Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Graduate Admissions FAQ

Please note: Students in terminal master's programs in the College of Information and Computer Sciences are ineligible for assistantships in the college or elsewhere on campus. Exceptions can be granted only if supported by the Chair of the Faculty and approved by the Dean of the College, in extraordinary circumstances needed to meet instructional or research needs.

Q. When should I expect a decision?

A. All decisions will be issued by April 1st.

Q. If I choose not to submit GRE scores, will my application be negatively impacted?

A. No, choosing not to submit your GRE scores will not reduce your chances of admission.

Q. I'm attending a graduate program at a state college or university. Is it possible for me to transfer directly into the UMass Amherst computer science graduate program?

A. You must apply to the University's Office of Graduate Admissions through the normal application procedure. However, you may request a transfer of up to six credits taken at another college or university once you have been admitted into our program (as long as those credits have not been used to satisfy the requirements for another degree).

Q. I am a current CICS undergraduate student applying to the CICS MS program. Do I pay the application fee?

A. No, current UMass Amherst undergraduate graduate students do not pay an application fee to any UMass Amherst master's program. Please select "pay by check" and the Graduate School will waive the fee.

Q. What is the cost of a graduate degree at UMass Amherst?

A. Most offers of admission to the PhD program will come with funding that includes a full tuition waiver. Graduate School tuition and fee information can be found here.

Q. What if my scores or letters don't arrive by the application deadline?

A. Applications received by the October 1st (Master's only) or December 15th deadlines will be reviewed when they are complete. If your application is submitted on time, any materials received later (e.g., TOEFL scores, transcripts, letters) will be added to the application when they arrive. Please keep in mind that this may delay the review of your application because the admissions committee will not review incomplete applications. The review process begins in October/January and our first admission decisions are made in late October for spring admission and January/February for fall admission. 

Q. Will the University accept copies of TOEFL scores?

A. Official reports issued by ETS will be required before full processing of that application will take place. In rare instances, the Graduate School will accept certified copies of these reports.

Q. I am an international applicant currently attending an American college. Will my TOEFL be waived?

A. Yes, if you have earned a degree or you have current enrollment as a full-time student who will have completed two academic years of college/university work in the United States prior to the date of anticipated entrance at the University of Massachusetts.

Q. Can I apply for an application fee waiver?

A. We do not currently offer applicaiton fee waivers to MS students. PhD students can apply for a waiver via the Application Fee Waiver Form, which opens on November 1 of each year and closes on December 15.

Q. Are the official paper transcripts necessary for my application? 

A. We will not review your application without at least a scanned copy of the unofficial transcripts. Upon receiving a formal acceptance to the MS or PhD program, you may mail or bring the official transcripts to the University graduate school prior to the first day of the semester you are entering.

Q. Where should I send my transcripts?

A. Official transcripts should be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions, 534 Goodell Building, 140 Hicks Way, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003. Click here for more information regarding the official transcript submission process.

Q. Can I defer my offer of admission to a future term?

A. Yes, students who have been admitted to the MS or PhD program may defer their offer of admission up to one year in the future. Students admitted to the doctoral program must receive approval from their faculty advisor in the form of an email sent to admissns@cs.umass.edu. All graduate students who have confirmed their offer of admission will receive deferral instructions in an email and within the New Student Onboarding course page.

Q. What are the average test scores and GPA of accepted applicants?

A. For PhD admissions, many factors affect application success far more than the GPA, including the applicant's research experience, the strength of the recommendation letters, and the statement of purpose.  Still, our accepted students' test scores and GPA tend to be high. GRE scores are no longer required for MS or PhD applicants.

We aim for all our students to have a TOEFL score above 100.

Q. What are my chances of getting an assistantship (financial aid)?

A. For PhD and MS/PhD track students, it is our policy to provide financial aid (assistantships) to those admitted students requesting it (with occasional exceptions). Stipends (9 month or 12 month) come in the form of Research/Teaching Assistantships. For example, stipends for the Academic Year 2022-2023 are $27,428.40 for 9 month appointments. All PhD students are guaranteed funding for the entire first year (Fall, Spring, Summer) with a stipend of $37,533.60. PhD funding is contingent upon a student making satisfactory academic progress and teaching while in their program. 

Effective with the cohort entering in Fall 2016, students in terminal master's programs in the College of Information and Computer Sciences are ineligible for assistantships in the college or elsewhere on campus. Exceptions can be granted only if supported by the Associate Dean and approved by the Dean of the College, in extraordinary circumstances needed to meet instructional or research needs.

All MS students are eligible to apply for 4 hour per week, 15-week CICS grader appointments after their first semester. 

It is also worth mentioning that the cost of living is more affordable in the Pioneer Valley than urban areas which makes it easier to live on the level of support we offer.

Q. I've applied to your program and was not offered admission. I would like to reactivate my application. Is this possible?

A. If you wish to reapply, you'll need to submit a new application through the Office of Graduate Admissions, and pay the application fee. The application form asks whether you have previously made an application to the graduate school. In the paper form, this question is in Section II, under OTHER and on the on-line application, it's in #18. Be sure to indicate "yes" as well as the date or semester and year of your previous application. The College of Information and Computer Sciences keeps applications on file for two years. When your reapplication comes to our college, it will be so indicated on the front by the University's Office of Graduate Admissions. The graduate staff will then locate your file and integrate it with any new materials. Anything you wish to add must be sent through the Graduate Admissions Office. Please do not send materials directly to the College, as it only causes delays in reviewing your application.

Q. If I apply to the MS/PhD program and am not admitted, will I be considered for the MS only degree program?

A. We accept approximately 10-15% of our PhD applications. While we receive between 700-800 applications, we hope many of our outstanding MS/PhD applicants will consider our MS degree program. 

Q. I've been accepted to the MS degree program but would like to be considered for the PhD program instead. Is this possible?

A. The policy of the Office of Graduate Admissions limits you to one application. You would need to withdraw your admission to the MS degree program and apply to the PhD program.  There are no guarantees of readmission to the MS degree program once the application has been withdrawn for that semester.