Graduate Admissions

Application Process and Deadlines

Applications for graduate study should be completed on-line. Application fees, deadlines, required documentation, test scores, and other requirements are explained in the materials associated with the application.

The application deadline for fall (September) admission is December 15 for PhD and January 15 for thesis and non-thesis masters degrees. The application deadline for spring (January) admissions is August 1. All deadlines apply to both international and U.S. applications. All applicants are considered for financial aid. There is not a separate financial aid application.

Read the Texas A&M Admissions application instructions; international students should read the Admissions sections relevant to them. The Department also has a frequently-asked questions and answer list (FAQ).

The following is the step-by-step procedure for applying:

Create an application in the ApplyTexas system.

    • Choose the option Texas A&M University from the dropdown list. (You can also apply to other Texas public universities with this system).
    • If you are applying to the computer science program, select “Computer Science” as the major. If you are applying to the computer engineering program, select “Computer Engineering (Computer Science and Engineering)” as the major.
      • If you are applying to Computer Engineering, then you also need to select our department, Computer Science and Engineering (CSCE). (The ApplyTexas web site may still list computer science as CPSC). 
      • The degree program is NOT considered in the admission process, so if you select the wrong program, do not be concerned. You can changed your degree program after admission. We will not change it before admission.
    • You will be required to pay the admission fee. We have agreements with a small number of top universities to waive the fee. The ApplyTexas software will automatically waive the fee in those cases. If ApplyTexas requires a fee, the fee CANNOT be waived. Do not send us emails requesting a fee waiver.
    • Do NOT enter names of recommenders or statement of purpose (SOP) even if you are prompted to do so. You will do this later. If you did enter your recommenders or SOP in ApplyTexas, this is okay, but it makes it more difficult for us to evaluate your application.

Your application will be forwarded by the ApplyTexas system to Texas A&M Admissions. This may take several days, particularly during holidays or busy times.

    • TAMU Admissions will email you your university identification number (UIN). (The UIN is sometimes referred to as a student identification number – SID). You should receive this email within a few days. You must wait patiently for it before you can proceed to the next step. Do not email the Department asking for your UIN.
    • You use your UIN to create your official Texas A&M email account. Your user name for this account is referred to as your NetID. Email regarding admissions is sent to this account. You may have it forwarded to another location.

Have your test scores and official transcripts of previous degrees sent to TAMU Admissions; see their website for the precise procedure. Do not send test scores and official transcripts directly to the department. GRE and English language (if needed) test scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to Texas A&M University (Code 6003, NO department code); the scores must be from test dates that are within five years for the GRE and within two years for the English language exam (e.g. TOEFL) at the time of application. You can upload unofficial scores to the department to speed up our application review process, but you cannot be officially admitted without official scores.

With your NetID and password, you will be able to access the Applicant Information System (AIS), and edit your application information.  Do NOT enter names of recommenders or a statement of purpose into AIS. If you did enter recommenders into AIS, do not enter them into the Department admission system (apply2.cse.tamu.edu), as we do not want your recommenders to get two requests.

TAMU Admissions will electronically send your application data to the Department, typically within a day.

You will be able to start using apply2.cse.tamu.edu about 1-2 days after you receive your UIN from TAMU Admissions. You will login using your TAMU NetID. This will be the only admission system you use for the remainder of the application process. In the apply2.cse.tamu.edu system you should:

    • Enter official email addresses of all your recommenders (i.e. university email address).
    • Upload your statement of purpose.
    • Select areas of research interest.
    • Upload resume and other relevant documents, such as publications.
      • By submitting your data in apply2.cse.tamu.edu, the Department can start working on your application immediately. Information you submit to applicant.tamu.edu may be delayed in getting to us.
      • Your recommenders will receive an email with a link to click to upload their letter. Recommendation letters mailed or emailed to us will be discarded. Often we hear that international recommenders did not receive an email from us. This is likely due to mail problems on their end, such as spam filters. In apply2.cse.tamu.edu you can ask that the recommender email be resent.

Once the application, SOP, CV/resume, recommendations, test scores and transcripts are received by the Department, your application will be complete. Note that AIS may still show your application as incomplete. Use apply2.cse.tamu.edu to determine the status of your application with the Department.

You will be informed about the application decision via email. Decisions for PhD students are typically made by the end of February, while MS student decisions are typically made by the end of March, for fall admissions.

We do not respond to emails asking questions that are answered in the Graduate Advising FAQ web pages.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements for admission to graduate studies as specified in the graduate catalog and must hold a bachelor’s degree, ideally in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field, or equivalent experience. Undergraduate preparation should include:

    • Data structures and analysis of algorithms. 
    • Operating systems, compilers, and database systems. 
    • Digital design and computer systems architecture. 
    • Several high-level programming languages. 
    • Mathematics including calculus, linear algebra, and discrete mathematics.

Students who are lacking some of this background (most commonly electrical engineering students) must learn the prerequisite material before taking the graduate courses requiring this knowledge. Students are encouraged to discuss their background with the Graduate Advisor if they have questions.

All applicants are required to take the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit proof of English proficiency.  Please refer to the Graduate Admissions webpage for requirements (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS).

Evaluation Criteria

All applications are reviewed by the Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. The criteria used in evaluation of applicants for admission to graduate study in computer science and engineering include:

    • academic performance on previous degrees, 
    • GRE scores and, if applicable, English language exam scores, 
    • relevant background, 
    • letters of recommendation, 
    • the applicant’s statement of purpose, and
    • other relevant information.

The Graduate Admissions Committee is primarily interested in determining your potential to perform research, if you are applying for a research degree, and your ability to succeed in coursework if applying for a non-thesis master’s degree.

Contents of Your Application

Statement of Purpose (SOP): The Department does not have any specific requirements for the one-page SOP. However, the Graduate Admissions Committee would like to see a discussion of the following issues: why you want to pursue graduate studies in CSE, why you are interested in specific faculty within the department, and most importantly, your research interests, your background for working in this area, and a description of your research plan (if any). Your SOP should not recall your earliest remembrances of exposure to a computer or provide a general academic background.

Letters of Recommendation: The preferred source of letters of recommendation is the faculty who advised you in research projects and who taught your most advanced computing courses in your prior degree programs. We are most interested in assessments of your research potential and scholarly aptitude, and your rank and performance in the courses they taught you. If you cannot obtain enough letters from your current or previous professors, then you may also include letters from employers. However, you should understand that in most cases such a letter will not be given the same weight as letters from your professors. Letters should come on letterhead from institutional email addresses. Letters that are not on letterhead, or from a personal email account, will be given less weight.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae: You must submit a brief resume (or curriculum vitae) addressing university academics and closely related professional activities. The information in the resume is often more useful than what appears in the official application.

Transcripts and Test Scores: You can upload unofficial transcripts and test scores. Official transcripts do not need to be submitted until after you are admitted. Official test scores are required prior to admission.

Other Items: If you are applying before graduating from your current degree program, indicate current and planned courses for which grades will not be on your transcripts. If you have peer-reviewed technical publications in international conferences and journals, then you may include them with your application materials.

Things to Avoid: Please do not include information about secondary school performance, or other pre-university studies. Do not submit copies of class projects or publications that did not appear in peer-reviewed international venues. If you feel you have additional material that is very important, then please place it on a webpage and include the URL in your CV/resume. You may include URLs that enable access to descriptions of your university programs but please do not include syllabi. Do not contact Department faculty until you have carefully studied their web site and read their papers, so you can explain in detail why you think there is a good potential research match.