Frequently Asked Admissions Questions
Dates & Requirements
Q: Do you have a rolling application cycle?
A: The CS&E department does not have a rolling application cycle. Ph.D. applicants can expect admission results between February and May. MS and Certificate applicants can expect admission results between April and May.
Q: When does the application cycle open? 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 for our Ph.D. and MS programs. The Data Science Post-Baccalaureate Certificate considers very few applicants for spring admission (Oct 1st is the priority deadline for spring admission for this program only).
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 material 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: Ph.D. in Computer Science applications are due to be considered for fellowships and departmental financial aid.
January 5th: All Ph.D. applications are due.
March 1st: Application cycle closes for all domestic and international Computer Science MS, Computer Science MCS, and Data Science MS applicants. This is also the fall priority deadline for Data Science Post-Baccalaureate Certificate applicants.
- October 1st: Priority deadline for the Data Science Post-Baccalaureate Certificate for spring admission.
Q: Where are the requirements and instructions to apply for each program?
A: You can find requirements at the following links:
Requirements and application for the Ph.D. program
Requirements and application for the MS program
Requirements and application for the MCS program
Requirements and application for the Data Science MS program
- Requirements and application for the Data Science Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program
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 to the degree are required to be a working professional in the computer science industry at the time of application.
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 of the GRE score.
Students still need to provide a language score for both MS and MCS.
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: If someone is eligible to apply for both MS and MCS programs, would you advise to apply for both the options separately or will a single application be considered for both the programs? If the aspirant can apply and be considered for just one of the programs, which one should he/she go ahead with?
A: We recommend that you apply for the most appropriate option and not both the MS and MCS. MCS applicants typically have multiple years of industry experience in computer science and plan on taking courses part-time or online. Applying to both the MS and MCS doesn't increase your chances for admission, but it does increase your application fees (you will pay two separate application fees).
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 to be considered for the program. Without meeting these requirements your application may not be considered competitive. If you have fulfilled background requirements be sure to include this coursework in your submitted transcripts and make not of your efforts in your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose (4000 character limit).
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: The department very rarely accepts change request and material updates to an application. Please don't submit your application until you have checked it multiple times and have all required materials ready for upload and entry.
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. For applicants submitting transcripts from non-U.S. universities, it is required to submit a course-by-course credential evaluation in addition to the transcripts that are uploaded to applications from a credential evaluation service. We prefer World Education Services (WES), however, we will also accept Education Credential Evaluators (ECE ). We do not want the credential evaluation sent physically to us. You can upload the WES or ECE document in the "Graduate Program Additional Material" section which can be found under "Materials" on the left-hand menu in the application. Your school transcripts AND your WES or ECE evaluation must be uploaded to your application to have your application considered complete.
Q: Can you waive any of the required application materials?
A: We require a non-expired GRE score for all applicants (except MCS applicants who should have professional experience in the field to replace this requirement). All international applicants who haven't studied at a domestic institution are required to have a TOEFL or IELTS score. Waivers for language tests are rarely approved. Keep in mind that this may impact an applicants ability to receive financial support through teaching assistantships, which require a language score on file. It is also one less factor to use in the admission process. If you are requesting a waiver, that means you would likely have a strong language test score, which could improve your application. All international transcripts will also need to have a credential evaluation uploaded along with them (see the Q/A from the last question).
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: I am reapplying 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: What is the average GRE/TOEFL score or GPA for previous applicants?
A: Statistics for applicants can be found here:
Funding, Statistics, and Other
Q: How much does it cost to attend school?
A: Please check here for tuition rates set by the University of Minnesota yearly.
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:
For additional information please contact:
Graduate School Admissions
University of Minnesota
309 Johnston Hall
101 Pleasant St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Computer Science Graduate Admissions
University of Minnesota
4-192 Keller Hall
200 Union St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455