Graduate admission FAQ

Dates & Requirements

Do you have a rolling application cycle? 

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. 

Do you accept students for the spring and fall semesters? 

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).

When does the application cycle close? What if my application material arrives after the application due date?

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. 

What are important dates to remember? 

The important dates to remember are: 

  • December 15th 11:59 PM CST: Ph.D. in Computer Science applications are due to be considered for fellowships and departmental financial aid.

  • January 5th 11:59 PM CST: All Ph.D. applications are due.

  • March 1st 11:59 PM CST: 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 11:59 PM CST: Priority deadline for the Data Science Post-Baccalaureate Certificate for spring admission.

When will I receive the results of my application?

We do not have rolling admissions. The admissions committee will review all applications after our application deadlines listed above.

  • Computer Science Ph.D. applicants typically receive notifications between February and May.
  • Computer Science MS and MCS and Data Science MS and Certificate applicants typically receive notifications between April and May.
  • Data Science Certificate applicants applying for spring admission consideration who applied by the priority deadline of October 1 typically receive notifications between November and December.

What are the requirements and instructions to apply for each program?

What are the differences between the Master's in Computer Science (M.S.) and the Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.)? Can I transfer between these programs once I am enrolled?

The differences between the two programs are as follows:

  • The M.C.S. 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 M.C.S. has a 3.0 GPA standard; the M.S. has a 3.25 GPA standard.
  • Students still need to provide a language score for both M.S. and M.C.S.
  • M.C.S. is coursework only. M.S. has a choice of 3 different tracks.
  • Students cannot switch between the M.S. and M.C.S. program without applying from one to other.

If someone is eligible to apply for both M.S. and M.C.S. programs, would you advise to apply for both the options separately or will a single application be considered for both the programs? If the candidate can apply and be considered for just one of the programs, which one should he/she go ahead with?

We recommend that you apply for the most appropriate option and not both the M.S. and M.C.S programs. M.C.S. applicants typically have multiple years of industry experience in computer science and plan on taking courses part-time or online. Applying to both the M.S. and M.C.S. doesn't increase your chances for admission, but it does increase your application fees (you will pay two separate application fees).

Can I complete the Ph.D degree online?

The Ph.D. program is not intended to be completed online. There are research components to the program that require students to work closely with their faculty advisor on campus.

I do not have a computer science background, can I still apply to the program?

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 note of your efforts in your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose (4000 character limit).

Can I transfer credits from another institution?

Students are able to transfer a limited amount of credits from another institution.  More information about this can be found on the U of M's Policy Library.  We will review transfer coursework only once a student has enrolled in courses through our program.

Application Information

Can the department pre-screen my application material?

No. The department does not pre-screen material prior to application to any graduate program.

Can the department change my application material after I submit it?

The department very rarely accepts change requests or 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.

Do you need official transcripts and language scores (TOEFL or IELTS) to review my application?

Yes. The department must have official test score documentation to begin the review process. 

Can you waive any of the required application materials?

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. 

I have taken the language tests you require multiple times. Should I only submit one of these attempts? Will the admissions committee only consider my top scores in each area?

All non-expired scores will be reviewed and considered by the admissions committee, not just the most recent or top scores.

Can the department check on the status of my application?

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.

Can my letter of recommendation writers submit their letters after I submit my application?

Yes. Recommendation providers can submit their recommendations at any time, before or after an application has been submitted. Additionally, applicants can send reminder email notifications from their application status page after submission.   

I am reapplying to the program—do I need to turn in all of my application material again?

Yes, you need to submit new application material.

I did not gain admission to the program—can I petition the outcome?

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. Students are welcome to reapply for admission to the program during the following application cycle.

What is the average TOEFL score or GPA for previous applicants? 

Statistics for applicants can be found here:

  • Computer Science (Effective September 2020, we do not require or accept GRE scores as part of the application process. While you will see a section in the application to enter GRE test scores and upload an unofficial score sheet, please do not enter this information or send your official GRE test scores for our program. GRE test scores that are submitted as part of an application for our Computer Science MS and PhD programs will not be reviewed.)
  • Data Science

Funding, Statistics, and Other

How much does it cost to attend school?

Tuition and fees for the current academic year are set by the University.

What are the funding opportunities for M.S. students? 

The department does not fund M.S. students at the time of entry into the program. M.S. 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:

Do you offer information sessions or tours?

Our department offers information sessions monthly. We don't offer department specific tours, but the Graduate School offers campus tours.