Information for Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in the graduate program of the Computer Science Department at the University of Maryland, College Park! Our graduate program is ranked among the top in the nation and in the top ten among public universities. Scroll down to learn more about why UMD may be the right place for you.

Apply now!     Applications are due December 15 for acceptance in Fall 2018.

We are also happy to announce the Maryland Max Planck joint PhD program. Students in this program have the unique opportunity to pursue their PhD while working and living at both UMD and at a Max Planck institute in Germany. Apply now.

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About the Area

The University of Maryland is located in College Park, MD, about 7 miles from the center of our nation's capitol, Washington, D.C. Many of our students and faculty live in D.C., College Park, Silver Spring, and other surrounding towns.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is a profoundly culture-rich, diverse city. Many of our students and faculty live in D.C. or visit it frequently, because:

  • There is a Metro stop in College Park, making a commute to D.C. fast and easy.
  • Most museums and art galleries in D.C. are free, year-round.
  • Some of the best restaurants in the nation are in D.C.
  • D.C. has a vibrant and diverse arts and music scene.

UMD is uniquely situated among top computer science programs given its proximity to the nation's capitol and the many groups who affect policy at national and international levels, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the major branches of the U.S. government (Judiciary, Congress, and the White House).

College Park

Conceptual rendering of the Iribe CenterPhoto of the Iribe Center under construction

This is a very exciting time to be at College Park, as the city is experiencing a renaissance. Even just over the past several years, there has been a surge of new restaurants, cafes, and modern apartment buildings. In the very near future, College Park will also host:

In other words, UMD is an ideal place for a PhD experience that is culture-rich, fun, and full of opportunity for impact.

Research at UMD

We are dedicated to producing researchers of the highest caliber. Our PhD program is designed so that full-time doctoral students will become engaged in research within their first year.

Whatever your research interests, you will be able to work with leaders in the field toward carving out your personal research identity. Our department is rather large and highly diverse, covering virtually every aspect of computer science, and leading the charge in new areas such as bioinformatics and augmented and virtual reality:

The Computer Science Department has close ties to various research units on campus, providing faculty and students opportunities for collaborative research projects and access to specialized research facilities. Among these:

In addition, our students and faculty regularly collaborate with government and industry technology development organizations in the area, including: Federal Communications Commission (FCC), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, National Institutes of HealthNational Institute for Standards and TechnologyArmy Research Labs, the National Security Agency, and many more.

Financial Information

We are committed to ensuring that all of our PhD students receive assistance towards their studies. This is made possible with a combination of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships.

Expenses

As a research assistant (RA) or teaching assistant (TA), your tuition and fees will be completely paid for, and you will additionally receive stipend. For information on tuition and fees as well as living expenses in the College Park area, please refer to UMD's Office of Student Financial Aid.

Assistantships

Approximately 60 teaching assistantships are available for new and returning students each semester. First-year teaching assistants normally conduct discussion sections of introductory computer science courses or serve as graders, and second-year students often help in upper-level courses. For the 2015-16 academic year (August 17-May 31), stipends for teaching assistants are in the $19,676-23,350 range, depending upon educational background and experience.

Approximately 120 students are supported by graduate research assistantships on research grants and contracts. Research assistants usually work on projects that lead to thesis or dissertation topics. Stipends are the same for RAs and TAs.

In addition to the stipends, teaching and research assistantships cover tuition for up to 10 credits per semester and provide health insurance coverage under the same University benefits plan enjoyed by staff and faculty. Many students also receive summer support.

Fellowships

Unlike assistantships, fellowships usually do not require the student to perform any duties. The monetary award varies depending on the fellowship but it is generally similar to that of an assistantship. The Department often supplements a fellowship offer with a half-time assistantship.

Fellowships are available from a number of sources outside the University of Maryland, for example, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, Fulbright Fellowships, etc. To apply for these fellowships, you should contact the agency which administers them, check with the financial aid office in your current university, or contact UMD's Fellowship Office.

Degree Requirements

The Graduate Policy Manual details all of the information on degree requirements, but at a high level:

Our graduate students receive the training and expectation to develop a mastery of their field, and to gain a broad familiarity with their discipline by the time they graduate. In particular, we have designed the PhD program so that full-time doctoral students will:

  1. Become engaged in research in their first year.
  2. Identify a thesis adviser by the end of their second year.
  3. Identify a thesis topic by the end of their third year.
  4. Secure admission to candidacy within 3-4 years.
  5. Publish at least one paper prior to advancing to candidacy, and several prior to graduating.
  6. Complete all requirements and graduate within 4-6 years.

Doctor of Philosophy

Requirements for the PhD Degree include:

  1. Coursework: Six graduate-level courses covering four areas out of {artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, systems, databases, scientific computing, software engineering and programming languages, theory, and visual and geometric computing}, and two more graduate courses from any area. Also, 12 credit hours of CMSC 899 (Dissertation Research).
  2. Proposal: You must pass an oral Ph.D. Preliminary Examination on a research proposal and prepared readings. This must be completed within five years of entering the program.
  3. Defense: Finally, you must prepare a dissertation presenting an original contribution to the field of computer science and pass a final oral examination on your dissertation research. This must be done within four years after passing the Preliminary Examination.

Master of Science

The Department offers both thesis and non-thesis options for the M.S. degree. Requirements include:

  1. Coursework: 30 credit hours of qualifying courses covering four out of the seven areas.
  2. Scholarly paper: For an M.S. without thesis, a scholarly paper must be prepared under an advisor's supervision. For an M.S. with thesis, you must take six credit hours of CMSC 799 (Master's Thesis Research), prepare a thesis that presents an independent accomplishment, and defend it in a final oral examination.

