MSE FAQ

APPLICATION MATERIALS
ETS and the GRE and TOEFL exams
Getting Accepted
  • First we consider the source of the letter. A letter from your cousin who happens to teach at a two-year college is weighed significantly less than a letter from a researcher at a top computer science school! Next, we look for evidence of research potential. In particular, evidence of outstanding performance in past projects is of high importance. Somewhat less important is evidence of outstanding ability in the classroom. A good letter writer should know you well and be able to rank you very favorably in comparison with your peers.
  • Yes, we do. Both your grades and courses are important, primarily your grades in CS courses during the last two years of undergraduate study.
  • Previous research experience is the easiest way to be placed on the top of the applicant interest list. For this reason we encourage you to send a link to detailed information on your past research experience if you have any. Projects performed for classes, as part of a job, or on your own are also important, in particular if the projects are research-related. Make sure to include a description of these projects with your application – better yet is a link to an online file. Previous teaching experience also improves your chances.
  • Statements of purpose are very important, as they allow us to better form a picture of each applicant, and convince us that you have the attitude needed to succeed in a PhD program.

    The Graduate Affairs and Admissions Office does not accept paper copies of the statement of purpose since applicants are expected to submit this document through the online application. The uploaded file cannot exceed 500KB in size. The document must also adhere to 1″ (inch) margins. Further details can be found at http://www.grad.jhu.edu/admissions/apply/index.php#purpose. With regards to a Sample of Work (if your department requires this or its applicants have a habit of submitting it anyway), the online application can only accept samples of work up to 500KB in size. The document must also adhere to 1″ (inch) margins. We only accept samples of work via paper that exceed the 500KB size limit. Please do not send duplicates of documents that were successfully uploaded to the online system. Further information can be found at http://www.grad.jhu.edu/admissions/apply/index.php#samples.

  • We encourage you to include any information that you think will help us make a more accurate assessment of your abilities. However, it is generally better to give short abstracts of papers or projects (links to online versions are better) rather than full papers or reports. We cannot read everything that everyone sends since every year we receive over 300 PhD applications and 300 MSE applications.

  • Many first-year PhD students in the department are given teaching assistantships (TA). A few students are given fellowships, and a few start directly as research assistants (RA). By their third year, nearly all students are supported by an RA-ship from an individual professor.
  • The department regrets that we are unable to give financial aid to MSE students. Once you are here, however, you can apply for part-time student work as a course assistant or for other types of work, but we cannot grant tuition waivers for this work. MSE students are never given a stipend of any form, but may be hired on an hourly basis.
  • A $75 fee is typically required alongside your application.

  • If you satisfy all the qualifying requirements for the PhD and a professor wishes to serve as your PhD thesis advisor and secure financial support for your research, you can become a PhD candidate. You will still have to apply for admission into the program and be approved by the Admissions Committee and the Chair of the Department.

  • Entering students are expected to have completed a program of study equivalent to that required by the B.S. in computer science. Applicants from other disciplines are required to have coursework (or equivalent experience) in intermediate programming (C++ and Java), data structures, automata theory, computer systems fundamentals and algorithms.

  • Full-time working professionals should apply to JHU’s Engineering Programs for Professionals. This is a completely separate program from the day school, and offers a large number of computer science courses online, in the evening and during the summer at several locations in the Baltimore-Washington area, leading to the MS degree or Post-Master’s Certificate.  No PhD degrees are offered online. For more information, and check out their web page here or email jhep@jhu.edu.

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