Master of Science in Applied Computer Science

The user-friendly master's degree in applied computer science, designed to help you break into the information technology field.

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Break into IT Through Applied Computer Science

At Southern Adventist University, we put your future at the forefront of every program. Whether you want to break into the IT space or advance your current career, your investment in an advanced degree should help you land a career aligned with your interests. 

If you have the drive and ambition to improve your skillset and advance your career, we're here to help. The road ahead may feel unclear. We'll help you determine if an MS in Applied Computer Science is the right path for you and provide clarity around next steps. 

The IT and computing field is growing rapidly. There's never been a better time to stand out in this high-demand field.

Contrary to popular belief, an extensive technical background is not required to get started in IT.

If you're interested in a job in the IT field but aren't sure how to break into the space, a degree from Southern can help. Here, you'll learn the hard skills you'll need to succeed in a career in computing, data analytics, IT, programing, and beyond.

First, let's take a look at what the applied computer science field can offer you. Or, skip ahead to our program details if you're ready.

male network administrator working on computer

Why Study Applied Computer Science?

Applied computer science is different than computer science and encompasses in-demand skills across several sub-disciplines, including computer science, data analytics, cybersecurity, and web development. As more companies rely on technology, the skills you develop in a master's program will apply to virtually any industry.

A master's in applied computer science can help you grow into a more technical role within your current field or break into a new career in IT. It's easier to get into applied computer science than you may think, thanks to this program being designed specifically for students who lack a technical background. This new venture may be your ticket to a successful new career. 

female it professional performing data analysis on computer

The Growing Need for Data Analytics

  • According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the world's data is experiencing a compounded annual growth rate of 61% and will grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025.
  • Research by Gartner found that poor data quality costs organizations $9.7 million per year.
  • In the U.S. alone, businesses lose $3.1 trillion annually due to poor data quality, according to discoveries by IBM.

Read: How Do You Become a Data Analyst?

Opportunities in the Booming IT Field

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that IT jobs are projected to grow by 11% from 2019 to 2029, a faster rate than all other occupations
  • According to IBM, the average cost of a cybersecurity breach is $3.86 million 
  •  The growing shift to remote work has created an increasing need for IT and cybersecurity support
male network administrator in server room

What Can You Do with a Master's Degree in Applied Computer Science?

One of the biggest appeals of applied computer science is that you get to select your specializations based on your areas of interest. In addition to its foundational computer science skills (like programming, algorithms, and networking), applied computer science allows you to develop specialized skills in the area of IT that stand out to you, like data analytics. Here's a look at some career paths you could follow depending on your area of interest:

Computer Science

If you enjoy math and problem solving and can see yourself working with computer software and hardware, then applied computer science could be a good fit for you. You could become a:

  • Network Architect/Administrator
  • Programmer
  • Software Developer
  • Chief Technology Officer



If you enjoy problem solving and can see yourself working to protect against digital threats and attacks, then a career in cybersecurity could be the way to go for you. You could become a:

  • Information Security Analyst
  • IT Security Engineer
  • Cybersecurity Engineer
  • Chief Information Security Officer


Data Analytics

If you can see yourself working with large sets of data to pull meaningful insights, then a career in data analytics could be a solid path for you. You could become a:

  • Data Analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Database Administrator
  • Data Visualization Engineer

We have a guide all about jumpstarting your career with data analytics. Check it out here!

Web Development

If you enjoy coding and can see yourself building and improving websites, then a career in web development might suit you. You could become a:

  • Web Developer
  • Front End Developer
  • Full Stack Developer
  • UI/UX Designer

What Salaries Do IT Professionals Earn?

Depending on your area of specialization, the industry, and your job, you can expect an annual salary in the range of $60,000 - $80,000 with the potential to earn $100,000+ in more senior positions. Here's a quick look at the average annual salaries for some of the careers listed above.

Data Analyst
Web Developer
Database Administrator
Information Security Analyst
Network Architect
Chief Technology Officer
Chief Information Security Officer

Regardless of your current technical background, you can break into the IT field with a master's degree in applied computer science.

