Computer Science and Engineering

Graduate Admissions



Applications to the graduate program in Computer Science and Engineering at UC Riverside for fall 2016 are now being accepted. Please click on the UCR Highlanders link above to begin your application to the M.S. or Ph.D. program.


March 15: Self-supported Ph.D. and all M.S. applicants

*Please note that Computer Science only accepts applications to the fall quarter. Admission is not available for winter or spring.

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Instruction and opportunity for directed study exist in a variety of areas, including algorithms, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, compiler design, computer architecture, computer graphics, computer security, computer vision, data mining, database systems, embedded systems, formal verification methods, high performance computing, machine learning, networks, software engineering, and VLSI design.

Admission criteria

UCR offers admission to applicants who appear to have the highest potential for graduate study and who, with the benefit of a graduate education, are the most likely to contribute to their academic or professional fields through teaching, research, or professional practice. Admission decisions are based on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) your academic degrees and record, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, test scores and relevant experience. The appropriateness of your goals to the degree program to which you are applying and their relationship to the research interests of its faculty are also considered.  UCR views as a high priority the enrollment of men and women from different backgrounds and from different demographic and ethnic groups.

Prior to applying, all applicants must demonstrate competence in the following prerequisites (or comparable courses taken elsewhere):

CS 141 (Intermediate Data Structures and Algorithms), CS 150 (The Theory of Automata and Formal Languages), CS 152 (Compiler Design), CS 153 (Design Of Operating Systems), and CS 161/161L (Design and Architecture of Computer Systems) 

Please refer to the online catalog (www.catalog.ucr.edu) for course descriptions. *Please note that these prerequisite courses may not be taken for graduate credit in any area. A student who is deficient in any of these competency areas may be asked to complete the corresponding UCR course with a letter grade of at least B+. All such remedial work should be completed prior to applying to the program. In special cases we may allow an applicant to be admitted without all of these prerequisite courses completed; in this case the missing prerequisites must be completed within the first year of graduate study, and in all cases the deficiency must be corrected before a student can enroll in any graduate course from the same specialty area.

Basic degree requirements

The basic degree requirement for M.S. or Ph.D. admission is a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution. Your degree must represent the completion of a program equivalent, both in the distribution of academic subject matter and scholarship achievement, to that offered at the University of California. Although we welcome promising students from all disciplines, entering students must have a substantial background in both mathematics and computer science. We consider knowledge of the following subjects to be essential preparation for our graduate program: circuit design, algorithms and data structures, formal languages and automata theory, computer architecture, operating systems, programming languages, and compilers. Satisfying minimal standards does not guarantee admission since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available. As a result, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated.

Duplication of degree

Permission to work for a second M.S. degree in a new area may be approved on the individual merit of the application when there is little or no relationship between the two subjects. Duplication of a M.S. degree in computer science is not permitted, and duplication of a doctorate is not permitted, regardless of the field of study.

Application Fee

International applicants, $100.
Domestic applicants, $0 -or- $80. *
*The application fee is FREE for applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents that apply for this admissions cycle.

Postal Address

Attn: Graduate Admissions
Department of Computer Science & Engineering
Winston Chung Hall, Room 351
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521, USA
*The department is not billable for any applicant materials sent to UC Riverside. It is each applicant's responsibility to ensure that all applicable shipping charges are absorbed by the applicant or their non-UCR designee. Any document with shipping charges listed as being billed to the department or university will be rejected upon attempted delivery.

Grade point average

We expect at least a 3.2 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) in the undergraduate junior and senior years, and at least 3.5 in any graduate study. These averages are considered the minimum requirements; the actual standard for admission is set by the current pool of applicants, and is generally much higher.

Graduate record examination (GRE)

Only GRE scores on the General (Aptitude) test are required for admission to both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs. All Ph.D. applicants for Fall should take the GRE test no later than November. The test must be taken within the last five (5) years before the desired date of admission. The minimum GRE score required for admission is 1100 (combined qualitative and quantitative scores). The minimum GRE score required for admission with the NEW test system is 300 (150 qualitative and 150 quantitative). The average verbal GRE score of new CSE graduate students is 161, and the quantitative average is 168.

GRE UCR code: 4839
GRE Department code: 0402 Computer Sciences

Telephone: 609-771-7670 Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 9:45 p.m. EST. The Educational Testing Service homepage is http://www.ets.org/. Please allow a minimum of 3-4 weeks for a test score to be reported to our campus. *Please note that the online application status for the GRE is updated automatically as the score is received electronically from ETS. The online application will only show a GRE score as 'received' if it has successfully transmitted electronically from ETS; this is done automatically at the Graduate Division level. If an applicant has ordered a GRE score to be sent to UCR and it is not yet reflected in the online application, ETS should be contacted to determine if all information entered by the applicant was correct (the score report may need to be sent again).

