We've put together some commonly asked questions to give you more information about the online Master of Computer Science degree program.

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Admissions & Application


Will there be admission caps?
No, we will not be limiting the size of our classes at this time.

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.

Is the GRE required? The GRE requirement will be optional for spring and fall 2023 applicants. 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. For example, if you do not have a relevant or related degree, have not been in school in over 10 years, adding a GRE score will assist the Admissions Committee in their review. 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 GRE score (Quant >= 80) and 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.

Can GMAT replace the GRE?
Unfortunately, no, we cannot accept GMAT scores.

Is there a difference between priority and regular deadline?
Applying by the priority deadline will provide time for your application to be processed. Should any issues arise (for example, a transcript is declined) this gives you time to complete the application by the final deadline.

Will there be an application fee?
Yes. Application fees will be determined by your application type. Please visit this site to determine the type of application you need to submit.

Will my GRE scores from a previous UT application carry over?
Quite possibly. Please check in with the Graduate and International Admissions Center at giatest@austin.utexas.edu to confirm.

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.

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.

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?
Your MyStatus page offers a self-service feature you can use to send a request to your recommenders. 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

Does this program offer F1 or OPT status?
This program does not offer visa status.

Am I eligible to apply if I have OPT or F1 status?
International students who are inside the US and have an immigration status, may run into some difficulties with being eligible for our program. Texas Global (the international office at UT) is most concerned with those with an F1 and OPT status because their visa statuses have certain restrictions concerning online study. If you fall into this category, it is important to contact them right away and determine if you are eligible for our program.

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, s​tudents will also have significant elective flexibility to pursue a course of study best tailored to their professional aspirations.

Is this program accredited?
Here is UT’s Statement of Accreditation:

The University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, professional, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of The University of Texas at Austin.

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.

What is the difference between an online masters program like MCSO and a certificate program?
Although comparable in price to many certificate programs, the MCSO masters program is a full scale, multi-course degree program, subject to the oversight of the UT Austin Office of Graduate Studies. Successful completion of the degree will require time and effort commensurate with that of an on-campus graduate program at a top university.

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.

Student Experience

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. We've provided some recommendations below that should provide a good experience across all courses.

MAC: OSX Mojave or newer; PC: Windows 10
x86 CPU, multi-core, with virtualization support (Intel: VT-x, AMD: AMD-V); 8GB RAM
Mozilla Firefox v20.0 or Higher Google Chrome v25.0 or higher
Javascript Enabled & Third Party Cookies Enabled
800 x 600 resolution or better
Cable Modem, DSL or better (300 kbps download, 250 kbps upload)

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