Computer Science Graduate Degree Programs

The computer science program provides opportunities for students to join vibrant collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts in artificial intelligence, computer animation and virtual environments, cyber-physical systems, distributed real-time and embedded middleware, human-systems integration, image processing, intelligent learning environments, model-integrated computing, robotics, software engineering and trustworthy computing. Students can explore a broad range of research areas in computer science, as well as interdisciplinary research opportunities in areas related to the School of Engineering’s strategic directions in health care and medicine, security, energy and natural resources and entertainment.

Computer Science

Important Admissions Deadlines

Applications for both spring and fall admission open on August 1.

Application deadline for Spring admissionOctober 15Application deadline for Fall admissionJanuary 15
Target date by which Spring admission decisions are releasedDecember 1Target date by which Fall admission decisions are releasedMarch 31
Deadline to respond to Fall admission offer
(National Response Day)
April 15

Graduate Degree Programs

The department of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University offers Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and thesis and non-thesis Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in Computer Science. The Ph.D. program  will prepare students for a career in research through a combination of didactic coursework and individual research advisorship, culminating in a dissertation. The CS graduate program encourages both fundamental and interdisciplinary research. State-of-the-art facilities that include computational resources, networks, and laboratories in several areas are available to support research activities.

The graduate program in CS is structured around four primary areas:

  • Computing Foundations
  • Computer and Network Systems
  • Information and Intelligent Systems
  • Medical Image Computing

Please click here to view details of the application process through the Graduate School.

If you have any additional questions about the admission and application process please contact Sara Raiszadeh (MS) or Melissa Harrell (PhD).

Online Masters of Science (MS)

An online option for the M.S. degree in computer science is available. Applications to both the online and residency programs are managed separately. Students may not combine the online and residency formats to complete the computer science degree program.

Application and Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the criteria for admission to the Graduate Program in Computer Science?

    Academic records, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and the statement of purpose are all taken into consideration for admission.

    Special Note: The Graduate Program for Computer Science has indefinitely waived GRE scores for consideration for admission.

  • What degrees are offered by the Graduate Program?

    The Graduate Program in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University offers students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Currently, we do not offer a Master’s in Engineering (M.E.) in Electrical Engineering.

  • Can I apply to the Ph.D. program with only a Bachelor’s degree or must I apply for admission the Master’s program first?

    Applicants who are interested in earning a Ph.D., whether or not they have a master’s degree, are encouraged to apply directly to the Ph.D. program. Students who are accepted to the Ph.D. program with a bachelor’s degree can earn the master’s degree on the way to their Ph.D.

  • Do I have to choose a faculty advisor before my application is reviewed for admission?

    No. However, you are encouraged to list any faculty in which you may want to work with that are in line with your research interest.

  • How do I contact professors for research opportunities?

    You are encouraged to explore the research institutes and groups in the department which have their faculty and contacts listed:

    You can also view the faculty Directory for Computer Science here:

  • Will there be any opportunity to transfer to the Ph.D. Program if I am admitted to the Master’s program?

    Transfer to the Ph.D. program from the Master’s will depend on the research progress and will typically need to be exceptional and beyond Master’s level. Requests to transfer programs are subject to approval from the academic advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

  • What funding opportunities are available?

    Master’s Students:  Currently, funding is not available to students admitted to the Master’s program.

    Ph.D. Students:  The School of Engineering seeks to provide a competitive admission package to its students. Ph.D. students are typically awarded an Engineering Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship includes a tuition waiver, a monthly stipend (amount varies per year), payment of student service fees, and the premium for Vanderbilt student health insurance for an individual under the comprehensive plan. Typically, first-year students will participate in teaching experience and will serve as a teaching assistant.

    The continuation of funding is dependent on academic and research progress toward your degree.

  • Does the degree program offer Day 1 CPT?

    At this time, our program does not offer Day 1 CPT.

    • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option available to F-1 students when the training experience is considered to be an integral part of the established curriculum and directly related to the student's major area of study. ("Training" is used here to refer to paid or unpaid internships or employment. According to Immigration regulations, CPT may be an internship, practicum, or other work experience that is required for the degree program (as defined in the course catalog) or for which academic course credit is awarded)
    • For more information regarding CPT please visit:

Application Process

  • What is the deadline for submission?

