Graduate Admissions Overview
The graduate programs in the Computer Science and Engineering department are highly competitive. We receive 1600 + applications each year for approximately 140 total seats in the PhD and MS programs.
We are only able to admit the most qualified applicants who advance our mission of innovative research. Information about each program can be found below, to find out more about admissions criteria select the link for your program of interest from the menu to the left.
- PhD in Computer Science. This is a research degree which culminates in a unique dissertation that demonstrates original and creative research. Application instructions can be found here.
- M.S. in Computer Science. The department offers three types of M.S. degrees: (i) Plan A with a research thesis, (ii) Plan B with an independent project, and (iii) Plan C that only requires coursework-based projects. Application instructions can be found here.
- M.C.S. (Masters of Computer Science) This is a coursework only degree designed to meet the needs of working professionals. Application instructions can be found here.
The department’s faculty members play a significant role in three additional graduate degree programs, which are:
- Data Science
- Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology
- Scientific Computing
- M.S. in Software Engineering. This degree focuses on working professionals that want to get a deeper understanding of software engineering and includes coursework plus a Plan B or capstone project.
*Note that the respective programs handle admissions in these programs.
Statistics about the department’s graduate programs can be found here.
The admissions cycle will open in November for admission to the fall term. There is no spring admission.
Q: Do you have a rolling application cycle?
A: The CS&E department does not have a rolling application cycle. Applicants can expect to have a final decision from through the admissions application portal within 6-10 weeks of the application acceptance close date for each program area. Some Ph.D. applicants may not have a decision within this window of time.
Q: When does the application cycle open and when does the Computer Science & Engineering (CS&E) department accept new students? Do you accept students for the spring and fall semester?
A: The CS&E department begins to accept applications on November 15th for the following fall term. The department only accepts applications for fall admission, there is no spring admission cycle.
Q: When does the application cycle close? What if my application material arrives after the application due date?
A: The Computer Science & Engineering department expects all applications to be completed by the close of the application cycle. Please be sure to submit all of your application materials to the program by the deadline in order to be considered for your program of choice.
Q: What are important dates to remember?
A: The important dates to remember are:
December 5: PhD in Computer Science applications are due to be considered for fellowships and departmental financial aid.
January 5th: All PhD applications are due.
March 1st: Application cycle closes for all domestic and international MS students.
Q: Where are the requirements and instructions to apply for the MS, MCS or PhD degree programs?
A: You can find requirements at the following links:
To find requirements and apply for the Ph.D. program: https://www.cs.umn.edu/admissions/graduate/cs_phd
To find requirements and apply for the MS program:https://www.cs.umn.edu/admissions/graduate/cs_ms
To find requirements and apply for the MCS program: https://www.cs.umn.edu/admissions/graduate/mcs
Q:: What are the differences between the Master's in Computer Science (MS) and the Master of Computer Science (MCS)? Can I transfer between these programs once I am enrolled?
A: The differences between the two programs are as follows:
The MCS is a professional degree and students applying for the degree are required to be a working professional in the computer science industry in the United States at the time of application. You will not be considered for the program unless you meet this requirement.
The MCS has a 3.0 GPA standard; the MS has a 3.25 GPA standard
Students need to provide a GRE score to apply to the MS program, they do not need a GRE to apply to the MCS. Industry experience is expected in lieu the GRE score.
Students still need to provide a language score for both MS and MCS if necessary.
MCS is coursework only. MS has a choice of 3 different tracks.
Students cannot switch between the MS and MCS program without applying from one to other.
Q: I do not have a computer science background, can I still apply to the program?
A: If you do not have a traditional computer science background it is strongly suggested that you meet the CS background requirements: https://www.cs.umn.edu/academics/graduate/phd/bg-req to be considered for the program. If you have fulfilled background requirements be sure to include this coursework in your submitted transcripts and make not of your efforts in your Statement of Purpose.
Q: Can the department pre-screen my application material?
A: No. The department does not pre-screen material prior to application to any graduate program.
Q: Can the department change my application material after I submit it?
A: No. The department does not have the ability to change or update application material. It is critical that you submit a complete application that you are confident will not need any updates. You can submit your application prior to all of your letters of recommendation being submitted. Your letter writers are able to submit after you submit.
Q: Do you need official transcripts, GRE and language scores (TOEFL or IELTS) to review my application?
A: The department must have official test score documentation to begin the review process. A TOEFL score is required for non-domestic students with very few exceptions. It is typically in your best interest to submit a TOEFL score so your international application can be fully evaluated and you can be considered for funding opportunities if admitted, like teaching assistant positions.
Q: Can the department check on the status of my application?
A: Due to the number of applications we receive, we are unable to check the status of an individual application. Students will receive all information regarding the status of their application from the Graduate School. When your file with the Graduate School is complete it will be forwarded to the department for review. Once a decision is made students will receive an email from the Graduate School indicating as such.
Q: Do you accept three (3) year undergraduate degrees?
Q: When do you admit students to the program?
A: The Computer Science and Engineering department receives over 1,600+ applications each year and each one is carefully reviewed by our admissions committee.
Our goal is to begin making admissions decisions for PhD students by January 15 and to have the majority of PhD decisions completed by April 15 or earlier.
The department will begin to review MS applications in March with decision notifications beginning around the first week of April. The Computer Science & Engineering department does not have a rolling application cycle.
Q: I am re-applying to the program, do I need to turn in all of my application material again?
A: Yes, you need to submit new application material.
Q: I did not gain admission to the program, can I petition the outcome?
A: No. The admissions committee spends time looking through each application and assessing the quality of a student and best fit with the program.
The decision of the admission committee is final though students are welcome to reapply for admission to the program for the following application cycle.
Q: How much does it cost to attend school?
A: Please check here for tuition rates set by the University of Minnesota yearly: https://onestop.umn.edu/finances/cost-attendance
Q: What is the average GRE/TOEFL score or GPA for previous applicants?
A: Statistics for applicants can be found here:
Q: What are the funding opportunities for MS students?
A: The department does not fund MS students at the time of entry into the program. MS students have the opportunity to apply for teaching assistantships later on in their program. Other funding opportunities outside of the department can be found here:https://www.grad.umn.edu/fundingtuition