Student Organizations

Our graduate students play an active role in shaping their community, the department, and the campus at large. One of the primary ways they do this is through various student organizations, including:

The Executive Council is an elected body of computer science graduate students, which plans activities and addresses issues of concern to the student body. The council also allocates funds from the graduate student activities budget. Sponsored activities typically include a departmental picnic, seminars and forums, a very popular weekly coffee hour, hikes, and parties.

The Graduate Student Government is a campus-wide organization of graduate students for the purpose of improving the quality of graduate student life. Some of the recent activities organized by this organization include protest rallies against taxation of scholarships and assistantships, a campus-wide research conference for Graduate Students, setting up a legal aid service for Graduate Students, distributing a newsletter with information for all Graduate Students, and organizing social events such as dances and weekly happy hours.

ACM student chapter: The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the principal professional society for computer scientists. Membership is important for maintaining contact with current developments through journal publications, meetings and conferences. Our department has a student chapter of the ACM. Student members receive many of the benefits at a reduced rate: journals, conference registration, etc. Membership becomes extremely important as students move into the final stages of their study and begin submitting papers to conferences and ACM journals.

The Society of Women in Computer Science consists of women from the department. Its purpose is to encourage women to major in Computer Science, through the establishment of a support system including mentoring, group tutoring, and study groups.

The Department Council advises the Chair on issues affecting the department. It is composed primarily of faculty, but two graduate student representatives attend the meetings to provide graduate student input and to keep the graduate students informed of relevant issues.

The Education Committee is responsible for the undergraduate and graduate academic programs of the department. Composed primarily of faculty, the committee has two voting graduate student representatives and two voting undergraduate student representatives.

Contact

Computer Science Department
Graduate Office, Univ. of Md.
3175 A.V. Williams Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (301) 405-0771
csgradof [at] cs.umd.edu (Email) Web
Enrollment Services Office: Grad Admissions
Univ. of Md., College Park
Enrollment Services Operations
Application for Graduate Admission
0130 Mitchell Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742
Office of International Services
3116 Mitchell Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (301) 314-7740
Web
The Graduate School
2123 Lee Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (301) 405-0376
Web
Off-Campus Housing Services
1195 Stamp Student Union Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (301) 314-3645
Web
Graduate Hills/Graduate Gardens
3424 Tulane Drive, Apt 14
Hyattsville, MD 20783
Tel: (301) 422-0147
Web
   

Applying for Admission

Applicants interested in an Master of Science, Ph.D., or Graduate Certificate of Professional Students in Data Science should apply through the University's graduate application system

Apply Here
(Four-letter program code: CMSC)

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate of Professional Students in Data Science

Deadlines

Note The application deadline for both the PhD and MMP programs is December 15, 2017. All supporting documents must be submitted by this time for consideration.

The Data Science program has deadlines in May and July. Those who are already UMD students can also apply for the Spring semester; the deadline for this is October 1.

Tip: We urge international students to submit applications early, because processing tends to take longer than for US applicants.

Applicants for Fall will be notified of their admission status in mid-February.

Application Requirements

Applications are evaluated on the basis of educational and work experience, recommendation letters, and test scores. Undergraduate grade point averages are generally 3.5 or above. However, each applicant is considered individually, and reasonable exceptions can be made in particular cases.

Course requirements

Application to the graduate program is open to individuals with an undergraduate education that includes much of the material covered in the following courses:

  • CMSC 330: Organization of Programming Languages
  • CMSC 420: Data Structures
  • CMSC 451: Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms
  • MATH 140: Calculus I
  • MATH 141: Calculus II
  • MATH 240: Linear Algebra

Application materials

Please submit all application materials electronically:

  1. Graduate application
  2. Transcripts (unoffical is acceptable; see notes below)
  3. Graduate Records Examination (GRE scores); institition code 5814.
  4. Statement of purpose
  5. Letters of recommendation
  6. Program/Department supporting documents (as applicable)
  7. For the Maryland Max Planck PhD Program in Computer Science, follow the admissions instructions for that program.
  8. Non-refundable application fee ($75) for each program to which you apply

Note: Admission cannot be deferred. If you are accepted but wish to enter the program at a later time, you will need to submit a new application.

Note: Please be sure you have submitted all of the above materials to be considered for admission. Most of these materials should be submitted online. Transcripts and degree certificates/diplomas are required, and should be in the original language and accompanied by a literal, certified English translation. Unoffical transcripts are acceptable for purposes of admission but official copies must be received by the Graduate School before enrollment. Official copies of electronic transcripts should be password protected and sent directly from your university to gradschool [at] umd.edu (subject: Electronic%20Transcript%20Submission) or can be mailed or hand-delivered in sealed envelopes to:

Enrollment Services Office: Grad Admissions
Univ. of Md., College Park
Enrollment Services Operations
Application for Graduate Admission
0130 Mitchell Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742

Info: Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the committees are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean.  To ensure the integrity of the application process, the University of Maryland authenticates submitted materials through TurnItIn for Admissions.

Information for International Graduate Students

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students.  International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer, and contact them with related questions.

The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance.  Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents.  Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants for more information.

Applying to the Maryland Max Planck Ph.D. Program

If you are a new student applying for admission to the Maryland Max Planck Ph.D, Program, you must complete both the application process described above, and an application for admission into MMP.

Apply to the Maryland Max Planck PhD Program in Computer Science

Technical assistance

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobsons online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues.  For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School.