G Computer Sci

Grad Program FAQ

Admission and Application Process

What is the admission process for applicants?

Each application is reviewed by the MSCS Admission Committee, which is chaired by Professor Sophie Engle.
Department of Computer Science phone: +1 415 422 6530

What are the admission requirements for MSCS?

Visit How to Apply for more information on the admission requirements, application process and required application items.

Is there an Orientation for new students?

Yes. Before classes begin, all computer science graduate students must attend a one-day, Computer Science Orientation. The Orientation is held one or two days before classes begin. During this orientation you are advised about courses and you register for classes for the fall semester. The orientation is typically held in Harney Hall, Room 235. The building code is HR on this map.

International students must also attend the International Student Orientation.

All new students are also encouraged to go to the University's Graduate Student Welcome Reception for all graduate students.

Is an admission deposit required?

Yes. Please follow the instructions that you receive at the time of admission. The admission deposit for M.S. in Computer Science is $500. You can pay your admission deposit through GuestPay on the QuikPAY payment system.

For international students, GuestPay also accepts wire transfers. If you submit an international deposit, there is a 2- to 5-day delay in the receipt of your deposit at USF because it is an international wire transfer.

How do I check my application status?

You check the status of your application by logging into your online application account. Note that applications remain in the Office of Graduate Programs until all submitted application items and letters of recommendation have been verified. All verified and completed applications are sent to the department for admission review.

It usually takes four to six weeks for a decision to be made once an application is complete. You are emailed your admission decision, and you can also check your admission decision in your application account. If you are admitted to the program, then an official decision letter is mailed to you once you accept your offer of admission.

What is the average GRE score?

The average GRE quantitative score for accepted applications is 159. The program may accept applicants whose quantitative GRE score is 155 or above. The minimum AW score is 3.5 for non-native English speakers. The verbal GRE score is not considered in the admission process. Score averages are followed unless if an applicant has significant work experience in the software development field.

The USF school codes for GRE score reports are:

USF : 6996 or 4850
CS Dept : 0402

Please verify these codes with ETS in case of changes.

What TOEFL or IELTS score is required?

Please click here for the MSCS policy on English Proficiency skills (including TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE guidelines and scores) for international students.

What is a Certification of Finance?

TheCertification of Finance Form is required for all international students who will hold an F1 visa. This form is required by all U.S. schools in order to show evidence that the student has enough financial support to pay for tuition and living expenses. The student and any sponsors complete and sign the Certification of Finance Form, and provide a bank letter or balance statement showing the estimated cost of the MSCS Program, or more. You can find detailed instructions on how to complete the Certification of Finance on the form itself. If you receive a fellowship from your government or another organization, a fellowship award letter is required and will apply toward the estimated cost on the Certification of Finance.

Tuition, Financial Aid, and Other Expenses

What is the cost of tuition?

For graduate program tuition for the M.S. in Computer Science please click here.

For payment methods please click here.

For payment plans, click here.

For payment policies, click here.

Do I need health insurance?

All students are automatically enrolled in USF's health insurance plan. U.S. students can choose to opt out of USF's health insurance plan if they are currently enrolled under a health insurance plan that is of equivalent coverage. For more information about USF's health insurance plan or how to waive it, please click here.

What will my housing/living expenses be?

Preferable housing: Most graduate students prefer to live off campus in one of the many apartments in the neighborhoods around USF.

Average rent for 2-bedroom hall apt: $2,400 (3 can live in such an apartment, so around $800 per student). Deposit for house: first months rent.

Average monthly expense including food and light, gas, and all utilities: $500-$600

You should start looking for roommates as soon as possible. The University provides off-campus advice for housing.

If one wants to live alone, a studio (one room + kitchen + bathroom) will be around $1,400 per month.

Can I have a job to help pay for school?

Yes, both American and international students may decide to take the practicum option, which allows exceptional International and domestic students to work after the second semester.

Also there is a webpage on the USF website that lists other on-campus jobs. The computer science department also has a number of TA positions, though they do not come with a tuition waiver.

You can also check with Residence Life; they offer a few Graduate Assistantships that are the only full-support graduate positions on campus. Experience with managing undergraduate dorm life is required, but they do interview over the phone, so the support can appear on an I-20.

All graduate students who desire employment usually find campus jobs--all such jobs pay hourly wages only, no tuition waiver or other benefits. Currently teacher's assistants and research assistants make $12/hour, except for service courses. Internships for working graduate students are about $20/hour. Students are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week.

Does the MSCS Program offer fellowships?

Yes. Fellowships are competitive, and can range from $2,000 to $15,000. All applicants are considered for fellowships at time of admission. There is no main determining factor, but the Computer Science Experience and Background Essay tells us a great deal about you. Fellowship competition occurs until March 1 each year and money is applied starting in the Fall term usually. If fellowship money remains, then it will be offered to students for the Spring term.

Some students may also be interested in the Soros fellowship for "New Americans". The fellowship provide $20K spending money and 1/2 tuition for one year. The deadline is November 9, 2012.

Eligibility: "A New American is an individual who (1) is a resident alien; i.e., holds a Green Card or, (2) has been naturalized as a U.S. citizen or (3) is the child of two parents who are both naturalized citizens

International Students

What visa do I need to study at USF?

As an international student you will enter the United States for studies by applying for an F-1 or J-1 student visa. Almost all international students study in the program on an F-1 visa. Or, if you are already in the United States on a different visa, you may choose to remain on your current visa (for example, H1B) or change your current visa to an F-1 visa. As soon as we verify your Certification of Finance, you will receive your I-20. If you are an international F-1 student currently living in the U.S., please contact the Computer Science Office (415-422-6530) to get a SEVIS I-20 form. Note that some students try several times before successfully obtaining a visa.

Does a scholarship from USF influence the ability to obtain a visa?

No. Receiving a scholarship from USF does not influence the ability to obtain a visa. If you are admitted and have a completed a certificate of finance along with an I-20, we encourage you to try for a visa right away. Students may need to try several times before successfully obtaining a visa, so we encourage students to try multiple times if necessary.

As an international student, can I contact other students from my country to help me get oriented in the US?

Yes, we have a very diverse student population. We can have students from your region who can contact you to help out. The two largest non-U.S. groups are Chinese and Indian students.


What do I need to do about the graduation ceremony?

  1. Fill out an application for graduation and commencement and fax or mail the completed form to:
    USF Graduation Center
    2130 Fulton St.
    San Francisco, CA 94117
    Fax: (415) 422-6329, or
  2. File the form on line:
    Go to USF web site, under Current Students click on Registrars, click on forms, select "Graduating Student survey and ..." submit the form.

Application dead line is: Fall - September 1st. Spring and Summer - February 1st. You'll find hard copies of the form in Rosa Maria's (CS dept) office, HR 545.

Diplomas are not issued until all outstanding accounts with the University are paid.