To learn more about applying to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs at UNC, please see the Admissions Overview.

FAQs

Eligibility for Admissions

How to Apply

Financial Support and the Cost of Attendance

General Questions


Eligibility for Admissions

What previous degree is required to be eligible for admission?

A bachelor’s degree (B.S., B.A., or equivalent) is required. Individuals with only 3-year foreign degrees may not meet the educational requirement for graduate admission. See the note on foreign degrees in the Instructions for Graduate Applicants under Transcripts.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

An average grade of B (or equivalent) or better (e.g., a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale) is required as specified by the UNC Graduate School in the Instructions for Graduate Applicants. Most entering students have a higher GPA.

What background preparation is required before applying?

We welcome promising students from all disciplines, and there are no requirements on previous coursework to apply to our graduate program. Entering students in our graduate programs typically have a substantial background in both mathematics and computer science. Although not required, this background often includes at least six semester courses in mathematics and six in computer science. We consider knowledge of the following subjects to be essential preparation for our graduate program:

      • differential and integral calculus;

      • discrete mathematics: sets, relations, functions, algebra;

      • linear algebra or matrix theory;

      • mathematical probability, preferably calculus-based;

      • structured programming techniques;

      • data structures and abstract data types;

      • computer organization.

Most entering students have studied most of the following subjects:

      • design and analysis of algorithms;

      • formal languages and automata theory;

      • databases;

      • operating systems;

      • compilers;

      • digital logic techniques;

      • numerical computing methods;

      • programming languages;

      • software engineering.

Students who are admitted but who have not completed all the requirements must complete them after admission. Preference is given to applicants who are solidly prepared, especially in mathematics.


How to Apply

What is the link to submit an application?

The application system is available at ApplyNow.

Are applications accepted for both Fall and Spring semesters, or just the Fall Semester?

The Computer Science graduate program only accepts applications to enroll in the Fall semester. We do not accept applications to enroll in the Spring semester.

What is the deadline to submit an application?

For up-to-date admissions deadlines, visit this page.

Do I need to contact faculty or secure a faculty sponsor before applying?

Applicants do not need to contact faculty or secure a faculty sponsor in order to be admitted. Admissions decisions are made by a committee in the Department of Computer Science that reviews all applications, ranks the applicants by overall merit, and makes decisions on admission and financial support based on the application material submitted. In particular, students are not admitted by specific faculty.

Which degree should I select, M.S. or Ph.D.?

In your application, you will be asked to select a degree. You should select “Master of Science” if your goal is to obtain an M.S. degree only. You should select “Doctor of Philosophy” if (1) your goal is to obtain a Ph.D., regardless of whether you already have an M.S. degree, or (2) your immediate goal is to obtain an M.S. degree and you desire to remain in graduate school to work toward a Ph.D. upon completion of your M.S. degree.

Can I submit just one application and be considered for both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs?

Yes, applicants are always considered for both programs.

I am not able to find my institution under “Education” in my application; what should I do?

As stated in the application: IF YOU CANNOT LOCATE YOUR SCHOOL: Please type School Not Listed into the Institution Name field below (do NOT leave the Institution Name field blank), leaving all other fields blank and then click on “search”.

If I am an international applicant, do I need to upload my Financial Certificate during the application process?

International applicants do not have to upload or submit the International Student data & Financial Certification or other documents during the application process. Once an offer of admission is given, then the applicant would need to submit this information along with supporting documents.

Can I receive a waiver for my application fee?

For information on who qualifies for a waiver of the application fee and the process for requesting a waiver from the UNC Graduate School, please see the Application Fee Waiver page of the UNC Graduate School.

Can my letters of recommendation arrive after the application deadline?

Applications will still be processed, reviewed, and considered if recommendation letters arrive after the deadline. However, your application will be stronger if your letters of recommendation arrive before or very soon after you submit your application.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

Three letters of recommendation are required. You may submit additional letters of recommendation if you desire.

Who should I contact to write letters of recommendation?

Letters written by an applicant’s present or former professors are usually more informative than those written by employers or colleagues.

Is the GRE required to apply to the Computer Science M.S. or Ph.D. program?

Taking the GRE is not required but is recommended. We encourage you to apply, regardless of whether you have taken the GRE. The admissions committee in Computer Science at UNC-Chapel Hill takes a holistic approach and considers all parts of your application, including your statement of purpose, resume, transcripts, letters of reference, and standardized test scores (if submitted).

