Apply Now for 2024

The Fall 2024 application is now open. The program will continue to accept applications until it reaches capacity. Please consider applying as soon as possible if you would like to be considered for Fall.

Application Instructions

The application process is entirely online. Please complete and/or upload all of the items listed below to your application account. There is no need to mail items to our office.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is required, preferably with previous quantitative coursework experience. The program accepts three-year bachelor's degrees from international applicants.

Applicants are required to have completed at least one college-level introduction to computer science course that introduces variables, control structures, structured data types, and functions.

Required Background
Introduction to Programming

Preferred Background
Data Structures

Research and Work Experience

Demonstrating you are a strong student through extensive academic and research experience can make up for missing background. Make sure you include transcripts for all other degrees and courses completed in your application, and describe any research projects you worked on in your CS background essay.

We will also consider work experience related to software development when evaluating your background. Please include this experience on your resume or curriculum vitae, and describe the programming projects you worked on (with the languages and tools you used) in your essay.

Statement of Purpose

For the statement of purpose, please provide a background essay that describes your educational background, relevant research and work experience, and why you are interested in pursuing graduate education in computer science. This statement is used in conjunction with your other application items to evaluate your eligibility for admission and scholarship. Topics in your essay may include:

  • 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
  • Research projects in which you have been involved. Please describe the project, whether it resulted in any publications, and your role and contributions
  • Significant skills and interests you have beyond computer science, especially those that demonstrate creativity and problem solving
  • Experience in communicating technical material in English, such as teaching or making presentations
  • Management or team leadership roles you have held
  • Experience in public or community service projects

If you had 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 one to three pages single-spaced in 12 point font with one-inch margins. Essays that do not conform to these specifications will not be read.

Tests and GPA Requirements

The GRE General test is required. The program primarily considers the quantitative score. The average quantitative GRE score is 163. Applications with a quantitative score below 155 are generally not competitive.

GRE waiver: Applicants with five or more years of experience as a software engineer may request a GRE waiver.  To be considered for a GRE waiver, please start an online application, upload your resume and college-level transcript(s), then send an email to

For international applicants, an English Language exam score is required. For more information on accepted test formats and exceptions please visit the English Language Proficiency page.

USF school code for GRE and TOEFL is 4850.

Letters of Recommendation

A minimum of two recommendation letters are required for your application (four letters maximum). Follow the instructions in the online application to provide the contact information for your recommenders.

You may submit your application before your recommenders upload their letters.


Applicants may be invited for an interview via telephone or video-chat. Admission interviews should not be requested, as they will be determined by the admission committee.

International Applicants

Scholarship Eligibility

International students are eligible and automatically considered for all MSCS scholarships. See our Financing Your Education page for details.

Receiving a scholarship from USF does not influence the ability to obtain a visa. We encourage you to apply for a visa as soon as you receive your I-20. Students may need to try several times before successfully obtaining a visa, so we encourage students to try multiple times if necessary.

Work Eligibility

The majority of international students are able to work on-campus, and are eligible to work off-campus via the MSCS practicum option after one academic year.

Learn more on ISSS

Review Process


Your application will not be reviewed until it is marked as completed. You must upload all required documents before submitting your application. Once you submit your application, it will be considered incomplete until we receive your letters of recommendation and your application materials are verified.


When an application is marked as complete, it will be sent to the MSCS Admission Review Committee. The review process takes approximately three to six weeks after the application is completed. For fall admission, completed applications are reviewed starting in early January.

Some applicants may be invited for an interview via telephone or video-chat.

Applications are accepted and reviewed after the deadline until the program is full, and we maintain a wait list until mid-summer. Please note that international applicants should apply early so that there is ample time for the visa application process.


Applicants are notified by email when an admission decision has been made and posted to the applicant's online account.

Admitted Students


If you are admitted, an admission deposit of $700 is required to reserve your space in the program. The deposit is applied toward your first-semester tuition.

The program has limited space. If you do not deposit by the deposit deadline, your space in the program is offered to someone on the waiting list.

Acceptance Letter

If accepted into the program, applicants will receive an acceptance letter via email and an admission package in the mail. Your admission packet will include information on the required deposit, registration, and orientation. If you are awarded a scholarship, details will be included in the acceptance letter.


Students register for courses online during orientation. Tuition payment is made immediately after registration. Visit our Student Enrollment Services Office for more information. You must pay for courses or sign up for a payment plan by the payment deadline. See the Billing and Tuition page for more information.


All computer science graduate students must attend a one-day MSCS program orientation before classes begin. Details will be provided in your admission packet. All new students are also encouraged to go to the Graduate Student Welcome Reception for all graduate students. International students must attend the International Student Orientation as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • We prefer to see transcripts for required background courses from state-level universities or community colleges, but additional elective courses taken freely online at places like Coursera, Udacity, or EdX will help strengthen your application.

  • Experience with web, script, and markup languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, MySQL, or PHP will help strengthen your application. However, they do not count as high-level or object-oriented programming languages for the required background.

  • We do not have conditional admission at this time. Whether or not you have a formal CS background, you need to be prepared to take and pass the same set of core courses as everyone else if admitted.

  • No, applicants interested in switching programs must follow the same application procedure as everyone else. However, we will consider the courses you have already taken at another program in your application.

  • No, as a general rule we do not offer transfer credits for graduate courses. This is a university-wide policy.