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Frequently Asked Questions for Masters 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 can be found here:
  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 Course Requirements & Program of Study Requirements .
These are in addition to graduate school's 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?

USU School of Graduate Studies
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 Graduate Application Deadlines

Fall Admissions deadlines

  • All students who want to be considered for financial aid: March 1st
  • After March 1, rolling admission (i.e., complete applications will be reviewed after received until the program is full.)

Spring Admissions deadline is Oct 15 for all students.

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 Caitlin Thaxton 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 Caitlin Thaxton.

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. MCS students should not take CS 6900.

Throughout your degree you can only take a certain number of CS 5000-level classes (see here for more information). So you may not want to take too many CS 5000-level classes at first. If you are a Plan A student, you will 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 take 3 credits less of 5000-level courses.

What classes can I take outside the CS Department?

For Plan A or Plan B students, a maximum of 6 credits will be allowed from outside the Computer Science Department. Any outside credits must be approved by your committee. 

For Plan C students, a maximum of 6 credits will be allowed from outside the Computer Science Department. Any outside credits must be from:
  • ECE
  • Math
  • Statistics
  • PSC 6900: Bioinformatics and Big Data Mining
  • Soc 6150: Social Statistics
  • MIS 6230: Management of Database Systems (Note: For students who begin their CS graduate program in Spring Semester 2021 or after, this course is no longer allowed on the Program of Study.)
  • An approved Finance course (e.g., FIN 6320, Computational Methods in Finance, and FIN 5350, Financial Modeling).(Note: For students who begin their CS graduate program in Spring Semester 2021 or after, these courses are no longer allowed on the Program of Study.)

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)?


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 cannot 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.

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, Caitlin Thaxton ( will unlock the course so you can register.

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

Send an email to, 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 Caitlin Thaxton.

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. (For example, change 6 credits of CS 6970 to 2-3 credits of CS 6970, and change 30 credits to 34 credits of coursework when switching from Plan A to Plan B.) On the comments you will need to make sure you describe switching plans. 

If you are interested in switching to (or from) the Master of Computer Science program, please contact

Updated 9/2/2021