Ph.D. admissions

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
  • 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 15: Ph.D. application deadline to be considered for fellowships for fall. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CST.
  • January 5: Application deadline for fall

Please note: The Computer Science & Engineering department does not offer spring admissions.

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 csadmit@umn.edu as soon as you are able to inform us when you have submitted your application. 

Application instructions

All degree applicants must apply online using the Office of Graduate Admissions system and all letter writers must use the online recommendation system. Please visit the Office of Graduate Studies for full Graduate School application instructions. 

Note on the GRE: 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 program will not be reviewed.

The following material should be included in the Graduate School application:

Statements

  • 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)

  • Diversity statement

    This is only required of domestic applicants. A 4000 character limit (not including spaces) is recommended. International applicants do not need to complete this statement, but they are welcome to complete a statement.

    The statement should cover how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the University's and our Department’s goal of promoting excellence through diversity and inclusion. If applicable, you should mention hardships or obstacles that you have overcome to complete your undergraduate education. Some University of Minnesota graduate student applicants will be considered for funding opportunities, like the DOVE Fellowship, based upon their diversity statement.

    Potential areas to address include:

    • hardships you have faced and overcome
    • family background
    • first-generation college student
    • non-traditional attributes for computer science/data science
    • your diverse identities (examples: ethnic, racial, economic, or educational backgrounds and experiences, gender identity, sexual orientation)
    • your commitment to working toward achieving equity and enhancing diversity within the field of computing, STEM, or within your community
    • geographic diversity
    • community involvement
    • multilingual skills
    • international travel which changed your perspective
    • special talents
    • anything unique you would contribute to the program

Transcripts

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 for our program. 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 program will not be reviewed.

TOEFL, MELAB, IELTS test scores

  • International students must send official TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS scores. For more information, visit the Graduate School’s TOEFL information page.
  • The department requires a speaking and writing score of 23 or higher to qualify for teaching assistantships.
  • The TOEFL institution code is 6874 (no department code is needed).

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 csadmit@umn.edu with any questions you may have about the admissions process. 

Optional items

The following items are optional in the application:

  • Diversity statement (for international applicants only—this is required for domestic applicants)
  • Extenuating circumstances statement
  • Writing sample
  • Description of research

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.