Graduate Student Funding
FAQs for newly admitted Computer Science grad students
You’ve applied, been accepted, and have just arrived in our department. Congratulations! What do you do now? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by new graduate students.
- Is there a guide for new graduate students?
See these pages:
- I’m a new international student and I’ve just arrived. What do I do first?
Perhaps the best thing you can do first is visit the International Student Services program. They have a lot of useful information, and services for housing, campus tours, and a mentoring program.Before you can complete the financial aid forms in our department, you will need to obtain your social security number. So, that is probably the next thing you will do after visiting the ISS office.
- How do I go about registering for classes?
First, you need to see the Graduate Chair.The Graduate Chair starting in Fall 2013 is Prof. Edoardo Biagioni, and his office number, phone number and office hours are available at his home page: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~esb. After meeting with the Graduate Chair you can register for courses on-line (http://www.hawaii.edu/myuh/index.htm)
- How do I get my ITS (uhunix) computer account (i.e. the “firstname.lastname@example.org” account)?
First, you need to have registered for your classes. Next, you must go to the ITS (Information and Technology) Help Desk in Keller Hall, Room 105. Information about ITS services is available online at: http://www.hawaii.edu/infotech/.
- Where are on-campus computer labs for using my ITS (uhunix) computer account?
Again, check out the ITS page at http://www.hawaii.edu/infotech/ and read the section on “Computer Labs”.
- How do I get access to the ICS Department Educational Computing Labs?
Your UHUNIX account is not valid for the ICS labs. To get an account, you first need a UHUNIX account. Then you can click on the “Facilities” link to find current instructions on how to obtain an ICS educational computing lab account.
- I don’t know much about Unix (or PINE, or HTML, etc.). How do I learn more?
ITS has offered short courses in the past on these topics, and has videotapes and printed materials. Check http://www.hawaii.edu/infotech/training.html for details.
- I’m a TA. How do I get a key to my office?
See the Department Secretary in the main office. You will need to pay a deposit of $25.00 to receive the key, which is refunded when you turn your key in. Only graduate students with TA-ships can be provided with office space by the Department. (Because of lack of office space, we cannot currently provide all TAs with a desk in an enclosed office.)Research assistants obtain office space through their lab director or advisor.
- I’m a TA. Will I be getting financial aid until I graduate?
To assure the quality of our undergraduate program we will be evaluating TA’s performance at the end of each semester. The best way to maintain your TA-ship is to make sure that your performance is excellent.
- Can I double-major in Library and Information Sciences and Computer Science?
Yes. See this web page: http://www.hawaii.edu/lis/program/dual-degrees/information-and-computer-sciences/.
- What else do I need to do?
To be informed of important news for graduate students, you need to subscribe to the ICS graduate student mailing list by sending email to the Grad Chair (email@example.com) and specifying you UHUNIX account. Only enrolled ICS graduate students with can be placed on this list.
FAQs for prospective Computer Science grad students
- To which program should I apply?
- How should I apply?
- Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) before applying to your program?
- I am an International applicant. Do I need to take the TOEFL or the IELTS?
- Is there any GPA requirement to be admitted in the Graduate Program?
- I am already a UH graduate student. Do I need to go through the regular admission process like everyone else?
- I would like to apply to the ICS graduate M.S. program, but I have no computer programming background. Is that OK?
- I have already taken some computer science courses from another university. Can I transfer them?
- I’m not sure whether I fulfill your admission requirements. Can you review my background and tell me whether I qualify?
- I missed the deadline for Fall (or Spring, or Summer) admission. Can I still apply?
- When do I hear back about acceptance in the program?
- I’m interested in your online/distance ed degree. How does that work?
- Are letters of recommendation required?
- Can you tell me my chances for getting financial aid? I can enclose some background about myself.
- How do I apply for a Teaching Assistantship?
- How do I apply for a Research Assistantship?
- How do I apply for a Tuition Waiver?
- Where is the UH website for financial aid?
- I need a form from Graduate Division. Where do I get it?
- How can I learn more about your programs and graduate studies at University of Hawaii in general?
- What about tuition costs?
- I read this FAQ, your pages, and the University’s Graduate Division pages, but I still have a question that isn’t answered anywhere: Can you tell me …?
