The requirements in this section apply to applicants to the PhD in Computer Science, MS in Computer Science and the Professional MS in Computer Science.
Applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an institution comparable to the University of Colorado. They should have programming experience, a number of computer science courses and sufficient mathematical maturity to understand pure mathematics courses at the upper division (junior/senior) level.
The following prerequisites are REQUIRED for admission both Traditional and Professional Master's degree in Computer Science.
For PhD applicants, the Department of Computer Science welcomes PhD applications from interdisciplinary backgrounds. Modern computer science often combines important ideas from multiple fields, including physics, mathematics, economics, biology, psychology, and more. We welcome students from all such backgrounds, and do not require a prior degree in computer science. Applicants should identify a common research interest with faculty and communicate with students in their labs before application, seen on the CS research website.
While we highly recommend that PhD applicants complete the listed prerequisite courses before submitting their application, for PhD admissions, the research match is the most important factor taken into considerations while making decisions. Therefore, please do go through research happening in our department to make sure this is the right place for you! Completing the prerequisites helps you in handling our graduate courses better and also opens more opportunities to be a Teaching Assistant. We also highly encourage such students to identify areas and faculty members they wish to work with and/or get in touch with the faculty directly through email. Research area match is the most important factor in PhD admissions.
Your academic background should include at least three semesters of mathematics at the level of sophistication of calculus or above. Examples of such courses such are calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability, statistics and abstract algebra. The courses should indicate that you have achieved the mathematical maturity expected of an upper-level science, engineering, or mathematics undergraduate.
Computer Science Courses
If you're missing any of these prerequisites, our online post-baccalaureate in Applied Computer Science offers classes that can help you prepare for graduate study. Learn More
At least four one-semester courses in computer science that are beyond the introductory level are required for MS admissions and highly recommended for PhD admissions. These are intended to demonstrate your breadth of basic computer science knowledge in the areas of computer hardware, software and theory. The courses should include the equivalent of the following University of Colorado offerings:
Software Requirement: Any one of CSCI 3155 (Principles of Programming Languages) or CSCI 3753 (Operating Systems)
Theory Requirement: CSCI 2270 (Computer Science 2: Data Structures) and either CSCI 3104 (Algorithms) or CSCI 3434 (Theory of Computation)
More advanced versions of all courses are acceptable. The courses in the Hardware, Software and Theory Requirements are prerequisites to many of the graduate-level offerings, so it’s important to complete these to be considered for graduate admissions. Admission without these prerequisites or their equivalents may be considered under extraordinary circumstances only.
Courses completed through Coursera or any other online degree platform taken for non-credit do not fulfill the admissions prerequisites requirements.
Courses completed through Coursera or any other online degree platform taken for-credit at the graduate level that appear on an institution’s official transcript with grades are considered as fulfilling admissions prerequisites requirements.
Courses through Coursera or any other online degree platform taken for-credit at the undergraduate level that appear on an institution’s official transcript with grades are considered admissions prerequisites requirements.
Grade Point Average
You must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0). Applicants having the listed qualifications will, if accepted, be classified as regular degree students. However, admission to the graduate programs is competitive, and a grade point average at this level will not ensure admission. Competitive applications to PhD and CSEN-MS (research based MS) degree typically have a 3.5 or higher GPA and competitive applications to CSEN-MSCPS (course based MS) have a 3.3 or higher GPA.
GRE scores are not required for admissions to CSEN graduate degrees at CU Boulder.
MS in Network Engineering
Applicants for graduate study in network engineering must hold at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an institution comparable to the University of Colorado. We also recommend that candidates have experience in network engineering, system administration or network programming.
GRE scores are not required for admissions to this program.