While not required, a previous CS bachelor’s degree is strongly recommended since admission is very competitive. Successful applicants usually have an undergraduate degree in CS or a closely related area such as Electrical and Computer Engineering. Use of computers at work or some experience programming are not considered to be equivalent to a CS degree and courses.

For students who do not possess a bachelor's degree in CS, the following UTCS undergraduate courses, or equivalent, are required as background for our graduate degrees. They are not prerequisites for admission, however, and can be satisfied after admission to the program, either through enrolling in the course or taking an exam to demonstrate your knowledge:

Discrete Math for Computer Science (CS 311)
Introduction to Programming (CS 312)
Data Structures (CS 314)
Algorithms and Complexity (CS 331)
Computer Organization and Architecture (CS 429)
Principles of Computer Systems (CS 439)

Please see the undergraduate course descriptions for more information about the material covered in these courses. Syllabi for most courses are posted online by the professor and can be found with a quick web search. We do not advise prospective students on specific coursework to take outside of UT-Austin. For prospective students who are seeking to enhance their application by completing background courses prior to applying, we recommend enrolling in a similar course at your local university. Online coursework is generally not considered sufficient to clear the background requirements for our on-campus program but can be used to gain CS experience that would be considered when our committee reviews your application. You may include online courses you’ve taken on your CV. 

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