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Graduate Admissions

Graduate admission to the computer science department is handled within the department through an online application. Evaluations are based on a variety of factors including a suitable background in computer science and mathematics, a GPA, GRE scores and references. Admissions to the department are highly competitive and following established application processes is essential

This page sets forth certain policies and other information on the admission of graduate students that you might wish to know before you apply. Admissions have become increasingly competitive, and so, it is important that your admission application be complete and submitted on time. There are four things that count heavily in our evaluation of applicants.

Suitable Background in Computer Science and Mathematics
We do not require a bachelor's degree in Computer Science but we do require a background in computer science and mathematics. For Computer Science we require our incoming students to have had undergraduate courses in Data Structures, Discrete Mathematics, Assembly Language and Machine Organization, and Programming (in a procedural language). Further we expect several, but not all, of the senior-level courses in a typical undergraduate Computer Science program, in particular: Operating Systems, Programming Languages, Algorithms, Compilers, Artificial Intelligence, Networks, Automata and Formal Languages, and Software Engineering. Of these, Operating Systems and Programming Languages are perhaps the most important so that you may take our first-year graduate courses in these areas. We also require at least one year of college-level Calculus. In general, we do not regard work experience to be interchangeable with coursework.

Grade Point Average
The nominal minimum GPA for a successful applicant is about 3.2 (out of 4.0). More important than the overall GPA, are the grades in computer science, mathematics, and related courses. Progression counts too; for example, a slow start in college followed by a strong finish is viewed much more favorably than the converse.

GRE Scores
We require the GRE scores. The admissions committee strongly urges the CS subject test. If your major is not Computer Science, you might want to also take the subject test in your major area as a supplement to your application. You are strongly advised to take the GRE exams as far in advance of your application as possible. We will not make a decision on an application until the scores arrive. If you wait to take the exam as late as January and are applying for Fall admission, you will be handicapped because admission and financial aid offers will be made starting in January. The current nominal scores for successful applicants for admission are 750 for the quantitative part and 550 for the verbal part. The average scores of accepted applicants are generally higher than those scores.

These are a very important part of your application. Except in special cases, references should be written by faculty of the schools you have previously attended. Further, we expect some of the references to be from Computer Science faculty. References from employers are rarely as useful in making an overall assessment of your ability to do graduate work.

Most of our current successful applicants are strong in all four of the above parts of the application. A weakness on any one is permitted as long as there is sufficient strength elsewhere. For example, a somewhat low GPA might be balanced by exceptionally high GRE scores.

A Note to Foreign Nationals
Our current minimum requirement for the TOEFL exam is 600 but most of our accepted applicants score at least 630.

Admission and Financial Aid Deadlines
• We accept applications for Fall admissions. Spring Admissions will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
• Your application will not be considered until all the necessary materials have been received.
• If you are applying for financial aid, your application must be completed by January 15.

Links of Interest
CS Graduate Programs
CpE Graduate Program
Apply Online
Prospective Graduates
SEAS Graduate Admissions