Graduate Degree Students in Computer Science

Admission Requirements

For admission requirements in general, consult the Graduate Catalog > Admission.

Consideration for admission to the Computer Science graduate program is given to highly-qualified and motivated individuals on the basis of scholastic preparation and intellectual capacity. Admission requirements are typically met by individuals with an undergraduate computer science degree, although other applicants will also be considered. Applicants may also be admitted provisionally who do not meet the requirements; such individuals will be required to take selected undergraduate courses in addition to the regular required graduate course work. Application to the program should be made as early as possible before the semester for which admission is sought. Most decisions about admission are made by April 1 for Fall admission and November 1 for Spring admission.

Prospective students should consult the admissions section of this catalog for a complete list of the requirements of the Graduate School. Admission requirements include:

  1. The candidate will have completed a bachelors degree at a regionally-accredited university or four-year college.
  2. Successful applicants will usually have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale). Normally, no applicant will be considered who has less than a 3.0 or less than a B average in undergraduate computer science courses.
  3. All GRE scores required by the Graduate School. We do not require the subject test in computer science, although it may be submitted, if desired.
  4. International students will need to submit TOEFL scores.

Students are expected to have completed the following courses or their equivalent at the time of admission:

  1. COS 220 – Introduction to Computer Science I and COS 221 – Advanced C++ Programming OR COS 125 – Introduction to Problem Solving Using Computer Programming and COS 225 – Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming and Design
  2. COS 230 – Computer Architecture and Assembly Language OR COS 335 – Computer Organization and Architecture
  3. COS 250 – Discrete Structures
  4. One year of calculus or a semester of calculus and a semester of linear algebra.
  5. One semester of statistics.

Students who have not completed one or more of these courses can only be considered for conditional admission. Students conditionally admitted are not eligible for financial aid.

In addition, students are expected to have completed the following courses or their equivalent at the time of admission:

  1. COS 301 – Programming Languages
  2. COS 350 – Data Structures and Algorithms
  3. COS 431 – Operating Systems

Students who have not completed one or more of these can be considered for provisional admission. These students can still qualify for financial aid. No credit toward the Ph.D. degree will be given for any of the above courses. The student must complete each of these courses with at least a B grade before he or she can assume regular status in the program. 

Typical Minimum Standardized Test Scores

In response to applicants’ inquiries about GRE and TOEFL scores, here are suggested scores from the faculty:

GRE: Verbal: 60% or higher, Quantitative: 90% or higher, Analytical: 80% or higher

TOEFL: 70% or higher

Application for Admission

For formal admission to the graduate program, applicants need to supply:

  • Application
  • Application Fee
  • Original Transcripts
  • Original GRE’s (Graduate Record Exam)
  • Original TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Video (See below) 

We encourage all international applicants to submit, in addition to the complete application package, a video of approximately 8 to 10 minutes, in which they describe their research interests, their background and experience in doing independent research, and their future goals. (See details below under Research Assistantship Opportunities).

We highly encourage all applicants to Apply Online on the Graduate School website. Please note that even though you enter details about people supplying reference letters it is up to you to contact those parties. Also note that you can pay the application fee by credit card but that information must be conveyed by phone call. For a quick consultation with a faculty member on your application or to receive an initial indication of whether you are likely to be admitted, see Contact Information.

Research Assistantship Opportunities

Funding is available for graduate research assistants on a wide variety of research projects. Such funding is generated by individual faculty members as well as by groups of faculty. You may want to contact individual faculty regarding their current and imminent projects. We encourage all applicants who seek funding through graduate research assistantships to submit, in addition to the complete application package, a video of approximately 8 to 10 minutes, in which they describe their research interests, their background and experience in doing independent research, and their future goals. This movie may be uploaded to a video hosting site such as YouTube.com or SciVee.tv with the url link forwarded to us or may be burned to a CD and mailed (please provide in QuickTime format if mailed on CD) to us as part of your graduate application. Posting in DropBox or similar site may be another option. (Note: Do NOT attempt to e-mail the large movie file). Submission of a video is particularly important for prospective graduate students whose first language is other than English.

Teaching Assistant Opportunities

Financial assistance is available on a competitive basis in the form of nine-month teaching assistantships. Teaching assistants help faculty members with classes. All assistantships are given for one year at a time. Satisfactory academic progress and satisfactory performance as an assistant are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for retaining an assistantship. Teaching Assistants (TAs) are evaluated by their students and the course instructor at the end of each semester. Assistantships are competitive and are given only to the very best students. Applicants interested in teaching assistantship opportunities should follow the instructions for submitting a video under the previous paragraph. All students are automatically considered and there is no separate application process.

Additional Financial Support Options

For general information on the range of grants, loans and scholarships available from Federal and other sources for graduate students, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid. University-wide assistantships and scholarships may be available. All full-time students are eligible to apply.

Many computer science students are supported through jobs on campus in various technical support roles. Openings are regularly posted here.