1. To which program should I apply?
Formerly, the M.S. and Ph.D. programs were administratively distinct. Now they are the same program, but you still have the choice of whether you want to specify the M.S. degree or the Ph.D. degree as your objective. If there is a reasonable chance you might go on to the Ph.D., then apply to that program. You will be able to meet some of the Ph.D. exam requirements while you work on your M.S. However, you should be aware that Ph.D. admissions requirements are more stringent: you must show potential for independent scholarly research as reflected in your vita, your statement of purpose, and your letters of reference. If you apply to the Ph.D. program but we think that the M.S. program will be more suitable, we will offer admission on that basis.
2. How should I apply?
There are TWO parts of an application:
- The Graduate Division application part: Graduate Division application material (done on-line) and
- The ICS application part: ICS Graduate Program application forms (hard copies sent to the ICS department, attn: ICS graduate chair).
Both parts must be completed in order to be considered for admission.
3. Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) before applying to your program?
Yes. There are no exceptions to this rule: every applicant to our graduate program must take the GRE general test. You still need to take the GRE even if you are a current UH student, or have professional experience. Your application cannot be processed by our department until we have at least an unofficial copy of your GRE (general test) scores. We may admit you based upon unofficial scores, but such an admission will be conditional pending receipt of the official scores. We will accept old GRE scores as long as they remain on file with the GRE testing organization.
- What score do I need to get admitted?
There is no set minimum score. We look at many factors when deciding whether to accept or deny an application, one of them being the GRE score. A very low score will hurt your chances for admission, while an exceptionally high score will increase your chances of admission. Most students admitted to our program simply have “reasonable” GRE scores, e.g., above the 80 percentile in at least one of the GRE categories.
4. I am an International applicant. Do I need to take the TOEFL or the IELTS?
Graduate Division requires that international applicants whose native language is not English take either the TOEFL or the IELTS. See here for more information on the requirements. In addition, our department imposes the following requirement for TOEFL scores: 580/237/92 or above for the MS program and 600/250/100 or above for the PhD program (scores are listed as Paper-based Test / Computer-based Test / Internet-based Test). Note that in all cases scores must be official scores.
5. Is there any GPA requirement to be admitted in the Graduate Program?
The UH Graduate Division imposes the following requirement (see their Admission Standards Page): “To be eligible to apply, an applicant needs to possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, or an equivalent degree from a recognized non-U.S. institution of higher education. At minimum, the applicant needs to demonstrate above average academic performance (B average or its equivalent) for undergraduate course work and for any post-baccalaureate or graduate course work.” Our department abides by this standard.
6. I am already a UH graduate student. Do I need to go through the regular admission process like everyone else?
Great, we’re glad that you like our program! However, our admission process and requirements for current UH graduate students is identical to that for other students. You still need to submit GRE scores, fill out the application, and so forth.
7. I would like to apply to the ICS graduate M.S. program, but I have no computer programming background. Is that OK?
Unfortunately, no. Our graduate program requires at a minimum that you have completed the equivalent of ICS 111, 211, and 311 before you application can be processed. Upon admittance, you will have extensive undergraduate deficiencies to make up. (See this page for details on undergrad deficiencies.) For someone without a programming background, it typically takes about 2 years of coursework to make up undergraduate deficiencies, then 2 more years to finish the graduate requirements. Our program is really oriented toward those with undergraduate degrees in computer science or extensive work experience who desire advanced training.
- Note that there are other educational avenues in high technology that you could investigate. If you are interested in more of a business/management orientation to software development, you may want to investigate the programs at the College of Business Administration. If you are interested in an interdisciplinary degree, see the Communication and Information Science Ph.D. Program. If you are interested in more short-term training, you could investigate some of the certificate programs offered by local private organizations. Neither of these avenues, however, will provide the comprehensive, in-depth exposure to computer science and software development that is provided by our program.
- Finally, if you do not have prior experience in computer programming, we suggest that you start by taking an introductory programming course, such as ICS 111, which is offered by the University’s Community Colleges as well as our department. Not everyone enjoys or has the patience for computer programming, and you should definitely get your feet wet before making any long term plans
8. I have already taken some computer science courses from another university. Can I transfer them?
It depends upon a number of factors, including what you mean by “transfer”. If you’ve taken undergraduate level computer science courses elsewhere, then those courses can potentially be used to waive undergraduate deficiencies, but do not count toward the 30 credits needed for your M.S. degree. If you’ve taken some graduate level computer science courses from another University and applied those credits to a degree from that University, then they cannot be counted toward your degree at UH. If you’ve taken some graduate level computer science courses from another University, and they did not count toward a degree, and they are equivalent in content to our courses, then you can potentially apply up to 12 credits toward your UH M.S. degree. However, this is subject to the approval of the Graduate Chair. Please attach to your application all the documentation about any courses in question. (Syllabi of the courses you took – and links to them if they are online – may be very usefull to help us compare your courses to ours.) Please look at our list of required courses and follow the link to brief descriptions of ICS courses to compare its contents with the courses you took.
