Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Admissions

International Students

Graduate Admissions

How do I apply to the CSE graduate program?

The online application form for the CSE graduate program is available here.

Who is eligible to apply?

We expect the applicants to have earned a BS degree by the time they register in the CSE graduate program. The admission process is very competitive, and we expect the applicants to have a very strong background in computer science, math, or engineering.

What is the application deadline?

For Fall 2023 semester admission, CSE must receive all online materials and all supporting documentation by December 31, 2022.

(Several scholarships have early decision deadlines. For full consideration of these scholarships, the recommended deadline is December 10, 2022.)

Do you admit students for the spring semester?

Yes.  The application deadlines are:

  • Domestic applicants: October 31
  • International applicants: September 30

How do I pay the application fee?

If I applied previously but my application was rejected, may I reapply?

Yes, you may reapply. You will need to fill out a completely new online application for this purpose.

Are the application procedures for MS and PhD programs different?

The application procedures for the MS and PhD programs are the same. You need to choose which program you are applying on the first page of the online application form, under "Select Degree Program."

If I already have a PhD in another field, may I apply for a PhD in CSE?

Yes, if you already have a PhD in a field other than Computer Science and Engineering, you may still apply for a PhD in CSE at UB.

Can I send/upload copies of awards, papers, or any other supporting documents to supplement my application?

Our online application system will allow you to upload up to five (5) extra documents/files if you find it necessary to include them. Please do not send hard copies of these documents.  Hard copy submissions will not be reviewed.

I will be applying before I finish the fall term. Should I update my application with a new transcript that includes my fall term grades?

No, you cannot update your application once submitted and you do not need to do it. By the time your fall semester grades come in, your application may have already been evaluated.

May I apply to more than one department at the same time?

Yes, you may. The admission process of each department is independent of each other and a separate fee is required for each application. However, you can only enroll in one department, and you need to make this decision by the deadline specified in your offer letter (generally around April 15).

Do you have financial aid and/or assistantship positions available in your department?

The CSE Department offers financial aid to PhD students only in the following forms:

  • Teaching Assistantships
  • Research Assistantships
  • Fellowships

It is our intention to support most of our PhD students if funding is available. You do not need to submit separate financial aid or scholarship forms. The financial award decision is based upon an applicant's complete application packet.

Do individual faculty members offer financial assistantships?

No, offers of financial funding are made by the department's Graduate Admissions Committee. For this reason, we ask that applicants do not write to individual faculty members requesting financial assistance.

What are the university and department codes for the GRE?

  • UB institution code: 2925
  • GRE department code: 0402

Information and arrangements to take the exam(s) can be made by contacting the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Please be sure to have ETS send an electronic copy of your scores to the university.

When do the GRE scores expire?

A valid GRE exam must be taken within five (5) years of entry date. If your GRE scores are expired by the entry date, your application will not be considered for admission. The GRE is required for MS applicants, and optional for PhD applicants.

What are the minimum GRE scores required for admission?

GRE is optional for PhD application but is required for MS application. For PhD application, the submission of scores are highly recommended if available.

Even though we do not put a hard-line on the minimum score, we expect applicants to score around 309/340 using the current scale (or 1250/1600 using the prior scale) for Verbal+Quantitative; and 4.0/6.0 for Analytical components. The average score of our recently admitted applicants is about 316/340 (or 1300/1600) and 4.0/6.0.

What is the minimum GPA required for admission?

We do not have a strict minimum GPA requirement, but applicants are expected to have a GPA higher than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The average GPA of our admitted applicants is around 3.4 on a 4.0 scale.

What criteria do the Graduate Admissions Committee use during evaluations?

The Admissions Committee considers the whole application package when evaluating applications for admission and financial aid. Some of the criteria considered are:

  • Grades in relevant coursework in computer science, math, logic, and engineering at the undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate levels (you will be required to provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended).
  • A personal statement (statement of purpose) explaining why you are interested in graduate study in computer science and engineering at the University at Buffalo.
  • At least three letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty members at your college/university who know you well.
  • GRE and TOEFL scores.
  • Overall GPA.
  • Other elements, such as research experience and publication record is also very important.

What preparation in computer science and related fields is required for admission into the graduate program?

Although an undergraduate degree (bachelor's or four-year equivalent) is required for admission, an undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering is not required.

Applicants are expected to have successfully completed coursework in computer science and math or logic equivalent to the following:

  • two-semester undergraduate introductory sequence using a modern, structured, high-level programming language (such as C, C++, and/or Java) equivalent to our CSE 115-116
  • one-semester course in computer organization (equivalent to our CSE 241)
  • one data-structures course (equivalent to our CSE 250)
  • one or two higher-level courses, such as those offered to 3rd and 4th year undergraduates
  • four semesters of undergraduate math or logic, including at least one course on proving theorems (equivalent to our Math 141-142, Math/CSE 191, and a higher-level math course)

Applicants missing this coursework can still be admitted to the program, but they would need to take additional coursework. On our undergraduate academics website, you can find descriptions of the courses cited above.

Do you admit an applicant without an MS degree directly into your PhD program?

Yes.  An MS degree is not required for admission to the PhD program, but it is highly recommended.

