My previous degree is not in Computer Science. What are my chances of being admitted?

It depends on which program you want to pursue. For the MS Computer Science program, a degree in Computer Science is not required, but the ideal candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree that includes coursework in data structures and algorithms, automata theory and formal languages, computer architecture including assembly language, calculus I and II, and discrete math. If you do not have the necessary background, but still want to pursue MS CS, we would typically recommend you start with our undergraduate certificate program and apply to MS CS once you complete the courses required for admission.

You may also choose to consider our Master’s programs in Information Security and Assurance, Information Systems, or Software Engineering.

Can I be admitted to an MS program provisionally?

Provisional admission is offered if a student has some deficiencies in preparation, but is otherwise a strong applicant. Students entering the MS ISA, MS INFS, or MS SWE programs must have coursework or equivalent knowledge in the areas of object-oriented programming, discrete math, machine organization, and data structure. When admitted provisionally, you must meet these requirements by taking the following foundation courses: INFS 501, INFS 515, INFS 519, and SWE 510. The foundation courses must be taken first before beginning the core curriculum. These courses do not count as credit towards your MS degree. If you believe you already have equivalent knowledge, you have one opportunity to test out of your foundation courses before beginning your first semester. More information regarding the foundation courses can be found here.

Note: Due to federal requirements, students on F1/J1 visas are not eligible for provisional admission.

Do all applicants need to take the GRE? What is the minimum score required?

International students must submit an official GRE General Test score report. We do not publish a minimum score requirement. The GRE is waived for applicants with a US Bachelor's degree or higher.

Do you accept unofficial copies of GRE and/or TOEFL scores? 

No. Your official scores must be sent directly from the testing agency. More information on standardized test requirements can be found here. Note: delays in submitting official GRE and/or TOEFL scores will delay your application review.

Do you accept unofficial transcripts of prior academic work?

Yes. We will evaluate your application using unofficial transcripts. However, upon admission, you will need to provide official transcripts before you m enroll in the program.

How much will it cost to complete a Master’s degree?

For information regarding tuition and fees, please visit the Student Accounts website at

Do you offer Financial Aid for MS students?

The department offers funding through Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) positions. MS students are not offered positions upon admission, but do have the opportunity to apply once they are admitted to their program. We seek students who have demonstrated a thorough knowledge of our curriculum. The most frequently successful way to do this is by outstanding performance in the core courses of the MS program. As such, MS students are rarely eligible for positions in their first semester, but will be able to apply for each subsequent semester.  More information about GTA positions is available here.

In addition, a variable number of Research Assistantships are available each year through faculty member’s research grants. More information can be found here.

Note: Students with provisional status are not eligible for teaching assistantships.

Do I really need to take the courses listed in my provisional admission letter? I already have taken equivalent course work at the undergraduate level

Yes, you need to take the courses listed in your letter of admission and pass the courses with a B or better grade. If you believe the admissions committee has overlooked courses you may have taken as undergraduate, you can appeal the foundation course requirement. See this page for more details. 

If you believe you already know the material that is covered in these classes, you may test out by attempting exams that correspond to various foundation courses. The test out exams are administered in the week before the beginning of the semester.

I am an undergraduate student at Mason or Mason alum. Is there an expedited path for admission to the MS programs offered by the CS department?

If you are a current undergraduate student in BS ACS, BS CS, or BS IT with two semesters or more remaining in your degree program, you may wish to consider enrolling in an accelerated BS/MS program.

If you are a Volgenau School or Engineering alum or current undergraduate within one semester of graduation and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you can take advantage of the Fast-Track Graduate Admissions process, which requires fewer supplementary admission materials.

Can I visit the department and meet the faculty?

While there are no scheduled tours of the CS Department, the Volgenau School of Engineering hosts several Open Houses and Information Sessions for Prospective Graduate Students throughout the academic year. At these events you can meet administrative staff who can answer your questions regarding the admissions process and our graduate degrees. Faculty from the CS department are also available at several of these events. For more details, see the VSE Graduate Admissions web page.