PhD in Computer Science

The Ph.D. in Computer Science is a research degree which culminates in a unique dissertation that demonstrates original and creative research.  The Ph.D. program is intended to be completed by students who are physically on campus, and not an online program.  Information about its structure and degree requirements can be found here. 

Admission Requirements

The following is a list are prerequisites for admission to the Ph.D. program:

  • A candidate must have demonstrated research potential.
  • A candidate must have a four year or equivalent undergraduate degree from an accredited university.
  • A candidate must have a prior undergraduate or graduate degree in a major with a substantial background in computer science & engineering.*
  • A previous Master's degree is not required to apply to the Ph.D. program.
  • A candidate must have a demonstrated ability to maintain a 3.45 GPA or greater.
  • We do not require or accept GRE scores as part of the application process.
  • TOEFL scores should reflect a strong command of the English language and meet the university operational standard. All international students will need to provide a language score even if they studied at an English speaking university previously so they can be considered for teaching assistantships for their possible funding offers. Applicants who do not provide a score are less likely to be offered admission because there are left funding options available to them.
  • If a student wishes to apply for a Teaching Assistantship position in the department they must have a score of 23 in speaking and 23 in the writing portions of the TOEFL or equivalent test. 
  • Applications submitted before the application cycle opens are not complete.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed for admission.

* Well-qualified applicants without an undergraduate/graduate computer science major will be considered, applicants with a computer science major are preferred.

Important Dates 

December 15th 11:59 PM CST

Ph.D. application deadline to be considered for Fellowships for fall. 

January 5th 11:59 PM CST

Application deadline for fall.

We will give applications that come in after a deadline full consideration if it is due to forces outside of the applicant's control, such as a natural disaster or widespread internet outage.  If you find yourself in such a situation, please contact us at as soon as you are able to inform us when you have submitted your application. 

The Computer Science and Engineering department does not offer spring admissions.

Application Instructions

The Graduate School online application along with detailed instructions regarding the application can be found here at the Graduate School application site. The following material should be included in the Graduate School Application: 


1. Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose -Concisely discuss your computer science educational, research, or industrial background as they relate to your objectives. Include any unique experiences relevant to the research you have done. Discuss why you are applying to the University of Minnesota. Please include names of faculty members and research groups at the University of Minnesota whose research is of interest to you. Use this area to list any extenuating circumstances such as poor grades or test scores. (4000 character limit strongly recommended; does not include spaces not strictly enforced)
2. Diversity Statement - required of domestic applicants only. International applicants do not need to complete this statement, but they are welcome to complete a statement. (4000 character limit recommended; does not include spaces)


You must indicate all the colleges and graduate schools you have attended. Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded directly to the admissions application per these instructions. Official transcripts are required for those students admitted to the program. Do not fax or mail hard copies of your transcripts.

GRE Test Scores

We do not require or accept GRE scores as part of the application process. The University of Minnesota Graduate Application will have areas for you to enter GRE test scores and upload an unofficial score sheet. You should not enter this information into your application for our program.

  • International students must send official TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS scores. For more information visit: Graduate School’s TOEFL information page.
  • The department requires a speaking and writing score of 23 or higher to qualify for teaching assistantships.
  • TOEFL Institution Codes: 





Curriculum Vitae or resume. This should include:

  • Educational background and degrees
  • Teaching or research experience
  • A list of papers/publications (URLs included)
  • Computer languages in which you are proficient
  • Other information that will advance your application can be uploaded in PDF format
Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Provide the names and e-mail address of three recommenders along with all other requested information. 
  • The CS&E department does not accept hard copies of recommendation letters, they must be submitted through the online system.
  • Letters can arrive after our application deadline as long as they arrive within 30 days from our application deadlines.

Please e-mail with any questions you may have about the admissions process. 

* Unfortunately, the CS&E department is unable to review your application material prior to submission or make document corrections once your application has been submitted.  *

The following items are optional in the application:

  • Diversity Statement (for international applicants. This is required for domestic applicants)
  • Extenuating Circumstances Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Description of Research