Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Prospective Applicants to CS Graduate Programs
These are questions that prospective applicants to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Computer Science ask frequently. Please read these carefully before sending us an email — please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions that are not answered by the information provided below.
Am I eligible to apply?
At a minimum, applicants to the graduate program must have taken undergraduate courses in computer science and mathematics so they are prepared to take the program’s required and elective courses. Please review the information on our website and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences admissions page to determine eligibility and prospects for admission.
I am an international student with a three-year degree. Can I apply?
It depends. In this case, please send an email to the Graduate Program Manager.
I don’t have an undergraduate degree in computer science. Can I apply?
Yes, apply, but applicants must have taken undergraduate computer science courses on programming, data structures, architecture, algorithms, and mathematics beyond calculus. If they have not taken these courses, then they must take them at another institution before applying to our graduate program, or consider applying to our post-bac certificate program. Our program is not structured in a way that we can admit applicants who have taken only introductory courses in programming and computer science.
How much is the application fee?
The application fee is $90 USD.
How does the review process work?
Graduate applications are handled by both the CS Department and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. After your application has been submitted, its content is evaluated by members of the CS Admissions Committee. A recommendation then goes to the Graduate School. Next, the Graduate Schools reviews all materials and makes a formal decision, before emailing you a decision letter.
How long will it take for Georgetown to make a decision about my application?
Applicants should learn of the Graduate School’s decision approximately six to eight weeks after the deadline.
Can I be accepted conditionally?
Yes. The Graduate School does accept students conditionally if they are in their final year of undergraduate study and will earn a Bachelor’s degree prior to the program start date. You will be required to submit your final grades and proof of degree before the term to which you apply starts.
Whom can I contact about my application?
For questions about the program and the application process, contact the Graduate Program Manager (gpm at cs dot georgetown dot edu). Before you do, please review the information on this page and on the pages to which it links. Please do not send application materials by e-mail.
I am applying to the Ph.D. program. Should I contact professors about my application?
The best option is for applicants to discuss their interest in working with specific professors in their statement. The Graduate Admissions Committee will ensure that professors named in statements will see competitive applications. Before contacting professors, please check their Web site to determine if they welcome such inquiries. Applicants can contact individual professors about their research and whether they are taking students. However, application decisions are made by a committee of faculty members, not by individual faculty members. So a professor cannot guarantee admission to any student via email. Please do not send professors application materials by e-mail or attempt to apply by e-mail.
Do you provide financial assistance?
Yes. We provide full support for doctoral students, and provide partial support for exceptional Master’s students. For doctoral students, we provide merit-based scholarships that cover all tuition, a stipend tied to assistantships, and health insurance. Doctoral students can also apply for summer support and travel awards. For Master’s students, we provide merit-based scholarships that cover varying amounts of tuition. The Graduate School communicates offers of financial aid with the letter offering admission. See the Graduate School’s Web page on Financial Support, which also includes information about need-based aid.
Who is eligible for financial assistance?
All applicants are eligible for merit-based financial assistance. This includes international applicants and applicants to the Master’s program who want to attend part-time.
How much is tuition?
Georgetown’s Office of Student Financial Services maintains current information about tuition, fees, and the cost of attendance. Tuition is based on the number of credits you enroll in. Master’s degree students can expect to take 18 credits in their first year of the program, and 12 credits in their second year.
My employer has a tuition assistance program, but it only covers part of the tuition. Am I eligible for financial assistance?
Yes, applicants with their own funding are eligible for merit-based aid. Applicants should discuss these details in their statement. For exceptional Master’s students, we can cover some tuition. For doctoral students, we will cover anything the employer does not. However, since the doctoral program requires full-time enrollment, the employer benefit must also include an accommodation of time to participate fully in the program. This must be documented in the application.
Do you provide research or teaching assistantships to Master’s students?
Master’s students may be eligible for part-time positions within the Department after their first semester. These opportunities are subject to availability and should not be depended on.
What is the required grade-point average?
The Graduate School requires that applicants have in their undergraduate studies a grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
What if my grade-point average is below the required minimum? Will you review my application?
We review all applications. If an applicant’s score or grade-point average is below the Graduate School’s required 3.0 minimum, and the Department wants to admit them, it must request an exception from the Graduate School, which may or may not approve the request. Any aspect of an application that is less than ideal must be offset by other aspects that are exceptional. We encourage applicants to address any weaknesses in their statement.
What are the minimum scores for the GRE test?
The department does not have required minimum scores for the GRE. However, successful applicants tend to have quantitative scores in the 90th percentile range.
