York Grad CS Admission Frequently Asked Questions

York Grad CS Admission Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get an application package?

When are application packages available?

  • Online applications are typically available starting in October; at the web link above.

What are the admission requirements?

  • For the MSc in Computer Science (CS), an undergraduate honours degree in Computer Science or equivalent, with at least a B+ average in the last two years of study; (a senior level course in theoretical computer science is required).For the MASc in Computer Engineering (CE), an undergraduate honours degree in Computer Engineering or equivalent, with at least a B+ average in the last two years of study. In addition, those admitted must have completed the equivalent of a senior-level project course or thesis in Computer Engineering. Significant industrial or research experience in Computer Engineering coupled with an honours undergraduate degree program or equivalent from an accredited university will be considered equivalent to an undergraduate Computer Engineering thesis.
  • For the PhD, applicants must have a Master’s degree in CS or CE equivalent to the MSc CS degree (with the thesis option) or MASc CE degrees at York which are based upon course work and a defended research thesis. A minimum average grade of B+ on all course work is required. A Master’s degree with project option or a course-only Master’s degree is not equivalent.
  • The above requirements are the minimum requirements and do not guarantee admission. The admissions committee will consider all evidence in the file and decide.
  • Applicants must also satisfy specified requirements set out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS), such as demonstrating competence in the English language. The following are the minimum English Language test scores (if required): TOEFL: 233/577 or YELT 4.

Do I need to have a supervisor before applying to the MSc or MASc programmes?

  • No, you do not. When a student is admitted, an academic advisor is assigned to them to help them choose courses and thesis supervisor. Students are expected to find a thesis supervisor by the end of the second term.Sending e-mail to faculty does not help. Every faculty member receives several such e-mails and they have no means to evaluate them so they cannot commit. If an application is successful the student has 2 terms to find a supervisor, so sending mail in advance is waste of time.

What is equivalent to a CS undergrad?

  • We expect students to have a CS BSc or equivalent. York CS majors typically take 2 CS courses in 1st year, 4 in 2nd, 6 in 3rd year and 6 in 4th (18 CS courses total). The grad courses are advanced and people with little CS experience will be overwhelmed.Computer engineers typically take a lot of computing courses and would be considered equivalent.
  • Applied math, Electrical Engineering, and similar undergraduate programs often include a significant amount of CS work. Students from engineering backgrounds typically lack software and theory courses while applied math students often lack software and systems courses. Math majors typically are strong in theory but weak in programming/data structures/systems. We strongly recommend they take such undergrad courses before they apply.

What is equivalent to a CE undergrad?

  • We expect students to have a CE BASc or equivalent. Electrical Engineering, and similar undergraduate programs often include a significant amount of CE work, and good students from such programmes are encouraged to apply.

I don’t have a CS BSc but I took several software courses as part of my undergrad degree. Can I apply for an MSc?

  • We would strongly recommend that you take a lot more senior-level university CS courses before you apply. Consider applying as a special undergrad student at York and taking a few CS courses (a special undergrad student is one who is taking courses but not working towards a degree). Although this alone might not provide you with all the background you need, a few good marks in some CS courses could persuade the selection committee that you can do well in graduate courses.  There are two difficulties with this approach. One is that if you do not have enough CS background it is really hard to get good marks in these courses. The other is that in the past few years almost all our classes are full and there is no room for students other than our regular CS u-grads.Alternately, why not go back and do a CS undergrad degree? You will probably be given advanced standing in many of the courses so it won’t take 4 years. Note: if you need to take more than 2 or 3 CS courses don’t apply as a special undergrad student; apply as a regular undergrad student.

Do you have a graduate program for non-CS graduates with little CS experience to convert to CS?

  • No, sorry. Get an undergrad CS degree and then apply.

Can I apply directly to the PhD program?

  • No, you must have an MSc with a research thesis.

I didn’t do a CS/CE. research thesis for my Master’s. Should I apply for a PhD?

  • Apply to the Master’s program instead.

Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?

  • The best referees are those who can appraise you academically, especially in CSE. If they are providing a supporting letter ensure that it is on official letterhead.

Should I take the TOEFL/GRE?

  • You must provide proof of language proficiency if you do not meet one of the following criteria:
    1. Your first language is English; OR
    2. You completed at least one year of full-time study at an accredited university in a country (or institution) where English is the official language of instruction.
    A TOEFL score of 577, 233 or 90-91 (paper-, computer- and internet-based, resp.) is required for Computer Science. TOEFL scores are good for only 2 years. If you took a TOEFL test more than 2 years ago then you need to take it again.
  • The GRE general test + Computer Science and/or Engineering subject test is highly recommended for applicants who did their work outside of Canada and the US. This is because we find it hard to evaluate many international degrees/universities.
  • The York university codes are: TOEFL: 0894, GRE: R0894

Should I include a copy of my transcript with my application?

