Important Application Information 

The holistic Illinois Computing Accelerator for Non-specialists (iCAN) application is designed to allow each applicant to provide a comprehensive narrative of their personal and career experiences. Students will provide information not only about how a future in computing will benefit their own goals, but how computing will benefit from the richness of their own backgrounds and experiences. iCAN is a non-degree program, and applicants will complete an online application through the University of Illinois Graduate College.

In the Graduate College application, applicants will see language about an application fee. This is not applicable to iCAN applicants as there is no application fee for the iCAN program.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general aptitude tests (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical) and subject test scores are not required.

All iCAN applicants will be considered for scholarships. There is no separate scholarship application.

Please do NOT send additional materials (e.g. publications, photographs, videos, CDs, or portfolios). These items are NOT reviewed during the admissions process. Please do NOT email application materials to the iCAN team.  All application materials MUST be submitted through the Graduate College’s application form.

Click on each step for further details about the iCAN application process. 

If you have any questions as you complete your application, please email

  • Applicants must have been awarded (or are about to be awarded) a 4-year bachelor’s degree equivalent to that granted by the University of Illinois to be eligible for the iCAN program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Applicants whose undergraduate degree is a three-year program may not be eligible for graduate level admissions consideration at the University of Illinois. Eligibility depends on the country where the applicant received their degree -- please see the Graduate College's list of eligible degrees.

  • The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign policy requires applicants to hold at least a 3.0/4.0 or higher GPA in the last two years of their undergraduate study to be eligible for graduate studies on this campus.

Applicants who already hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering are not eligible to apply for the iCAN program.

Applications for Fall 2022 will open soon. However, because there are limited available program slots and scholarships, applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Admission and scholarships will be considered on a rolling basis. All applicants are automatically considered for scholarships- there is not a separate application.

  1. Create your account with the University of Illinois Graduate College Online Application.

  2. Start a new application.

  3. Select application type (2021 Graduate Application).

  4. Provide your personal and residency information.

  5. Select the program (Computer Science) and degree (Computer Science iCAN- Non- Degree Certificate).

  6. Provide your academic history (past institutions attended).

  7. Test Scores: While this is part of the Graduate College application, no test scores are required for the iCAN program.

  8. Upload the contact information for two references (name, organization, title, relationship, phone, and email).


Starting with applicants seeking entry in Spring 2017, and going forward, Illinois Computer Science will not not require submission of official transcripts during the initial applications review process. Applicants will be required to submit official credentials (transcripts, academic records, diplomas, certificates of degrees, etc.) only if they are recommended for admission to the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Applicants recommended for admission will be required to submit their official transcripts directly to the Graduate College.

To complete your application, please follow the instructions provided by the Graduate College:

“Applicants must list in the online application each institution of post-secondary education from which they have earned credit. Applicants must also upload scanned copies of their transcript / academic record (and diplomas or certificates of degrees if the degree is awarded and not listed on the transcript) for each of these institutions to their online application.”


  1. Scanned transcripts must include all grade records and the grading scale used by the institution. (If the grading scale is on the back of the transcript, a separate scanned page should be included.) It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure uploaded copies are legible and of high resolution.

  2. Do not upload password-protected transcripts. If you receive password-protected transcripts from your educational institutions, please print them and scan to a PDF file before uploading.  Password-protected transcripts cannot be viewed by our Admissions Committee.

Submission of Official Academic Credentials (Graduate College policy)

“All credentials uploaded to the online application are considered unofficial. You will only be asked to submit official credentials (transcripts, academic records, diplomas, certificates of degrees, etc.) if you are admitted. These must be submitted during your first term of enrollment at the University of Illinois.

The University of Illinois reserves the right to require official academic credentials at any time during the admissions process, and to rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between unofficial and official transcript(s) are found.”


Applicants to the iCAN program are required to have two letters of recommendation. The purpose of the recommendation letters is to demonstrate applicants' personal and professional character. Applicants will supply the names of two people (and their contact information) for letters of recommendation. PLEASE NOTE: Although the Graduate College does not allow personal letters of recommendation, the iCAN PROGRAM DOES REQUEST A PERSONAL REFERENCE.

    • Reference 1: The applicant must supply a personal reference (e.g., friend, neighbor, clergy). That is, anyone (who is not a relative) that can speak to the applicant’s character, achievement, commitment, etc.

    • Reference 2: The applicant must supply the name of either an academic or professional reference.

Applicants will need to answer the following short-answer questions each in 200 words or less:

    • Why are you interested in the iCAN program?
    • Describe your skills (technical or non-technical) and experiences that would make you succeed in a computing path. What recent steps (if any) have you taken in this direction?
    • Tell us about a time in your academic studies where you struggled to achieve your goals. What did you do to overcome this challenge and what did you learn from this situation?
    • The iCAN program brings together students from different backgrounds and levels of familiarity with math and computing fundamentals. Suppose you are working on a class project with a team. How would you adjust if someone on your team is struggling more than you with the material?  How would you adjust if you are struggling more than your team with the material? Please be specific.
    • The iCAN program strives to broaden the participation of computing. Please describe ways you have contributed to increasing diversity and inclusion in your field and/or any unique challenges you may have faced and how you navigated those obstacles.
    • The iCAN program requires a significant time investment in order for students to be successful. Tell us how  the iCAN program will fit in your life and if you are able to spend at least twenty hours outside of class in order to complete the program.
    • The iCAN program assumes that students have knowledge of high-school algebra. Any additional math will be taught in the program. Tell us about your experience with algebra. How comfortable do you feel about learning math?
    • (Optional) The previous questions have addressed the required information we need for your application. However, we recognize that there may be information you would like to provide that doesn’t fit into what you have been asked. An important goal of the iCAN program is to be inclusive. If there is something else that you feel that we need to know about you, please feel free to use this space to provide that information.

  • Your CV/resume is a part of the online application form.
  • Your CV/resume should address your education, job experience, research experience, remarkable achievements, publications, organizations, awards, and leadership experiences.
  • This information helps the admissions committee understand your background.


  • If your native language is not English, the TOEFL or IELTS Exams may be required for admission. This includes permanent residents of the United States (green card). Please carefully read about this requirement.
  • If your native language is not English, and you have applied to a graduate program (MS in CS, PhD in CS) where departmental financial aid is offered, you must submit a TOEFL iBT score for full consideration for financial aid. Please carefully read about this requirement.
  • If admission is offered, international applicants must submit the Declaration & Certification of Finances Form. This form does not need to be submitted with the application materials.

Please check your application in the Graduate College application portal to ensure all required materials have been submitted.

If your email address changes between the time you submit your application and the decision deadline, email your updated email address to Include your old email address, your new email address, your first and last name, and your application reference number in the email message. 

iCAN logo

Illinois Computing Accelerator for Non-specialists

iCAN is a new one-year program for non-computer science college graduates who are interested in a high-tech computing career or pursuing a graduate degree in computer science. Specifically designed coursework in computing fundamentals is coupled with individualized attention from world-class faculty, plus academic and career mentoring.

Learn more