FAQs

What are the graduate program entry requirements for non-CS degree holders?
You must demonstrate knowledge of the core curriculum of an undergraduate CS degree in order to be admitted to the graduate program. The core curriculum consists of a programming & langauges core and a theory core. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that you can succeed in graduate coursework. The core curriculum corresponds approximately to these PSU courses:
  • Programming and data structures: CS 199, CS 161, 162, 163
  • Machine organization and architecture: CS 201
  • Programming systems: CS 202
  • Discrete mathematics, logic, and computability: CS 250, 251
In addition, several 300-level courses are usually required, including the following courses. Before taking these courses, all necessary prerequisites must be satisfied Before attempting to register for 300-level CS courses, you must contact the graduate advisor to request access to the upper division portion of the Grad Prep program (request access to 300-level courses here).
  • CS 300 Elements of Software Engineering
  • CS 320 Principles of Programming Languages
  • CS 333 Operating Systems
  • CS 350 Algorithms and Complexity
The graduate advisor can advise you on the best level at which to begin preparatory coursework. You can demonstrate adequate knowledge of an area of the core curriculum by passing the relevant 100- and 200- level course(s) with a grade of B or better.

An application for admission to the graduate program will not be approved without formal coursework on the record to establish adequate knowledge of upper-division courses in programming languages, operating systems, and algorithms. This normally means passing CS 320, 333, 350, or equivalent courses at other institutions, with a grade of B or better. Students having exceptional ability or background may demonstrate their readiness to enter the graduate program by passing several 500-level courses with a grade of B or better. 
 
The core curriculum (100 and 200 level) courses may be taken at PSU either on a non-admitted basis or on a post-bac basis while you prepare for the upper division portion of the grad-prep program. These mechanisms are described above. You can also take core background courses at other schools such as Portland Community College (PCC). Courses at community colleges may be numbered differently from those at PSU, but there are equivalent courses for most of the first two years of undergraduate study.