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Graduate Admissions

The Department of Computer Science is seeking highly-qualified PhD candidates and highly-qualified Master's candidates.

The deadline for applications (PhD, MS, and MCS) requesting financial aid is December 15th, 2016.

The deadline for applications (PhD, MS, and MCS) not requesting financial aid is April 1, 2017.

In addition to the information provided here, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) .

Applications are evaluated based on the following factors:

  • Background in Computer Science (including project work)
  • Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Letters of reference
  • Personal statement
  • TOEFL scores

Applications are evaluated in their entirety. A weakness in one factor might be mitigated by strength in another.

Background in Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science does not require that applicants hold a bachelor's degree in Computer Science. However, applicants are expected to have a strong background in Computer Science.

A suitable background would include courses in the following core areas:

  • Data Structures
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Assembly Language and Computer Organization
  • Programming in a procedural language such as C, C#, C++, or Java.

Applicants are also expected to have taken several (but not necessarily all) courses in specialized areas:

  • Operating Systems
  • Programming Languages
  • Algorithms
  • Compilers
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks
  • Automata and Formal Languages
  • Software Engineering

A year of college-level Calculus is also required. In general, experience gained working is not considered equivalent to successful completion of the courses listed above.

Grade Point Average

There is no minimum GPA required for admission. However, most applicants who are offered admission to our program have a GPA of at least 3.2 (out of 4.0). The grades in Computer Science, mathematics and related courses are more important than the overall GPA.

GRE Scores

GRE scores are required. The CS subject test GRE is not required (it is no longer even offered).

GRE Scores Taken on or after August 1, 2011 - Average Scores of Successful Applicants
Verbal 156 on a scale of 130 - 170
Quantitative 160 on a scale of 130 - 170
Analytical Writing 3.5 on a scale of 0 - 6

Letters of Reference

If possible, letters of references should be written by faculty at a university previously attended. Letters of reference from Computer Science faculty are preferred, but references from employers are welcome. References should pay particular attention to academic achievements and evidence of independent, creative problem solving.

TOEFL Scores

  • If you received a 4-year degree at an English-speaking institution (whether or not the institution is in the U.S.), TOEFL is not required.
  • If you received a 4-year degree at a non-English-speaking institution and a Masters degree from an English-speaking institution, TOEFL is required.
A score of at least 90 on the TOEFL iBT is preferred. It is rare that we offer admission to an applicant who scored less than 22 on the Speaking section of TOEFL. Scores can be sent electronically to UVa at institution code 5820. Some students with lower scores may be required to complete the UVA Summer English for Academic Purposes Program prior to admission.

Financial Aid

The financial aid package includes tuition, fees, health insurance and a competitive stipend.


Admission to the graduate program is in the Fall. Admission in the Spring is possible under exceptional circumstances and will be considered on an individual basis.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at

Links of Interest
CS Graduate Programs
CpE Graduate Program
Apply Online
Prospective Graduates
SEAS Graduate Admissions