What Should I Consider When Choosing Computer Science Graduate Schools?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2018
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There are five items that you should consider when choosing computer science graduate schools: faculty members, research opportunities, connections to industry, tuition, and teaching assistant positions. Graduate schools are organized within a university and provide courses at the masters or doctoral degree level. In order to gain admission to graduate school, you must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university.

At the undergraduate level, there is limited interaction with professors. At the graduate level, the class sizes are much smaller and professors teach all the courses. It is at this level that the quality of the professors becomes more important. Invest the time to research the background, expertise and teaching styles available at different computer science graduate schools.

Review the biographies of the key faculty at the different computer science graduate schools. Read the latest research publications and attend the seminars or conferences held within the school. The professors will teach their courses from the perspective of their primary research. Knowing what this research is provides insight into the courses available.

Graduate students who have the marks and aptitude necessary to meet the faculty members’ requirements hold research assistant positions. The more active the research department, the higher quality the graduate school program. From a professor’s perspective, research is the most important contribution they make to the university and the computer science community.


Explore the research opportunities available to you. Talk with your professors to determine if you have any shared research interests. Work with the graduate program coordinator to find the ongoing research projects that are accepting research assistants.

Connections to industry are critical for both funding and job opportunities. Explore the postings for summer jobs and job placements to determine how many positions are available across different companies or industries. Look for seminars or networking events hosted by industry leaders.

Tuition rates for computer science graduate schools vary by region and school reputation. While scholarships and grants are available for graduate school, the expectation is that you will have a part-time job to meet your financial obligations. Talk to the school financial aid counselor about the opportunities available to you.

Teaching assistant jobs are available exclusively to graduate students. Their role is to provide course instruction and support to the undergraduate student courses. Look into the details of the position's requirements and duties. Be sure to apply for positions months in advance, as they are filled quickly.



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