Updated December 2023
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.
The UCSD Application for Graduate Admission opens for Fall 2024 admission from September 6, 2023 until December 20, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Admission is given for Fall quarter only. We do not admit new students in Spring quarters. All application materials must be submitted through the online application.
The GRE is not required for PhD and MS applications for Fall 2024. Applicants may still submit valid scores if they have already taken the test.
The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition will be accepted for admission at both the Master's and PhD levels. However, the TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solution cannot be used to substitute for a standard TOEFL iBT test. The Department will also now accept IELTS scores to verify English language proficiency.
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. (For Grad Data, please click here).
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. (An MS degree is not required for admission to the PhD program.)
Current or former UCSD students in the MS program who wish to continue/transfer to the PhD program, will complete the UCSD Application for Graduate Admission by the general application deadline for the year they are seeking admission (Admission is ONLY given in the Fall quarters.) The application will be reviewed along with those of the external PhD applicants for that admissions cycle. MS to PhD students must complete their application online, but will NOT be able to "submit" the application. Once you have completed your online application, please email email@example.com to notify the team, so we can track your application. When sending an email, please include "MS to PhD Transfer Application Submission", in the subject line. For a complete list of all of the supplemental materials required for the graduate application, please visit our Graduate Application Checklist.
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 PhD international students. Our department will be granting these waivers to students based on factors that include: contributions to diversity; social justice experience; overcoming adversity. Unfortunately, we are not able to grant application fee waivers on the basis of financial need alone. If you would like to request a CSE department fee waiver, please fill out the Fee Waiver Application. (CLOSED on December 1st for Fall 2024 admission.)
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 on the Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA).
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.
GRE: The GRE is not required for PhD and MS applications for Fall 2024. Applicants may still submit valid scores if they have already taken the test.
Applicants with valid GRE test scores should request that ETS submit the scores directly to the UCSD institution code 4836. The department codes are not necessary. Information about the GRE is available from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website.
TOEFL/IELTS: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) OR the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not studied full-time at a university-level institution where the sole language of instruction is in English.
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). The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition will be accepted for admission at both the Master's and PhD levels. However, the TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solution cannot be used to substitute for a standard TOEFL iBT test. 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.
The university minimum IELTS score required for admission is Band Score 7. To submit official test scores to UC San Diego Graduate Division, applicants must contact the IELTS test center where they took the test to request their official test results to be sent to the address below. UC San Diego does not accept unofficial copies of IELTS Test Report Forms from students. An institution code is not required.
- University of California, San Diego Graduate Admissions
9500 Gilman Drive #0003
La Jolla, CA 92093-0003
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. For more information, please refer to here.
To learn more about UC San Diego Graduate Student-related data or data about a specific department before applying, please visit the Division of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs website linked here.
If you are interested in attending future recruitment events and fairs where you are able to connect with Computer Science and Engineering MS and PhD advisors, please complete the following interest form. By submitting this form, you will receive information from UC San Diego.
Here are some upcoming events where the Graduate Division will speak with prospective students and offer guidance on everything from admissions to graduate student life.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
MS Admissions at email@example.com
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.