Frequently Asked Questions
As a practical matter the only deadlines are very close to the start of the term in which you plan to officially become a degree-seeking graduate student (perhaps six weeks before the start of the term). Since students can take up to three courses prior to admission and count them later in the degree, application deadlines should not be much of a concern for anyone.
Yes, up to three courses may be taken prior to admission and still be counted towards the degree.
The GRE exam is recommended, but not required, for all MCS applicants.
All applicants coming from countries in which English is not the official language, and who do not have an undergraduate degree from a country in which the official language is English (Canada, U.K., Australia, USA, New Zealand, etc.) must take the TOEFL or IELTS and earn at least a 92 on the internet-base exam or a minimum of 6.5 on the IELTS. The TOEFL may be waived for applicants who have been living in the USA for at least three years if they request a waiver. Please contact us for details.
Students entering the masters program are expected to be fluent in an object-oriented language (e.g., Java or C++). You should also have coursework in:
We do not offer these courses online, though other schools may. These are very common undergraduate computer science courses and are widely available.
The Graduate School makes these decisions. Contact the Graduate School
Only persons with degrees equivalent to U.S. bachelors degrees are qualified to apply for admission. A 3 year degree is not equivalent to the U.S. bachelor degree. (Nor is the 3 year degree plus 1 year of a second degree).
Probably. Please check the course web page CS414 about the course. Also check the CS314 web page CS314 (the prerequisite for CS414). You may want to review the CS314 text to determine if your background is sufficient.
Applicants who show exceptional promise for success may be admitted to the program with less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. You may want to consider taking two or three CS courses before applying for admission. If your grades in these courses are good (A's and B's), we can more easily admit you to the Masters program.
Applicants with graduate work in computer science from another university may petition to apply up to 12 hours towards their Masters in CS at CSU. Credit cannot be given officially until a student is admitted. However, students having prior coursework covering topics similar to those found in 500- and 600-level CS courses at CSU from accredited institutions, and passed with a grade of B or better, are very likely to have such requests granted.
No. Courses used to complete one degree may not be used towards another.
No graduate programs in computer science are reviewed for accreditation in the United States by organizations like CSAB/ABET, but Colorado State University is a state-funded regionally accredited Carnegie I research institution (there is no higher level of accreditation in the USA).
The online version of the Masters of Computer Science program is identical to the resident Masters of Computer Science program.
The CSU CS department does not offer financial aid to distance education students. There may be federal or state programs providing grants or loans for distance education. Please contact the Financial Aid Office.
Since the PhD is a research degree, it must be completed in close cooperation with researchers. This collaborative learning experience is not well suited to distance education in the opinion of our faculty. We therefore do not offer the PhD through distance education.
Courses run during two 16 week terms per year, plus a 12 week summer term, and must be completed on a schedule within the term in which they are taken. The fall semester runs from late August to mid-December, the spring semester runs from late January to mid-May, and the summer runs from mid May to early August. Students must join a course at the beginning of the term, or wait until the next semester.
9 courses are required for the MCS degree. Current costs are given here.
Note that tuition and registration for online courses is separate from that for on campus courses. All online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency (there is no in-state out-of-state tuition distinction for online courses).
Students are always encouraged to work ahead in their classes.
Anyone who pays tuition can take courses.
How long it takes depends on how many courses you take at one time. Taking one course per semester (including summer) would enable one to complete the degree in approximately 3 years. More energetic students may be able to take 2 courses during the fall and spring semesters, and finish in 2 years.
Registration for online courses is done through the Continuing Education web site:
and *not* through the on-campus registration system (RamWeb).
Registering for courses is similar to buying a book on Amazon: go to the "Courses" tab and click on "Credit Courses". This will lead you to a listing of subjects, and go to the courses listed under "Computer Science." You can use the filter to select courses being offered in the next term, find the course you wish to take, and add it.