Graduate Preparation

PSU student on bike

Many graduates with degrees in fields other than Computer Science are interested in pursuing a M.S. in Computer Science. The Graduate Preparation (or "Grad Prep") Track can assist a high performing, motivated student in mastering the essential computer science core necessary to be successful in the Master's program. The Grad Prep Track consists of a Programming & Languages Core and a Theory Core, comprised of many of the same classes taken by undergraduate Computer Science majors. Some of these courses have the option to test out of by demonstrating mastery based on either prior academic preparation or professional/personal programming experience through a credit by exam process.  

Grad Prep Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the CS Master's program, Grad Prep students must complete the following courses with a B or better. For Grad Prep students, the GRE is waived for the M.S. application

  • CS 199 Prog & Problem-sovling: 1st Exp (4)*
  • CS 161 Intro to Programming & Problem-solving (4)*
  • CS 162 Intro to Computer Science (4)*
  • CS 163 Data Structures (4)
  • CS 201 Computer Systems Programming (4)
  • CS 202 Programming Systems (4)
  • CS 250 Discrete Structures I (4)
  • CS 251 Discrete Structures II (4)
  • CS 333 Intro to Operating Systems (4) OR CS 532 Operating Systems Foundations (3)
  • CS 350 Algorithms and Complexity (4)

*Based on prior experience, a student may begin with any of these courses. See Introductory Course Guide for details. 

Prospective students must apply to PSU for postbaccalaureate admission to begin the CS Grad Prep. We encourage all prospective students to attend one of our monthly CS Postbac Info sessions first to learn more about our postbaccalaureate options. Contact the CS Graduate Advisor ( for any questions.  

CS Department Admission

Once the required lower-division courses have been completed, Grad Prep students must apply to the Computer Science department to begin the upper division portion of the course requirements. Note, all Grad Prep students must take CS 202 at PSU (effective for admission to Winter 2021 and beyond). CS 202 will no longer be accepted if taken elsewhere after Fall 2020. Admission to Upper Division requires:

  • Formal Admission to PSU
  • Completion of all lower division CS courses listed
  • All-Attempts GPA of 3.0 or better in all required CS courses
  • Completion of the Programming Proficiency Demo

CS Department Admission Deadlines

Winter 2021: October 15th
Spring 2021: February 1st

Sample Schedules

Students who did not take math beyond pre-calculus in their prior coursework are strongly advised to take at least one such course (e.g. calculus, linear algebra, discrete math, etc.) prior to taking CS 250. 

  • This sample program assumes the student has modest programming experience and an adequate mathematical background. 
  • This sample program assumes the student has no prior programming experience and a limited mathematical background.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is the admission process to the CS program selective?
    No. At this time, all students that meet the admission requirements are admitted to the CS program.

  2. Can I have courses in progress while I submit my application?
    Yes, courses required for admission may be in progress at the time of application.  If the in-progress coursework is not completed with the appropriate grade by the end of the term, CS admission may be revoked and the student may be dropped from all upper division CS courses

  3. What if I am in my last course at a community college and the course is not on my PSU DARS?
    Submit a current unofficial transcript from the college that shows the course in progress and your name and attach it to your application.  Once your grade is recorded for this class send an official transcript to PSU Admissions.

  4. What does conditional admittance mean?
    Students that apply to the program with courses in progress and have met all the other requirements will be admitted to the CS program on the condition that they receive a passing grade for the required classes in progress. Students will be allowed to register for upper division CS courses.  At the end of the admission term, grades for classes which were in progress will be checked and students that have not passed will have their admission revoked and administratively dropped from their upper division CS courses.

  5. Once I'm admitted to the CS program, will my tuition increase? 
    Yes, the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science charges a differential tuition for admitted students to pay for use of College resources. Details of tuition and fees are located on Student Finance page.

  6. What if I am denied admission?
    Consult the CS Graduate Advisor (  Depending on the reason for the denial, you may request a review by the CS Appeals Committee.