Frequently asked questions

The information contained below should answer most questions that potential graduate students have about the admissions policies and procedures in the Department of Computer Science. Our goal is to provide complete and accurate information. For this reason, in some cases we have provided links to relevant university websites, rather than repeat the information here. This will ensure the latest rules and regulations are seen in answer to a question.

If you have a question that is not answered here or you find the answer confusing or unclear, email your question to us at Please also let us know if you find that any of the links given below are not working.

  • GRE

    Is the GRE required for Graduate Admission?
    The GRE is required for admission to the Ph.D. program but not the M.S. program.

    What are the GRE requirements?
    The department expects a combined score of 305 for verbal and quantitative and a score of at least 3.5 for analytical writing.

    What if my GRE score is below the required score?
    Although we prefer scores at or above the aforementioned levels, we admit students with scores less than this if their application is otherwise strong. In particular, we look at the applicant's academic record and recommendation letters to determine their preparation for graduate studies in computer science.

    Can GRE be waived?
    We do not waive the GRE for applicants to the Ph.D. program.

    What is the institution code or department code for reporting my GRE scores?
    The institution code for Wayne State University is 1898. The department code for computer science is 0402.

    What if my GRE score is older than five years?
    If you have an official copy of a recent GRE test, you can submit a copy of your test score with your application in lieu of retaking the GRE.

  • English proficiency

    What exams does Wayne State University accept?
    Although we refer to the TOEFL exam elsewhere in this FAQ, since this is the most common test of English proficiency, Wayne State University also accepts a number of other exams. You can find the details by visiting the Graduate Admissions FAQ page for international students.

    What is the TOEFL score requirement?
    The requirements for the TOEFL are set by the university. You can find the details by visiting the Graduate Admissions FAQ page for international students.

    What is the institution code for reporting TOEFL scores?
    The institution code for Wayne State University is 1898.

    Who is required to submit a TOEFL score?
    The requirements for the TOEFL are set by the university. You can find the details by visiting the Graduate Admissions FAQ page.

    Is the TOEFL score used for making GTA appointments?
    No. As long as the TOEFL score satisfies the minimum requirements of the university, that score is also considered acceptable for a GTA appointment. Having a higher score on the TOEFL will not increase your chances of obtaining support as a GTA. So, if your score meets university requirements there is no advantage in retaking the TOEFL exam.

  • Assistantships and support

    What support does the department offer?
    Students in our department are supported through fellowships, as graduate research assistants (GRA), and as graduate teaching assistants (GTA). Only full-time students are eligible for this support.

    What is included in an offer of support?
    Support offers include a monthly stipend, a full tuition waiver and health insurance for the student and his/her dependents (spouse and children). In addition, fellowships come with a guarantee of support for one additional year.

    Does the department offer support to international students?
    Yes, we support both domestic and international students.

    Does the department support master's students?
    Master's students are not eligible for fellowships. Except under extremely rare circumstances, master's students are not offered GTA positions. Exceptions are on a case-by-case basis dependent on the needs of the department. Since GRA positions are given by an individual faculty member, the department does not determine who is awarded a GRA.

    Does the department offer tuition waivers?
    No. The department does not offer tuition waivers. The Graduate School has a program, the Graduate-Professional Scholarship, which provides a tuition waiver for one year but no stipend. For information on applying for this scholarship, please visit the Graduate School.

    How does a student obtain a fellowship?
    Fellowships are extremely competitive. To be eligible, a student must be a Ph.D. student and must be among the strongest applicants for that year. Students are nominated based on recommendations of individual faculty members and the selections are made based on the student's academic credentials.

    How does a student obtain support as a GRA?
    GRA positions are given by the faculty member who has funding for the position, so these positions are dependent on the funding that a particular faculty member has and whether or not that faculty member has funding for additional students. Consequently, a student needs to find out from faculty members if they have GRA positions available.

    How does a student obtain support as a GTA?
    GTA positions are distributed among faculty members who are interested in supporting a new or continuing Ph.D. student. GTA positions are allocated to students based on recommendations from faculty members. In order to obtain a GTA position, it is necessary that a faculty member has nominated a student for a GTA position and a position must be available for the student.

  • Department admission requirements

    How can I determine if I am eligible for admission?
    After reviewing the admission requirements for the program, you should have a good idea of whether or not you meet the academic requirements for admission to our department. We expect students to have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in computer science, which includes classes in data structures, analysis of algorithms, operating systems, computer architecture, and higher math including discrete mathematics and two semesters of calculus. In general, we give admission even if a student is missing one or two of these courses. However, any missing prerequisite courses must be completed at the beginning of your graduate studies.

