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Applying for MS in Computer Science as a non-CS major


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I'm thinking about applying for a Computer Science masters programs for Fall of 2017 and I'm having a dilemma whether or not I should even apply. 

I would like to go to a program within top 10 - 40 but I'm not sure if I would make a competitive candidate, let alone an interesting one. 

My background in college was BA in Biology and International Studies and my GPA was 3.3 from a top-20 (US) university.

I only just started taking computer science courses at the beginning of this year to get ready and so far I've taken Introduction to Programming focused on C (A-), Discrete Math (A), Linear Algebra (A-), Programming in C++ (B+), Data Structures in C++ (currently taking), and Computer Architecture (focused on assembly language and systems - currently taking).

As for the GRE, I am scheduled to take it on November 29th.

I graduated in 2015 and have been working as a research assistant in a clinical research lab.

I have 4 letters of recommendations - One from my PI, one from my english professor who knows me very well, one from my discrete math professor, and one from my Programming in C++ professor. 

I guess my dilemma is - how do I compare to other candidates as a person coming from a no cs undergrad or industry background? Would applying this time around be a waste of money even if I got a good GRE (quantitative) score? And which programs could I apply to to be at least considered without expecting a reject to begin with? 

Please give me some advice!

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  • 2 weeks later...

You should apply, Discrete Math, Data Structures and Computer Architecture gives you the prerequisites for most Masters programs.  All masters programs list their prerequisites on their websites, just make sure you apply to programs that don't ask for significantly more background than what you have.

Also see if you can squeeze in some upper level courses like operating systems or programming languages next semester.

Edited by cinoadam
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey, don't have much advice about your chances, but your profile looks quite similar to mine so I'd suggest watching my thread to see what people say:

I've gathered that having research experience which involves relevant CS or math skills is a major factor, and good enough research will get you into a very good program, but I'm doing the research-focused route. If you go to an applied CS program, then the admissions criteria are probably going to be different. Secondly, I would guess that getting a good quant GRE score matters a lot in this case, because the committee doesn't have much to anchor on and is guessing at your CS ability. Hope that helps!

Edited by BackPropagandist
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