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Frequently Asked Questions for MS and MCS Graduate Students

Can you tell me if I will get into your program?

If you meet the minimum requirements set by USU's School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and the CS Department you will be accepted.

  1. Our requirements for Masters students can be found here: MS and MCS Course Requirements & Program of Study Requirements
  2. These are in addition to the SGS's requirements which can be found at:

How do I apply?

Apply at To check your application status you may login at any time to the same URL.

What GRE Scores do you require?

We require at least an 80% in the Quantitative and 40% in Verbal and Analytical. If you fall below this, you must make up for it in other areas. It will be up to the review committee to decide if you make up for it in another area. The review committee will only look at completed applications forwarded to them from USU's graduate school.

What are your other requirements?

Our requirements can be found at: MS and MCS Course Requirements & Program of Study Requirements .
These are in addition to graduate schools requirements that can be found at:

What is the cost?

Tuition and fees may vary by college and course enrollment. Here is the tuition and fee schedule for the current academic year (scroll down).

Where do I send my application materials?

School of Graduate Studies
Attention: Joan Rudd
0900 Old Main Hill
Logan , UT 84322-0900

What kind of financial aid do you offer?

For information on Financial aid go to: Financial Aid Information

What is the most common type of assistance you offer MS students?

Most MS students receive an out-of-state tuition waiver with graduate school. This is not a guarantee. In order to qualify you will need to find an on-campus graduate assistant position (job) that pays at least $833 per month. To receive a nonresident tuition award, you must be employed for the total semester, except for any beginning or ending week that has less than four class or test days.

If you do receive a waiver, please familiarize yourself with the rules found at:

If you do not follow any of the rules, you may lose your waiver or be required to pay it back. There are no waivers awarded during summer semester for MS students

Find information about financial aid here.

When is my deadline to apply?

MS and MCS Graduate Application Deadlines

Fall Admissions

  • To be considered for Financial Aid: Feb 1st
  • International Students without being considered for Financial Aid: May 1st
  • Domestic Students without being considered for Financial Aid - June 15th

Spring Admission deadline is Oct 15

If I am transferring, how many credits can I transfer?

Your committee and the Dean of the Graduate School will have to approve of any credits you transfer. If approved, you can transfer up to 12 semester credits earned before matriculation at USU. However, the credits cannot have been used for another degree. Credits with a P grade cannot be transferred. Transfer credits cannot replace required residency credits. As a MS student you must take at least 24 credit hours at USU. Transfer credits more than eight years old are not acceptable. Transfer credits will be shown on official USU transcripts upon completion of the degree.

Are jobs with the CS Department available?

Who is my advisor?

Upon admissions. all graduate students are given a temporary advisor. Email Genie Hanson ( ) if you do not know who your advisor is.

How can I change advisors?

Graduate Students don't generally change their initial, temporary advisor, until they form their graduate committee. If you already have a permanent advisor and want to change because you are not making progress contact Genie Hanson (

Where do i find information about graduate program requirements?

As a new MS student, what classes should I take?

As a new MS student you must take the CS 6900 class. This is a one credit class that will go over all the CS Department requirements.

You must also pass the algorithms data structures placement exam or take 2420 or 5050. If you pass the exam the first time you can take 5050 but do not have to. If you pass it the second time, you can either take 2420 or 5050. If you do not pass it at all you must take 2420.

Throughout your degree you can only take 15 credits of 5000 level classes. So you may not want to take too many 5000 level classes at first. If you are Plan A you will only want to take a maximum of 12 credits, otherwise you will end up needing more than 30 credits in order to fulfill the requirement of 4 courses at CS 6000 or above. Also, if you take CS 6250 you will want to take 3 credits less of 5000 level courses.

What classes can I take outside the CS Department?

For Plan A and Plan B students, a maximum of 6 credits will be allowed from outside the CS Department. Any outside credits must be approved by your committee. 
Plan C students may take outside courses from this list:
  • ECE
  • Math
  • Statistics
  • PSC 6900: Bioinformatics and -omics Big Data Mining
  • Soc 6150: Social Statistics
  • or an approved Finance course (e.g., FIN 6320, Computational Methods in Finance, and FIN 5350, Financial Modeling).

Will a 6000 level ECE class count as one of my 4 6000 level CS classes in MS?

No, it will not.

I just retook a class and the second time I received a C- what can I do?

You are not allowed to take the course a third time. That course and grade will remain on your transcript and be computed in your matriculated graduate and CS 5000 level GPA.

I have 23 credits total and I’m doing a Plan A, can I register for 7 credits instead of 6 for thesis (6970)?