    What are the admission requirements for the department?
    The requirements for admission to the graduate program can be found on our master's and doctoral program pages.

    My undergraduate degree is not in computer science, can I still apply?
    Yes. The department does not require an undergraduate degree in computer science. As long as you have completed the necessary prerequisite computer science and mathematics courses, that is sufficient preparation at the undergraduate level. The list of prerequisite courses can be found in the list of requirements for admission to our master's and doctoral programs.

    What are my options if my undergraduate background is not in computer science?
    If you have the necessary courses, then there is no issue as we do not require a degree in computer science. However, if you have a number of prerequisites that are missing, please see the section below for the information given in the course prerequisites section of this FAQ.

  • Course prerequisites

    What are the prerequisite courses for admission to the Department of Computer Science?
    The prerequisite courses for admission to the master's and doctoral programs can be found under each respective degree program on our Department of Computer Science website.

    What are the options for fulfilling these prerequisites?
    If you do not already have some of these courses, then you can complete these courses prior to applying to the graduate program, or you can complete these courses after gaining admission to the graduate program. If possible, it is better to take these courses prior to applying to the graduate program for two reasons: (1) if you need more than a couple courses, you could be denied admission because you lack the required prerequisites and (2) once a student is in the graduate program then graduate tuition rates are charged for these courses even though they are undergraduate courses and do not count for credit toward your graduate degree. If you have already completed a bachelor's degree in another field, the best option is to apply to do a second bachelor's degree in computer science. You are not required to complete this second degree in order to apply for the graduate program, but it does give you admission to the university so that you can complete these prerequisite courses.

    Can I be admitted if I don't have all of these courses?
    Yes, you can be admitted as long as you need to complete just a few prerequisites; however, these courses will have to be completed in your first semester of study. If you are a graduate student, then you have to pay graduate tuition rates for these courses even though the courses do not count toward your degree as graduate credit.

  • Letters of recommendation

    How many letters of recommendation does the department require?
    The department requires three letters of recommendation.

    Who should provide letters of recommendation?
    It is preferred that letters of recommendation come from faculty members. In the case of students with a master's degree, we expect at least some letters of recommendation to be provided from the institution that awarded the master's degree. For students who have completed or are completing a master's thesis, we expect a letter of recommendation from the thesis advisor.

    I have been out of school for a long time. Is it possible to get letters of recommendation from someone other than a faculty member?
    Yes. In this case, the letters should come from someone who has earned at least the degree for which you are applying. For instance, if you are applying to the Ph.D. program, then we need recommendations from persons holding a Ph.D.

  • Transcripts

    Do I need to submit official transcripts?
    Yes. You can find further information about the requirements for transcripts on the Graduate Admissions website and on the FAQ page.

    What should I do if I have problems obtaining or submitting transcripts?
    Graduate Admissions handles all matters relating to transcripts. You can find further information about the requirements for transcripts aton the Graduate Admissions FAQ page.

    Do international transcripts need to be evaluated by a credentials evaluation service such as WES before submission?
    No. This is not required.

  • Application deadlines

    What is the deadline to apply?
    Please complete Ph.D. applications by February 17th to insure admissions and funding consideration for Fall semester. Other deadlines for applying are set by Graduate Admissions.

    What are the advantages of applying early?
    Applying early will increase your chances of getting support, especially if you are applying for the fall semester, as most support decisions are made in March.

    Do you limit the number of admissions?
    The department currently does not limit the number of students admitted to the master's program. So, applying later will not reduce your chances of being admitted unless you apply too late for us to process your application. For Ph.D. students, we limit admissions according to our capacity for advising students.

    What if the deadline is missed?
    For master's program applicants, once your application is complete it will be reviewed. Even if this is past the official deadline, we will still admit for the requested semester if the application can be processed before the start of the semester. In some cases, we have given admission even a few days before the start of a semester. However, international students who will require a student visa should consider how long it will take to obtain a visa after receiving admission and plan accordingly. For Ph.D. applicants the department cannot insure funding and admissions consideration if applying after Feb. 17th for Fall semester.

    What if I can't complete the application before the semester starts?
    Students who cannot complete their application before the start of the semester can enroll as a guest student by completing a Graduate Permit to Register application. This short form allows a student to complete their application without waiting to take courses. International students, please note that a Graduate Permit to Register cannot be processed if you do not have a TOEFL score.

