PhD Programs FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions about the PhD in Computer Science program
- At a high level, what are the Admission Requirements?
The PhD requires a general GRE exam, and an undergraduate or graduate
degree that includes sufficient academic preparation in Computer
Science . Additionally, if you do not have an undergraduate degree in
computer science, a GRE Computer Science Subject exam score
is recommended. Non-native speakers will need to submit TOEFL
scores as well. Generally speaking, the PhD requirements are more
stringent than our MS requirements.
- Do I need a Master's in CS to enroll in the PhD?
No: you can enroll directly from undergraduate. But once you are
enrolled in the program, you will need to complete the equivalent
coursework of a Master's in addition to the regular Ph.D work, and if
you like you may pick up a Master's degree along the way as a result.
Thus if you are planning on working towards a PhD, and can meet the
entrance requirements, then there is no reason to apply for the MS
first, and the PhD later: just apply directly to the PhD
- If I have an MS already, is the PhD program shorter?
Yes. The course requirement for the PhD degree is 72 credit hours. Of these, at most 30 credit hours may be granted for an approved MS degree.
- If I cannot complete my PhD, can I still get an MS?
Yes. If while in the PhD you have completed all the requirements for
a Master's degree, you may receive a Master's degree instead.
- If I am in a CS MS program, can I switch to
The PhD entrance requirements are more stringent than those for the
MS. As a result, while you can freely shift from the PhD program to
the MS program, you must apply to the PhD program to enter it, even
if you are presently an MS student at GMU.
- Do you offer Financial Aid for PhD students?
The GMU CS department typically has about 35 Teaching
Assistantship positions and significantly more Research Assistantship
positions available. PhD students are given strong preference for
these positions, and at present most PhD students in need of an
assistantship are being funded. Additionally, the PhD program offers
one Presidential Graduate Fellowship per year.
- Do you accept unofficial copies of GRE and/or TOEFL scores?
- No. Note that delays in
submitting official GRE and/or TOEFL scores will delay the processing of your