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Access Our Guide "How Data Analytics Can Jumpstart Your Career"

If you're looking to break into the IT space, data analytics skills can be your ticket to a career you love. We put together a comprehensive guide on the data analytics industry and how to build a career with this specialization, including:

  • What data analytics is and why it's important
  • The industries and jobs that data analytics opens up for you
  • How to fast track into a data analytics career 
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The MS in Applied Computer Science with Specializations

The IT field is full of opportunity, but it may not feel accessible to working professionals who lack an extensive technical background. That's why we created our MS in Applied Computer Science program, a user-friendly graduate degree program that equips you with the skills and certifications that will distinguish you in the IT field.

female network administrator in server room

Following the primary opportunity areas in the IT space, we designed our program with the option to select two of any four specialized certifications so students can craft the degree that they want. 

Computer Science Certificate

Gain a user-friendly foundational understanding of computer science and programming across a range of applications. Courses cover topics including:

  • Algorithms
  • System Software and Architecture
  • Databases

Cyber Security Certificate

This certificate focuses on technical skills, ethical hacking, and defending servers against hacking. Courses cover topics including:

  • Offensive Cybersecurity
  • Cyber Forensics
  • Cryptography

Data Analytics Certificate

Build a strong foundation for data analytics with a special emphasis on programming, query languages, database design, and UX/UI. Courses cover topics including:

  • Databases and Data Warehouses
  • Data Mining and Analytics
  • Data Visualization

Web Development Certificate

Establish yourself by developing skills in mobile app development and languages such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Courses cover topics including:

  • User Experience
  • Databases and Data Warehouses
  • Website Programming Languages

What You'll Learn in this Program

Our MS in Applied Computer Science program doesn't just teach you the why, it also covers the how—you'll learn the theory and background behind the core topics in your area of interest within a practical, realistic context that you can apply directly to your career.

Alongside the in-demand skills you'll develop within your specializations of choice, our program will get you up-to-speed on core IT areas including:

  • Fundamentals of Applied Computer Science
  • Databases and Data Warehouses
  • Issues in Computer Science and Religion
  • Programming
  • Computer Networking
male applied computer science student working on computer

Is Southern's Program Right for You?

Who this Program is for

Southern's MS in Applied Computer Science program is designed for professionals who want to break into the IT field but lack a background or undergraduate degree in the technical space. Our program is a great fit for:

  • People with non-technical bachelor's degrees and some technical aptitude or interest
  • Working professionals in IT who want to grow their management skills or re-certify specialized skills
  • People interested in switching to a new career in the IT industry
  • People interested in moving into an IT position within their current profession

Basic Eligibility for this Program

To open this opportunity to students regardless of their current technical backgrounds, we have some basic program entry requirements in place: 

  1. Baccalaureate degree from a recognized accredited institution in any area of study

  2. One year of computer programming coursework or CPTR 502
    Note: some courses have additional prerequisites that must be satisfied before taking graduate courses.


Looking for More Program Information?

We're happy to tell you more about the program specifics, requirements, and admissions. Request more information to connect directly with a program director who can answer your questions about Southern's MS in Applied Computer Science.

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Meet the Faculty Who Created Southern's MS in Applied Computer Science Program

We're so excited to hear that you may be interested in pursuing a career in IT! With more than 50 years of combined technical experience, we're thrilled to offer a program that enables anyone interested in IT to break into this growing space.

If you don't have much of a technical background, there is no need to feel intimidated or under-qualified. Everyone has to start somewhere, and we designed this user-friendly program specifically for people in your position.

We welcome you to learn more about this opportunity to break into the IT field and how our program sets you up for the next step in your career. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions!

More Resources to Help You Break into the IT Space

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Why Southern?

A graduate degree from Southern equips you with practical skills that will transfer directly into your career. Our private, faith-based graduate programs are designed to help you reach your personal and professional goals and arrive at your desired career path—all at a public school price.

More flexible. More affordable. More valuable—get your MS in Applied Computer Science degree from Southern!

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