Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Graduate Application Instructions

Send application materials directly to the Graduate Admissions Office only.

For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the graduate admission process, see the Graduate Admissions website

2021-2022 Deadline Information

The full-time graduate program admission deadlines for completed applications are:

  • October 1, 2021 for Spring 2022 enrollment (MS only)
  • December 15, 2021 for Fall 2022 enrollment (MS, PhD)


Application Materials

New for Fall 2021 PhD applicants! 

We offer a student-led PhD applicant support program. This program provides 1-on-1 support for applicants who are underrepresented in Computer Science. Qualified candidates will have the opportunity to receive feedback and guidance from a current CICS PhD student. If you consider yourself an underrepresented or marginalized minority in Computer Science, please apply here. For more information, visit the PhD Applicant Support Program web page. 

Additionally, the program will also provide general help via a live panel webinar to all applicants on a date to be determined in fall 2021. 

Materials to Submit for MS and PhD programs

All students are required to submit the following:

  • Online Application (if you get an error page, try closing all browser tabs and try again)
  • Personal Statement (suggestions below)
    • Share your research and/or industry experiences.
    • Share situations in which you have contributed to computing for the common good or how you plan to in the future.
    • Share situations in which you have contributed or had a positive impact on increasing diversity in a STEM field.
  • Transcripts -unofficial for the application 
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
    • References will be requested through the online application
  • TOEFL Scores (exemption information)
  • For MS applicants only, official GRE Scores (ETS University Code is 3917, there is no Dept. Code)
  • No GRE required for PhD (and MS/PhD) applicants 
    • If an applicant wishes to be considered for admission to the MS only program if their application is denied to the PhD program, the original application must include GRE scores by the original deadline.
  • Applications that are missing transcripts will not be evaluated until the unofficial transcripts are uploaded to the application.

We strongly recommend that all students submit all required materials to the Office of Graduate Admissions before the deadline to ensure timely consideration.

Although application files are created when credentials are received, you can expedite the processing of your graduate application by making sure that your application is submitted to the  Office of Graduate Admissions before requesting that transcripts, GRE scores (MS), and two letters of recommendation are sent.

Re-applying? Log into your SPIRE account and add an updated SoP. Please leave your reference documents blank and after you submit your application email gradreference@grad.umass.edu to request the reference letters be moved over to your new application. 

Standardized Test Scores

Although the University of Massachusetts Graduate school requires official paper GRE and TOEFL score reports upon acceptance to our programs, the Graduate School accepts an upload of official score reports such as certified or notarized reports when foreign exchange creates a financial burden on the applicant.


  • The GRE test is required for the MS program only. Bay State Scholarship applicants and UMass Amherst undergraduates do not need to submit a GRE.
  • Although standardized tests are by no means the only criteria considered, historically successful applicants average 600+/4.0 in each of the three areas (verbal, quantitative, written). Based on the new scale we expect the average would be 158+ (verbal), 164+ (Quantitative), 4.0 (Written).
  • GRE's can be retaken. Both scores will be included in your application.
  • If your GRE General Test scores are older than five years from your anticipated date of entrance, you must retake the examination. Your test score must be valid upon the start of the CICS program. Waivers of this policy will not be granted.


***Please read the COVID update to accepted English proficiency exams here.

  • The TOEFL is required for foreign students. This is a University Graduate School requirement. Applicants who do not score an 95 or above in the iBT are not encouraged to apply.
  • TOEFL may be waived if the applicant has attended on a full-time basis an American college or university for a period of at least two academic years immediately preceding anticipated entrance date.
  • TOEFL scores are valid for 2 years from expected entrance date.
  • The University of Massachusetts Amherst also accepts the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English). The official test scores must be sent to the Graduate Student Service Center. The minimum combined IELTS score needed is 6.5, minimum score for PTE is 75.
  • Be sure to have your TOEFL score sent to the Graduate Admissions Office as soon as possible. The ETS University code is 3917, there is no Dept. code.
  • Your test score must be valid upon the start of the CICS program. Waivers of this policy will not be granted.

Application Fee

The Graduate Admissions Office cannot consider any application for admission to the University of Massachusetts Amherst unless that application is accompanied by the required fee of $85 or the applicant has been granted a fee waiver. Fee waiver application process and guidelines are outlined below.

United States Citizens: A waiver of this fee is available to those U.S. citizens who are currently enrolled as full-time undergraduate students and who have qualified for a waiver of the GRE fee through their undergraduate financial aid office. A statement from a college or university financial aid officer attesting to receipt of, or eligibility for, the GRE fee waiver must accompany the application. US citizens and residents are also eligible to apply for the CICS PhD Admissions Program Fee Waiver as described below.

Current UMass Amherst Students: A waiver of this fee is provided to UMass Amherst undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in an academic program. 

Foreign applicants: Submission of the application processing fee is required. PhD applicants are also eligible to apply for the CICS PhD Admissions Program Fee Waiver as described below.

CICS Fall 2021 PhD Admissions Program Fee Waiver: CICS is offering a limited number of fee waivers to PhD applicants who have a financial need. To apply for the waiver, applicants should complete the CICS Application for PhD Admissions Program Fee Waiver Form.

  • Applicants must select "pay by check" in the graduate school admissions application. No refunds will be given if you apply for a fee waiver after paying the application fee. Delay submitting your check until you have heard if you will be receiving a fee waiver

  • Please only apply if you are sure you will be applying this application season.

  • A limited number of application fee waivers are available and applications will be reviewed on a first-come basis.

  • We will do our best to review and respond to your application within 10 days of receiving it.  

  • Acceptance or denial of your application for a fee waiver will not impact your admission status. 

  • Applicants who are granted a fee waiver will be notified and the college will notify the graduate school to waive the fee in order to mark your application complete.

  • If we deny your request for a waiver, we will instruct you to pay the fee.  

  • The application will close on December 10th, 2021.

Graduate Admissions decisions

Spring decisions for the MS Amherst program are made on a rolling basis between October 1 and will be completed by October 15. Students who are accepted to the MS program for the spring semester must confirm acceptance by December 1.

Accepted PhD Students

Congratulations on your acceptance to the CICS PhD program! You will be asked to submit a decision in SPIRE within two weeks of receiving your University of Massachusetts Amherst Graduate School letter of acceptance. In order to explore all of your opportunities as well as our research labs and faculty, we encourage you to select "defer decision" in SPIRE. This will give you up until April 15 to make a formal commitment to our doctoral program. During this time you may reach out to any of our faculty or staff with questions. We look forward to hearing from you!