Applications Process & Requirements

Note: Current University of Illinois graduate students have a different application process. Please see this page.

1. Review these general University and Department requirements:

  • Applicants must have been awarded (or are about to be awarded) a 4-year bachelor’s degree equivalent to that granted by the University of Illinois to be eligible for the graduate programs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Applicants whose undergraduate degree is a three-year program may not be eligible for graduate level admissions consideration at the University of Illinois. Eligibility depends on the country where the applicant received their degree -- please see the Graduate College's list of eligible degrees.
  • The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign requires applicants to hold at least a 3.0/4.0 or higher GPA in their undergraduate degree to be eligible for graduate studies on this campus.
  • Applicants who already hold a master’s degree in computer science or computer engineering whose degree requirements are equivalent to a CS @ ILLINOIS master’s degree are not eligible to apply for our MS or Professional Master of Computer Science (MCS) degree.
  • Applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science must have sufficient background in computer programming, data structures and algorithms, computer architecture, and theory of computation. We highly recommend applicants complete courses in these areas at a local university near them prior to submitting their application.

2. Plan to meet the application deadline

Visit our Application Deadlines page to review the deadlines for all of our Graduate Programs. All applications materials, including the application fee, must be received by the posted deadline. Late applications will not be accepted. In addition, incomplete applications will be subject to denial.

It is highly recommended to have all application materials submitted one month prior to the deadline to expedite admission decisions.

3. Complete the university's Online Application

Note: Please do not send additional materials (e.g. publications, photographs, videos, CDs, or portfolios). These items are not reviewed during the admissions process.

4. Pay the application fee

The university's application fee is $70 for US citizens and permanent residents and $90 for all other applicants. The fee must accompany the application by credit card payment with the web application. Application fees are non-refundable.

5. Submit Unofficial Transcripts

Starting with applicants seeking entry in Spring 2017, and going forward, CS @ ILLINOIS will not not require submission of official transcripts during the initial applications review process. Applicants will be required to submit official credentials (transcripts, academic records, diplomas, certificates of degrees, etc.) only if they are recommended for admission to the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

To complete your application, please follow the instructions provided by the Graduate College:

“Applicants must list in the online application each institution of post-secondary education from which they have earned credit. Applicants must also upload scanned copies of their transcript / academic record (and diplomas or certificates of degrees if the degree is awarded and not listed on the transcript) for each of these institutions to their online application.”

Note: If transcripts are printed on both sides, each side must be scanned. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure uploaded copies are legible and of high resolution.

Submission of Official Academic Credentials (Graduate College policy)

“All credentials uploaded to the online application are considered unofficial. You will only be asked to submit official credentials (transcripts, academic records, diplomas, certificates of degrees, etc.) if you are admitted. These must be submitted during your first term of enrollment at the University of Illinois.

The University of Illinois reserves the right to require official academic credentials at any time during the admissions process, and to rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between unofficial and official transcript(s) are found.

6. Request Letters of Recommendation

  • Applicants are required to have three letters of recommendation submitted.

  • It is recommended that letters of recommendation be from academics. They can either be your faculty, advisors, supervisors, or colleagues. If you have been away from academics for a significant amount of time, you may substitute non-academic references of your choice (e.g. immediate supervisors, colleagues, etc.).

  • The letters should address your academic abilities and your potential to be successful at graduate level academic performance.  If you are applying to our M.S. or Ph.D. program, your letters should also address your research abilities and potential.

  • Individuals writing letters of recommendation on your behalf should submit their letters through the online application system. Any recommendations that do not follow this process may impact timely application processing.

  • Please make sure recommenders complete the section on the “Recommender’s Form” that states “To what extent do you recommend this applicant for admissions as a graduate student in their proposed field of study”.

7. Write a Statement of Purpose

  • The statement of purpose is part of the online application form.
  • This statement should include your goals and background as it relates to the field of computer science. It is good to include any past work history, your interests, and reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in computer science.
  • Your statement will be evaluated for your conciseness, reasons for pursuing a graduate degree, leadership skills, and eloquence.  Applicants to our M.S. or Ph.D. program will also be evaluated according to their scientific research interests.
  • Generally the statement of purpose is between one to two pages.

8. Create a CV/Resume

  • Your CV/resume is a part of the online application form.
  • Your CV/resume should address your education, job experience, research experience (M.S. or Ph.D. applicants), remarkable achievements, publications, organizations, awards, and leadership experiences.
  • This information helps the admissions committee understand your background. In addition, it helps when identifying M.S. or Ph.D. applicants for RA and TA assistantships.

9. Complete an Interest Form (M.S. and Ph.D. applicants only)

  • Complete the CS Interest form (go to the "Supplement Form" area on that website). You will have access to this form 48 hours after you submit your online application. You will need to enter in the same email address and birthdate that is on your application to complete the form.
  • Select one primary research area of interest. It is highly recommended that you also select a secondary research area of interest and a third optional research area of interest. This helps the committee understand your top interests.
  • Select a faculty member within each research area of interest you feel will best match your research interest and serve as a possible advisor.

10. General Record Examination (GRE) – Not Required

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general aptitude tests (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical) and subject test scores are recommended, but not required. In some cases, the scores may provide helpful supporting information. Applicants may email a scanned electronic copy of their official scores directly to (MCS-DS applicants: or they may have official GRE scores sent via ETS.

11. Additional Required Application Materials for International Students Only

  • If your native language is not English, the TOEFL or IELTS Exams may be required for admission. This includes permanent residents of the United States (greed card). Please carefully read about this requirement.
  • If your native language is not English, and you have applied to a graduate program (MS in CS, PhD in CS) where departmental financial aid is offered, you must submit a TOEFL iBT score for full consideration for financial aid. Please carefully read about this requirement.
  • If admission is offered, international applicants must submit the Declaration & Certification of Finances Form. This form does not need to be submitted with the application materials.

12. Check the status of your application materials to ensure all materials have been submitted.

If your email address changes between the time you submit your application and the decision deadline, email your updated email address to Include your old email address, your new email address, your first and last name, and your Apply Yourself PIN number in the email message.

13. Wait for admissions results

Admissions results will be sent to your email address by the posted decision deadline.