Graduate

Graduate Program FAQ


Also see the Graduate School’s Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Apply?

What are my chances of getting into your program?
We need to see your complete application in order to decide whether you are qualified for admission. Please review the
CS admissions requirements and the answers to other questions in this FAQ. They will give you a good idea about whether your background matches our requirements. If you have specific, individual questions that are not answered in either place, please email the appropriate CS Graduate Coordinator.

  • For questions related to Master’s (MS) degrees, please contact Prof. Giampiero Pecelli at: giam@cs.uml.edu
  • For questions related to Doctoral (ScD) degrees, please contact Prof. Karen Daniels at: DocCoord@cs.uml.edu

My bachelor’s degree isn’t in computer science. Can I apply?
Yes. If your Bachelor’s degree is in a related engineering, scientific, or mathematical discipline, that’s fine. If it’s not, we will need to look closely to see whether you have sufficient technical background to succeed in CS graduate work.

I’m missing one or two of the required knowledge areas. What can I do?
If you meet all of the other admissions requirements for the MS in CS, then you should apply. We often accept applicants into the MS in CS with conditions, if they are missing only one or two of the required knowledge areas and meet all other admissions requirements.

I’m missing most of the requires knowledge areas. What should I do?
We recommend that you take some of the prerequisite courses. We can’t accept you into the MS in CS if you are missing more than two of the required knowledge areas, even if you meet all of the other admissions requirements. You wouldn’t have the background to succeed in our graduate courses. So dig into those prerequisites!

Whom can I meet with to discuss applying?
Your best - and quickest - sources of information are this FAQ and the CS admissions web pages. 

If you have specific, individual questions that are not answered in either of those places, please send email the appropriate CS Graduate Coordinator identified in the first answer on this page.

The CS Graduate Coordinator (a professor) holds office hours during the academic year, but not during the summer. 

If you are interested in the Bioinformatics Option within the MS in CS, you may wish to contact a representative of the Bioinformatics program (click here to send email). 

Will I get credit for my work experience?
If your work requires you to use both broad and deep knowledge within one of the required knowledge areas for admission to the MS in CS, then it may possibly satisfy that knowledge area (at the discretion of the admissions committee). We do not give graduate credit toward the degree for work experience.

I have a three year bachelor’s degree from my country. Can I apply?
Please see the answer to this question in the Graduate School’s FAQ.

Can I transfer from another department?
There is no automatic transfer to the CS graduate program from another department. You need to apply to transfer, and to meet all of the CS admissions requirements. See Transferring to CS from another department.

If you meet all of the other admissions requirements for the MS in CS, then you should apply. We often accept applicants into the MS in CS with conditions, if they are missing only one or two of the required knowledge areas and meet all other admissions requirements.

I’m missing most of the required knowledge areas. What should I do?
We recommend that you take some of the prerequisite courses. We can’t accept you into the MS in CS if you are missing more than two of the required knowledge areas, even if you meet all of the other admissions requirements. You wouldn’t have the background to succeed in our graduate courses. So dig into those prerequisites!

Will I get credit for my work experience?
If your work requires you to use both broad and deep knowledge within one of the required knowledge areas for admission to the MS in CS, then it may possibly satisfy that knowledge area (at the discretion of the admissions committee). 

We do not give graduate credit toward the degree for work experience.

I have a three-year bachelor’s degree from my country. Can I apply?
Please see the answer to this question in the Graduate School’s FAQ.

What is the deadline for applying for spring? For fall?
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Can I transfer from another department?
There is no automatic transfer to the CS graduate program from another department. You need to apply to transfer, and to meet all of the CS admissions requirements. See Transferring to CS from another department.

Getting Application Materials

Will you please send me application materials?
The Graduate School distributes application materials. To get them online, go to the
Graduate School’s website. To get them by postal mail, send a request to Graduate_School@uml.edu.

Can I apply online?
Yes, it is possible to apply online at the Graduate School’s website.

Application Status

What is the status of my application?
You may check the status of your application online. For details, see the Graduate School’s FAQ. 

