Graduate Program - Application Procedure

Tips for Success
  • Our admissions begins with an evaluation of your education. For those completing their fourth undergraduate year, the optimum time to submit a fee-paid application is when you have a transcript showing at least three years of college coursework.
  • Do NOT wait for your recommendations before submitting the application. Waiting only delays the aforementioned education evaluation.
  • Once submitted, an application can't be changed. Think of the application process as a 100-meter dash. If you've crossed the finish line (submitted), would you ask the judges for a do-over?
  • International masters applicants must take the GRE.
  • International prospects must apply for fall admission only -- no exceptions.
Prerequisites for Study

Applicants for graduate study are expected to be prepared for successful graduate study at the time of admission, with a strong background in math and computer science. The subjects we believe are necessary for success in our graduate program are:

  1. Mathematics: calculus (2 or 3 semesters), probability and statistics (typically at a junior or senior level), and discrete math. A course in linear algebra can also be helpful.
  2. Programming and algorithmic thinking: 2 semesters of objected-oriented programming (Java, C++, or the like), and a course in data structures. A course in algorithm analysis / automata theory is worth considering.
  3. Computer systems: a course on computer organization, and possibly a course on operating systems.

For more information, see Prerequisites/Students with Non-CS Backgrounds.


Applications are submitted electronically to the Graduate School. The GRE is required of all international masters applicants. CSC only considers an application "submitted" when the fee is paid, and complete when all required materials are received.

The online system utilizes the code "MR" to designate our non-thesis Master of Computer Science (MCS) degree, our default degree for masters admission and the most popular graduate degree conferred by the department.

If you are applying for the Computer Networking degree (MSCN) -- a graduate program shared by both the Computer Science department and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), each with its own application deadlines, policies and criteria -- be sure to select the item that correctly reflects your departmental choice, "Computer Science concentration" or "Electrical Engineering concentration" depending on whether your interest in networking tends more toward software or hardware topics.

Education History

Applicants must upload a scanned transcript for each post-secondary school attended. Transcripts should conform to U.S. standards for documenting higher education and include:

  • Student's name
  • School's name
  • Authenticating seals or registrar's signature
  • Dates and/or terms enrolled
  • Three years minimum of completed undergraduate study
  • Major or specialty
  • Course titles with grade received
  • Coursework in progress
  • When applicable, degree and date awarded
  • School's transcript key or legend

Domestic applicants are urged to upload copies of official printed or electronic transcripts only, since alternate records from U.S. schools rarely provide all the information we require.

International applicants must provide attested English translations, and they should include a copy of their diploma or degree certificate if necessary to satisfy the above specifications.

Personal Statement

Applicants must write a personal statement that includes:

  • Highlights of your qualifications
  • Reasons for seeking a graduate degree in Computer Science
  • Reasons for applying to N.C. State

We encourage you to upload a two-page resume or curriculum vitæ, which may include:

  • degrees earned (institution, major, date, GPA)
  • employment
  • honors/awards received
  • research experience and publications
  • significant projects
  • community service

Recommendations should be from persons qualified to evaluate your potential to succeed in computer science graduate studies, such as professors in computer science or a closely related discipline, or those who have supervised you in research projects.

GRE Exemption

We consider GRE exemptions on a case-by-case basis when an international masters applicant provides proof of five cumulative years of full-time employment within the United States as an IT professional. See our GRE/English Test Requirements page for full details.

Requesting a GRE exemption as a non-qualifying applicant will result in admission denial for making a false claim.

Because our program does not require it of them, no PhD or domestic applicant should request a GRE exemption.

Current NC State Students Wishing to Transfer to Computer Science

CSC considers requests for interdepartmental transfer on a competitive basis. At minimum, the eligibility requirements are:

  • Requisite undergraduate computer science and math coursework, or their graduate-level equivalents, required for admission (see above, Prerequisites for Study).
  • Completed at least two semesters of graduate study at NC State by the end of the current semester.
  • Have an NCSU graduate GPA of at least 3.6 by the end of the current semester.
  • Has provided official proof to the Graduate School of all previous degrees conferred.
  • Students wishing to transfer into a thesis degree must first secure agreement from a Computer Science faculty member to supervise and fund their research.

If you qualify, send an email stating your degree objective of interest (e.g., MCS, MS in CS or MSCN) to during the last full week of April for further instructions.

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