Information for Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in the graduate program of the Computer Science Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. Our graduate program is ranked among the top in the nation and in the top ten among public universities. Both M.S. and Ph.D degrees are offered, and almost all full-time students receive financial aid in the form of assistantships, fellowships, and grants. These pages give an overview of the program and describe the application process.

Note to Fall Applicants: We generally receive over 1500 applications for the Fall semester. Due to this high volume, updates to applications often take several weeks. Offers are expected to be made to the accepted applicants during the first week of March.

We understand your eagerness to receive updates regarding your application. However, it is best to keep checking your status online and to refrain from sending emails. The more time we take to respond to emails, the less time we have to update the applications.

Thank you for your understanding and your patience with the application process.

Students interested in the Maryland Max Planck PhD Program in Computer Science should follow the admissions instructions for the program.

The department also offers a Graduate Certificate of Professional Students in Data Science, which has a separate admissions process. Please refer to that program's web page for more information.


  1. Relevant Addresses and Dates
  2. Location
  3. Research Opportunities
  4. Applying for Admission
  5. Financial Information
  6. Degree Requirements Summary
  7. Student Organizations
  8. Faculty

1. Relevant Addresses and Important Dates

Computer Science Department
Graduate Office, Univ. of Maryland
1151 A.V. Williams Building
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (301) 405-2664
Email: csgradof [at]


The Graduate School
2123 Lee Building 
College Park, MD 20742 
Tel: (301) 405-0376

UMCP graduate studies information, fellowship office, admissions office, etc.
Graduate Hills/Graduate Gardens
3424 Tulane Drive, Apt 14 
Hyattsville, MD 20783 
Tel: (301) 422-0147

On-campus graduate housing information
Office of International Services 
3116 Mitchell Bldg.
Tel: (301) 314-7740

Visa and other pertinent information for international students
Off-Campus Housing Services
1195 Stamp Student Union Bldg. 
College Park, MD 20742 
Tel: (301) 314-3645 

Off-campus housing information
Enrollment Services Office-Graduate Admissions
University of Maryland College Park
Enrollment Services Operations
Application for Graduate Admission
Rm 0130 Mitchell Building
College Park, MD 20742

Send application materials to this address.


Dates & Deadlines Fall Semester Admission Spring Semester Admission
(only for University of Maryland students)
Deadline for applications and all supporting material due at Graduate School and Computer Science Department December 15

September 30

Admission offers sent by Department (dates tentative) March 1 November 15
Visit Day for Admitted Students   N/A
Deadline for applicant to reply to offer April 15 December 15
Maryland English Institute and ISSS Orientation for International Students August 15-23 N/A
Computer Science Department Orientation August 24-25 N/A
Classes begin August 28 January 25
Classes End December 11 May 10

Note: Dates for offers to be sent by the Department are tentative and may vary. The Department will notify applicants as quickly as possible; your patience is appreciated.

2. Location

The University of Maryland, College Park, is the flagship campus of the University System of Maryland. One of the largest campuses in the US, it is located in the Washington, D.C. area, a traditional center for culture and science. The area has many internationally renowned museums, monuments, libraries, theaters, and performing arts organizations. Around the National Mall, at the center of the nation's capital, is a concentration of museums and monuments unlike anywhere in the world. More recently, the area has become a technology center, especially in computer networking, communications, Internet services, and biotechnology.

The Washington area is one of the most verdant metropolitan areas in the US, with large areas devoted to wildlife refuges and scenic parks. Surrounding the Washington area are nearby state and national parks and waterways in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, from the Shenandoah and Appalachian Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay and Assateague seashores.

The area enjoys a full four-season climate, yet the winters are mild relative to most places in the northern US. The average daytime temperature in winter usually above freezing, snow stays on the ground for at most a few weeks in the winter, and Spring starts early in March.

3. Research Opportunities

With an annual research budget of several million dollars, the Department's research projects cover nearly every aspect of computer science, including:

Artificial Intelligence

Algorithms and Theory

Big Data, Data Analytics, and Data Mining


Computational Audition

Database Systems

Distributed Systems

Graphics and Visualization

High-Performance Computing

Human-Computer Interaction

Location-Based Services and Search

Machine Learning

Natural Language Processing


Programming Languages

Quantum Computing

Scientific Computing and Numerical Analysis

Security and Cryptography

Software Engineering









The department's basic computing facility is provided by a network of several hundred workstations of Unix, Windows, and Mac flavors. Graduate students generally have at least one workstation per person. More specialized computing facilities include Unix-based open laboratory, Mac-based multimedia and robotics laboratory, Linux cluster, Alpha farm, SP-2, etc., some of which are operated by sister research units on campus. In addition, the campus-wide Office of Information Technology operates open workstation labs, mostly for class use.

