other Departments

Students enrolled in the Professional Master’s Program are not allowed to enroll in courses in other departments. Exceptions need to be approved by a faculty advisor.

Advising Requirements

At the start of the program and each semester thereafter, students will need to submit a tentative plan of study to be approved by their assigned faculty advisor. Students are welcome to meet with their assigned faculty advisor to further discuss their program plan of study.

Course Offerings

PMP courses are offered Monday Through Friday between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Currently we do not offer online courses, all courses are offered in person at UW-Madison during the traditional working day.

Internships

Internships are not required. However, students can earn credits for internships that are directly related to their degree.  International students may be qualified for internships after completing two consecutive semesters of in-person instruction.  International students must also complete a CPT request – information can be found here. Students may not do an internship and take on an assistantship within the same term.  Be aware that assistantship contracts begin August 21, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the difference between the Professional Master’s Program and the traditional MS Program?

The two programs differ primarily in how they evaluate applicants and who qualifies to apply to which program. The department does not have a stand-alone regular MS program. Instead, applicants to the traditional MS program or the PhD program are automatically considered for admission to the combined MS/PhD program. This admission process is highly competitive and evaluates applicants based primarily on their potential to do research and complete a Ph.D. Those offered admission can exit with an MS degree or a PhD degree.

In contrast, the Professional Master’s Program (PMP) is a terminal MS program. It targets working professionals who want to pursue an MS degree to further educate themselves, obtain cutting-edge knowledge in the fast-moving IT field, apply what they learn to their jobs, and seek career advancement. Furthermore, the PMP admission process evaluates applicants primarily on their potential to complete a challenging MS program at UW–Madison, not on their potential to do research leading to a PhD degree.

What if once in the PMP program, I change my mind and want to work toward a PhD degree?

You would need to apply to the academic track in computer sciences in order to undertake a PhD. Strong applicants have completed at least two semesters of PMP coursework.

What kind of MS degree would PMP participants receive?

The department grants only one MS degree, with two named options leading to it: the traditional MS program and the Professional Master’s Program. PMP graduates will receive the exact same MS degree that students in the traditional MS program receive. The designation on the diploma will read “Master of Science—Computer Sciences.” The transcript, however, will list the named option that leads to the degree: “Master of Science—Computer Sciences, Major: Computer Sciences, Option: Professional Program.”

Can international students apply to the PMP?

Yes. We have a large number of international students in our regular MS/PhD program, and we welcome international applicants for the PMP.

I am an international student. May I participate in the program long-distance?

At the moment, our PMP does not yet support this option. You would need to be present on the Madison campus. If you accept our offer of admission, the Graduate School will send an I-20 form that you can use to apply for a visa to come to the UW–Madison campus to study.

Is the GRE required for the PMP application?

No, the Professional Master’s Program Committee made the decision in fall of 2022 to no longer require the GRE for PMP applications.

May I apply for financial aid?

Direct financial support from the CS Professional Master’s Program is not available. However, students can contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss federal loan programs and other lending opportunities. Students interested in financial assistance should call Student Financial Aid at (608) 262-3060.

Am I eligible for a graduate assistantship?

Students enrolled in the Professional Master’s Program in the Department of Computer Sciences may accept graduate assistantships (including those above 33.33%); however, they will not receive the tuition remission that is typically part of the compensation package for a graduate assistantship.

I’m an international student and want to connect with other international students, experience US/Wisconsin culture, and maybe practice my English conversational skills. What resources are available?

International Student Services (ISS) on the UW-Madison campus has a number of resources for students interested in getting involved on campus, connecting with other students, practicing English, and cultural exchange. These include the Global Café, Practicing English And Cultural Exchange (PEACE), and more!

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Can I apply to both the traditional MS/PhD program and the PMP?

Yes. When you apply, you will eventually see a page titled “Program Selection,” with three options: traditional MS, PhD, and professional MS. You can select any combination of these three. If the combination that you select includes traditional MS or PhD, you will be evaluated for the traditional MS/PhD program (based primarily on your potential to do research and complete the PhD program, as mentioned earlier). If the combination that you select includes professional MS, you will be evaluated for the PMP (based primarily on your potential to complete the Professional Master’s Program).

If you are admitted into both programs, you may decide which one to attend.

Keep in mind that the deadline for the traditional MS or PhD is December 15, while the application deadline for PMP is March 15. If you apply after December 15, you will only be considered for the PMP. Applications received after this date for the traditional MS/PhD will not be reviewed.

How long does it take to complete the PMP?

A student taking two courses per semester can finish the PMP within two years. The program is designed such that two courses per semester constitutes a manageable workload for a working professional who attends the PMP part time. (Of course, both international and domestic students are welcome to attend the PMP full time.)

Can I do an internship during the PMP?

Yes. Our students in the traditional MS/PhD program have often applied for and completed internships during the summer following the first year of study. They have interned at numerous high-tech companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft, and many of them have received job offers even after the first year of study. We encourage our PMP students to apply for internships to deepen their academic knowledge and to gain further work experience. If you complete an internship in the summer after the first year of study, it can be counted toward CS 702 (Cooperative Education) credits. (See the program’s degree requirements).

How much does the program cost?

Costs are listed on the Tuition and Fees page of the Office of the Registrar. For an estimated cost, choose the most recent term and “Graduate or Most Capstone Certificates.”

What should be in my personal statement?

