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Admissions Requirements

MEng: Our primary admissions criterion for the MEng program is our expectation regarding your ability to successfully complete the program. This program takes as its core missions to successfully bring a wider group of people into the computing field at the graduate level.

MS/Ph.D.: Our primary admissions criterion to the MS and Ph.D. programs is our expectation regarding your ability to have a productive career as a research-track graduate student. We base this assessment on the academic record, proficiency in English speaking and writing, letters of recommendation, research experiences such as independent study projects, and prior internship/work experience. All of these are imperfect indicators of the real trait that we are interested in assessing, namely ability to succeed in research. If you have direct evidence, such as research publications in competitive conferences, or if your letter writers can speak to these abilities, that is considered more valuable than any score cutoffs. For this reason, we do not declare official minimum scores and cutoffs since performance on these measures is just one factor taken into account.

Our department accepts students from a variety of backgrounds besides computer science, such as mathematics, many branches of engineering, physics, biology, and many art disciplines.

For the MS/Ph.D. tracks, we require a background equivalent to two years of undergraduate training in Computer Science, including at least:

  1. an introductory course on programming and beginning data structures (typically referred to as "CS2"),
  2. a sophomore or junior-level course in data structures (i.e., something that goes beyond the data structures content normally expected from a standard "CS2" course), and 
  3. a course in operating systems.

In addition, we expect a background in Mathematics to include courses in Linear Algebra, Discrete Mathematics, Statistics, and at least one year of Calculus.

For the MEng track, we require a background equivalent to two semesters of introductory programming courses (that is, to have successfully completed a "CS2" course at an accredited institution).

Where should I apply?

All applications must be submitted online formally through the Virginia Tech Graduate School's online application form. The entire package comprises:

  • Graduate School online application form, including the CS applicant information which is part of that form. On the form, check NCR (National Capital Region) as the designated campus for your application.
  • Non-refundable application fee.
  • Three letters of recommendation. These should be sent electronically using the on-line form to ensure that the letters are correctly matched to your application.
  • Official GRE scores from ETS for the general exam are required for students applying to the MS or PhD from a non-US institution, and preferred (but not required) for students applying from a US institution. GRE scores are not required for students applying for the MEng.
  • Official TOEFL scores from ETS for international students whose native language is not English and who have not earned a bachelor or master's degree from an anglophone univerisity (American, Canadian, British, or Australian). Departmental minimum scores are the same as that of the Graduate School: 550 (paper), 213 (computer), and 90 (internet).
  • Copy of transcripts of your undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) studies. You must upload a scanned copy of your official transcripts at the time you apply for admissions. If you are admitted to Virginia Tech, you must provide an official paper copy of your transcripts when you come to campus.

When should I apply?

To be considered for admission during a given semester, all application materials must reach Virginia Tech by the following dates:

MS/PhD: December 20, 2019 for Fall 2020 semester. September 15, 2020 for Spring 2021 semester. Due to the high volume of applications received, it is strongly recommended that you apply well in advance. This is particularly true for international applicants and any applicant who desires financial assistance. Update: US students may apply for the PhD or MS programs for Fall 2020 entry until June 15, 2020.

MEng: February 1, 2020 for Fall 2020 semester. October 1, 2020 for Spring 2021 semester. Update: US students may apply for the MEng program for entry in Fall 2020 until June 15, 2020.