Test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL or TOEFL iBT)

All applicants whose first language is not English must submit TOEFL scores. This exam must be taken within two years before the desired date of admission. The minimum score for the TOEFL iBT is 80. The minimum TOEFL score required is 550, for the computer base exam is 213. The average TOEFL score of new fall CSE graduate students is 96. A TOEFL score is not required if the previous two years of a student's studies were conducted at an English speaking institution and/or in the United States.

TOEFL UCR code: 4839
TOEFL department code: 78 Computer Sciences

Telephone: 609-771-7100 Monday-Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. The Educational Testing Service homepage is http://www.ets.org/. Please allow a minimum of 3-4 weeks for a test score to be reported to our campus. *Please note that the online application status for the TOEFL is updated automatically as the score is received electronically from ETS. The online application will only show a TOEFL score as 'received' if it has successfully transmitted electronically from ETS; this is done automatically at the Graduate Division level. If an applicant has ordered a TOEFL score to be sent to UCR and it is not yet reflected in the online application, ETS should be contacted to determine if all information entered by the applicant was correct (the score may need to be sent again).


UCR also accepts scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This exam must be taken within two years of the time you intend to enroll at UCR. The minimum acceptable score is 7 with no score less than 6 on any individual component. Please request an official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS and remember to order the TRF from the test center where you took the test; ask the administrator to send the official TRF to:

Graduate Admissions Office
Graduate Division
University Office Building
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521 USA

Letters Of Recommendation

A minimum of three letters of recommendation are required for admission. At least two of these letters must be from professors in your major subject. If you have obtained a M.S. degree, one letter must be from your M.S. advisor. Letters of recommendation may be uploaded directly from each recommender to your application profile, and therefore should be submitted online via the application whenever possible. *Please note that all electronic letters uploaded to an application MUST be from an official, company or university affiliated e-mail address. RECOMMENDER PERSONAL E-MAIL ACCOUNTS ARE NOT PERMITTED.


Please request the Registrar of each institution you have attended after high school to forward one official set of transcripts of your academic records directly to:

Attn: Amy Ricks
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Winston Chung Hall, Room 351
University of California
Riverside CA 92521, USA

Only official records bearing the signature of the Registrar and the seal of the issuing institution and received in sealed envelopes sent directly from that institution are accepted as supporting transcripts. Student copies of transcripts are not considered official.

PLEASE NOTE: Failure to declare attendance at any institution and submit corresponding transcripts of record may result in disqualification. If you have work in progress at the time of application, please have your official final transcript sent when the work is complete. If a degree was awarded, we must receive an official copy of the degree certificate with the transcripts from the institution. *The status of received transcripts is reflected in the online application as the documents are reviewed, not as they are received. If your transcript shipment tracking reports that it has been received/signed-for by the campus, then it has successfully arrived and will be updated upon review. Please do not contact the department if the online application transcript section is not yet marked as 'received' and you have shipping delivery confirmation.

Additional Program Requirements

Please follow the online application prompts to submit the Statement of Personal History and Statement of Purpose essays online (we will not accept hard copies of these documents). Please also submit your CV/resume and include any relevant experience (publications, research, internships, etc.).

Financial support and fees

International M.S. applicants do not receive fellowship support. For full consideration of financial support, an application must be received by January 5. Domestic student applications may be considered for fellowship opportunities after this deadline, pending funding availability but are encouraged to apply by this date. Non-immigrant students cannot establish California residency and should expect to pay nonresident tuition every quarter in addition to all other assessed fees. Current quarterly fees can be found at http://www.classes.ucr.edu/fees/schedule.htm. Admitted self-supported foreign students must provide the university with evidence of the ability to pay all required fees and expenses for the duration of their graduate program. PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT submit your financial verification documents (bank statements, etc.) until they are requested. All financial documents must be dated and received within 30 days of an admissions offer; should you submit these documents early, they will be shredded and requested from you again, so please do not send them with your application documents.

Admissions process

The primary objective of the admissions process is the selection of those students most likely to complete their chosen graduate programs with distinction. After consultation between the program and the Graduate Division, the final authority to admit rests with the Graduate Division Dean. Applicants are initially reviewed and rated based on their overall undergraduate and, where appropriate, post- baccalaureate GPAs. However, the evaluation process is intended to be flexible, and departments take a variety of other factors into consideration, including GRE or other test scores, GPA in the major subject, letters of recommendation, and the reputation of the degree-granting program or institution. Soon after the department forwards its recommendation to the Graduate Division, the applicant is notified in writing (first, via e-mail) of the Dean's decision. If admission is offered with work still in progress, official transcripts reflecting the satisfactory completion of this work and the awarding of the degree (where appropriate) must be submitted as soon as possible. An offer of admission is valid for a specific quarter only; admission may not be deferred to a later quarter. Accepted students who wish to be admitted for a subsequent quarter must reapply and, if additional course work has been completed, submit updated transcripts. Please note that all applicants must submit a new application and application fee if reapplying for a later quarter.

Promotional video on graduate studies at UC Riverside:


More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Department Information

Department of Computer Science and Engineering
351 Winston Chung Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5639
Fax: (951) 827-4643