Applying to the Graduate Program in Computer Science

NOTE: Starting with Fall 2018 admissions, graduate applications will be done through with application fee deferred until the applicant is recommended for admission. The new system will be available in Mid-August 2017.

The Two Steps to Applying to the CS Graduate Program (though Spring 2018)

STEP 1: Complete a free graduate pre-application and be recommended for admission (see detailed instructions below).

STEP 2: Once approved through the pre-application process, complete a streamlined formal application (see detailed instructions below)

Pre-Application Deadlines

Fall Admission

Spring Admission

Admission Deadline*

February 1

August 15**

These deadlines are for receipt of all application documentation in the pre-application system. If you are starting the application process on these dates, you are applying too late. We permit one week after the deadline for receipt of reference letters.

* These deadlines are for pre-applications to our on campus programs, the deadline for our Online MCS program is May 1 for Fall admission, and November 1 for Spring admission.

** This date may not allow enough time for an international applicant to receive a visa. International applicants may wish to apply for fall terms.

Financial Aid

All Ph.D. and MS applicants are considered for financial aid based on academic merit and fit with faculty research programs. Financial aid, in the form of teaching and research assistantships, is limited and therefore highly competitive. There are always many more applicants recommended for admission to our graduate program than we have funding to support.

Degrees Offered and Required Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (Ph.D.)

This is a traditional research doctorate involving course work, original research and a dissertation. Students seeking the Ph.D. should be ready to do Ph.D.-level research in computer science upon entrance to the program.

Entrance Requirements: Students applying to the PhD program should have demonstrated research ability in a research area of one or more members of the CSU computer science faculty. Ways to demonstrate research ability include: undergraduate research projects, published or posted writings, volunteer positions especially related to STEM, leadership positions at school or work, extensions of class projects, etc.

Ph.D. admission is highly competitive; only the most highly qualified applicants are admitted to the program. We do not admit PhD students conditionally under any circumstances.

Test Scores for Ph.D. applicants:

Master of Science in Computer Science (M.S.)

This is a traditional research masters in computer science, which includes course work, research and a thesis. This degree is the preferred preparation for those who intend to go on to earn a Ph.D. Because of the research component, this degree cannot be completed online.

Entrance Requirements: Students applying to the Master of Science program should have a four-year bachelor's degree in computer science or closely related field, and be able to demonstrate research potential in an area in which the CS faculty does work. We do not admit M.S. students conditionally under any circumstances.

Test Scores for M.S. applicants:

Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.)

This is a non-thesis, non-research, professional masters consisting exclusively of course work. It is offered both on-campus and through courses taken online.

Entrance Requirements: Students applying to the MCS program should have a working knowledge of computer science and mathematics, including, at a minimum:

Test Scores for M.C.S. Applicants:

International Applicants:

Grade Requirements for All Graduate Applicants

The CSU Graduate School requires that all graduate applicants have at least a 3.0 (A=4.0) undergraduate Grade Point Average. Normally students with less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA will not be admitted to the program. An exception to this rule are students who have earned their bachelor's degrees many years ago, and who have accumulated considerable computer science related work experience in the intervening years. Depending on the nature of the work, such students may be invited to apply despite their low undergraduate GPA's.

Detailed Instructions

Step 1: Pre-Application

To start the Pre-Application Process follow this LINK. The process involves completing forms with your academic information including reference names and email addresses, test scores, background information, and uploading all documentation.

The pre-application process is free. (NOTE: we will not consider formal applications from students who have not completed the pre-application process.) It is crucial that students follow the pre-application instructions completely and exactly.

The CS Department Graduate Admissions Committee will notify you by email of its pre-application decision. If the committee believes you have a good chance of admission you will be asked to complete the formal admission process (see below). If you are notified that you will not be admitted, then you should not submit a formal application.

Step 2: Formal Graduate Application

If you are asked to submit a formal application after the pre-application process, only then should you complete the formal Online Application Form with the Office of Admissions.


Once you have completed the Pre-application process, and have been asked to apply (and have completed the online Graduate School Application form), you only need to send official transcripts and test scores (plus financial statement for international students) to complete your formal application.

You can view the status of your formal application once you submit your application.


Transcripts should be sent directly to:

Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University - Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Test Scores

Official TOEFL or IELTS scores, reported by ETS (institution code: 4075).

In general, all applicants from countries in which English is not the official and primary language, and who do not have an undergraduate or graduate degree from the United States must submit TOEFL scores.

The minimum English proficiency score for applicants to our graduate degree programs is 580 (237 on the computer-based test, 92 on the internet based test) or 6.5 on the IELTS or 62 on the PTE).

Financial Statement

A Immigration Document Request Form is required for international applicants without departmental assistantship support.