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When seeking admission to the graduate program, applicants must satisfy all entrance requirements of the Graduate School at UMBC. Applications are not processed until all documents and fees are received. Applicants must submit official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, Graduate Record Examination (GRE General Test) scores, and, for foreign students, scores for the TOEFL. Applications are available online.

Students may apply for admission to either the M.S. or the Ph.D. program. Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly selective and only students with excellent credentials will be accepted. Students who plan to pursue the Ph.D. degree, but who either do not have extensive research experience during their undergraduate studies (or at work) or do not already have an M.S. in computer science are advised to apply for admission to the M.S. program.

Admission and financial assistance decisions are based on several factors, including undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) academic performance, GRE and TOEFL scores, recommendation letters, the statement of purpose, prior research experience and publication history. In particular, candidates applying to the Ph.D. program should have a prior research record and also submit a credible statement of purpose clearly describing the research areas of interest and future career goals.

New students will be assigned an academic advisor who can provide advice on choice of courses, degree requirements, and other important matters during the first year. By the end of the first year, students should have a faculty member to serve as the research advisor for M.S. or Ph.D. research.

Application Deadlines

The application review process will begin by February 1 for admission to the fall semester and by October 1 for admission to the following spring semester. Favorable consideration will be given to applications received early in each review cycle. It is the policy of the department to admit students based solely on their academic and research performance.

Domestic applicants (U.S. citizens and permanent residents) not seeking financial support:

  • Fall semester – June 1
  • Spring semester – November 1

Domestic students seeking departmental financial support, and all international students:

  • Fall semester – January 1
  • Spring semester – July 1 of the prior calendar year


  • Fall semester –March 1
  • Spring semester –September 1

GRE Requirements and Waiver Requests

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) provide the department with standardized data for comparing applicants from many parts of the world with very different backgrounds. Thus, the GRE scores are required for most applicants. In some situations, the GRE is not needed for the department to make an admissions decision and a GRE waiver may be granted.

These are the qualifications for requesting a GRE waiver: a) you are an MS or a PhD applicant and you have, or are about to receive, a BS degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher from an accredited U.S. institution; or b) your are a PhD applicant and you have completed an MS degree from an accredited U.S. institution. Please take note of the following points:

  • Students requiring departmental financial assistance may not request a GRE waiver. • You must submit a GRE Waiver Request by March 1 for admission in the fall semester or by September 1 for admission in the spring semester.
  • Qualifying for a GRE Waiver Request does not imply approval of the request. Your request will be granted if the Computer Science Graduate Admissions Committee agrees that GRE scores are not needed to make an admissions decision in your case.
  • UMBC students in the Computer Science BS/MS program do not need to take the GRE unless they are applying for financial support. These students should indicate that they are in the BS/MS program in their application. They do not need to submit a GRE Waiver Request.

How to submit a GRE Waiver Request

The GRE Waiver Request form is available on the CSEE web site

Submit the completed GRE Waiver Request form with your resume and a transcript from the U.S. institution of your BS or MS degree to Ms. Keara Fliggins via email at or by fax at 410-455-3969.

If your resume and transcript have already been submitted to the UMBC Graduate School for your application, please indicate this on the request form. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the GRE Waiver Request. You will be notified by email regarding the decision on your request.

Prerequisites for Admission

An applicant to the graduate program in computer science is expected to have a strong background in computer science and mathematics courses. Applicants are expected to have taken the equivalent of the following UMBC courses:

  • CMSC 203 Discrete Structures
  • CMSC 313 Computer Organization & Assembly Languages
  • CMSC 331 Principles of Programming Languages
  • CMSC 341 Data Structures
  • CMSC 411 Computer Architecture
  • CMSC 421 Principles of Operating Systems
  • CMSC 441 Algorithm Design and Analysis
  • MATH 151 Calculus I
  • MATH 152 Calculus II
  • MATH 221 Introduction to Linear Algebra

and least one more advanced course in mathematics and an additional course from the following list:

  • CMSC 435 Computer Graphics
  • CMSC 451 Automata Theory & Formal Languages
  • CMSC 455 Numerical Computations
  • CMSC 461 Database Management Systems
  • CMSC 471 Artificial Intelligence
  • CMSC 481 Computer Networks