  • Application processing

    How do I submit paper copies of documents for my application?
    The best option is to submit electronic copies of all documents. Sending paper copies will delay the processing of your application. However, if you must send paper copies, they should be sent to Graduate Admissions. Do not send any application documents to the Department of Computer Science. The department does not accept any documents for Graduate Admissions.

    What should be done about problems uploading documents or otherwise using the online application system?
    Questions about the use of the application system, including questions about uploading documents, should be sent to Graduate Admissions. You are strongly encouraged to look at the help files first as this will allow you to solve problems more quickly.

    How long does it take to process my application?
    Once the department has received a complete application, it takes about two to three weeks to process the application. After that, it is returned to Graduate Admissions for final processing. So, you should expect that the process will take about a month after the department has received a complete application.

    How can I check on the status of my application?
    Using your ID and PIN, the online application system allows you to check the status of your application. If there are documents missing, then these need to be received before your application will be processed. If you have questions about the information that you see, for instance, if you believe that the system is in error, then you should contact Graduate Admissions. Once the application is ready for review by the department, please allow two to three weeks for processing. After that, you can ask for an update by sending email to us at with your name and ID number.

    I am already a graduate student at Wayne State University, but in a different department. How can I transfer to the Department of Computer Science?
    (If you want to pursue a degree in computer science while also completing your current degree, please see the next question. This information is for students who wish to transfer to computer science.) Students who are already admitted to a graduate program at WSU need to complete a new online application through the ALeRT system. The ALeRT system is configured to automatically recognize that you are a current graduate student and will tag your application as a Change of Graduate Status request. Documents from your original application should be automatically copied to your new application. If this doesn't happen after a couple days, you also need to request that your application file be transferred from your current department to the Department of Computer Science for review. If you have already completed some courses at Wayne State University, please also upload an unofficial copy of your Wayne State University transcript.

    I am already a graduate student at Wayne State University, but in a different department. How can I continue my current degree and also pursue a graduate degree in the Department of Computer Science?
    (If you want to discontinue your current program and transfer to the Department of Computer Science, please see the previous question. This information is for students who wish to retain their enrollment in their current department while pursuing a graduate degree in Computer Science at the same time.) Students who are already admitted to a graduate program at WSU, and want to add a computer science graduate degree, need to complete a Change of Graduate Status request form and submit this application to the Department of Computer Science. Along with your Change of Graduate Status request, please submit a copy of your WSU transcript to the Department of Computer Science for review.

    How do I defer my admission to a later semester?
    Technically, we do not defer applications, as we cannot guarantee that just because you have been admitted, that you will be admitted for a subsequent semester. If you wish to reapply, as long as you plan to enroll within one year of your original admission date, the process for reapplying for admission is straightforward. To initiate an application for another semester, simply send an email to with your full name and WSU assigned ID and inform them of the semester in which you were admitted and ask that your application be copied to the requested semester. The documents submitted for your previous application will then be copied to the new application. The department will review your application again. Again, please note that our Graduate Admissions requirements change over time. And, especially in the case of the Ph.D. program, where we limit admissions based on capacity, admission for one semester does not automatically guarantee admission for a different semester.

    What if I took courses several years ago and want to restart my graduate program?
    If you have been gone only a couple years, then you can just register and start taking classes again. If it has been several years since you enrolled, you need to contact the department and meet with an academic advisor to determine the best solution for your situation.

    How do I appeal a decision to deny my admission?
    You should review the reasons that your admission was denied. If you believe that these reasons are not valid, then you should supply additional information to the department via email at to clarify your case. In particular, you need to address all the reasons admission was denied.

  • Cost

    What are the tuition and fees to attend Wayne State University?
    The cost changes every year when the university budget is finalized in the summer. The current tuition and fee information is available from the Office of the Registrar.

    What amount must be shown on the document for financial support?
    This information is provided by the Office of International Students and Scholars. Expenses for Computer Science are listed under the general category.

    Are there discounts for Wayne State University employees and their dependents?
    The university offers reduced or free tuition for some employees and their immediate family. You should check with the benefits coordinator in your department or Human Resources to determine your eligibility.

    Can I get a tuition waiver?
    Please look at the assistantships and support section of this FAQ for more information.

    Can I get financial assistance for my studies?
    Please look at the assistantships and support section of this FAQ for more information.