The Computer Science Department has close ties to various research units on campus, providing faculty and students opportunities for collaborative research projects and access to specialized research facilities. Among these units:

In addition, the faculty regularly collaborate with government and industry technology development organizations in the area, including: NASA-Goddard Space Flight CenterNational Institutes of HealthNational Institute for Standards and TechnologyArmy Research Labs, and many more, not to mention the National Security Agency and such like.

Research support from these various organizations supplements the Computer Science Department's resources and helps to attract some of the brightest and best young computer scientists.

4. Applying for Admission

Application to the graduate program is open to individuals with an undergraduate education that includes much of the material covered in the following courses:

  • CMSC 330: Organization of Programming Languages
  • CMSC 420: Data Structures
  • CMSC 451: Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms
  • MATH 140: Calculus I
  • MATH 141: Calculus II
  • MATH 240: Linear Algebra

The course numbers and names correspond to UMCP course listings, but the courses should be familiar to anyone with an undergraduate education in computer science. Note that fulfilling this requirement often requires additional undergraduate courses.

Applications are evaluated on the basis of educational and work experience, recommendation letters, and test scores. The General GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is required for all applicants. The average score for the General GRE is: Verbal - 158, Quantitative - 163, and Analytical - 5.0. International students require TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Undergraduate grade point averages are generally 3.5 or above. However, each applicant is considered individually, and reasonable exceptions can be made in particular cases.

Only a small fraction of those who apply are admitted to the graduate program. Satisfying the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Both GPA and GRE scores of students admitted in recent years have been much higher than the average scores.

The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its ApplyYourself/Hobsons application system. Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions.

As required by the Graduate School, all application materials are to be submitted electronically:

The electronic submission of application materials helps expedite the review of an application. Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the committees are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean.  To ensure the integrity of the application process, the University of Maryland authenticates submitted materials through TurnItIn for Admissions.

Information for International Graduate Students

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students.  International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer, and contact them with related questions.

The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance.  Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents.  Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants for more information.


Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobsons online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues.  For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School.

  1. Please Note

    Applications and all supporting documents must be submitted by December 15 in order to be considered for the following Fall semester. Foreign students are urged to submit applications early, because processing takes longer than for US applicants. GRE examinations must be taken by November in order for the scores to arrive before admissions decisions are made. Applicants for Fall will be notified of their admission status approximately the first week of March.

    The Spring Semester application deadline is October 1. NOTE: Only those who are already students at the University of Maryland, College Park, are eligible to apply for the Spring Semester.

    Admission cannot be deferred. Applicants must indicate the semester in which they wish to begin the program. If an applicant does not enroll in the semester admitt, the offer of admission is voided. If an applicant decides to enter the program at a later time, a new application must be submitted.

    5. Financial Information


    For information on tuition & fees as well as living expenses in the College Park area, please see


    Approximately 60 teaching assistantships are available for new and returning students each semester. First-year teaching assistants normally conduct discussion sections of introductory computer science courses or serve as graders, and second-year students often help in upper-level courses. For the 2015-16 academic year (August 17-May 31), stipends for teaching assistants are in the $19,676-23,350 range, depending upon educational background and experience.

    Approximately 120 students are supported by graduate research assistantships on research grants and contracts. Research assistants usually work on projects that lead to thesis or dissertation topics. Stipends are the same for RA's and TA's.

    In addition to the stipends, teaching and research assistantships cover tuition for up to 10 credits per semester and provide health insurance coverage under the same University benefits plan enjoyed by staff and faculty. Many students also receive summer support.


    Unlike assistantships, fellowships usually do not require the student to perform any duties. The monetary award varies depending on the fellowship but it is generally similar to that of an assistantship. The Department often supplements a fellowship offer with a half-time assistantship.

    Fellowships are available from a number of sources outside the University of Maryland, for example, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, Fulbright Fellowships, etc. To apply for these fellowships, you should contact the agency which administers them, check with the financial aid office in your current university, or contact theFellowship Office at the University of Maryland.