We use the personal statement (also known as “reasons for graduate study” or “statement of purpose”) to better understand your background in computer sciences, and to evaluate your potential to complete the Professional Master’s Program at UW–Madison. Any information you provide to help with the above goals is appreciated. If there is anything else you would like us to know, this is also the place to include it.

If I apply to both the regular MS and the PMP, do I have to submit two separate personal statements?

No. In this case, you may upload the same personal statement for both programs.

Whom should I contact if I still have questions?

We welcome further questions. Please contact our Professional Programs Coordinator.

How competitive is the admissions process for this program?

Computer Sciences graduate programs at UW-Madison are competitive, but we encourage any student who is interested and believes they are qualified to apply. We encourage you to review the Graduate School’s admissions and enrollment data.

How does course advising work?

Students in the program are assigned both a faculty and general academic advisor. The faculty advisor is typically the one to make course recommendations, whereas the academic advisor is usually better able to answer questions regarding policies.

What resources do I have for finding housing in Madison?

The Graduate School maintains information for new graduate students, which includes information on housing.

Frequently Asked Questions - Admitted & Current Students

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When and where do I register for courses?

Enrollment is through Course Search and Enroll located in your MyUW account. To review directions on how to enroll, click here. Enrollment dates and deadlines can be found here: https://registrar.wisc.edu/dates/.

How is it verified that I meet the prerequisites if I did my undergrad courses outside UW Madison?

Many courses will not need verification of prerequisite work since you meet the Graduate/Professional Standing. If that statement is present, then the course only looks for that status to grant enrollment permission.

How many 700 level courses are required?

What is the overall enrollment process for CS702 graduate cooperative education?

Does the CS department help with internships?

When job and internship opportunities are sent to CS faculty and staff, they forward that information on to graduate students through their wisc.edu email. Since the Professional Master’s Program does not require internships, students are responsible for finding their own internships.

How do I find out about opportunities to be hired as a departmental hourly employee?

The Department of Computer Sciences typically hires hourly students in reader/grader positions for fall and spring semesters.  An application is shared with PMP students via email when there is a need.

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What courses should I take?

Course selection can be discussed with your faculty advisor or program coordinator. Students can take a minimum of 2 credits per term to be an active graduate student or a maximum of 15 credits.  The PMP Committee recommends students take between 6 to 10 credits per semester.  If you are an international student it is required to enroll in a minimum of 8 credits per fall and spring term.

I am a new fall PMP student and noticed many CS courses are already full and waitlists have been started. Do I still have a chance to enroll in these courses?

Yes, the enrollment team manages enrollment and will be in contact with you through your wisc.edu email address when courses become available.

What is the seminar course CS 900?

CS 900 is a 1 credit Advanced Seminar Course in Computer Sciences, where students attend a minimum of 4 seminars that are offered by various groups in the department or department-wide colloquiums during the semester in which they’re enrolled in the course.  This course can be taken at most 3 times and counts towards the remaining credits received for courses at 400 level or higher.

Can I do an internship during a semester?

Yes, however if you are an international student, please follow the CPT guidelines.

How do I know what courses are offered in the next few semesters?

The Computer Sciences Department offers a wide variety of classes, and generally our most popular classes are offered every semester and occasionally in the summer. Many foundational courses are offered every semester.

Do you offer many courses in the evening?

Most CS courses are offered Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm. The Department of Computer Sciences does teach two courses per term at Epic Systems in Verona, WI for the Professional Capstone students.

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Application Process for Add/Change Program (Current Students)

Students who have already begun graduate school (i.e. have completed at least one course as a graduate student) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and wish to switch into the CS Professional Master’s Program (PMP) must follow these instructions to apply.

Since PMP is a professional program, students cannot be concurrently enrolled in PMP and another graduate program, which includes PhD programs. A student who applies to PMP while in another degree program will either need to finish that degree program by the admission term for PMP. If they will have not finished their other degree, they will need to discontinue their current program and change to PMP.

Application Materials & Process

Students will need to apply to add PMP or change to the program.

Fill out the change or add program form via the Graduate Portal.

  • Candidates who would discontinue their existing program and change to only PMP will submit a change program form.
  • Candidates who will complete their existing program before starting PMP will submit an add program form.

Submit the following as PDF files via email to pmp-admissions@cs.wisc.edu:

  • Completed PMP Internal Add/Change Program Application Form
    • This form can be filled out electronically.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • UW-Madison unofficial transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • Please have recommenders email the letters to pmp-admissions@cs.wisc.edu directly. Recommenders should send letters via a verifiable work email and will ideally use company letterhead. Please have recommenders reference who their letters are for in the body of their email.
  • (Optional) Upload other materials to be considered with your application. Alternatively, you can supply URLs for additional materials via the internal form above.
    • (e.g. thesis, project, or research paper)

You must also have your current graduate program send a PDF copy of your original Graduate School application to pmp-admissions@cs.wisc.edu.

The deadline for Fall 2024 is March 15, 2024. Early decisions for Fall 2024 may be communicated if the application is received by February 15, 2024. PMP only admits for fall terms. We do not consider applications for spring or summer term admission.

Questions can be addressed to the program manager at pmp-admissions@cs.wisc.edu.

NOTE: students who are admitted as internal candidates to PMP will have their applicable credits from their current/previous program(s) evaluated on a case-by-case basis for use in PMP.

Professional Master's Program Manager

Kyle Martinez

Graduate Program Manager

klmartinez@wisc.edu

Nibedita Pattnaik

Graduate Academic Program Specialist - PCP

pcp-admissions@cs.wisc.edu