We've put together some commonly asked questions to give you more information about the online Master of Computer Science degree program.
If you have a question that you can't find the answer to, please use the contact us form.
Admissions & Application
If I meet the admissions criteria, will I be automatically admitted to the program?
No applicant will be automatically admitted to the program. All applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee to make certain those admitted have the ability to succeed in the program.
What if my GPA is below a 3.0?
If your GPA is below a 3.0 we will have to write a petition explaining why you are a good fit for the program. The more information that is provided in the statement of purpose and the CV, the better able we are to write this petition.
Given the current pandemic, is the GRE required?
As a temporary accommodation in response to COVID-19, the GRE requirement will be waived for all applicants for the fall 2021, spring 2022, and fall 2022 semesters. Students may continue to submit official GRE scores for consideration, but they will not be required to do so. GRE scores when provided, will continue to serve as just one of the many factors considered in our review of a student’s application. Please take into consideration that providing GRE scores can bolster your application if there are aspects of your application that you feel may be not as competitive as others. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us and we can better assist you.
*Please allow up to 72 hours after submitting your application for the GRE to be removed from the “To-Do” items on your MyStatus page.
Is there a certain score needed on the GRE to be admitted?
There is no minimum GRE test score, however applicants admitted to the CS graduate program usually have high quantitative and verbal GRE scores and a math background that includes study through some discrete math. If you feel that your test scores are not valid indicators of your ability, you should explain your concerns in your statement of purpose.
How do I check the status of my application?
GIAC MyStatus: https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/adm/mystatus/. This is the status check site for the Graduate International Admissions Center (GIAC). GIAC verifies application information, test scores, residency and admissions GPA calculations/equivalencies. If you have questions about the information your MyStatus page, please contact GIAC.
Can I submit my GRE/TOEFL scores and transcripts after the application deadline?
The application fee, transcripts, required and optional scores, CV/resume, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation are due by the application deadline.
Can I apply for both the traditional master’s program and the master’s online program?
You can apply for both programs but you must fill out two separate applications and upload documents to both systems. Find information about applying to the traditional master’s program.
Can I apply for both the MCSO and the MSDS program?
Yes, you may apply to both. Please note that you will have to complete both applications but will only have to pay the fee once as long as it is within the same application cycle (i.e. you are applying for the same semester). When filling out the second ApplyTexas application, you should select the option to pay the university directly. The application fee should automatically appear as paid once your application is uploaded to the MyStatus page. Please note that you may apply to both, but you may only enroll in one, not both.
Where should ETS send my test scores?
For GRE and TOEFL scores, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) institution code for UT-Austin is 6882. It is not necessary to use a department code. There is no institutional code for the IELTS examination. To fulfill the requirement with scores from the IELTS, please use the IELTS electronic score delivery service to send your scores to the “University of Texas at Austin” account.
Is the TOEFL required for International Students?
Yes, the TOEFL or the IELTS is required for international applicants. The minimum TOEFL score considered acceptable for admission by the graduate school is a 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT). For the IELTS, a student must have an overall band of 6.5 on the Academic Examination. International applicants who are from a country where English is the only official language are exempt from this requirement. Additionally, applicants are exempt from the requirement if they possess a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution or an institution in a country where English is the only official language. The requirement is not waived for applicants who have earned a master’s – but not a bachelor’s – degree from a similar institution.
With regards to transcript submittal from a foreign university, do I need to submit a foreign credential evaluation from WES or another organization?
A foreign credential evaluation is not required. If a transcript is written in a language other than English, a complete and official English translation must be uploaded together with the original transcript.
Will the university ask my recommender for a letter of recommendation?
Through the ApplyTexas system, you will be given the opportunity to submit three recommenders and provide contact information. Once you complete your ApplyTexas application, the system will send an email to your recommenders directing them to a website where they may upload their letters. In addition, your MyStatus page offers a self-service feature you can use to resend the request email to your recommenders, if necessary. Use it to supply an alternate email address if your recommender’s spam filter blocks the original request or has removed the link. You can also add a new recommender or revise your right-to-view status from “retained” to “waived.”
Will I be able to transfer credits from another university to this program?
Once a student is accepted into the program and is enrolled, they can provide documentation needed for the approval process for transferring credit. There will be two steps of approval, the first comes from the graduate advisor and the final approval from a degree evaluator with the Office of Graduate Studies. Here is more information on the requirements of this process: https://gradschool.utexas.edu/academics/policies/transfer-credit
Curriculum & Courses
What is the curriculum?
The curriculum will consist of ten courses total or 30 hours. Students will take a combination of foundational coursework and elective options. Through completion of the foundational coursework, students will gain a broad understanding of the field. As courses continue to be added to the program, students will also have significant elective flexibility to pursue a course of study best tailored to their professional aspirations.
What degree is earned at the end of the program?
Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS)
Is this degree equivalent to the UT Master of Science in Computer Science degree offered to on-campus students?
Yes, your diploma will read exactly as that of an on-campus graduate.
How many credit hours will I need in order to graduate?
30 credit hours, which equals 10 courses.
How long will the program take me to complete?
The program can be completed in 1.5-3 years and the curriculum is highly flexible.
Do I have to maintain a certain GPA in order to stay in the program?
Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the course of the program. If a student drops below 3.0, he or she will have one semester to bring up the GPA. If the student fails to do this, they will be dismissed from the program.
How many courses will I be allowed to take at a time?
A student may take up to five courses each semester. The online master’s courses are of comparable rigor to the traditional courses. For working professionals we recommend taking one to two courses per long semester.
Can you start taking classes in the fall or the spring?
Yes, you can start taking classes in either semester.
When will the semester start and end?
The program will follow the timeline of the traditional semester. The university calendar can be found here.
Will exams be proctored in the MCSO program?
UT Austin is deeply committed to ensuring that our programs adhere to the highest standards for academic integrity. Students should expect that exams may be proctored or otherwise monitored to comply with these goals.
Will I have an instructor or TA interaction?
Interaction between instructors and/or TA’s will be available through email, online discussion boards, and virtual office hours.
Are lectures live, will I need to show up at a certain time?
The lectures are pre-recorded and will be made available that week for you to view on your own time. Within a courses’ prescribed timeline, students can move at their own pace following a self-regulating learning process. They complete interactive assessments and receive instant feedback.
What kind of interactions will I have with students and teaching staff?
All interactions, assistance, and correspondence with faculty, TAs, or staff will be conducted through online channels (email, piazza, zoom, etc). Interaction between faculty and students will primarily take place through the edX content delivery platform. Open edX technology allows instructors to create engaging learning sequences, which promote active participation as students alternate between learning concepts, solving exercises to check their understanding, and completing graded assessments. Other platforms may be involved depending upon which course you take. Examples include Canvas, Piazza, slack, etc.
What kind of laptop is needed for this program?
Either a MacBook Pro or a Windows PC will suffice.