Graduate Admissions Interview

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This page contains details on the technical interview that is used by the department for graduate admissions.

Summary

All applicants who have a complete application for the CS MS program will be invited to have a brief technical interview (over Skype, Teams, or Zoom) with a CS faculty member. The interview is intended to take 15-30 minutes. We use the interview to inform our decision on admission and consideration for assistantship positions. The interview includes technical questions related to data structures and algorithms, and a portion of doing some basic coding on the computer.

Please see this video giving an overview of what you need to do to get ready for the technical interview. Good luck!

Note that the CS Admissions Page mentions the standards we are looking for to admit a student, which we verify using the technical interview.

Before the Interview

When you have a complete application, the department will write to you asking you to complete the following programming problems and to reply with the solutions in addition to a few other items. We require that you reply to the interview invitation with the following.

Note - if you are still working on your programming skills, you might take a look at the recommended resources in our Python Programming - Getting Started or C Programming - Getting Started. The list of problems above was chosen so that if you are able to solve these problems you have a reasonable chance of being admitted to our program. This is meant to be motivation, not intimidating or a huge barrier.

Note - for studying data structures, TutorialsPoint has a nice tutorial that you should follow. You should study until you can explain the content and answer questions about the differences between different algorithms and data structures.

Note - if you are considering a university that will admit you to a CS MS degree without you needing to have some basic programming and data structures skills, you should be wary of the program. If the admissions standards are too low, the program itself will likely not live up to your expectations either.

The Interview

We will ask you about your recent background (when was your degree finished, what major, what have you been doing since, etc.). We will ask you questions from data structures and algorithms. We will also ask you to share your screen and have you do some coding on problems we ask about (possibly some of the above, possibly others).

See our Interview Evaluation Form for what we are looking for; note that there are sample questions starting on page 2.