UCSD CSE Graduate Admissions

Updated May 2020


We appreciate your interest in the graduate program in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego. We offer PhD and MS degrees in both computer science and computer engineering. We also have a streamlined 5-year BS/MS program for highly qualified UCSD CSE undergraduates. Undocumented students are welcome to apply.

Department Overview

The UCSD Application for Graduate Admission  will open on September 9, 2020 for Fall 2021 admission. The application deadline is DECEMBER 16, 2020. (Admittance is for Fall quarter only). All application materials must be submitted through the online application. We understand that many of our applicants may face difficulty scheduling GRE tests due to complications with COVID-19. Because of this, the GRE will NOT be required for CSE PhD or Master's applications for Fall 2021 admission. Applicants may still submit valid scores if they have already taken the test.

For information about the online application and required supplemental documents, please refer to: Application Checklist and Guidelines.

About the Admissions Process:

Admission to the CSE graduate program is very selective. Our department receives over 6,000 applications annually. We seek applicants with a strong academic background in computer science and engineering and/or a related field and a demonstrated potential for success in graduate school. Each application undergoes a comprehensive review by the CSE Admissions Committee, which examines every component of the application and supplemental materials when considering an applicant for admission. (Standardized test scores and grade point averages (GPA) are an integral part of the evaluation process, but admissions decisions are NOT made based on these components alone.)

The MS and PhD degree programs are mutually independent. You may only apply for one program or the other; applications for both the MS and PhD programs will not be accepted. Current students in the MS program who wish to continue in the PhD program must submit an internal application by the general application deadline for the year they are seeking admission. The application will be reviewed along with those of the external PhD applicants for that admissions cycle. (An MS degree is not required for admission to the PhD program).

If you are interested in enrolling in Computer Science and Engineering classes without being matriculated in a degree program you may do so through the Concurrent Enrollment Program.

The CSE department has a limited number of application fee waivers available for students who have demonstrated a significant contribution to diversity throughout their educational lives. If you would like to request a CSE department fee waiver, please fill out the Fee Waiver Application.

Graduate Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the minimum university and departmental requirements outlined below. All application documents are submitted to the Graduate Division Online application at UCSD Application for Graduate Admission. For a complete list of all of the supplemental materials required for the graduate application, please visit our Graduate Application Checklist

Additional questions about admission into our graduate program may be answered on our Graduate Admissions FAQ page. Please also see the Prospective Student web pages of the Graduate Division.

Undocumented Students: Undocumented students are welcome to apply. For additional Information: Undocumented Student Services


A bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, or mathematics is preferred, but not required. Applicants with a degree in another discipline will be considered for admission if they have completed the minimum required CSE courses or their equivalent. However, it is recommended that applicants without a CSE background take courses beyond the minimum to demonstrate an ability to understand more advanced concepts in computer science and engineering: My bachelors degree isn't in CS. What kind of background should I have before applying to the program?

Academics and GPA

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution in the United States or from a recognized university-level academic institution abroad. At least a B average (3.0 GPA) or its equivalent is required for admission. Satisfaction of minimal standards does not, however, guarantee admission, since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available. International and U.S. Applicants should refer to the UCSD Academic Policies - Admissions

Test Scores

GRE: We understand that many of our applicants may face difficulty scheduling GRE tests due to complications with COVID-19. Because of this, the GRE will NOT be required for CSE PhD or Master's applications for Fall 2021 admission. Applicants may still submit valid scores if they have already taken the test. Applicants with valid test scores should request that ETS submit the scores directly to the UCSD institution code 4836; department codes are not necessary. Information about the GRE is available from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website. 

TOEFL: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not studied full-time at a university-level institution in an English-speaking country for one uninterrupted academic year. No other test of English may be used to substitute for TOEFL for the CSE Graduate Application.

The UCSD TOEFL Institution Code is 4836. No department code is required. The university minimum TOEFL score required for admission is 550 for the paper-and-pencil version, 213 for the computer-based test or 85 for the internet-based test (iBT). For more information on the TOEFL, visit the TOEFL website. An official ETS-reported score must be submitted for an applicant to be admitted into the graduate program.The Test of Spoken English (TSE) is not required.

Duplication of Degrees

NOTICE -  Normally, UCSD does not permit the duplication of advanced degrees. (Previous professional degrees, however, are not included in this restriction.) Holders of a master's degree in one field may be considered under certain circumstances for admission into a master's degree program in another field (after the admissions faculty committee reviews all application files in any given admissions cycle).  Holders of a PhD, in any field, are advised not to apply for admission to the CSE department's PhD program.

Contact Information

If you still have questions for which you could not find an answer on our website, please email either one of the following:

PhD Admissions at csegradinfo-phd@eng.ucsd.edu

MS Admissions at csegradinfo-ms@eng.ucsd.edu

The University of California, San Diego does not discriminate on the basis of race, color,  national origin, religion, sex, disability, age or sexual orientation in any of its policies,  procedures, or practices, including but not limited to academic admission, financial aid, educational services, and student employment.