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 a complete academic transcript and may optionally provide GRE scores.  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 examine all aspects of your application to determine admission. 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 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 typically either find a faculty member who agrees to be your initial advisor or have a successful track record of Computer Science research.

Applications are submitted to The Graduate School. 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 February 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 strong spoken English skills, whereas a grading position requires strong 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.


There are often part-time job opportunities for Computer Science students in Bozeman. Some local high-tech industries 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. University Information Technology (UIT) 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.