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Non-CS applicant chances


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Hey everyone!


I am in a unique situation and could really use your advice,,


I graduated from UCLA in 2011 with a BA in Music. Over this past year, I discovered programming/CS and fell in love with it. Since Fall 2012, I have been registered as a post-baccalaureate student at an ABET-accredited state school.


By this summer I will have completed the following classes.

-CS 201

-CS 202

-Calculus 1-3

-Discrete Mathematics

-Data Structures

-Machine Organization

-Operating Systems



So far I have straight A's, and plan on working my hardest to maintain a 4.0. 


I will be taking the GRE over the summer and hope to get a very competitive score. If it's any help, I received a 2200 on the SAT.


Here's my question:


If I apply this coming Fall, do I have any chance of getting into a good Master's program? I am a California resident, so UC's would be cheapest . I would love to go to a Top 20 school. Where should I be shooting for???


Thanks everyone, I've already learned a lot from you guys :)



By the way, this coming school year I will continue taking courses (algorithm analysis, digital logic, automata, software engineering. etc. ) but as the grades will be posted AFTER the transcripts are sent out, I doubt that the schools will notice/care.

Again, thanks guys

Edited by carlvine
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I know a phd student that majored in history in his undergrad. He fell in love with computer vision, and is currently doing his phd in CS (and doing really really well actually).

So, it's not impossible. Just write a good SoP and sell your story. Getting into a master's program at top 20 won't be too hard, although phd might be a bit difficult.

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This profile doesn't tell us much, and these questions are usually impossible to answer. But I'm getting the impression that you find yourself competitive. So you are probably right. A top 20 school should be completely doable. And I agree, make that SOP shine.

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So I am in a similar boat, but I'm applying from Biomedical Engineering, so its a little bit closer.  What I found is that, for masters programs, its important to make sure your grades and test scores are good, which it seems like shouldn't be a problem, that you are passionate about the field and can demonstrate that in your SOP, that you have a particular interest in something related to CS and are not just going in blindly, and that you have the necessary prerequisite courses for admission.

In general, the necessary courses are:

  • Basic OO Programming (C++, Java typicall)
  • Data Structures
  • Algorithms
  • Possibly Compilers or Organization
  • And maybe a few others depending on the program

I think as long as you have strong recommendations, top 20 seems feasible, but do apply to safety schools as well.  There are several top-20 schools in the California school system such as Cal Berkley, UCLA, UCSD, and USC.

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