FAQs

For questions specifically related to the MCS in Data Science track, see the MCS-DS FAQs.

General Answers for All Applicants

What are the application deadlines?

The deadlines for each of our Graduate Programs are listed on our Application Deadlines page.

Changing personal information on the application

My personal information has changed. Can you help me change information on my application?
Please email your request to admissions@cs.illinois.edu. We will update our departmental database. We cannot update your Graduate College application in Apply Yourself. However, the CS Admissions committee will review your application from our database.

My current email has changed. How could I update my contact information?
If your email address changes between submitting your application and the decision deadline, please email your new email address to krunck@illinois.edu. Include your old email address, your new email address, your first and last name, your date of birth, and your Apply Yourself PIN number in the email message.

Transcripts

Detailed information about submitting application materials are found on our Application Process & Requirements page.

Do I need to submit official transcripts? I have already attached scanned copies of my transcripts to the application.
Official transcripts are not required for the initial application 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.

How do I complete the transcripts portion of my application?
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.”

Notes:

  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.
  3. If a transcript does not show the degree awarded date for a degree that is already awarded, please include a copy of the diploma/degree certificate that shows the degree was conferred.

Do I need to submit Primary and Secondary Education transcripts?
The requested Primary and Secondary Education fields can be useful in determining if an on-campus student qualifies for a TA position. However, you do not need to submit any transcripts for Primary and Secondary Education. Primary education is typically considered any education prior to high-school level and secondary would be any school after primary and prior to undergraduate-level education.

I have been offered admission.  How do I submit official transcripts?
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.

What is the mailing address to submit official transcripts?
If you are an admitted student, please send your official transcripts directly to the University of Illinois Graduate College.

Mailing address:
The Graduate College Admissions Office
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
204 Coble Hall
801 South Wright Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Are third-party evaluations an acceptable substitute for transcripts?
No, third-party evaluations are not accepted for the initial review. Please do not upload third-party evaluations.  Scanned copies of transcripts (or mark sheets) showing all grades/marks must be uploaded for the full duration of your academic program.

Is the Diploma or the Degree Certificate an acceptable substitute for transcripts?
No, the diploma/degree certificate is not an acceptable substitute for transcripts. Scanned copies of transcripts (or mark sheets) showing all grades/marks must be uploaded for the full duration of your academic program.

Letters of Reference

Detailed information about submitting application materials are found on our Application Process & Requirements page.

Can I change my list of reference letter writers?
Yes, you can request this change by emailing admissions@cs.illinois.edu or mcs-ds@cs.illinois.edu (MCS-DS applicants only). Your request should include contact information of references to be added (name, email, official position, role in which they write the letter) and/or names to be removed from the current list. (These new letter writers will need to email their reference letters from their official email address to admissions@cs.illinois.edu or mcs-ds@cs.illinois.edu (MCS-DS applicants only).)

Can my reference letters be mailed or emailed?
Individuals writing letters of recommendation on your behalf should submit their letters through the online application system. Any recommendation letters that are not submitted through the online application system will impact timely processing of your application.

If the letter writers are unable to submit letters through the online application system, letters can be emailed directly from the letter writer’s official email address to admissions@cs.illinois.edu or mcs-ds@cs.illinois.edu (MCS-DS applicants only). Letters will not be accepted if sent from a personal email address.

Under extreme circumstances, letters in sealed envelopes can be mailed to the CS Department. However, standard mail should be used only when letters cannot be submitted through the online application system or sent via email to admissions@cs.illinois.edu or mcs-ds@cs.illinois.edu (MCS-DS applicants only). In such instances, please mail the letters directly to the CS Department at the address listed at the bottom of this page. Any application material received via standard mail can take up to three business days to process.

My letters of recommendation (LORs) were submitted to electronic portal in the last 24 hours. When would they show as received in the CS portal?
It can take up to ten (10) business days for the LORs to show in the CS portal after they are submitted to the application portal. We will respond to individual inquiries only after 10 business days have passed since submission. Thank you for your patience.

My recommender(s) are unable to submit letters by the deadline.  Can you make an exception to the deadline?
All application material must be submitted by the deadline. Late letters will be added to your application. But, we cannot guarantee that the admission committee will review late letters. You have the option of asking another recommender to write a letter by the deadline. (Please see above for directions for changing letter writers.)

GRE Examination

Does Computer Science require GRE scores?
No, Computer Science does not require applicants to submit GRE scores. If you would like to submit scores, we recommend that you scan your official score report as a PDF file and attach it to your application. You do NOT need to submit official scores through ETS.

(If you decide to submit official scores, please allow up to 3 business days after the application is submitted for exam scores to be matched to your application. Thank you for your patience.)

Additional Application Material

Are there other additional application materials required by Computer Science?
Applicants to the CS MS and PhD programs will receive a link to complete the CS Interest Form. This link will be sent within 48 hours of submitting your application. Please allow sufficient time to complete the CS Interest form by the application deadline.

Should I submit a writing sample as part of my application?
No writing samples are required.

Is there a word limit for the personal statement? What are the formatting requirements?
No, the personal statement has no word limit and no formatting requirements. It should, however, be precise and free of errors so that your application is strengthened.

Do I need to upload a separate essay for Program-Specific Questions?
No, a separate program-specific essay is not needed for any CS graduate program applications. However, please be sure to upload your Personal Statement.

I am applying to the M.S. or Ph.D. program. Am I required to provide three faculty names in the CS Interest Form?
This is not required. But, we strongly encourage you to identify at least three CS faculty with whom you might want to work if admitted. Please explore the CS faculty profiles on our website if you are not familiar with the research interests of our faculty. CS faculty are also listed by research area.

