Frequently Asked Questions About Masters Admissions
Q: What are the criteria for admission to the Masters program in computer science at Tufts?
A: Academic performance, letters of recommendation and previous research experience are crucial in our selection process. We also consider GRE scores, TOEFL scores (if relevant), motivation, work experience, awards, honors, prizes, and other accomplishments. In more detail, we are looking for:
- Academic performance: The GPA is not the only criterion. Grades in computer science and related disciplines (e.g., math) count more than grades in other areas. Also, we take into account the fact that at some very competitive schools it is very difficult to achieve a high GPA.
- Letters of recommendation: Letters must give a detailed, factual, and candid evaluation of the applicant's capabilities. Rankings and comparisons with other students are very useful. Ask your recommender to follow these guidelines. If your recommender is sending the letter directly, check to make sure the deadlines are met. We routinely find ourselves unable to admit potentially qualified students because their letters of recommendation have not arrived in time.
- Research experience: Research experience, although not required, can boost your chances of admission considerably. If you have worked on a research project, please tell us about it and ask at least one of your recommenders to comment on it. If your work is part of a joint project, the recommender should indicate your specific contribution to the project. Include abstracts or reprints of any papers you have published in journals or presented at conferences.
- General GRE scores: These scores let us compare the basic skills of applicants from diverse backgrounds. We are aware that: test performance can improve considerably with practice, some people do not perform well on tests, and the verbal GRE is harder for some foreign applicants. Median scores for a group of recent accepted masters and PhD applications (combined) were: GRE verbal: 540, GRE quantitative: 780.
- Subject GRE scores: The subject test scores are most useful when they are from the computer science exam. While we do not require subject test scores, the test provides an additional objective form of evaluation that is often helpful in determining an applicant's abilities.
- TOEFL-iBT scores of at least 90 are required for all international applicants who are not native English speakers. (Older TOEFL-cBT or TOEFL-pBT scores will be considered only if accompanied by the TSE).
- Statement: The statement that accompanies your application helps us learn more about you. Tell us why you want to pursue a Masters program in computer science, and why you are applying to our department in particular.
- Work experience: Please describe your work experience in the application and, if related to computer science, mention how you think it will help you in graduate school.
Q: I cannot afford the application fee. Can you waive it?
A: The application fee is waived for current Tufts undergraduate students. If the application fee will present a financial hardship, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions.
Q: What are my chances of being admitted?
A: We cannot estimate your likelihood of admission on the basis of your letter or email message. We need to see the entire application. We typically admit students who we think have the background to succeed in our program. Sometimes, we offer admission to the certificate or postbac program instead, if we feel it is more appropriate.
Q: Does a request for financial aid affect my chances of being admitted?
A: We typically do not offer teaching or research assistantships to graduate students who are not on the PhD track.
Q: Do I have to pick an advisor prior to entry?
A: No. You will be assigned one by the department, according to your indicated interests, but you are welcome to change at any time. Usually, you will switch your advisor to the person with whom you do your masters project or thesis as you near completion of your degree.
Q: Do I have to take the GRE Subject exam?
A: The department does not require the Subject exam. Feel free to submit your scores if you took it, for they provide additional information. However, it is not required.
Q: Can I contact the Office of Graduate Admissions by phone or e-mail?
A: The Office of Graduate Admissions' contact information is on their Web page.
Q: What is the Tufts Institution code for the GRE?
A: The GRE institution code for Tufts is 3901.
Q: Have you received all my application materials?
Q: Where do I send my transcripts, score reports, etc?
A: Please send supplemental materials to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
Medford, MA 02155
Q: Who decides whom to admit?
A: Officially, admissions are generated by the Office of Graduate Admissions of Tufts University. In practice, the Computer Science Department (specifically, a group of faculty members) evaluates your application and makes recommendations to the Office of Graduate Admissions, which typically follows our recommendations. Therefore, you are generating your application (in particular, your statement) to be read primarily by computer science faculty.
Q: What if I have other questions?