Welcome! We are excited to share the graduate program opportunities that our department offers. MSU is among the top 3 percent of colleges and universities in the nation for research expenditures, and has Carnegie classification for very high research activity.
See our department's research webpage to learn about our research focus areas, research facilities, faculty research interests, and new developments.
Most of our incoming graduate students are funded with teaching assistantships for at least their first year. During that period, they connect with faculty and typically receive research assistantships for the remainder of their graduate studies.
The engineering college offers a Benjamin Fellowship that provides a stipend of $25,000 for a first year of Ph.D. study. For more details see the college's graduate funding opportunities webpage.
MSU's Graduate School provides information about additional funding and fellowship opportunities at MSU.
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Applying for Admission
1. Standardized Tests
To help the admissions committee gauge your aptitude to solve problems that you will encounter as a graduate student, it is helpful to submit evidence of your writing, mathematical, analytical, and/or programming skills.
PhD applicants: If you do not have a letter of endorsement (see below) from one of the Computer Science faculty, we encourage you to submit either your Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, or complete a coding assessment. The MSU GRE campus code is 4488.
MS applicants: We encourage you to submit either your Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, or complete a coding assessment.
Though not required, we will also consider other standardized test results if you choose to report them, such as the ETS Major Field Test (MFT) in Computer Science, the ETS MFT in Mathematics, or the GRE Math Subject Test.
2. Previous Degrees and Coursework
A previous Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related field is required. We will review your transcript to determine whether you have sufficient background to undertake graduate coursework in Computer Science. Background course requirements include the usual programming, data structures, and discrete mathematics courses expected of Computer Science students, as well as:
- software engineering
- computer architecture
- theory of computation
and a substantial number of other upper division elective courses, including such subjects as
- artificial intelligence
- database systems
- distributed computing
If you lack sufficient Computer Science coursework, we will ask you to complete foundational computer science courses before gaining full admission to the graduate program. While you will need to complete the foundational coursework in addition to the graduate coursework, in some cases the foundational and graduate courses may be taken in parallel.
3. Grade Point Average
It's normal for students to struggle, especially in the first years of an undergraduate Computer Science degree. To account for this, we will primarily examine your performance during your final two years years.
PhD applicants: It is desirable to have at least a 3.3 GPA during the last two years of your most recent Computer Science, or related degree.
MS applicants: It is desirable to have at least a 3.0 GPA during the last two years of your most recent Computer Science, or related degree.
Since some international schools use grades not based on a 4.0 scale, we will normalize your grades to a US equivalent.
4. Positive Reference Letters
Applicants must receive reference letters from three references who can address the applicant's chances of success in a computer science graduate program. To be an effective reference, the person should be familiar with the applicant's academic successes and talents.
PhD applicants: At least two letters should come from references who hold a PhD. in Computer Science or a related field. These references should come from professors, members of research labs, chief scientists in industry, etc. who are qualified to assess your ability to do STEM-related research.
The reference requests are automatically emailed to the letter writers as part of the online application process.
5. Personal Statement
We also want to learn about you in your own words. To help us do so,
- You may submit a 1-2 page statement of why you want to pursue a graduate degree. This statement is optional.
- You must answer the following questions as part of the online application process:
- All applicants: Describe your most significant technical achievement.
- PhD required, MS optional: What are your research objectives and how do they relate to the research interests of the faculty at MSU?
- All applicants: Why else are you interested in studying at MSU?
- All applicants: What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Please be aware that a personal statement that is ghost-written (written by someone else on your behalf) will result in automatic rejection of the application.
6. Evidence of English Language Proficiency
If you are an international student from a country where the primary language is not English and if you do not have a previous degree from an approved English-speaking university you must demonstrate proficiency of the English language by taking a standardized test. The Gianforte School of Computing defers to the Graduate School standards, which currently require any of the following:
|Internet-based TOEFL Test (iBT)||80|
|Paper-based TOEFL Test (PBT)||550|
PhD applicants only: We encourage you to reach out to our tenure-track Computer Science faculty to learn about their research and positions in their labs. This faculty member may then write a letter of endorsement, agreeing to serve as your initial research and dissertation advisor. If you are not sure with whom you would like to initially work, you may apply to be a PhD student at-large with guaranteed GTA funding. We will consider applications without a letter of endorsement as at-large applications.
Deadline for consideration for Assistantships
- Fall Semester: February 1
- Spring Semester: August 1
- Fall Semester: July 1
- Spring Semester: November 1
- Summer Semester: March 15
- Fall Semester: May 1
- Spring Semester: September 15
- Summer Semester: January 15