    The application for both the spring and fall admission cycle will open on August 1. To be considered for admission for the fall, applications must be submitted by January 15. To be considered for admission for the spring, applications must be submitted by October 15.

  • What are the application requirements?

    To apply for admission to the Graduate Program in Computer Science, you will need to submit an application for admission electronically through  The Graduate School.  Application requirements include:

    GRE Scores
    Language Proficiency Exam (TOEFL or IELTS)
    Statement of Purpose
    Letters of Recommendation

    Special Note: The Graduate Program for Computer Science has indefinitely waived GRE scores for consideration for admission.

  • I have taken the GRE test more than once. Will you use my best individual scores from each section or use the most recent GRE scores when assessing my application?

    All components of your application will be considered, including all test scores.

  • What are the language proficiency exam score requirements?

    TOEFL: The minimum acceptable score on the paper-based TOEFL is 570, and the internet-based test, 88

    IELTS: The minimum acceptable score is 6.5

  • Can the language proficiency requirement be waived?

    Applicants are exempt from this requirement if they have earned a degree from an institution in a country where English is the primary (official) language of instruction. The waiver is granted automatically through the application based on the institution input.

    In addition, applicants who would normally be required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, but who have been working for at least the prior three years in the US or another country in which English is the official language, can petition to have that requirement waived.

  • How do I verify that my TOEFL waiver was applied?

    The Application Checklist on the application status page will display a status of “waived.”

  • Do I need to mail in original transcripts?

    You do not need to mail in original transcripts when applying. You should upload an unofficial transcript from prior undergraduate or graduate work as a part of your online application. Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission is made and accepted.

  • Is there an application fee?

    If you are submitting an application to the Master's program, there is no fee. If you are submitting an application to the PhD program. the application fee is 95.00 USD.

  • Can my application fee be waived?

    Waivers of the application fee will be considered automatically as part of the application process for US citizens and US permanent residents (documentation may be required). Unfortunately, application waivers are not available automatically for international students. Discretionary waivers may be granted at the request of the applicant. Waiver requests must include documentation to support the reason of the request.

    For additional questions and information about application fee waivers please contact:

  • How can I check the status of my application?

    You may check the status of your application through your applicant portal here:

  • Can I upload additional documents after my application has been submitted?

    You may upload additional documents after the application has been submitted.

  • Can recommendation letters be submitted after the application close?

    Yes. You may submit your application even if all recommendation letters have not been submitted. However, an admission decision cannot be released until all materials, including recommendation letters, are received.

  • When can I expect to hear from the program about the admission decision?

    All official decisions will be communicated by the Graduate School on or before March 31 (for fall admissions) or December 1 (for spring admissions).

  • If I receive an offer of admission, what are the next steps?

    If you have received an offer of admission, the department administrator will contact you for next steps.

  • How long after an admission offer is made do I have to respond?

    Typically you will have 2 weeks to respond with either your acceptance or rejection of the admission offer. You should complete the Admission Response Form through the application portal to indicate your response.

Financial Aid

Graduate students in the electrical engineering and computer science department seeking the Ph.D. degree receive a competitive stipend, full tuition waiver and health insurance. Typically, students are first supported on a Teaching Assistantship and then a Research Assistantship once a thesis advisor has been identified. Students on a Teaching Assistantship assist the faculty with undergraduate courses, typically by grading assignments and holding office hours. Opportunities to teach are available for those that wish to gain such experience. Both Teaching and Research Assistantships can be supplemented by any one of the following university fellowships, which are awarded through a competitive process to highly qualified applicants.

University Graduate Fellowships:
$5,000/year for up to 5 years.

Provost's Graduate Fellowships:
$10,000/year for up to 5 years.

Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Graduate Scholarships:
$6,000/year for up to 5 years.

School of Engineering IBM Fellowships:
$5,000/year for up to 4 years plus an award of
$1,000 for professional development.

In order to be considered for these fellowships, an applicant's file must be complete by January 15. Prospective applicants are also urged to apply for external fellowships or grants from national, international, industrial or foundation sources.


Prof. Ipek Oguz
Dir. of Graduate Recruitment

Prof. Abhishek Dubey
Dir. of Graduate Studies (MS)

Prof. Taylor Johnson
Dir. of Graduate Studies (PhD)

Sara Raiszadeh
Graduate Program Coordinator

Melissa Harrell
Graduate Program Coordinator