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Prospective M.S. Students

Minimum Requirements

All applicants must satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree. Applicants with degrees in fields other than computer science, business, engineering, mathematics, or a natural science should consult with the graduate chair before applying for admission (contact at end of this page).
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of a major modern and object-oriented programming language. Many courses in our curriculum assume some background in the Java programming language, so that is an excellent choice, but similar languages will be OK too. Our M.S. program assumes that you have at least three sequential semesters of programming experience (i.e. the equivalent of ICS 111, 211, and one of 212, 215 or a 300 level course requiring programming) before you enter our program as a classified graduate student. If you do not have any programming experience, then you will need to have completed this three semester sequence prior to enrollment. People with substantial industry programming experience but lacking three semesters of formal courses should contact the graduate program chair to discuss documenting this experience.
  • An undergraduate algorithms course (our ICS 311 course or equivalent). You can apply to our program during the semester that you are enrolled in ICS 311 for admission in the following semester.
  • At least one other advanced (300-level or above) undergraduate computer science course (e.g., our ICS 312, 313, 321, 331, or 332 course).
  • A one-year course in calculus (e.g., our MATH 241 and 242). (See brief descriptions of Math courses.)
  • A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 75% (3.0 on a 4.0 system). This is a graduate division requirement.
  • A minimum of two letters of reference.


The GRE General Test is not required (due to the logistical and financial challenges they pose to some students, and disagreement concerning their predictive value) but you may send scores if you wish. We do not have a cutoff and generally are influenced only by extreme scores. If you send them, GRE scores should be sent to us directly from ETS (Institution code is: 4867; Department code is: 0402).

Graduate Division requires that international applicants whose native language is not English take either the TOEFL or the IELTS. More information on the requirements is available on the English Proficiency page of the Graduate Division website.

Preferred Background

A student may be admitted with “deficiencies” that must be resolved before registering for graduate-level courses. This can increase the time it takes to get the Masters’ degree.

Your application will be stronger if you have demonstrated the ability and motivation to work independently, for example by taking on a project related to computer science (whether within or outside of a school setting). Doing a project with faculty or other established professionals will make it easier to obtain meaningful letters of reference.


Submit your application online to the Graduate Division application website.

The supplemental documents, which must be uploaded as part of your Graduate Division application, consist of the following items:

  • Statement of Objectives/Purpose (recommended for MS applicants; of critical importance for Ph.D. applicants). This document explains why you wish to pursue a graduate degree. The statement should be about the future, not the past. We do not need to hear that you have been interested in computers ever since you were a child, that you overcame many obstacles, etc. Rather, we want to hear about your career objectives, and what you hope to accomplish in our program to achieve these objectives.
  • Two letters of reference. You should enter the names and e-mail addresses of reference letter writers via the Graduate Division’s Supplemental Documents upload site. Your letter writers will submit their confidential letters directly to the Graduate Division.
  • ICS Financial Aid Application (optional). If you wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship, research assistantship, or tuition waver, complete the ICS Financial Aid Application and upload it as a supplemental document.

All application materials will be forwarded to the ICS Department once the Graduate Division determines that your application is complete. It is your responsibility to communicate with Graduate Division to ensure they have all of the required materials. Until they do, we won’t see your application.

Note: ICS does not collect the application fee, and thus cannot waive it. You may request a waiver from Graduate Division at, but they routinely deny such requests.

Deadlines (revised for Fall 2023 applications)

  • Fall: January 15th
  • Spring: September 1st
  • Late Applications: Full consideration will be given to applications received by the deadline. Late applications are considered depending on availability of resources.


Questions about the application process can be answered by contacting Graduate Division and/or e-mailing the ICS Graduate Chair.