    6. Degree Requirements Summary

    For full-time students starting with a B.S. degree, it usually takes 2-2 1/2 years to complete the Master of Science (M.S.) degree and 5-6 years to complete the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. The following is a summary; for details see Graduate Policy Manual: Information for Enrolled Students.

    Graduate students in CMPS doctoral programs are expected to develop a mastery of their field, and gain familiarity with their discipline from arrival to graduation. In particular, full-time doctoral students who arrive with a baccalaureate degree normally will:

    1. Become engaged in research no later than during their second year and often in their first year.

    2. Identify a thesis adviser by the end of their second year.

    3. Identify a thesis topic by the end of their third year.

    4. Secure admission to candidacy within 3-4 years.

    5. Publish at least one paper prior to advancing to candidacy, and several prior to graduating.

    6. Complete all requirements and graduate within 5-6 years.

    Graduate students may expect:

    a) A wide selection of courses.

    b) Advice and mentoring by faculty in their program prior to the assignment of an adviser.

    c) From their adviser:
      -- Regular access and advice during the research and thesis writing process.
      -- Training in the preparation of oral and written scholarly presentations; in particular the advice and support for the writing of at least one paper for publication.
      -- Introduction, for example at conferences, to other members of the field.
      -- Assistance and advice with job searches

    Degree requirements involve coursework, and for this purpose courses are categorized into seven areas: artificial intelligence, computer systems, database systems, scientific computing, software engineering and programming languages, theory of computing, and visual and geometric computing. In general, no more than six credit hours may be transferred from another university or another program at UMCP.

    Master of Science

    The Department offers both thesis and non-thesis options for the M.S. degree. Requirements for the M.S. without thesis are as follows:

    1. The student must complete 30 credit hours of qualifying courses covering four out of the seven areas.
    2. All degree requirements must be completed within five years.
    3. M.S. Comp courses must be completed in four of the seven areas, and a scholarly paper must be prepared under an advisor's supervision.

    For the M.S. with thesis, the last requirement is replaced by the following: the coursework must include six hours of CMSC 799 (Master's Thesis Research); a thesis must be prepared that presents an independent accomplishment in a research, development, or application area of computer science; and the student must defend the thesis in a final oral examination.

    Doctor of Philosophy

    Requirements for the PhD Degree include the following:

    1. The student must complete 6 600 to 800 level qualifying courses covering four out of the seven areas, in addition to taking two more graduate courses, and complete at least 12 hours of CMSC 899 (Dissertation Research).
    2. The student must pass an oral Ph.D. Preliminary Examination on a research proposal and prepared readings. This must be completed within four years of entering the program.
    3. The student must prepare a dissertation presenting an original contribution to the field of computer science and pass a final oral examination on the dissertation research. This must be done within four years after passing the Preliminary Examination.

    7. Student Organizations

    Graduate students participate in several organizations affecting departmental and academic affairs. Among them:

    The Executive Council is an elected body of computer science graduate students, which plans activities and addresses issues of concern to the student body. The council also allocates funds from the graduate student activities budget. Sponsored activities typically include a departmental picnic, seminars and forums, a very popular weekly coffee hour, hikes, and parties.

    The Department Council advises the Chair on issues affecting the department. It is composed primarily of faculty, but two graduate student representatives attend the meetings, as non-voting members, to provide graduate student input and to keep the graduate students informed of relevant issues.

    The Education Committee is responsible for the undergraduate and graduate academic programs of the department. Composed primarily of faculty, the committee has two voting graduate student representatives and two voting undergraduate student representatives.

    The Graduate Student Government is a campus-wide organization of graduate students for the purpose of improving the quality of graduate student life. Some of the recent activities organized by this organization include protest rallies against taxation of scholarships and assistantships, a campus-wide research conference for Graduate Students, setting up a legal aid service for Graduate Students, distributing a newsletter with information for all Graduate Students, and organizing social events such as dances and weekly "happy hours."

    ACM student chapter: The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the principal professional society for computer scientists. Membership is important for maintaining contact with current developments through journal publications, meetings and conferences. Our department has a student chapter of the ACM. Student members receive many of the benefits at a reduced rate: journals, conference registration, etc. Membership becomes extremely important as students move into the final stages of their study and begin submitting papers to conferences and ACM journals.

    The Society of Women in Computer Science consists of women from the Department. Its purpose is to encourage women to major in Computer Science, through the establishment of a support system including mentoring, group tutoring, and study groups.

    8. Faculty