Admission Requirements: Online Master of Computer Science



Online Master of Computer Science Admission Requirements

Jumpstart your career with the flexibility and rigor of an online Master of Computer Science at Rice University. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. The program has three intakes per year, so you are able to choose the start date that works best for you (Fall, Spring, or Summer).



Prerequisites for MCS@Rice

A Completed Bachelor’s Degree

The ideal candidate will have a Bachelor's degree in a science or engineering field (not necessarily computer science). While all candidates must have a Bachelor's degree, it is not a strict requirement that it be in science or engineering.

  • GPA: In general, applicants should have at least a 3.00 (B) grade point average in undergraduate work. Exceptions can be made - if a student has a masters degree, significant amount of work experience, specific circumstances that lead to a low GPA, or GRE scores that show a high level of competence for quantitative concepts.

Programming Experience

Our admissions team specifically reviews for the following programming experience that includes:

  • Comfort writing short programs in a conventional programming language (Python, Java, Javascript, C, C++…)
  • Experience programming in a statically typed language (examples: Java, C, C++)
  • Elementary data structures (arrays, stacks, queues, trees, and graphs)
  • Basic algorithms (binary search and merge sort)
  • Calculus-level Math: This includes:
    • High-school level algebra and trigonometry
    • College-level calculus
    • Basic discrete math skills (understanding permutations, combinations, and basic probability)
    • Boolean logic (logical expressions using AND, OR, NOT and Boolean variables)
    • While you may not actively use all of the concepts you learned in those courses, success in those math courses is indicative of the appropriate level of mathematical sophistication.

Test Scores

  • GRE: Effective in 2021, Rice eliminated the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) standardized test requirement for its graduate programs, and the GRE is not required for admission to the online Master of Computer Science program, though it is recommended. This is in recognition of the fact that the GRE may be a significant obstacle for working professionals applying to graduate programs. If you are able to take the GRE, please submit your scores with your application. If GRE results are absent from an application, work experience will be evaluated instead. You may submit your GRE scores sent directly to Rice University using code: 6609 (GRE subject tests are not required).
  • TOEFL Scores: Applicants who are foreign nationals or whose native language is not English must take either the TOEFL or IELTS test and must score at least 90 on the iBT TOEFL. For those students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum score is 7. The TOEFL school code for Rice is 6609. The TOEFL and IELTS are not necessary for an international student who has received a degree from a university in which English is the official language of communication.

Does MCS@Rice accept transfer credits?

Courses taken at another accredited college or university are not automatically approved for transfer credit. Transfer credit is only granted with the approval of the student’s major department and the Graduate and Postdoc Studies Office.

Required Application Material

  1. Recommendations should be requested from at least 3 individuals. The letters should be from professors, research advisors, direct supervisors, or people in similar roles, who are familiar with your technical skills in engineering, science, or computer science. You should not submit letters from friends or colleagues. You may submit more than 3 but no less than 3 must be submitted with your application. Visit the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Letters of Recommendation page for additional information.
  2. Transcripts and Unofficial transcripts may be submitted with your application. Upon acceptance into the program, you will be asked to send official transcripts.
  3. Have your GRE scores sent directly to Rice University using code: 6609 (GRE subject tests are not required). If an applicant has relevant industry experience, the Admission Committee will factor in work experience and the recommendation of your current supervisor in lieu of GRE scores when evaluating the application.
  4. TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for any applicants who are foreign nationals or whose native language is not English. The code to send the electronic scores is: 6609. TOEFL score, the minimum is 90 on the iBT & 600 on the paper-based TOEFL. IELTS score, the minimum is 7. This requirement is automatically waived for eligible applicants who upload their transcripts from an English-speaking university into this application showing a degree in progress or conferred.
  5. A Statement of Purpose is required for all applicants. This statement should clearly and succinctly summarize your past academic and professional experience and achievements, discuss your motivation for seeking the MCS degree, and explain your future goals. You should also briefly discuss any other factors you would like the Admission Committee to consider while reviewing your application (e.g. personal background, work experience, leadership roles, etc.).
  6. A current CV or resume is required to be submitted with your application.
  7. You're ready for admission! Make sure to include your application fee of $85.00 upon submission.

MCS@Rice Tuition

Students in the online Master of Science in Computer Science program will pay the standard Rice University part-time rate of $1,666.70 per credit hour. The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.

Payment Options & Scholarships

Merit Scholarships

When you submit an application, our Admissions team will automatically consider your credentials for merit scholarships, occasionally offered on a case-by-case basis. Scholarship awards will be announced in your admission packet. If awarded, your acceptance letter will indicate the amount offered per academic year.

Military & Veterans Education Benefits

Qualified veterans and the dependents of deceased or disabled veterans whose death or disability is a direct result of their military service may be eligible for VA educational benefits. Students eligible for VA Benefits are certified through Rice University’s Office of the Registrar. Students who indicate military affiliation on their admissions application will receive information regarding the necessary forms, etc., following admission.

External Student Loans

We encourage all prospective students to explore outside scholarship and grant opportunities. You may find the following scholarship resources helpful as a starting point: College Board & FastWeb

Federal Student Loans

Federal Direct Student Loans are issued through the Department of Education and are available to US Citizens and US Permanent Residents (green card holders).

The first step is to complete the Department of Education’s 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Rice University’s FAFSA school code is 003604.

Your FAFSA information will be forwarded to us automatically. Loan application instructions and next steps will be sent to your Rice email account.

Ready to Apply?



Important Dates

SUMMER 2022 March 1, 2022 May 2, 2022
FALL 2022 May 1, 2022 July 1, 2022 August 22, 2022
SPRING 2023 October 1, 2022 November 1, 2022 January 9, 2023



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