Graduate Admissions Interview
This page contains details on the Phone/Skype interview that is used by the department for graduate admissions.
All applicants who have a complete application for the CS MS program will be invited to have a brief Skype interview 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.
Admission For admission, the following is the minimum standard we are looking for: (a) can communicate clearly in English, (b) can do basic programming from scratch, (c) basic understanding of data structures and algorithms.
Assistantships For consideration for an assistantship the standards are much higher - very good programming skills, very good knowledge/mastery of data structures and algorithms.
Before the Interview
We require that you reply to the interview invitation with the following.
- Current resume or c.v.
- Skype id
- Interview days and times (see the email invitation for possible days and times) that would work for you
- Solutions to the following problems on hackerrank.com. You should solve at least 4 of the 5 problems before replying to the interview invitation. You can use whatever programming language you like. Note that you should understand your solutions and be able to answer questions about them.
Note - if you are still working on your programming skills, you might take a look at the recommended resources in our Python Programming Bootcamp and C Programming Bootcamp. The list of problems above was chosen so that if you are able to solve these problems you have a very good chance of being admitted to our problem. This is meant to be motivation, not intimidating or a huge barrier.
Note - for studying data structures, TutorialsPoint has a nice tutorial that you can follow.
Note - if you are considering a university that will admit you to a CS MS degree without you needing to have some basic programming 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.
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 Skype 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.