Will you waive the GRE test?
Normally, official test results for the GRE General Test are required for all applicants regardless of their qualifications. However, for applications for Fall 2021, GRE scores are optional (accepted, but not required) due to the uncertainty of testing availability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can you use my old GRE scores?
We must have current and official test scores. If ETS will send them, then we will use them. If ETS will not send them because they are old, then applicants will have to retake the test.
Is the TOEFL (or IELTS) required?
Current and official test results for the TOEFL (or the IELTS) are required for all applicants who cannot otherwise demonstrate proficiency in English. For more information about demonstrating proficiency in English, see the Graduate School’s English proficiency requirements.
What is the minimum required TOEFL score?
The Graduate School stipulates that applicants must have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based test) or 80 (Internet test). We use only the total score. We do not have required minimum scores for the sections.
What is Georgetown’s ETS code?
The ETS code for Georgetown’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is 5244.
What is the minimum required IELTS score?
The Graduate School stipulates that applicants must have an IELTS score of 7.0. Please see the Graduate School’s requirements for entrance exams for foreign applicants.
Where can I send my IELTS report?
The IELTS is administered by Cambridge ESOL, British Council, and IDP:IELTS Australia. Official score reports should be sent electronically by the testing center to Georgetown University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Should international applicants use WES for foreign transcripts?
It is strongly encouraged. See the Graduate School’s requirements for international transcripts.
What if my official scores do not arrive by the deadline?
The department gives first priority to applications that are complete by the deadline. Applications are not complete without official test results. The department may review applications using self-reported scores, but the Graduate School will not process admit decisions without official test results.
For doctoral students, it is critical that applications are complete by the deadline because of the limited number of available slots. If an application is not complete, then the department puts it on hold while it reviews complete applications. If the department fills its available slots, then applications on hold may not be reviewed. Once we make a decision not to review an incomplete application, our only option is to reject it.
Can I transfer credit in to the graduate program?
Yes. After the first semester, students can petition for transfer credit. They can transfer up to 25% of the total number of credits required for the degree, but the courses must be approved. These credits must not have been applied toward another degree. Doctoral students who have earned a relevant Master’s degree may be eligible for advanced standing. See the Graduate Bulletin for details.
Do you accept part-time students?
We accept part-time students for the Master’s program, but the Ph.D. program requires full-time enrollment.
If I apply for the Ph.D. program, will you also consider me for the Master’s program?
Yes. If we are unable to offer admission to applicants to the Ph.D. program, then we will consider them for the Master’s program. We may send e-mails to such applicants asking if they wish to be considered for the Master’s program. It is possible to apply for both programs at the same time, but this requires two separate applications and fees.
Can I start as a Master’s student and transfer to the Ph.D. program?
Master’s students can apply to the Ph.D. program. It is not possible to transfer to the Ph.D. program without a formal application.
How long will it take me to complete the program?
The expected time to complete the Master’s program as a full-time student is two years or four semesters. International students normally have two years to complete the program, whereas other students normally have three years. The expected time to complete the Ph.D. program is five years. Students who already have a Master’s degree in computer science may be able to complete the Ph.D. program in less time. Students normally have no more than seven years to complete the Ph.D. program.
Do you assign doctoral students to advisors at the time of admission?
No. We do not assign doctoral students to advisors at the time of admission. Incoming students may have identified and communicated with a prospective advisor, but students have three semesters to find an advisor. Most students find advisors by the late part of their first semester or the early part of their second semester. We want students to have the opportunity to meet prospective advisors, take classes from them, and learn about their research projects.
Will you help me with my application?
No. We cannot provide advice to applicants on their application. Applicants should get advice about applying to graduate school from professors at their home institutions.
Can you tell me why you did not admit me?
Unfortunately, we cannot. The deliberations of the Graduate Admissions Committee are confidential. We also do not have the resources to give feedback to applicants. Applicants should get advice about applying to graduate school and strengthening their application from professors at their home institutions.
I applied previously. Can I re-use my application?
Unfortunately, no. We do not retain applications after our review. It is necessary to create and submit a new application.
I got in! But can I defer?
Successful applicants can request to defer their matriculation for up to one year. Requests may not be granted, and if granted, we cannot guarantee that awarded funding will be available when applicants decide to matriculate. To apply for a deferral, successful applicants must complete the Deferral of Admission Request Form and submit it to the Graduate School. For more information, see the Admitted Students page.
I missed the application deadline. Will you consider my application?
No. We do not consider new applications after the deadlines. Unfortunately, the only option is to wait until the next deadline to apply.