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Montana State University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :10 Jan 
International :10 Jan 

PhD Computer Science

 Course Level
Full Time

2 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

16300 USD
16300 USD

Application fee

International 60 USD
National 60 USD
Gianforte School of Computing
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)80
TOEFL-PBT (min)550

World University Ranking

About this course

Research Experience

Thesis option master's degree students gain research experience through their theses and are expected to submit the results of their thesis work to at least one journal or conference.  Ph.D. students gain research experience through their doctoral work, journal or conference submissions, and attending conferences.

Research Facilities

Graduate research and coursework can be performed on systems owned and operated by the School of Computing. On-campus work is typically performed in laboratories or graduate student offices. A typical machine is a dual boot (Linux / Windows) PC. Intel-based Macs running OSX are also available. Outside the department, the MSU Information Technology Center provides additional computing infrastructure.

The School of Computing is housed in MSU's high technology Barnard Hall.

Financial Assistance

A number of research and teaching assistantships are available for qualified graduate students. These appointments are normally for 19 hours per week during the academic year. Some appointments may also be available during the summer. Assistantships will only be offered to formally admitted graduate students. See the appropriate CS M.S. degree or Ph.D. degree website for more information.

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Eligibility Criteria


Gianforte School of Computing Requirements

Applicants to the Ph.D. program are required to fill out an online application.

Applicants to the Computer Science Ph.D. program must meet all College of Engineering and The Graduate School admission requirements. In addition applicants must meet the following admission requirements of the Gianforte School of Computing:

  1. Graduate Record Exam (GRE): We expect minimum scores of 155 (Q), 153 (V) and 4.0 (AW). These GRE scores are just one metric used in determining admission and are advisory. It is possible in some circumstances that a student may be admitted into the Ph.D. program with GRE scores lower than these if other indicators are favorable.
  2. Degree Requirements: a previous Bachelor's or Master's degree in Computer Science or a closely related discipline.
  3. Grade Point Average (GPA): 3.30 GPA during the last two years of the applicant's most recent computer science or related degree.
  4. Previous course work: acceptable previous coursework in most of the core areas of computer science, including
    • Computer Architecture
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming Languages and Compilers
    • Software Engineering
    • Theory of Computing

    Applicants who cannot show proof of sufficient previous coursework or expertise in these areas may, at the discretion of the Gianforte School of Computing, be admitted into the Ph.D. program with appropriate courses from the MSU Computer Science curriculum listed as foundational courses that such students must take in addition to the courses required for the Ph.D. degree.

  5. TOEFL: at least 550 on the written TOEFL test, 213 on the computer-based TOEFL test (CBT), or 80 on the internet based test (IBT) for students from countries where the primary language is not English, and who do not have a previous degree from an English-speaking university. International students can find additional information about the application process by following this link to MSU's Office of International Programs: http://www.montana.edu/international/.  In place of the TOEFL, we also accept a total band score of at least 6.5 on the IELTS or a Pearson's PTE Academic Score of at least 54.
  6. Letter of Endorsement (highly recommended but not required): a letter of endorsement from a tenure-track member of the MSU Computer Science faculty who agrees to serve as the applicant's research and dissertation advisor.
  7. Statement of Intent: a 1-2 page statement of why you want to pursue a Ph.D. and what your research interests are.

Applicants must be aware that these are minimum requirements and do not by themselves guarantee admission into the Ph.D. program.

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Course Modules

To find out more about what this course has to offer, please check out.

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How to Apply

Prior to applying to Montana State University (MSU), it is recommended that the applicant contact the department of the intended area of study, as department information, requirements, and deadlines may vary. See Graduate Areas of Study, for all the graduate programs offered at MSU.

Any applicant who has received a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university may apply for admission to The Graduate School. This can be done by applying through this online site. The $60.00 non-refundable application fee can be paid by credit card or debit check (Note: if you choose to pay by debit check, there can be a delay of five to ten business days before the check will clear).

The application fee will not be waived, deferred, or refunded for any reason. The application fee must be paid before the application will be processed (See Board of Regents Policy).

During the application process, applicants will be asked to provide a Social Security number to distinguish between individuals with the same or similar names. Applicants will not be penalized if they decline to provide this number. Federal law requires that when applicants apply for financial aid, graduate assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, or tuition waiver, they must provide their Social Security number for purposes of identification.

As this is a fully electronic application process, you will be providing a majority of the application materials requested by uploading it into your application. It is important to check with the program you are applying for to understand what will be requested prior to applying. Also note that during the application process, you will provide information on your references and this electronic process will prompt these individuals to submit their letters of recommendation and recommendation forms through this electronic process.There is no need to send duplicate materials to The Graduate School of these unofficial documents.

You will be required to submit official transcripts to The Graduate School. They should be sent to MSU directly from your university(s), however, we do use services such as National Student Clearinghouse.

The initial application fee is valid for no more than one (1) year from the term of the initial application. An applicant who has not been offered admittance will have the opportunity to reapply within this time frame without incurring an additional application fee. If an applicant would like to reapply to the same, or a different department, during this time, contact The Graduate School ([email protected]) with the request. If an applicant waits longer than one (1) year, it will be necessary to reapply and pay the application fee again.

If an applicant applies and is admitted as a non-degree graduate student, then chooses to apply to become a degree-seeking graduate student, a request can be made that their original application be sent to the intended department of study; no additional application fee is required. To make this request, contact The Graduate School at [email protected]; this request can occur at any time you are a graduate student in good standing at MSU.

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