Applications for the MSCS program are accepted online. Create your online application account and upload your application items. After submitting, your application is not considered complete until your letters of recommendation are received and your application materials are verified.
For Fall admission, completed applications will be reviewed starting in late December until the priority deadline on March 1st. Applications are accepted and reviewed after the deadline on a case-by-case basis. The review process takes approximately 3 to 6 weeks.
See the Application Process FAQ for additional information.
You must already have a Bachelors degree, preferably in CS or similar fields. Three year Bachelors degrees are accepted for admission review.
You may still apply if you have a Bachelors degree in an unrelated field, but need to demonstrate you have an equivalent background to match the majority of the prerequisite courses required for admission. We are specifically looking for background in the following areas (either through coursework, work experience, or research experience):
- High-Level Programming (CS 110)
e.g. C, Python
- Object-Oriented Programming (CS 112)
e.g. Java, C++, C#, Objective-C
- Data Structures and Algorithms (CS 245)
- Computer Architecture (CS 315) -or- Operating Systems (CS 326)
- Linear Algebra and Probability (MA 201)
- Discrete Math (MA 202)
The following are recommended but not required for admission:
- Compilers (CS 414) -or- Programming Languages (CS 345)
- Calculus and Analytic Geometry (MA 109)
Those who have not fulfilled all of the above requirements will still be considered for admission.
See the Required Background FAQ for more information.
Required Application Items
All applicants must create an online application and upload the following items:
A transcript from each college, community college, study abroad program, and university attended.
You may upload unofficial transcripts for review. You do not need to send official transcripts unless admitted into the program.
A background essay describing your background in computer science and software development. See below for additional details.
At least two letters of recommendation from professors and supervisors.
Official general GRE test scores. We look primarily at the quantitative score. See the Application Requirements FAQ for average test scores.
All international students must also submit a English language test score, translated transcripts, a copy of the first page of their passport, and a completed Certification of Finance form. See the International Graduate Students Guide for more details.
For more information, see the Grad Program FAQ and the official Application Instructions from the Office of Graduate Programs.
Please do not send any application items to the Department of Computer Science.
CS Background Essay
The CS Background Essay describes your background in computer science and software development, including research and work experiences. This statement is used in conjunction with your other application items to evaluate your eligibility for admission and scholarship. Topics in your statement may include:
Any significant software development projects in which you have been involved. Please describe the project, its purpose (commercial, academic, or just for fun), and your role and contributions.
Any research projects in which you have been involved. Please describe the project, whether it resulted in any publications, and your role and contributions.
Any significant skills and interests you have beyond computer science, especially those that demonstrate creativity and problem solving.
Any experience in communicating technical material in English, such as teaching or making presentations.
Any management or team leadership roles you have held.
Any experience in public or community service projects.
If you have a non-CS background and are missing several prerequisite courses, include an argument on how your background has prepared you for our program.
If you have low scores in the past, include an argument and alternative evidence that you will be able to maintain a 3.0 GPA or above in the program.
The essay should be 1 to 3 pages single-spaced in 12 point font with 1 inch margins. Essays that do not conform to these specifications will not be read.
Test and GPA Requirements
The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) general exam is required. We consider primarily the quantitative score, and do not consider the verbal score. See the Application Requirements FAQ for the average and minimum required GRE scores.
The GRE may be waived for applicants with exceptional professional or academic experience. See the Application Requirements FAQ for details.
An official TOEFL, IELTS or PTE score is required of international applicants. See the Application Requirements FAQ for the average and minimum required TOEFL scores.
There is no strict GPA (grade point average) requirement for admission to the graduate program. However, if admitted, applicants must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) to graduate.
We offer a limited number of merit-based scholarships to incoming graduate students (both domestic and international) on a competitive basis, and other financial aid opportunities are available. See Financing Your Education for more details.
Check your online application frequently to monitor the status of your application. You can check your application status online.
You must upload all required documents before submitting your application. Once you submit your application, it will be considered incomplete until we receive your letter of recommendations. Your application will not be reviewed until it is marked as completed.
Applicants are notified by email when an admission decision has been made and posted to the applicant's online account.
When an application is submitted, verified, and marked as complete, it will be reviewed by the MSCS program. The program reviews applicants starting in late December and early January, and the process typically takes 3 to 6 weeks after the application is complete.
If accepted into the program, applicants will receive an acceptance letter via email and an admission package in the mail. If you are awarded a scholarship, details will be included in the acceptance letter.
Your admission packet will include information on the required deposit, registration, and orientation. See Next Steps for details. You are also welcome to email the graduate advisor if you have any questions.