I am applying to the professional Master of Computer Science (MCS) program. Am I required to complete the CS interest form?
MCS applicants do not have to complete the CS Interest Form. (Only M.S. and Ph.D. applicants are required to complete the CS Interest Form.)

Application Review Process

Could the department review my transcripts before I submit my application and let me know if I qualify to apply?
Due to the high volume of applications received and departmental admission policies, Computer Science does not conduct provisional review of individual transcripts. All applications are reviewed by our Admissions Committee after application deadlines have passed.

I am undecided about which graduate program to apply for. Could I apply for more than one CS graduate degree program?
If an applicant submits multiple applications to different Computer Science graduate programs, we will ask the applicant to select one application. Please consider your options carefully and submit only one application to the Department of Computer Science.

I do not have a Masters degree in Computer Science (or related field). Could I be admitted to the CS PhD program at Illinois?
Applicants with a strong CS record can be admitted to the PhD program with only a bachelor's degree.

I have a Masters degree in Computer Science (or Computer Engineering). Could I be admitted to the MS or MCS program at Illinois?
Applicants who already hold a Master’s degree in computer science or computer engineering whose degree requirements are equivalent to CS @ ILLINOIS master’s degree are not eligible to apply for our MS or Professional Master of Computer Science (MCS) degree.

My undergraduate GPA is below the average quoted on your website. Will my application be reviewed?
Our website states the average GPA of admitted students. It is not a minimum.* Our admissions committee considers all the information you provide in your application, GPA, research projects, letters of recommendation, Computer Science course/grades, statement of purpose, etc. The decision to submit an application is personal and must be decided based on the information we provide regarding admissibility.

*The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign does require applicants to hold at least a 3.0/4.0 or higher GPA in their undergraduate degree to be eligible for graduate studies on this campus.

Will the department notify me of missing application materials?
The CS Department will not send individual reminders on missing materials. You can check the status of your application materials using the link:  https://my.cs.illinois.edu/gradstat/login.asp. At this time, processing time at the department to verify documents is approximately 10 business days. If the material you have submitted is not flagged as received at the end of 10 business days, please contact the deparment at admissions@cs.illinois.edu or mcs-ds@cs.illinois.edu (MCS-DS applicants only).

Questions Answered for International Students

Minimum admission requirements

Will I be admitted to the Graduate College with an undergraduate degree from a 3-year program?
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.

GPA Calculations

How does CS calculate the GPA from my home-institution?
Departmental staff will calculate and convert international transcripts. This is not a simple process, but as a general rule, it will depend on your institution’s grading scale. Our Graduate College website provides information that shows the minimum GPA requirements by country. You can click on the country you obtained your degree and see the bottom of the page to find the “Full Status Admission Minimum GPA Requirements”. Please keep in mind that these minimums are Grad College minimums and are based on a “B” equivalent. Our department typically requires a higher minimum as a benchmark for admission.

English language proficiency requirements

What are the English language proficiency requirements for admission to the Graduate College and Computer Science department?
Please see the Graduate College's English Proficiency Requirements for details. This page also provides information about two exemptions to the language proficiency requirements.

Note: English proficiency requirements for admissions purposes can different from requirements for consideration for financial assistance (for international students). If M.S. and Ph.D. applicants wish to be considered for departmental funding, we require that you submit standardized test scores.

The medium of instruction in my country is English. Do I need to submit TOEFL or IELTS language proficiency scores to be admitted to the CS graduate program?
Please check the Graduate College website to see if your country is on the exempt list of countries for admission purposes. If your country is not on this list, then English proficiency requirements must be met for admission to the CS graduate programs, irrespective of medium of instruction.

I am an international student, but I have received my undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution. Do I need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores?
For full consideration for departmental funding, M.S. applicants are strongly recommended to submit current (passing) scores. Ph.D. applicants are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. (The CS PhD program contains a Teaching Assistant requirement where English language proficiency requirements must be met.)

I am exempt from submitting English language proficiency scores for admission. Am I also eligible to receive a Teaching Assistantship?
Being exempt for admission purposes does not necessarily provide an exemption for international teaching assistants. For more information please see the English Proficiency Requirement for International Teaching Assistants.

The Department of Computer Science requires all international applicants who apply for Teaching Assistantships (even if they are exempted from admission requirements) to provide TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Minimum requirements in the speaking subsections:

  • TOEFL iBT: 24
  • IELTS: 8

Are TOEFL or IELTS scores required to apply for Research Assistantships?
International M.S. or Ph.D. applicants who wish to be considered for any type of graduate assistantship are required by the department to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

I am scheduled to take my TOEFL (or IELTS) test after the application is submitted. Can I enter that date on my application?
You can report future test dates on your application so that the admissions committee will see that you will be taking the exam. Please keep in mind that decisions regarding financial assistance will not be made until test scores are received. If official scores are not reported by the application deadlines, you run the risk of your application not being reviewed.

I do not have a passing Speak score in TOEFL or IELTS. Am I eligible for financial assistance?
If the admissions committee decides to admit you and you do not have a passing “speaking” score, you may be considered for financial assistance. However, these opportunities will be restricted by your qualifications and other available funding.

My TOEFL (IELTS) scores were submitted to the university before I submitted my graduate application. When would the exam scores show as received?
Please allow up to 3 business days after you submit the application, for exam scores to be matched to your application. Thank you for your patience.

Financial Verification

Do I need to submit the Declaration & Certification of Finances form for the application to be complete?
The Declaration & Certification of Finances form is not needed for the application to be complete. This form does not need to be submitted when applying to CS graduate programs.

If you are admitted to our graduate program without departmental funding, you will be asked to submit this form.

CS Contact Information

For questions not answered in the FAQs: academic@cs.illinois.edu or mcs-ds@cs.illinois.edu (MCS-DS applicants only).

Telephone number: (217) 333-4428