How to Apply

Apply online through BYU Graduate Studies.

  • Carefully review University application Requirements, and note CS Department minimums below.
  • MS and PhD students are considered for admission in Fall Semester. Only PhD students will be considered for admission in the Winter Semester.
  • All application materials must be received by the deadline.
  • For International Students only: the CS Department requires the IERF report by the application deadline, not after the deadline. Allow at least 6 weeks for the report to be completed.

Fall Semester Deadlines—MS and PhD candidates are considered for admission in Fall Semester.

Application Deadline—15 December

Approximate Notification Date—15 February

Starting Semester—Fall Semester (early September)

Winter Semester Deadlines—Only PhD candidates are considered for admission in Winter Semester.

Application Deadline—15 July

Approximate Notification Date—15 September

Starting Semester—Winter Semester (early January)

Minimum Requirements

In unusual circumstances, students may be admitted with scores lower than those listed below.


GPA (4-point scale): 3.25

TOEFL*: 620 PBT, 260 CBT, or 105 iBT


GPA (4-point scale): 3.5

TOEFL*: 620 PBT, 260 CBT, or 105 iBT

* for international students who do not speak English as their native language.

What if I don't have a BS in CS?

Admission does not strictly require a BS in Computer Science. However, applicants with a BS in an unrelated field (such as English or History) should demonstrate in their application that they have the capacity to succeed in Computer Science courses and research. This can be done by completing CS classes at a university, demonstrating work experience or by some other means.

Applicants without a BS in CS will need to complete the equivalent of CS 111, CS 235, CS 236, CS 240 and CS 312. Admitted students may complete CS 240 and CS 312 after matriculation to the MS program. If an applicant wishes to request any of these courses be waived based on experience or some other means, they may reach out to the Graduate Coordinator.

How to apply successfully

A successful application does two things at the department level. First, it convinces BYU CS professors that you can succeed in graduate study in Computer Science at BYU. Second, it convinces BYU CS professors that your research interests align with one or more available research opportunities in the BYU CS department.

The CS Department Admissions Committee considers academic factors such as GPA, transcript, letters of recommendation and the letter of intent. The committee also reviews TOEFL scores and the IERF report for international students.

To increase your probability of being recommended for acceptance by the CS Admissions Committee, you might consider the following points.

  • Successful candidates obtain recommendation letters from people who are qualified to assess their ability to complete graduate work in Computer Science. At least one letter should be from someone who knows the candidate well, who knows Computer Science graduate study well and who can write a strong letter.
  • Successful candidates state the research area(s) they would like to investigate during their degree along with other areas that are interested in. The committee generally does not admit students for whom no advisor is available in the applicant’s intended areas of study. Candidates should state all of the research areas they might want to investigate. For example, if a candidate wants to study machine learning but is open to other ideas, they should state that in the letter of intent. This can be helpful in matching candidates with potential advisers.
  • Successful candidates determine that faculty in the BYU CS Department are actively doing research in their intended areas of study. Candidates can review faculty research areas and contact individual faculty members.

While the PhD admissions requirements are higher, competitive PhD students will usually be admitted ahead of equally competitive MS students because we currently have more capacity for advising PhD students and MS students.

If you are interested in completing a PhD, you should apply for admission to the PhD program. Applicants who hold (or will soon receive) a BS or MS may apply to the PhD program.

Students are admitted by the University. The CS department makes recommendations to the University. Departmental recommendations are made by a committee of Computer Science faculty. The faculty committee judges whether or not the candidate is academically prepared to successfully complete graduate study in computer science and makes a recommendation based on that judgment. The University evaluates other factor including the ecclesiastical endorsement.

If Admitted

Carefully review the MS and PhD program requirements. Pay attention to deadlines related to the program of study, proposals and defenses.

The department will assign a temporary faculty advisor to admitted students. Newly admitted students should talk to their faculty advisor as they make plans to begin the program.

All PhD students receive a stipend as either a Research or Teaching Assistant as long as they make satisfactory and timely progress toward graduation. Most PhD students also have their tuition paid through other funding sources--including grants obtained by their faculty advisor. In a few cases, PhD students who are self-funded or who do not need a stipend might chose to opt-out of receiving a stipend.

Many MS students also receive a stipend through funding obtained by their faculty advisor. Few MS students receive a tuition benefit.