Skip to main content

Why Apply to UNC for Graduate School?

Founded by Turing Award winner Fred Brooks, the Computer Science department at UNC has an outstanding research tradition as one of the oldest computer science departments in the country. You can learn more about the department, research opportunities, the university, and the beautiful Chapel Hill area by visiting this page.

Admission to the graduate program in Computer Science at UNC is highly selective, with fewer than 10 percent of applicants accepted to the program each year. Our admitted students have backgrounds in a variety of disciplines, but typically have a strong foundation in mathematics and computer science. We encourage applications from students from any background, from traditionally underrepresented groups, and from around the world.

Graduate Degree Programs

UNC offers both the Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) graduate degrees in computer science. You can learn more about these degree programs by seeing our Overview of Graduate Degree Programs.

How to Apply


Applications to the graduate degree programs are submitted to the UNC Graduate School. For detailed instructions on how to apply and to complete your application, please go to the UNC Graduate School’s Instructions for Graduate Applicants.

Admissions decisions are made by the faculty in the Department of Computer Science. When completing your application using the link above, please keep in mind the following information specific to the Department of Computer Science.

Starting 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.

Area of Interest: Please select up to five Areas of Interest on your application via the Areas of Interest/Specialization drop-down box within your application. You can learn more about the research areas and their associated faculty and subareas on the department’s Research Areas page.

Faculty Interests: Please list up to five faculty members with whom you would be interested in conducting research. If you would be happy working with any Computer Science faculty in the research areas you selected in the Area of Interest section of your application, please write “Any faculty” in one of the faculty interest boxes. We encourage you to write “Any faculty” in your faculty interest box unless you have a strong preference to only conduct research with specific listed faculty.

Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose, which should be between one and two pages long, should include:

  • objectives in pursuing graduate study;
  • identification of fields within computer science in which the applicant has a particular interest;
  • information that is relevant to the applicant’s qualifications for graduate study but that has not been included already in the application (e.g. major academic projects, papers presented or published, and non-academic computer experience);
  • an informative title or a brief description of any course listed on the applicant’s transcript without a title (or with a vague title such as “Mathematics II”);
  • a list of all courses taken or planned that do not yet appear on a transcript.

Resume/CV: Your resume/CV should provide information about your academic degrees, work and volunteer experiences, research experiences, publications, awards, recognitions, and other relevant activities. If you are an international student and have taken an international standardized test (e.g., Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)), you may at your discretion include your scores in your resume.

GRE: Taking the GRE is not required but is recommended. There is no penalty for students who do not submit GRE scores. We encourage you to apply, regardless of whether you have taken the GRE. The admissions committee in Computer Science at UNC 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). 


Application Deadlines

For the admissions deadlines, visit our Application Deadlines page.

Financial Support

The majority of our graduate students receive financial support via a fellowship, Research Assistantship (RA), or Teaching Assistantship (TA). 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 Application Deadlines page.

For applicants not offered financial support, 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

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Training Program

Students interested in a Ph.D. in the area of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) with a focus on computer science techniques have two choices on programs to which to apply:

(1)  Ph.D. in Computer Science with an optional certificate from the BCB program.  This requires an application for admission to the Computer Science Ph.D. program and an optional application to the BCB certificate program that can be made concurrent with the Computer Science application OR in a later semester.

(2)  Ph.D. in the Curriculum for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology with one or more committee members from computer science.  This includes a first year fellowship supporting rotations in faculty laboratories.  This requires an application to the BCB Ph.D. program.

Additional Information

Visiting our Department

Visiting UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School

Diversity at UNC-Chapel Hill 


Please see our Admissions FAQ. If you have any other questions about our admissions process, please contact us:

Admissions and Graduate Studies

Department of Computer Science
Campus Box 3175, Sitterson Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3175 USA

Fax: (919) 590-6200
Email: admit (at)