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Graduate Admissions

Admission Requirements

The following are the general requirements for admission to our graduate program:

  1. A bachelor’s degree at a recognized four-year college or university. A minimum grade average of 3.2 in the major field of study and an overall cumulative index of 3.0 is required.
  2. All applicants to our graduate program are expected to have scholarly competence in mathematics and computer programming. If you do not have a degree in computer science or a related area, you must have taken the basic undergraduate courses in computer science and math listed under “pre-requisite courses” below.
  3. GRE test scores are optional and not required for admission.
  4. For foreign applicants: TOEFL test scores
  5. Three letters of recommendation from professors (preferably), employers, or others who have had a supervisory relationship with you and are able to assess your potential for success in graduate studies.
  6. It is suggested, but not required, that students provide official documentation of their relative ranking within their class.

A master’s degree is not required for admission to the PhD program. Strong applicants with a Bachelor’s degree are encouraged to apply directly for admission to the PhD program.

Note: Admission to the graduate program is competitive. Those who meet stated minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

» Apply to the Computer and Information Sciences PhD program.

Pre-requisite Courses

All applicants are expected to know the material covered by at least one undergraduate course in each of the following topics:

  • structured high-level language programming
  • data structures
  • computer architecture
  • operating systems
  • analysis of algorithms

Additionally, applicants must have completed the equivalent of at least four undergraduate courses in the following list:

  • calculus
  • discrete mathematics
  • probability and statistics
  • mathematical logic
  • comparable formal subjects, such as Theory of Computation


For applicants whose first language is not English, and who have not received a degree at a U.S. college or university, the following minimum test scores are required on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam:

  • Minimum scores for admission without financial aid:
    • Internet test: 79
    • Computer test: 213
    • Old paper test: 550
    • IELTS 6.5
  • Minimum scores for admission with a teaching assistantship:
    • Internet test: 100
    • Computer test: 250
    • Old paper test: 600
    • IELTS 7.5

In addition, for applicants who have not graduated from an institution whose principal language of instruction is English, the Test of Spoken English is highly recommended.

Financial Aid

Many different types of financial aid are available to graduate applicants in the Department of Computer & Information Sciences at the University of Delaware.

Admission to the graduate program does not automatically entitle an applicant to financial aid. Aid is awarded on a competitive basis from the pool of admitted applicants. Generally speaking, most of the financial aid awards are made to PhD students and occasionally to strong MS students.

The University of Delaware’s policies apply to all forms of financial aid. Please refer to the University Policies for Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships.

Types and Applying

Below are the different types of financial aid available to CIS graduate students:

  • University fellowships are awarded on the basis of nominations by the graduate departments to students with regular, full-time status and high academic standing. Fellowships usually provide full tuition and a stipend.
    • How to Apply: University Fellowships are very few and only a limited number may be available to the department in any given semester. The process of application is the same as for teaching assistantships (see above). However, most fellowships are awarded to current students, and it is rare for a newly admitted student to be offered a fellowship.

      As a general rule, most financial aid in the CIS Department is offered to PhD applicants only. In special cases, outstanding applicants to the MS program may be considered for aid.

  • Research assistantships (RA) are generally funded by research grants and contracts provided by external funding agencies. The amount of service or research may vary from week to week but the average is usually expected to be 20 hours per week. Research assistants are expected to work on their assigned research projects during winter session and may be required to work during summer as well. A research assistantship provides full tuition and a stipend.
    • How to Apply: Research assistantships are generally decided by individual faculty who have grants and contracts to support research assistants participating in their research projects. During the admissions process, we routinely show the applications of our topmost applicants to faculty in the appropriate research areas to be considered for possible RA positions. Other students interested in an RA position should contact the individual faculty members directly. It is best if you contact at most one or two faculty whose research interests match your interests closely; blindly sending emails to a larger group is considered spam and will be counter-productive.
  • Teaching assistants (TA) are required to perform teaching and other instructional activities. As with any professional appointment, the amount of service may vary from week to week but the average is usually expected to be 20 hours per week. A teaching assistantship provides full tuition and a stipend.
    • How to Apply: Teaching assistantships and tuition scholarships are awarded by the CIS Department. All applications for the CIS graduate program that are received by the financial aid deadline are automatically considered for these positions. No separate application is necessary. However, aid is very competitive and not all admitted students can expect to receive funding.
  • Tuition scholarships provide tuition but do not pay a stipend. They are awarded according to the same rules that govern all graduate student assistantships. There is no work requirement for a tuition scholarship.
  • Graduate assistantships are awarded by academic departments and other University offices to students in exchange for work. Graduate assistants are employed up to twenty hours a week in a variety of capacities as administrative assistants to University faculty and administrators. These tasks may or may not be related to the student’s program of study. The amount of service may vary from week to week but the average is usually expected to be no more than 20 hours per week. Compensation also may vary, ranging from an hourly wage with no tuition covered to a full semester stipend with tuition.
    • How to Apply: Graduate assistantships in other departments may also be available, but these awards are not determined by the CIS Department. Most commonly, students apply for such positions after they arrive on campus. There is of course no guarantee that any such positions will be available in any given semester.


