The University of Arizona

Graduate Info

Frequently Asked Questions by Applicants

Application ProcessTransfersMoney MattersStandardized TestsMiscellaneous

The Application Process

How competitive is admission?

Admission to the Department of Computer Science is very competitive. Every year we receive hundreds of applications for our programs. We encourage applicants to send complete applications well in advance of the deadlines.

What qualities do you look for in a good candidate? What goes into a promising application?

For a list of minimum admission criteria, go to our requirements page. We look for high scores on standardized tests, adequate background in computer science, strong letters of recommendation, good grades from a strong undergraduate program, and research interests shared with the faculty. Each applicant is evaluated carefully, taking all aspects of your application into account. Our stated minimums are only guidelines and not rigid policy. An applicant whose record is weak in one aspect (e.g., GRE scores) may be considered for admission if a strength exists in another area (e.g., excellent GPA, letters). In evaluating your application, the committee will look for the following: (1) adequate math and computer science background, (2) excellent academic performance, (3) good communication skills, and (4) intellectual potential.

Can you give me an idea of my chances for admission or for assistantships before I submit my application?

It is not possible for us to pre-evaluate an applicant. You must send your entire application to us with all supporting documents for us to make such a determination.

What are the prerequisites for grad admission?

For a list of prerequisite courses for graduate admission, see: prerequisites.

I don't have the necessary prerequisites for admission. My undergraduate degree is in another major. What options do I have to get into the program?

You can take the prerequisites elsewhere before applying or at the UA as a non-degree-seeking graduate student. Non-degree-seeking graduate students can take undergraduate and graduate level courses across campus.

Apply directly to the Graduate College for non-degree status. Please note, international students are not eligible for non-degree seeking status because of visa requirements.

There is no guarantee of admission to our program based on completion of the prerequisites here.

If I have professional work experience in the computer industry, can I count that toward my prerequisite course work?

Industrial experience can sometimes count towards prerequisite coursework; however, this determination is made on a case-by-case basis. You must send us your complete application and supporting documents to evaluate you for admission, and determine if you have any course deficiencies.

How can I check the status of my application?

Email sent to regarding status of applications will be answered as time permits. Please note that your application cannot be evaluated until all required supporting documents are received. Once a decision regarding admission has been made, you will be contacted via email. Decisions for fall admission will be released in March.

Can supporting documents be sent separately?

Since some schools and references will only send information directly to us, we will accept those materials sent under separate cover. Make sure any documents being sent by others is done so in a timely fashion. Letters of reference sent directly to us must be sealed by the writer and signed across the seal.  Otherwise, please submit all documents as part of the on-line application.

Transferring to The University of Arizona

If I want to transfer to UA, do I have to apply formally or is there another process?

Students wishing to transfer to our graduate program from another program must formally apply using the same application materials as regular applicants.

If admitted, how many classes can I transfer into the program?

Only 20% of course work required for the Master's degree can be transferred in from another institution; this is the equivalent of two 3-unit courses. These units must: 1) have earned graduate credit, 2) have earned a grade of "A" or "B", 3) not have been used for credit towards another degree, and 4) be approved by a faculty member in this department as being equivalent to our course(s). Those entering our PhD program work with us individually to determine what transfer credit can be used towards their degree here. The PhD program does not follow the 20% rule for transfer work, but does use the same criteria listed above for the MS program.

Money Matters

What forms of financial aid are available from the department?

For information about financial aid, see our web page: Funding Opportunities

What are the estimated yearly expenses for a graduate student?

For a list of estimated costs, see: Estimated Expenses

How do I apply for an assistantship?

All PhD applicants are automatically considered for funding. It is our department's goal to fully fund every PhD student in our department. MS students are normally not evaluated for assistantship positions until after they arrive on campus.

Under what circumstances must I submit a financial guarantee statement?

If you are admitted and granted enough financial aid to cover the required amount, you will not need to submit any financial paperwork. If you are admitted with partial or no aid, you will have to submit a financial guarantee , which provides evidence of your ability to pay a specfied amount to cover the cost of your first year of education. Send all bank statements and/or letters of support with the financial guarantee to the Graduate College Admissions Office.

Is the financial guarantee and/or bank statement required by the application deadline?

No, the financial guarantee is not needed by the deadline. When you have been offered admission, you will be directed to submit a financial guarantee to the Graduate College, and we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Delays could hold up the processing of your admission and I-20 form.

What if I am applying for financial aid? Do I still need to submit the financial guarantee?

All you need to do is complete the first section entitled "Applicant's Personal Data" on the Assistantship Application form, sign and date the bottom line, and mark (x) the line above it that reads "Graduate Assistantship From the University of Arizona." This will alert the Graduate College that you are applying for the assistantship and that you do not have any other means of financial support.

Standardized Tests

If I don't provide original GRE and/or TOEFL scores with my application, will I still be evaluated for admission?

We will accept attested copies of the GRE and TOEFL scores for purposes of evaluation, but we strongly encourage you to submit the official scores to the University of Arizona when you apply. This is particularly important for the TOEFL scores. If you should be recommended for admission, you will be required to submit original score reports from ETS.

What is the University of Arizona code for ETS?

The University of Arizona code is 4832. You do not need to indicate a department code.

What if my GRE scores are not available before/by the deadline for submitting my application?

Send in your application, fee, and all other supporting documents by the deadline. When the GRE scores arrive, we will then evaluate your application. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be considered for the semester of your choosing. It will depend on the date by which we receive the scores.

What if my GREs (or GPA) is below your minimums? Am I automatically denied admission?

Our minimum GRE/TOEFL scores and GPA are guidelines and not hard cut-off points. Therefore, if your scores are below the minimums, this does not mean that you will automatically be excluded from the applicant pool. However, as admissions is quite competitive, it is in your best interests to apply when you have met these minimum guidelines.

What is required for a Teaching Assistantship?

A passing score on a test of spoken English is required of all international students who are offered a Teaching Assistantship. This is a Graduate College requirement and cannot be waived; review their policy here.


I would like to ask some questions of the faculty. How do I go about this?

We prefer that applicants not make blanket requests for information, advice, or financial aid to the entire faculty. Please review the list of faculty and their research interests and communicate only with those with whom you share research interests and are interested in working.