9. I’m not sure whether I fulfill your admission requirements. Can you review my background and tell me whether I qualify?
Unfortunately, no. We cannot review your background before you apply. We do not have the staff resources, and the decision depends on the entire portfolio you present to us at admissions time, not a few scores and grades.
10. I missed the deadline for Fall (or Spring, or Summer) admission. Can I still apply?
Beginning with Fall 2011 admissions, we are have the following deadlines:
- Fall Admissions: February 1st
Spring Admissions: September 1st
Only exceptional circumstances we may accept applications for an upcoming semester after the deadline. The financial aid deadlines are, however, firm, and late applicants will not be able to receive financial aid for that first semester.
11. When do I hear back about acceptance in the program?
Offers are typically sent back 6-8 weeks after the application deadline. Offers may be conditional or not depending on the content of your application.
12. I’m interested in your online/distance ed degree. How does that work?
We have an “Asynchronous Learning Network” (ALN) degree program leading to an M.S. degree, and also offer online courses at the bachelor’s level. See our ALN home page. For questions about ALN, please read this web site first (the admission and graduation requirements are identical to those for our regular degree program).
13. Are letters of recommendation required?
Letters are required for the Ph.D. program admissions. For the M.S., they are highly recommended, and if you are applying for an assistantship we require three recommendation letters. In all cases, letters are an excellent addition to your application materials. Ask your work supervisors or former professors to write letters of recommendation on your behalf and send a signed hard copy directly to the department. Have them indicate that the letter is in support of your application for admission. We will not accept electronic copies of the letters, or letters sent to us directly by the applicant. There is no specific form that they must complete for the recommendation, but you may use the ICS Graduate Assistantship Evaluation Form. Those letters should be sent to the ICS Graduate Chair (see address at the bottom of this page). Recommendation letters via e-mail will not be considered.
14. Can you tell me my chances for getting financial aid? I can enclose some background about myself.
No, we cannot in general tell you your chances for financial aid on the basis of an initial email. You must first officially apply to the university and pay the application fee, then we can evaluate your application in relation to the others we have received. At that point, we can give you a better sense for your chances.
If you have already been accepted to the ICS department and would like more information on financial aid, you can see our Financial Aid Overview.
15. How do I apply for a Teaching Assistantship?
Please follow the procedure specified in the Teaching Assistant Application Process.
16. How do I apply for a Research Assistantship?
Please follow the procedure specified in the Research Assistant Application Process.
17. How do I apply for a Tuition Waiver?
Please follow the procedure specified in the Tuition Waiver Application Process.
18. Where is the UH website for financial aid?
It’s at http://www.hawaii.edu/fas
19. I need a form from Graduate Division. Where do I get it?
See the Graduate Division forms. This page includes links to the Thesis (Plan A) forms, the application form, the Leave of Absence Request form, and so forth.
20. How can I learn more about your programs and graduate studies at University of Hawaii in general?
Here are some pointers to further information:
- on our ICS M.S. program
- on our ICS Ph.D. program
- on our Library and Information Science (LIS) program
- on our Communication and Information Sciences (CIS) Ph.D. program
- University’s Graduate Division
- University’s Graduate Student Organization
21. What about tuition costs?
Current tuition costs at UH Manoa are posted at: http://www.hawaii.edu/finaid/tuition.html
22. I read this FAQ, your Graduate Program pages, and the University’s Graduate Division pages, but I still have a question that isn’t answered anywhere: Can you tell me …?
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line:
Question(s) not answered on ICS grad web site.
We will try to answer the question and append the answer to this FAQ.
Scholarships and Fellowships for Graduate Students
Several scholarships/fellowships opportunities are available to Graduate Students. Some of these opportunities are listed below (see also Graduate Division’s list).
- Department of Energy Computation Science Graduate Fellowship
- Department of Energy Graduate Fellowships in Science, Mathematics & Engineering
- Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship
- Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Fellowship
- VMWare Graduate Fellowship
- Hertz Fellowship
- IBM Ph.D. Fellowship
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
- National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering Science
- National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship
- AT&T fellowships for women and underrepresented minorities
- Google PhD Fellowship
- Google Anita Borg Scholarship
- Facebook Fellowship
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society Scholarship (native Hawaiians may apply)
- NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship
- The National Academies’ Research Associateship Program