Is there a minimum recommended GRE score?

There is no recommended minimum GRE score on any section of the GRE. Allowances are made in interpreting the verbal test scores of applicants whose native language is not English.

Can I submit my GRE scores after the application deadline?

Yes, if you choose to submit GRE scores you can submit the scores after the application deadline. However, you should submit your scores soon after the deadline so they can be considered when your application is reviewed.

My GRE score is showing as “Not Received”; what should I do?

The process of official test scores matching your application can take 5-7 business days. Please check your application status regularly to monitor test scores matching to your submitted application. If you have just submitted your application, allow a few days to one week the system to match scores to the application. Test scores are not immediately matched and your application may say “Scores Not Received” for a few days. If the scores still do not appear after a few days, it may be the case that your scores need to be linked to your application if your name was not exactly as it was on your official test report. Please send an email to kenney@cs.unc.edu requesting your scores be linked to your application if you feel they should have been received already.

Am I required to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

Some international applicants are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS. Please see http://gradschool.unc.edu/admissions/instructions.html#intl for TOEFL and IELTS information. If you are an international applicant and you think you may qualify for a waiver or exemption to the TOEFL or IELTS requirement, see the Instructions for Graduate Applicants and look under the TOEFL or IELTS Score link for a list of acceptable exemptions.

If I am required to take the TOEFL or IELTS, can I submit my scores after the application deadline?

If you are an international applicant for whom the TOEFL or IELTS is required, you cannot be officially admitted until the scores are received.

If I am required to take the TOEFL or IELTS, is there a required minimum score below which my application will not be considered?

There is no score that would disqualify an application from being considered. Please see http://gradschool.unc.edu/admissions/instructions.html#intl for TOEFL and IELTS information and recommended minimum scores. Keep in mind the competitive nature of the Computer Science applications. If a score is below the Graduate School’s recommended minimum score, your application will not be disqualified. Updated scores are always accepted, even after you submit your application.

My TOEFL or IELTS scores are showing as “Not Received”; what should I do?

The process of official test scores matching your application can take 5-7 business days. Please check your application status regularly to monitor test scores matching to your submitted application. If you have just submitted your application, allow a few days to one week the system to match scores to the application. Test scores are not immediately matched and your application may say “Scores Not Received” for a few days. If the scores still do not appear after a few days, it may be the case that your scores need to be linked to your application if your name was not exactly as it was on your official test report. Please send an email to kenney@cs.unc.edu requesting your scores be linked to your application if you feel they should have been received already.


Financial Support and the Cost of Attendance

Will I be considered for financial support or funding?

The majority of our graduate students receive financial support via a fellowship, Research Assistantship (RA), or Teaching Assistantship (RA). This financial support typically covers all required tuition and fees and also provides health insurance and a stipend. For more information about RA and TA stipends and benefits, please see the department’s Financial Support page. All applicants are automatically considered for financial support as specified on the deadlines page.

What is the cost of attendance?

The majority of our graduate students receive financial support via a fellowship, Research Assistantship (RA), or Teaching Assistantship (RA), meaning you will not need to pay to attend our program. If you are admitted and not offered financial support in your admissions letter, you can learn more about the cost of attendance as well as financial aid opportunities at the following sites.

Tuition and Fees

General Costs for Graduate/Professional Students

Financial Aid for Graduate Students

Do I qualify for North Carolina residency for tuition purposes?

If you have questions about North Carolina residency for tuition purposes, please visit

http://gradschool.unc.edu/residency/index.html.


General Questions

When are admissions decisions and notifications sent?

Offers of admission will be sent via email between late January and the end of March. Applicants not being offered admission will receive notification in April. We understand your eagerness to receive information, but please refrain from emailing us about the status of your application until you are contacted or notified. Due to the high volume of applications received, the review process takes time, and we appreciate your patience.

Can I ask about my chances of being accepted before I apply?

The department can not provide feedback on your chances of being accepted before you apply. In making admissions decisions, the Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach that requires seeing your entire, submitted application.

What percent of applicants are admitted?

Admission to the graduate program in Computer Science at UNC is highly competitive, with fewer than 10% of applicants accepted to the program each year.