Major in Computer Science?

Computer Science is a wonderful major (#1 ranked major by Princeton Review, ranked top 10 by just about everyone) - there are plenty of well-paying jobs, you can work in many different fields, and the work can be very interesting. You likely will not be sure if Computer Science is the right field for you until after you have done your first 1-2 courses that require a large amount of programming. So you should begin by signing up for the first course in the CS major (CS 101 or 151, see our programs). You can also check the CS Flyer and Advice linked below, and other information linked from our CS Careers page.

Undergraduate Admissions

The CS undergraduate program does not require a separate application to the program. Any admitted student can declare the CS major, CS minor, or CS teaching minor. For information on applying to Indiana State, see the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

For those considering ISU, if you have any questions check the Contact page for who to contact about Undergraduate Admissions. See also the CS Flyer and Advice.

Graduate Admissions

University Requirements

First, all conditions of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies must be met, as listed on their website. In particular, an applicant must hold a 4-year undergraduate/bachelor's degree before beginning at Indiana State (you can apply during your last year if you finish before starting at ISU), and must upload a transcript showing the final degree awarded into the application system and have an official transcript sent to ISU (if finishing your BS, upload your current transcript). The university normally requires a 3.0 college GPA, though the department petitions the university to grant admission also for those who pass the department requirements even if their GPA may be below this.

Note that for international students, an external evaluation of your transcript must be submitted. If you have had the evaluation completed, you can upload an unofficial copy of the evaluation to be used for making the admissions decision. If you are admitted, you need to have the evaluation sent to ISU officially before you arrive. International students must also satisfy English proficiency requirements listed at the bottom of, and note that only officially received test scores will be accepted.

For information on the cost of tuition, see Graduate Tuition Rates.

Department Requirements - Programming and Algorithms

For admission, the following is the minimum standard we are looking for:

  1. Can communicate clearly in English.
  2. Competent in programming in some programming language.
  3. Good understanding of basic data structures and algorithms.
  4. Interest in continuing in CS.

Quizzes and Interview - This corresponds to roughly the first year of an undergraduate CS major. We validate that applicants meet these requirements with two steps. First, applicants must satisfactorily complete an online quiz over data structures and algorithms and complete a few programming tasks. See our MS Admissions Quizzes. Second, for those who complete the quizzes, we conduct a short Admissions Interview (over Teams, Zoom, or Skype) to verify that the work on the quizzes was your own and to verify you meet our minimum standards. Note that those who complete the MS Admissions Quizzes in good faith (your own work, without help from others) are very likely to pass the admissions interview and be admitted to the MS.

Preparing for Quizzes and Interview - The pages linked above for the quizzes and interview contain pointers to suggested references to help prepare. Another option is to take ISU courses to get you ready - either CS 151 Intro to Computer Science and CS 201 Programming Structures, or CS 510 Fast track Intro to Programming. You would apply to ISU as a non-degree student and then enroll in either the undergrad courses (CS 151 one term, and the following term CS 201) or the grad course CS 510. The grad course CS 510 has no pre-reqs (can be taken by those with no prior CS or programming experience) and is meant to get you ready to pass the admissions interview (python programming and basic algorithms / data structures). CS 510 would count as elective credit towards the MS degree.

BS Degree and Experience - Note that we use the same admissions process regardless of your previous experience or bachelors degree. Those with a CS degree and related job experience are still required to pass through this process (quizzes and interview). Those without a CS degree or related job experience have the same process. We hope that you study and prepare for the quizzes and technical interview so that you are able to admitted.

Assistantships - Note that to be considered for one of our assistantship positions (which include a tuition waiver and stipend) the standards are higher.

More Details on Graduate Admissions

Graduate Admissions - FAQ

  • Is a computer science BS required for admission? As noted above, a computer science degree is NOT required for admission. See above for more details. As noted above, domestic students who are not ready to apply for admission can take the course CS 510 (which will count as part of the MS) to fill in background and get ready to apply for admission.
  • Is there an application fee waiver? We do not offer application fee waivers. Note that once you have paid the application fee, you will NOT be required to pay it again (e.g., if you are not admitted and decide to apply again in a future term).
  • Is an unofficial transcript enough for admission? As of the writing of this FAQ, an unofficial transcript CAN be uploaded in your application for making an admissions decision. Note that an official transcript must still be sent if you attend ISU. This is a decision of the Admissions Office, and is subject to change.
  • Is a transcript evaluation required? As of the writing of this FAQ, an external transcript evaluation is NOT required. This is a decision of the Admissions Office, and is subjectto change.
  • Are there any scholarships, tuition waivers, or assistantship positions? We consider all applicants for positions inside the department. Positions are awarded based on knowledge/skills in computer science. We do not take into account your previous work experience or previous course projects; we go strictly based off of our admissions process (see above). Most good students are able to find a position at the university by the end of the first term of study.
  • Is the program available online? Yes, the program is available online, with all courses beginning offered either online asynchronous (using mostly lecture recordings, readings, email, and arranged meetings) or online synchronous (lectures via zoom and recorded for those who cannot be present live).
  • Why is my application "incomplete"? Check your online application to find out, and if it is not clear then write to The most common missing items are: application fee, unofficial transcripts, English language test scores (for international students). See more information above.