Deadlines for applications to the CIS Graduate program are located on the Office of Graduate and Professional Education website. Please visit: https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/grad/prospective-students/grad-admissions/.

Applications must be complete by these deadlines to be considered. This means all materials including transcripts, recommendation letters, GRE and TOEFL scores (if applicable), resume, and responses to essay questions must have been received by these deadlines. If any part of an application is missing, evaluation of the application cannot begin.

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis as and when applications are complete. Decisions on financial aid awards are usually made in March-May for the Fall Semester, and in November-December for the Spring Semester.

Continuation of Financial Aid

Students who are awarded financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress with satisfactory performance of assistantship duties (when applicable). Satisfactory academic progress includes maintaining full-time status each Fall and Spring semester, and maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students on assistantships are encouraged to take 9 credits (3 courses) each semester.

To maintain satisfactory academic progress beyond the first year, those students entering with a bachelor’s degree are expected to take and pass the PhD Preliminary Examination after no more than three semesters of study. Students entering with an MS degree in Computer Science (or a related area) are expected to take and pass the PhD Preliminary Examination after one semester of study.

Students who enter the program with a bachelor’s degree and who are awarded financial aid are normally supported up to two years for the MS degree, or up to five years for the PhD degree. Students entering with a master’s degree and who are awarded financial aid are normally supported up to three years. Students who receive financial aid midway in their studies should speak to the CIS Graduate Program Committee Chair regarding their expected length of support.

For Newly Admitted Students

If you are visiting for the first time or arriving to start classes, here are directions to the UD Campus. The CIS Department is in Smith Hall on the Central Campus, at the corner of South College Ave. and Amstel Ave.

Admitted students should look for housing options right away. Visit the University’s page on university housing for graduate students and their families. There are also many private apartment complexes near the campus or accessible via the University’s free shuttle bus service (view full maps). Here are several options for searching for them:

  • The University’s Off-Campus Housing page
  • Visit the Office for International Students & Scholars to begin an apartment search
  • You can search directly in Google Maps for apartments near campus

The University tries to help incoming students with temporary accommodation if requested. If you are interested in this arrangement, please contact Vera Wagenfuhr.

A good resource for foreign students is the Office of International Students and Scholars. Or, try the list of Departmental and University-wide student groups.

The University maintains a Career Services Center with information about on- and off-campus jobs for UD students. Periodically, job opportunities of special interest to CIS students are posted. Research assistantships in the department are not centrally advertised and are generally only offered by individual professors based on a student’s proven aptitude in courses and/or independent projects.

Academic requirements for graduate students are outlined on the Graduate Programs page.


Transfer of Graduate-level Course Credits

Policy on Transfer of Credit (Updated September 2003)

  • All requests for transfer of credit must identify clearly the course at the other institution for which transfer is requested, and the course at the University of Delaware to which that course maps. Note that the University rules require a one-to-one mapping.
  • University rules also require that the course being transferred must have been taught at the graduate level, be no more than 5 years old, that the student must have a grade of B- or better in it, that the student must not have been a continuing education student at the other institution while taking the course, and that the course must not have been counted towards a degree at any institution.
  • Courses taken at the University of Delaware’s Division of Continuing Education can be transferred if they satisfy the other conditions of transfer.
  • A maximum of 9 credits can be transferred. This includes CEND credits at Delaware and courses from other institutions.
  • No request for transfer of credit will be allowed for a course that is not equivalent to a course taught by the CIS Department at UD. Thus, we cannot transfer a course that is equivalent to, say, a course in Electrical & Computer Engineering. Also, the course must be a “current” course, i.e., have been taught in our department at least once within the last five years.
  • The institution from which transfer of credit is requested must use a letter grading system.
  • No request for transfer of credit from a foreign institution will be allowed for courses that are taught at the 800-level in our department.
  • Only courses that are completely taught in English can be transferred.
  • A request for transfer of credit must be accompanied by:
    • an official transcript from the other institution showing the year in which the course was taken and the grade received. If we have a transcript on file in our records, we can use that.
    • a detailed syllabus for the course that includes the name of the textbook. Providing a URL to the course’s website can be helpful. However, a brief catalog description of the course contents is not sufficient.
    • If course notes, homework, projects, exams etc. are available, they can be extremely helpful in establishing equivalency. In many cases, if the syllabus is not detailed enough and such extra information is not available, the request is likely to be denied.
    • the URL of the institution and the department where the course was taken, where information can be found on the faculty in the department, other courses taught, and the grading methods used.


Graduate Recruitment Contacts

Li Liao
Email: cis-gradprgm@udel.edu
Phone: 302-831-2783

Chiamesha Carey
Graduate Academic Advisor II
Email: careyc@udel.edu
Phone: 302-831-4467

UD Graduate Admissions
Email: gradadmissions@udel.edu
Phone: 302-831-2129