Can I learn my chance of being accepted prior to submitting an application?

No.  We cannot give you a pre-evaluation of your application. You need to fill out an application and submit all required information so that it can be reviewed.

If I am already enrolled in a graduate program at another university, how can I enter into your PhD program?

You must submit the regular online application with all the required supporting materials by the specified deadline.

I am enrolled in a graduate program at another university. Can I transfer credits when I join your program?

Yes.  You may transfer part of your graduate credits. Once you are admitted to our program, the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate School will review your request for transferring credits. Details on transferring credits can be found in the CSE Graduate Student Handbook.

My school does not use the same grading scale as UB. What should I enter in the academic section?

Please enter the grades as shown on your transcript(s). We will evaluate your grades and grade point average (GPA) based upon a grading conversion scale.

May I send a personal letter to a faculty member with whom I wish to work?

We strongly encourage you to include your research interest information in your personal statement within your application packet. We would discourage you from sending generic personal letters and resumes to individual faculty members prior to submitting an application. Unless you have previously corresponded with one of our faculty members, sending faculty such letters and resumes could be ignored. Once you are admitted to our program, you can contact individual faculty members to discuss your research interests.

Where can I learn about CSE faculty and their research interests?

You can learn about the CSE faculty and their research interests from our Faculty Directory and our departmental Research Areas.

Once I apply, how do I check the status of my application?

We do not send any notifications to acknowledge the receipt of applications or other supporting documents. Applicants may log in to the UB Interactive Graduate Application Site anytime to check the status of their applications.

When will I be notified whether I have been admitted?

PhD admission decisions are usually made at the end of February and the letters are mailed by mid-March.

MS admission decisions are usually made by mid-March and the letters are mailed by the end of March.

I am accepted. What do I need to do now?

Once admitted to the program, you will get an official offer letter from the department. You will need to indicate your acceptance of this offer by signing and returning the enclosed "Letter of Intent" no later than the given deadline in the offer (generally around April 15). If we do not hear from you by this date, the offer will be withdrawn.

All admitted students should complete the Next Steps for New Students checklist, which contains vital information regarding course registration procedures and other important university information.

International Students

What are the university and department codes for TOEFL?

  • UB institution code: 2925
  • TOEFL department code: 78

Information and arrangements to take the exam(s) can be made by contacting the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Please be sure to have ETS send an electronic copy of your scores to the university.

When do the TOEFL scores expire?

A valid TOEFL exam must be taken within two (2) years of entry date. If your TOEFL score is expired by the entry date, your application will not be considered for admission.

What are the minimum TOEFL/IELTS/PTE/CAE/CPE scores required for admission?

We require international applicants to complete only one of the following exams:

TOEFL requirements: The university minimum requirement for TOEFL is: 79 IBT, or 8.5 TOEFL Essentials, or 550 PBT and ITP Plus.

IELTS requirements: The university minimum requirement for IELTS is 6.5.

PTE requirements: The university minimum requirement for PTE Academic is 55.

CPE requirements: The university minimum requirement for CPE is 185.

CAE requirements: The university minimum requirement for CAE is 185.

Duolingo requirements: The university minimum requirement for DET is 120.

I am an international student currently studying within the US. Can the TOEFL/IELTS exam requirement be waived?

International students transferring from another US institution to UB (with a break of no more than one year between departing the previous school and enrolling at UB) who would have met UB's minimum requirements and who had a valid TOEFL/IELTS at the time they commenced study at the other institution are automatically waived of the English language proficiency requirement.

I am an international applicant and earned a degree from a US institute. Can the TOEFL exam requirement be waived?

If you have received a degree from an institute within the U.S. prior to joining our program without a lapse in studies, the TOEFL exam requirement is waived by the Graduate School. The department can submit a petition to the Graduate School to request a waiver if you are offered admission.

What is the Financial Form?

All international applicants must submit a completed International Applicant Financial Form. Please complete the form labeled "Standard Graduate" for the appropriate academic year. The Financial Form and supporting bank documents may be uploaded to your application after an admissions decision has been made.

Answer all questions thoroughly. An I-20 cannot be issued without this statement documenting necessary funds for each year of intended study (two years for the MS program; five years for the PhD program).

Where does the I-20 come from?

The I-20 is sent from the UB Office of International Admissions. The I-20 is not sent from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

If the application file is in proper order, the office of International Admissions prepares the Certificate of Visa Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019 form). The Office of International Admissions then issues the official I-20 Welcome packet and sends it to you. The I-20 Welcome packet includes your official letter of acceptance, the Certificate of Visa Eligibility, and information about International Student Orientation, on-campus housing, international student clubs, and health insurance.

When should I expect my I-20?

The I-20 takes approximately six weeks for processing. To expedite your application, make sure to submit all required documentation including your passport bio page, financial form and application fee as early as possible. These can be uploaded online, with your application.

How to Check Your I-20 Status.

Upon receiving the official I-20 packet, you should make arrangements for housing, register for International Student Orientation, apply for your student visa, and arrange for travel to Buffalo, New York.

Read more about Immigration & International Arrival.

I am an accepted international student. What do I need to do now?

International students must submit the following materials: