Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Thank you for inquiring about our Master's Program. If you have not looked at the rest of our Web site by following other links on this page. It has information about admission criteria, application deadlines, graduation requirement, information on our courses and professors, etc.

The following are the 10 most frequently asked questions.

International students should contact Colleen Manthey (cmanthey@csusm.edu) in Admissions and Records to find out what documents are needed for obtaining a visa, and what other requirements (e.g. TOEFL) there are for international applicants.

  1. Do I need to have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science?
  2. What classes do you look for in the transcripts?
  3. What if I do not have the above courses?
  4. Do I need to take the GRE before applying? What is the minimum score I need to have?
  5. What else do you look for in our application file?
  6. What if I am not sure whether to apply?
  7. How long will it take to get the degree?
  8. What are my chances of getting an RAship or TAship?
  9. How or what do I need to send?
  10. How and when do you evaluate the files?

  1. Do I need to have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science?

    No. We welcome people with various degrees.
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  2. What classes do you look for in the transcripts?

    We look for equivalent of CS111 and CS211 (intro to CS courses), CS231 (assembly and digital circuits), CS311 (data structures), CS351 (programming languages), CS331 (architecture). We also look for Math and Physics courses which are pre-requisites for computer science courses (Calculus I and II, Physics 301 and Discrete Math). Please look at the descriptions of these courses.  Please also note that we look for CS421 (Theory), CS433 (Operating Systems) and CS441 (Software Engineering) in your transcript.  If you have not had these 400-level courses, you will have to include them in your study plan as a master's student, and they will count towards your degree.
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  3. What if I do not have the above courses?

    If you have 12 units or less missing, we may admit you as CONDITIONALLY CLASSIFIED and ask you to take them before we change your status to CLASSIFIED. If you are missing more than this, you cannot be admitted into the program.

    You should complete cs111,cs211,cs231 and calculus I and II before applying, either through our open university courses, through the 2nd bachelors, or at another college.

    International students must be full-time at all times. If you have certain courses missing, it will become impossible to be a full-time student. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to have completed all 100 and 200 level courses and CS311.
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  4. Do I need to take the GRE before applying? What is the minimum score I need to have?

    Yes, and please send us the official scores. No exceptions! We will not look at your application without the GRE scores. Please look at our Admissions page for the minimum scores.  Analytical Writing score is important in determining whether you satisy GWAR.  Those with 3.0 are admitted as CONDITIONALLY CLASSIFIED.
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  5. What else do you look for in our application file?

    It is important that you know what getting a Master's degree in Computer Science means and have clear plans and goals about what you will do with the degree.

    GPA helps us evaluate your potential as a graduate student.

    TOEFL score if you are an international student (This is a university-wide requirement).
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  6. What if I am not sure whether to apply?

    Take our courses through the Open University. Try them before you apply. Contact Admissions for more info. Also, doing well in our courses will make your application stronger.
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  7. How long will it take to get the degree?

    You will need 30 graduate level units (roughly 10 courses). Half of these units must be at the pure graduate level. We would not recommend taking more than 3 to 4 courses per semester.

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  8. What are my chances of getting an RAship or TAship?

    After you have had CS311 or above at CSUSM, you are welcome to apply as a Student Assistant  for lower division courses if and when we send out application forms.

    RAship depends on the availability of grants. You should contact the professor of the area you are interested in.
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  9. How or what do I need to send?

    Be sure to read the application form carefully to determine what to send to which office. We will not exchange files with other offices.
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  10. How and when do you evaluate the files?

    All Computer Science faculty will be involved in whom to admit and which courses to require for the applicant to become CLASSIFIED. The graduate coordinator only facilitates the process, and thus I cannot make any decision on my own.

    We start evaluating the file as soon as it becomes complete, and when done, we will send a letter to you.
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If you still have questions which are not answered by the above, please contact the Graduate Admssion Coordinator.

Thank you very much

Graduate Admission Coordinator for Computer Science.