Informational Flyer

I. Admissions Related Information

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a graduate degree in Computer Science at Montana State University.  If you are seeking a dynamic department that offers exciting research opportunities in a beautiful setting, you have come to the right place!

Graduate application forms and instructions are located on this page.  The online application is especially convenient to use.

All applicants are required to provide GRE scores and a complete academic transcript.  For entrance into the Master's program, we prefer to see GRE scores of at least 151 (new GRE) or 650 (old GRE) for quantitative, 150 (new GRE) or 450 (old GRE) for verbal, and 3.5 (new and old GRE) for analytical writing. International students must also submit a TOEFL result and are expected to score 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based) or 80 (internet based).  Alternatively, a total band score of 7.0 or higher on the IELTS can be used in place of the TOEFL.

For entrance into the Ph.D. program, we prefer to see GRE scores of at least 155 (new GRE) or 700 (old GRE) for quantitative, 153 (new GRE) or 500 (old GRE) for verbal and 4.0 (new and old GRE) for analytical writing. International students must also submit a TOEFL result and are expected to score 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based) or 80 (internet based).  Alternatively, a total band score of 7.0 or higher on the IELTS can be used in place of the TOEFL.

We look at all aspects of your application to determine admission. The GRE scores are a part of that decision making process. The department does not set minimum levels on the GRE test, nor do we guarantee admission if you are above a particular threshold. We utilize the GRE scores and the TOEFL test, as well as your application itself. For example, the 2-3 page description of the graduate work that you would like to pursue is used to judge your writing skills. As another example, your transcript is used to ensure that you have the appropriate background and the ability to succeed in graduate work.

Your undergraduate degree does not have to be in Computer Science to be admitted to the Master's program, although in most cases students from other disciplines will be required to take a number of additional deficiency courses. In order to be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program you must have a degree in Computer Science or a closely related discipline.  Furthermore, to be admitted into the Ph.D. program, you must either find a faculty member who agrees to be your initial advisor or have a track record of Computer Science research.

Once you have taken your tests and have received your scores, you can access The Graduate School to apply to be a graduate student. MSU requires an international student to include a financial certificate in his or her application. International applicants are also required to submit "proof of funds".  This is a statement from your financial institution verifying that you have $28,000 USD per year on deposit. The "proof of funds" requirement might be eliminated if you have secured support as either a Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant.

The preferred deadlines for international applicants are May 15 for Fall Semester consideration and October 1 for Spring Semester consideration.

Some Teaching Assistant (TA) and Research Assistant (RA) positions are available. The department will provide a few TA positions to qualified incoming Ph.D. students each year. Otherwise, students can apply to be a TA after they are admitted or they can contact individual professors to learn about RA opportunities. For more information, see the TA Application Form.

Best wishes with the application process.

II. Financial Support Information

There are several possibilities for graduate students to obtain financial help.  Outstanding Ph.D. students can receive financial support (as TAs or RAs) for five years subject to satisfactory progress in the program.  Ph.D. Students in good standing and making appropriate progress towards the degree typically receive RA support from ongoing grants.  All graduate students are welcome to apply to be a TA at any point during their graduate careers.

Teaching Assistantships

The Gianforte School of Computing hires several Teaching Assistants (TAs) each semester. TAs are used to teach the many different laboratories in the Computer Science undergraduate curriculum and to help grade assignments in some of the larger classes. A laboratory teaching position requires very good spoken English skills, whereas a grading position requires very good written English skills.

Once you are admitted into the graduate program, you are welcome to apply to be a TA using the TA Application Form.

Research Assistantships

Research Assistants (RAs) work with faculty on a research projects and are paid from research funds that the faculty have obtained. Students are selected by individual faculty members for RA positions.

New applicants seeking a research assistantship should so indicate on their applications. New applicants and current students are both encouraged to contact individual faculty members directly about becoming part of a research project.

Jobs

There are often part-time job opportunities for Computer Science students in Bozeman. Some local high-tech industries occasionally hire software engineers on a part time basis. The University has a few positions for assistants to work in campus computer laboratories. Ongoing research and development projects on campus often advertise for programmers. The Information Technology Center has occasional needs for part time helpers who have technical computer skills. In short, a student who is looking for such opportunities is likely to find one.

Financial Aid

To explore the prospect of obtaining loans, visit the Office of Financial Aid at Montana State University.