I have 30 credits total and I’m doing a Plan B, can I register for 4 credits instead of 2 or 3 for thesis (6970)?


I started the Fall before and summer is over. I have not met the algorithms placement area, what is going to happen?

If you are an on-campus student you will be terminated from the program. If you are a Distance Ed student, you will have more time, but you will need to pass it before your POS can be approved.

Can I take classes not on my POS, and/or take more classes than on my POS?

Yes but the graduate school will charge you for tuition even if you have the waiver.

I have already taken 13 5000 level credits. I want to take another 5000 level class that is 3 credits. Can I?

Yes, however, you can only count two credits on your POS. So you will be responsible for all tuition on the 1 credit you can not include on the POS.

What happens if I quit my job during the middle of the semester?

Change in employment may cause you to lose your tuition waiver. It is expected that when you accept a job, you stick with it for the entire semester.

There are only 7 days before the end of the semester, and everyone on my committee has read my thesis and they say it’s ready to defend. Graduate school says they will waive the 10-day requirement for the defense if the CS Department will. Will it?


How many credits am I required to take each semester?

If you are an international student you must always have at least 9 credits, otherwise you will need to fill out a reduced course load form with graduate school.

How do I qualify to be a full-time matriculated graduate student

  1. Register for 9 or more graduate credits; or
  2. Register for 6 or more graduate credits if employed as a graduate assistant for 15 hours per week or more; or
  3. Register for 3 graduate credits with all required coursework completed and only the research component of the degree remaining (the student’s Program of Study must have been submitted to the School of Graduate Studies); or
  4. Register for at least 3 graduate credits during the semester of the final thesis defense or, in a nonthesis degree program, the last semester of coursework required on the student’s Program of Study.
  5. Register for at least 9 graduate credits for each semester in which the doctoral resident tuition award is received.

What is a reduced course load form and where do I get it?

As an international student, you must always take at least 9 credits per semester, or fill out a reduced course load form. There are only a few reasons why a student can fill out a reduced course load form. They are:

  • They hold a graduate assistantship and are registered for 6 semester hours
  • This is their final semester before graduating (plan C)
  • Student is completing formal coursework and is working full time on thesis or dissertation
  • Student has completed formal coursework and is working full time on thesis or dissertation
  • Medical reasons

Find the form online at:

How do I take an independent study course-5950, 6950, 7950?

You will need to find a professor who is willing to supervise you. Try asking someone whose teaching or research interests are in the same area as your independent study idea. For Plan A and B, it is usually your Major professor. You will discuss the project and the grading criteria with your supervisor, and then complete and submit the CS 4950, CS 5950, CS 6950, CS 7950 form at the bottom of this linked page.

Once it has been approved, Genie Hanson ( will unlock the course so you can register.

How do I register for Thesis Credits-6950 and 7950?

Send an email to Genie Hanson,, she will unlock it for you. Plan A students are only allowed 6 credits of Thesis on their Program of Study. Plan B is only allowed 2 or 3 credits.

If I drop classes after grades are posted will the grade count against me?

You cannot drop a class after grades are posted. However, you can remove it from your POS. The grade will be counted on your Matriculated Graduate GPA, CS 5000+GPA but not your POS GPA. Please remember, you must keep at least a 3.0 in your Masters program.

When do I have to have my committee formed?

You must have formed your committee by the last day of classes in your first semester of your Masters Program.

For Plan A and B you can choose your committee as long as one person is outside of your major professor's specialization. For Plan C, it is a set committee form, so you must submit the completed form to Genie Hanson ( ).

When do I need to turn in my POS?

All on-campus students must turn in their POS by the end of their second semester in a Masters program.

What will happen if I turn in my POS late?

Graduate school will do an audit the first two weeks of the semester. If you have been awarded a tuition award, you may lose your tuition award if it is turned in late.

What if I take a different class that is not listed on my POS?

You will need to turn in a change of program of study form to make the change. Everyone on your Committee must approve of it. Graduate school will accept just a letter from your major professor; however CS Department rules require everyone on your committee to approve and not just your major professor. If you take a class and do not change it on your POS, you will have to repay back the tuition if you received a waiver on it, and you will not be able to graduate .

I am a Masters student. How do I switch to a different plan?

If you are switching from Plan A to B or vice versa, you will need to make the changes to your POS to reflect this (6 to 2 ( or 3) credits of 6970, and 30 to 34 credits of coursework ). On the comments you will need to make sure you describe switching plans. If you are switching to or from Plan C, you will need to form a new committee.