Stony Brook University Logo Computer Science

Admission to the Graduate Program

We are excited that you are considering our Graduate Program. We offer admission to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs. The Ph.D. program is intended for students that wish to pursue a research-oriented career, while the M.S. program is intended for students seeking advanced positions in the software industry. Admission to the Ph.D. program is more competitive than the M.S. program.

General information about the M.S. and Ph.D programs at Stony Brook University is available under the Graduate Section.

 M.S. to Ph.D


Admission to the M.S. and Ph.D. Programs are handled separately by the departmental Admissions Committee. Admission to both programs are highly competitive. The requirements for admission to graduate study in computer science include:

  1. Bachelor's Degree: A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (or a closely related field). The transcript should show a grade average of at least B (i.e., 3.0/4.0). However, note that the GPAs of typical admits are significantly higher.
  2. Background in Computer Science: The student must have an undergraduate level of proficiency in core computer science areas including: computer organization or architecture, automata and computability theory, data structures, algorithms, programming languages, operating systems and networks. If the student does not have a degree in computer science, he/she must demonstrate this proficiency via junior/senior undergraduate level coursework or relevant job/project experience covering these areas.
  3. GRE Examination. All applicants to the MS or PhD program must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the general aptitude tests. Applicants are encouraged to submit GRE test scores for the advanced examination in Computer Science as well.
  4. Submission of TOEFL Test scores for all students whose native language is not English.

Students of exceptional promise with non-standard background or who lack certain requirements may be considered for admission to the program on a provisional basis. The student will be informed of the requirements that must be satisfied for the termination of the provisional status. Such students should expect to take a longer time to graduate, as compared to students admitted with full CS background.

Students from other science, mathematics or engineering disciplines without the stipulated minimal background in computer science may build up acceptable background by taking appropriate undergraduate level courses in the Computer Science Department in Stony Brook as a non-matriculated student. However, depending on the background of the student, this may take substantial time. Contact the School of Professional Development regarding admission as a non-matriculated student. Note that mere completion of relevant courses does not guarantee admission to the Computer Science graduate program.

The majority of students are admitted beginning in Fall semesters. We do admit a small number of PhD students and a reasonable number of MS students for the Spring semester. Applications must be submitted prior to the application deadline:

  • Fall Admissions     : January 15
  • Spring Admissions: October 1

Late applications may not receive full consideration, especially for financial support.

All applications for admissions must be submitted online through ApplyYourself. Note that we only accept online applications. The application fee must be paid in order to submit your application.

Each applicant should include the following items with their online application:

  • A statement of purpose, describing your interests and motivation to pursue a graduate degree.
  • A resume or CV, describing your work experience, course projects, and areas of expertise.
  • Three recommendation letters from academia or industry. At least two (2) letters must be submitted by the recommender through the online system. A single paper letter of reference will be accepted. Paper letters must be sent in sealed envelopes with recommenders signature across seal and include the paper recommendation form downloadable on ApplyYourself. Note: Paper letters will slow down the review process of your application.

Any additional documents included in your application will be disregarded.

Please arrange for two (2) official transcripts for each institution attended beyond secondary school to be mailed to the address below. Please specify if you are applying for the MS or PhD Program in the address. Transcripts are required to review your application. Please submit them as early as possible. Transcripts can be mailed prior to submittal of the ApplyYourself application.

Stony Brook University
Department of Computer Science - (please indicate if you are applying to the MS or PhD program here)
Graduate Admissions Office - 1st Floor
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4400

NOTE: The Computer Science Department does NOT accept uploaded copies of transcripts through ApplyYourself.

The GRE General Test is required of all applicants. Applicants must request Educational Testing Services (ETS) to forward scores directly to Stony Brook University. Stony Brook University’s institution code is 2548. Failure to submit GRE scores will prevent review of the application. Photocopies of scores will not be accepted.

For information concerning the time and place of the GRE test, please visit:

Applicants whose first or native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English prior to matriculation. To be considered for admission, an applicant must present an acceptable score on the TOEFL or IELTS test.

To view TOEFL and IELTS requirements, as described by the Graduate School, please visit:

For information concerning the time and place of the TOEFL test please visit:

Admitted Ph.D. students are typically offered financial support in the form of teaching or research assistantships, which include full tuition. Admission into this program is very competitive, though, and you must have the intention of completing this program. M.S. students are typically admitted with no financial aid. A small number of fairly advanced MS students do find research assistantships for full or partial financial support. Many students also find such aid on campus; typically by taking programming jobs for different administrative and academic units. Information regarding tuition and other costs can be found from the Graduate School.

Sometimes students who are admitted into our graduate program cannot attend due to a variety of reasons and request that their admission be deferred to the following semester. Due to a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, we cannot accommodate such requests. Instead, the student needs to reapply for admission in a subsequent semester, indicating history of past admission.

Students may transfer up to 9 credits of graduate courses obtained from another university. The following conditions and procedure is required to transfer any credits.

  • In order to be counted towards graduation, the credits must be evaluated by one of our faculty members. The evaluation must establish equivalence between a course being transferred from another institution to a Computer Science course in Stony Brook, which is accepted as part of the graduation requirements (see the Graduate Program Handbook). The faculty member must be one of those who are teaching the corresponding graduate course on a regular basis. The professor typically evaluates the course materials/contents, student transcripts, etc. The approval is not automatic and we generally take a very careful look at such transfer requests.
  • Graduate courses that do not meet the previous requirement can be transferred without being counted towards graduation. This can sometimes be useful because students who have earned 24 graduate credits of any kind need to be registered for only 9 credits (instead of 12) in order to have full status. Therefore, gaining this status early might reduce tuition liability.

 M.S. TO Ph.D  
A student in the M.S. program can subsequently apply for admission into the Ph.D. program, but should keep in mind the higher standards for entry into the Ph.D. program. The Computer Science handbook.pdf describes this process, as well as serving as the authoritative source on matters relating to the graduate program.