If you are unable to access the status information, or if you believe it is incorrect, please contact the Graduate School office (Graduate_School@uml.edu). 

If the status information says that your application is under review by the Department, then we are currently reviewing it. The Graduate School office will notify you once a decision has been made.

The Grad School says they sent you my application.  When will you make a decision?
The Computer Science Department gets many hundreds of applications. You may receive a generic message from the Graduate School that promises a quick review of your application. Please disgard it. It does not apply to the CS Department, because of the volume of applications we receive. It may take two months from the time the Graduate School receives your completed application until you are notified of the admission decision. Please plan accordingly.

Doctor of Science

I don’t have a Master’s degree. Can I get into your Doctor of Science program?
It is possible to enter the Doctor of Science program without having a Master’s degree. You would begin your doctoral program by meeting the requirements for the MS in CS. For details, see the 
CS admissions requirements

Who will be my research advisor?
The Department does not assign research advisors to students. The research advisor/advisee relationship is based on mutual trust and respect. You will need to get to know the faculty members who do research in your area of interest. You will also need to show the faculty your abilities, interest, integrity, and diligence. The best way to get to know a faculty member is to take a course with him or her and then to volunteer on his or her research projects. With luck, you will develop a good working relationship, and the faculty member will agree to become your advisor.

Financial Aid

I’m poor. Will you waive the application fee?
No, the Grad School says they will not waive the application fee.

Will you give me a fellowship?
Please see the
Financial Support page.

Will you give me an assistantship or other job on campus?
Please see the  Financial Support page.

Can you help me find a job at a local company?
There are two sources of help for finding a job at a local company while you are a student here. (Of course, neither can guarantee that you will find a job.) The CS Department may be able to help with off campus job placement. Also, the University has a Career Services and Cooperative Education Center that helps students learn about job openings. 

Transferring from a Different Department

How do I transfer to the CS graduate program from another department within the University?
There is no automatic transfer to the CS graduate program from another department. You need to apply to transfer, and you need to meet all of the CS admissions requirements. See 
Transferring to CS from another department.

GRE and TOEFL

What are the minimum GRE scores you accept?
There isn’t an official minimum. Your GRE scores are evaluated in the context of your entire application.

What is the minimum TOEFL score you accept?
For international students, except as exempted by Graduate School rules, the Computer Science graduate program requires a TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based).

Do I need to take the GRE advanced computer science test?
The GRE advanced computer science test is recommended, but not required.

How important is the GRE?
The GRE is an important component of your application, since it can confirm your readiness for graduate studies. 

My TOEFL score is more than two years old.  Will you accept it?
Sorry, the Graduate School says it will accept only TOEFL scores that are less than two years old.

May I send in a photocopy of my test scores instead of an official report?
No, the Graduate School will accept only official score reports for the TOEFL and GRE.

My computer-based GRE testing center is closing.  I have to wait a long time to take the paper-based test.  Will you waive the GRE requirement?
No, the Graduate School says it will not waive the GRE requirement.

Rejection

Why didn’t you accept me?
If you were not accepted to the Computer Science Department, it is because you did not sufficiently meet one or more of the CS graduate admissions requirements. Common reasons for rejection include low GRE verbal and TOEFL scores, missing knowledge areas, weak performance in bachelor’s-level work, and/or a GPA below 3.0 in prerequisite courses taken at UMass Lowell.

I was rejected.  Can I reapply?
If you have strengthened your application (for example, by taking additional prerequisite courses to satisfy the required knowledge areas for admission), then yes, it makes sense to reapply. If you have not strengthened your application, then it would be a waste of time to reapply.

Why didn’t you let me transfer from another department?
Different departments have different admission requirements. If your application to transfer was not accepted, it is because you did not sufficiently meet one or more of the 
CS admissions requirements. Common reasons for rejection include low GRE verbal and TOEFL scores, missing knowledge areas, weak performance in bachelor’s-level work, and/or a GPA below 3.0 in prerequisite courses taken at UMass Lowell.