Admission Requirements

Please review the Graduate College Admission Requirements, which are in addition to the departmental admission requirements below.

Admission to the program is determined by high scores on standardized tests, an adequate background in computer science, strong letters of recommendation, high-level grades from a strong undergraduate program, and research interests shared with the faculty. Each applicant is evaluated carefully based on the entire application package, taking into account test scores, previous educational achievement, letters of recommendation, and the statement of purpose.  The admissions committee also considers an applicant’s previous research, publications, and work experience. The stated minimums are guidelines. An applicant whose record is weak in one aspect (e.g., GRE scores) may be considered for admission if a strength exists in another area (e.g., excellent GPA, letters). In evaluating students applications, the committee looks for the following: (1) adequate math and computer science background, (2) excellent academic performance, (3) good communication skills, and (4) intellectual potential. The admissions committee will also consider whether applicants have researched the University of Arizona Computer Science program and are applying to work in research areas and with the expertise of the faculty currently in the Department of Computer Science.

Academic Requirements

Applicants for admission are evaluated on the basis of academic record, preparation, and other relevant qualifications. Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in computer science or a closely related field. A well-prepared applicant should be proficient in a high-level programming language such as C, C++, or Java, and have a solid background in the following areas: (1) mathematics, including calculus and discrete mathematics; (2) machine architecture; (3) programming languages, including exposure to a variety of high-level languages (e.g., Java, LISP); (4) data structures; (5) algorithm analysis; (6) theory of computation; and (7) software systems, including compilers and operating systems. In particular, all students must have at a minimum demonstrated advanced undergraduate studies in Systems (i.e. through an operating systems or compilers course) and Theory (i.e. through an algorithms or theory of computation course).

If an applicant lacks the academic background to apply to the graduate program, prerequisites can be completed at another institution or at UA as a non-degree-seeking graduate student prior to application. Non-degree-seeking graduate students can take undergraduate and graduate level courses at the University of Arizona’s campus, if space is available.

Note: 1) International applicants are usually not eligible for non-degree seeking status because of visa requirements. 2) There is no guarantee of admission to the graduate program based on completion of the prerequisites at the University of Arizona.


Typical minimum undergraduate GPA for MS applicants is 3.2 out of a 4.0 scale. The typical minimum undergraduate GPA for PhD applicants is 3.5 and for applicants with a Master's degree in a related field, the minimum graduate GPA is typically 3.7.


During semesters when GRE's are not waived, the department requires the GRE general test. Admission requirements do not set specific score cut-offs in each section. Typical minimum scores for admitted applicants are 156 verbal (domestic applicants) and 158 quantitative. Note: The GRE has been waived for Spring 2025 admission. 

English Proficiency

International applicants should review the Graduate College's minimum English proficiency requirements.

The departmental typical minimum TOEFL listening score is 25.  All teaching assistants must have a minimum TOEFL speak score of 24 or a minimum IELTS speak score of 7.5.

Note: We do not consider students for conditional admission.