Computer Science Graduate Program FAQ
Where can I learn more about the CS department, faculty, students, and courses?
Please see the main CS web site.
Who is responsible for admitting and advising graduate students?
Professor Terence Parr, gradadvisor at cs.usfca.edu. Phone: 415 422-5707.
How do I check my application status?
Check the application status page. Note that applications sit in the general grad office until all materials have been submitted at which time they arrive at the CS department. There is often a delay of weeks while we process the application then a letter is sent to you indicating the final application acceptance or denial.
What are the admission requirements for MSCS?
Applicants are usually admitted either as Regular Graduate Students or as Conditional Graduate Students. Those admitted as Regular Graduate Students ordinarily complete their M.S. degree work in two years. Those admitted as Conditional Graduate Students must satisfy all the admission requirements and prerequisites for becoming Regular Graduate Students before they can enroll in CS 690 (Master's Project). Other categories of graduate students are also possible; for information, see the section on Graduate Regulations in the USF Catalog.
All applicants must write a Computer Science Experience and Background Essay so we can learn more about you.
Admission Requirements for Regular Graduate Students:
You do not need the GRE Subject test in CS.
Admission Requirements for Conditional Graduate Students:
What are the admission requirements for MS Web Science (formerly Internet Engineering)?
Application items include official transcripts from all university-level institutions attended, GRE general exam scores, and two letters of recommendation.
The following foundation requirements are not required for admission to the graduate program, but must be completed while at USF to achieve regular status as a graduate student. The foundation requirements can be waived if met by previous studies or work experience equivalent to the requirements:
If an applicant believes that they may have
fulfilled these requirements by previous study or experience, please
attach a statement to the application form with a descriptive
What is the typical course sequence for "4+1" Honors Web Science (formerly Internet Engineering) Students?
Students may acquire their MSIE in 5 years by altering the last 2 years of their undergraduate work and then taking an extra year of course work as follows:
Do I need to fill out the general "Statement of Purpose" essay mentioned in some USF graduate application material?
No, but you must write a Computer Science Experience and Background Essay so we can learn more about you.
What do my GRE scores need to be?
The average math GRE score for accepted applications is 750. We will, however, review applications whose math GRE score is 680 or above. The verbal score is not considered, but the analytical writing scores often a useful indicator. These scores are strictly enforced unless you have significant work experience.
For MS Web Science (formerly Internet Engineering), we expect good performance on the GRE general exam, but we examine all aspects of a person's record including work experience to make an acceptance determination. In some cases, the GRE requirement can be waived for accomplished applicants.
The reporting codes to give to the GRE people are:
Please click here for the MSCS and MSWS policies on English Proficiency skills (including TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE guidelines and scores) for international students.
Is there an orientation for new students?
Yes. Before classes begin, all computer science graduate students must attend a one-day orientation. This is usually one or two days before classes begin. During this orientation you will be advised about courses and register for the semester. Student should watch the homepage of the computer science website for details as the semester approaches. The orientation is always in our main classroom: Harney 235. The building code is HR on this map. This is the CS orientation. Also you must attend the international student orientation and are encouraged to go to the welcome reception:
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORIENTATION - GRADUATE STUDENTS
I am from a foreign country. Can I contact other students from my country to help me get oriented in the US?
Sure, we have a very diverse student population. Odds are we can have students from your region contact you to help out. The two largest groups are probably Chinese and Indian. Please see the list of student representatives at the bottom of our prospective students page
What is the fee structure and how/when do I pay for tuition?
Graduate program tuition is US$1075.00 per credit for 2009/2010 school year. Because you will probably take 8 credits (2 classes) each semester, tuition is US$8040.00 per semester. The total will be $36180. See the complete fee structure.
As for payment, people either write checks to the Bursar or they pay online, but that requires a USFConnect account which you will receive when you arrive. The bursar's site has much more information about what forms of payment they accept. The US Mail address for payments is
University of San Francisco P.O. Box 742427 Los Angeles, CA 90074-2427There is a 2.75% service charge on credit card payments, but there is no service charge for an e-check payment, which can also be done online. You have to pay before the registrar will let you register for classes.
Do I have to give a deposit before arriving at USF?
Yes, each admitted student must deposit $300 within 30 days to hold their position; even students not receiving a fellowship must make the deposit by sending a check, money order, or international money order (for international students) made out to University of San Francisco to:
USF Computer Science Dept.Also, you can pay online by clicking on "guest pay" and putting in your student ID and paying $300. Make sure to still sending in your space reservation form to the department address. You can scan and email it to Rosa Maria Garay, the CS program assistant, at garayr at usfca.edu.
Is there a relationship between institutional support and visa application?
Do not be misled by claims that more institutional support makes getting a visa easier. We have not seen that and many have observed a low correlation between institutional support and visa success. If you can complete a certificate of finance and get an I-20, we encourage you to try for a visa right away. You can always try again. Many students must try several times. Of those who do get visas and come to USF, some have no support and some have the most we ever give. Some get a visa the first try, some try five times before success.
Can I have a job to help pay for school?
Yes, both American and international students may decide to take the practicum option, which allows exceptional International students to work after the second semester.
Also there is a webpage at USF that lists other on-campus jobs and it may prove helpful to contact these employers. The computer science department also has a number of TA and are a positions, though they do not come with a tuition waiver.
You can also check with Residence Life (orl at usfca.edu); they offer a few Graduate Assistantships that are the only full-support graduate positions on campus. Experience with managing undergraduate dorm life is required, but they do interview over the phone, so the support can appear on an I-20.
All graduate students who desire employment usually find campus
jobs--all such jobs pay hourly wages only, no tuition waiver or other
benefits. Currently teachers assistants and research assistants make
$12/hour, except for service courses. Internships for working graduate
students range from $20 to $20 per hour. Students are allowed to work
a maximum of 20 hours per week.
Note: you get a 20% discount for 3 or students more from same company!
The estimated total amount of 2006-2007 funding for the Masters in Arts & Science is at least $28,936. That is based upon the minimum 6+6=12 units at $11,580 tuition.
It can be faxed or mailed to:
Office of Graduate Admission
If you get a fellowship, you only need to show the total tuition and fees minus the fellowship amount for first year.
All international students are automatically enrolled in USF's health insurance plan, and a fee of $291.00 will be charged to their Bursar's account for the Fall 2004 semester.
If you have private health insurance, you may be able to waive the
requirement by contacting the Office of Student Affairs, located in UC
405. For further information on this matter, you may contact that
office directly at (415) 422-6251. Please note that your request for
waiver of the health insurance must be received by that office not
later than 5 days after the beginning of classes.
Preferable housing: Off campus
Average rent for 2 room hall apt: $1500 (3 of them can stay, so around $500 per head). Deposit for house: first months rent.
Average monthly expense including food and light, gas, and all utilities: $500-$600
You should start looking for roommates as soon as possible. Here is a housing link.
If one wants to stay alone, a studio (one room + kitchen + small hall) will be around $1000 - $1200 per month.
Things that could be brought from home country:
Are the classes for the Master of Science in CS also available on other satellite branches outside of San Francisco, such as San Jose?
What do I need to do about the graduation ceremony?
Application dead line is: Fall - September 1st. Spring and Summer - February 1st. You'll find hard copies of the form in Rosa Maria's (CS dept) office, HR 545.
Diplomas are not issued until all outstanding accounts with the University are paid.