  • You must arrange for official transcripts to be sent to York. As well, if you already have a copy of your transcript then we would recommend that you also include it with your application. This will help speed up computing your average (rather than waiting until the official transcript arrives).

How is my average computed?

  • Admissions looks at your last two years of studies (full-time equivalent) over all your courses, not just CSE. They try their best to translate your marks to York standards, which is not always easy.

Do you take full time Master’s students in the winter and spring?

  • No. We are set up to accept Master’s students in the fall. We expect students to take their 5 half-courses in the fall and winter of their first year and start their thesis in the summer. As we do not normally offer courses in the summer if students start in the winter or spring then they cannot start work on their thesis and will waste the summer. We do not financially support such students. Students are expected to finish their degree in 5 terms and are only financially supported this long. They cannot afford to waste a term.There is one exception: students who are graduating at York with a CS BSc or CE BASc and are already familiar with one of the research projects may start in the summer and work on that project. This work is expected to be closely related to their thesis.
  • Part time MSc students can be accepted in either Fall or Winter.

Can I apply for a part-time Master’s?

  • York has a part-time MSc program in CS. However the requirements are identical to the full-time program. You are expected to complete one course every term (on average) and must complete your MSc in 4 years. Most of our courses are during the day. The application must include a letter from your employer indicating that they will support you and give you appropriate time off to take the various courses and work on your thesis. Note: there is no financial support for part-time students.

Can I apply for a part-time PhD?

  • No

Can I apply as a special Master’s student and just take a course or two?

  • No; apply as a special undergrad student. Many of our 4th-year undergrad and grad courses are cross-listed. We reserve special Master’s student status for those graduate students who are registered at another university elsewhere but are in Toronto for a short time and wish to take a course or two.

What if I am a grad student in another Ontario University and want to take a course or two at York?

  • Take the Ontario Graduate Student Visiting form and your letter of permission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Office at 230 York Lanes for signatures. Be sure to discuss the availability of courses with the Grad. Director because some cross-listed courses might be full.

I have been out of school for many years. Should I apply?

  • We would strongly recommend that you take a few upper-level university CSE courses before you apply.

Does it help to e-mail/mail a faculty member before I apply?

  • Only if you have specific research interests that match the interests of the faculty member and are applying for a PhD. It does not help to send a general application to individual faculty members. Faculty members are very busy and most simply forward the e-mail to the grad office. It doesn’t help. This is especially true of people who send e-mail to lots of different faculty members. They are not looked upon favourably.

Can I send my application directly to CSE?

  • No. We will forward it to Admissions unopened. We will not look at or evaluate such applications.

What happens to my application file?

  • When your application reaches Admissions they look over the application to make sure that everything is there and that it meets our minimum requirements. They wait for transcripts to arrive before they forward the application to us. Note: if you haven’t paid the $100 fee Admissions will not forward your application to us and we will never see it.Once we receive the application from Admissions we do a quick scan and then send it to our selection committee, which normally consists of 4-7 CSE grad faculty members.
  • If you need to inquire into the status of your application contact Admissions at 416-736-5000 or through myfile at: http://www.yorku.ca/myfile

How competitive is admission?

  • It is very competitive. Only about 1 out of 25 applicants are accepted. Thus, just because you meet the minimum requirements doesn’t mean that you will be accepted. Also, we only have a small number of slots for international students, so the competition for these is tougher.

Is there financial support?

  • All full-time Master’s students are normally given financial support for their first five terms (20 months) in the program. As of September 2012, the level of support will be $25,000/year. Students who are awarded an external scholarship can receive up to $33,000/year.All full-time Ph.D students are normally given financial support for their first twelve terms (48 months) in the program. As of September 2012, the level of support will be $27,000/year. Students who are awarded an external scholarship can receive up to $35,000/year.
  • International students normally get a $4.8K tuition scholarship to bring their cost of tuition in line with domestic students.
  • Note:all full-time students are automatically considered for financial support, including entrance scholarships; you don’t have to do anything extra.

How long does it take to complete a graduate degree?

  • Normally, the Master’s. can be completed in 20 months of full time study and the Ph.D. in 4 years of full time study. If one’s Ph.D. dissertation is in the same area as one’s Master’s thesis, one can certainly complete both degrees in less time, i.e. 5 years or less. Some students also take more time. In the end, how quickly one completes his/her degree depends on one’s preparation and how one manages to fulfill the various checkpoints and requirements in a timely manner.

Where can I find the most recent version of this document?

Revised: September 11, 2014