FAQ

OMSCS Admissions

What are the admission criteria for the OMS CS degree program?
Preferred qualifications for admitted OMS CS students are an undergraduate degree in computer science or related field (typically mathematics, computer engineering or electrical engineering) from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants who do not meet these criteria will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; significant professional or other work experience with supporting recommendations may qualify as an adequate substitute for the appropriate academic credentials, however work experience will not take the place of an undergraduate degree. Georgia Tech will not admit applicants into the OMS CS degree program without the minimum qualifications for success. The Georgia Tech minimum criteria used in determining each applicant's eligibility for consideration shall include:

Evidence of award of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent (prior to matriculation) from a recognized institution, demonstrated academic excellence, and evidence of preparation in their chosen field sufficient to ensure successful graduate study; and

For international applicants, satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

I don’t have the academic credentials for full admission now, but I would like to work toward that. What advice do you have?
The best advice is to take (and pass) courses in computer science from an accredited institution. If you don’t have a computing background, passing these courses will present its own challenges and give you a preview of what the OMS CS curriculum will be like. If you have a computing background (either academically or professionally) and just need to plug a few holes, such courses are a great way to do it. All applicants to the OMS CS or other graduate degree program must meet the Georgia Tech minimum admission criteria (see above), however admission is not guaranteed for those who meet the minimum criteria.
 
If I meet the admission criteria, am I automatically admitted?

No applicant is automatically admitted.  All applications are reviewed by a faculty committee to ensure that those admitted can succeed in the program. Applicants who are selected for admission will be conditionally admitted into the degree program and must pass two OMS CS foundational courses with a grade of B or better within a year from when they matriculate to be fully admitted.

What are the foundational courses?
They are indicated by stars in the course listings on the Current Courses page of this website.
 
What kind of proof of U.S. citizenship is required?
For more information on accepted proof of citizenship, please visit the Georgia Tech graduate admissions website.
 
I’m not a U.S. citizen and/or don’t live in the United States. May I still apply?
Yes, subject to U.S. export control policy.
 
How does the admissions process work?
Prospective students will have to furnish materials commonly required for graduate admissions (prior degrees, transcripts, etc.). For full information about application requirements, please visit the Program Information page of this website.
 
Do applicants need to take the GRE?
No.
 
When can I apply?
Application periods, including deadlines, will be announced on the OMSCS website under the Program Information page.
 
How do I apply?
First, review the information on the Program Information page, which explains the relevant dates, costs and student information necessary for application. During application windows, a link to the OMS CS application site will be posted on the Program Information page.
 
If my country’s primary language is English, do I still have to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score?
Exceptions are given to the applicants from countries where English is the SOLE OFFICIAL language of instruction (Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada-except Québec province, England, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Trinidad, Tobago, Uganda and Wales). An applicant is exempt from TOEFL and IELTS only if they are a naturalized citizen, a Green Card holder or have spent at least one year in residence and enrolled at a U.S. college or university.
 
Please visit this OMSCS page for further information regarding the TOEFL and IELTS requirements for the OMSCS program.
 
Can I submit my TOEFL or IELTS scores after the application process ends?
No. TOEFL or IELTS scores are due upon completion of your application.
 
Lawful Presence
Under Policy 4.1.6, the lawful presence of any student applying to an institution must be verified before a final offer of admission can be extended. This policy applies to any student admitted for the Georgia Tech Fall 2011 semester or any semester thereafter. If the student will remain living outside of the U.S. and will be enrolling only in distance education courses, then it is not necessary to verify lawful presence. International students residing outside the United States do not need to submit proof of lawful presence. All other applicants must submit proof of lawful presence. Please visit the Lawful Presence page of our website for a complete list of acceptable lawful presence documents.
 
What is meant by official or unofficial transcripts? When can I send them?
Official transcripts can be delivered in several ways. Most common are those delivered directly to Georgia Tech from your academic institution. Some institutions also provide certified PDFs to alumni for use in graduate applications, as well as sealed, physical transcripts. If you are accepted to OMS CS, you will be asked to verify your unofficial transcript provided at the time of application with an official copy through one of these methods.
 
I am an international student. Do I need to have my transcripts translated or converted?
You will be asked to provide an unofficial English translation of your transcript AND native language transcripts upon application. If your undergraduate institution does not grade on a 4.0 scale, you do NOT need to convert your GPA. The Office of Graduate Studies does not accept self-converted GPA's and will do their own conversion.
 
How many recommenders will I need? What is the process?
Applicants must procure recommendations from three individuals. As part of the application, applicants will provide their recommenders' email addresses. Those individuals will be contacted through email and provided instructions on how to submit their recommendations online. A physical letter will not be required.
 
How do I provide criminal and academic misconduct history?
On the OMS CS application, you will be asked to report your own history to be verified by Georgia Tech's Office of Graduate Admissions.
 
Is there a cap on admissions?
There is no hard cap on admissions, however Georgia Tech controls enrollments until the necessary infrastructure is in place to deliver a high-quality, supported degree program to enrolled students.
 
When will the program start and run until? What’s the academic calendar and schedule for the program?
All relevant dates are maintained on the Registrar's website.
 
What is the curriculum, and how does it compare to the curriculum for the residential degree?
The curriculum in the OMS CS represents a subset of the on-campus curriculum, allowing for a full MS in computer science but with only some of the specializations available in the on-campus program. The OMS CS curriculum will expand as more courses come online.
 
I don’t have a formal education. Do I still qualify for the program?
Georgia Tech grants graduate admission only to applicants who have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent prior to matriculation.
 
May I take OMS courses for college credit without being enrolled in the degree program?
No, Georgia Tech does not currently offer OMS courses for credit to students not enrolled in the degree program.
 
I’m not interested in the degree program, credentials or credit, but I would like to take the courses for free. Is this possible?
Yes, the OMS courses are available for free on the Udacity website. These free courses do not carry college credit and offer limited academic support. Additionally, course videos are posted for many of the current courses; visit the Current Courses page and click on a course to view the videos for that course.
 
Will the degree I receive from the OMS CS program be the same as the on-campus MS in Computer Science or will my degree say “Online”?
Your diploma will read "Master of Science in Computer Science," exactly the same as those of on-campus graduates. There will be no "online" designation for the degrees of OMS CS graduates.
 
If my application is rejected, can I submit an appeal for a new review of my application?
Yes, you can request an appeal for additional review of your application. Please visit the Submitting an Appeal for Review of Your Application page for more information.

About the Degree Program

When can students sign up for courses?
All relevant dates are maintained on the Registrar's website.
 
What courses are available?
Course offerings are listed on the Current Courses page.
 
How many total hours are required?
Georgia Tech's M.S. in Computer Science requires a minimum of 30 credit hours for completion. Specializations require 12-15 hours of coursework, and the remaining 15-18 hours are “free” electives.
 
What specializations are available?
Specialization offerings are listed on the Specializations page of this website.
 
What are the technical requirements for the OMS CS curriculum?
Technical requirements are listed on the Technical Requirements page.
 
Are all courses taught in English?
Yes. International students applying to OMS CS degree program are required to submit a TOEFL score (Test of English as a Foreign Language) of at least 100 as part of their application.
 
What access do students have to instructors?
The OMS CS program has a tiered structure of human support for students, typically involving electronic (email, discussion board) interaction with course personnel, including the instructor of record.
 
How many courses can students take at a time?
Effective Fall 2018, the maximum number of hours a student may take in Fall or Spring is six (two courses).  The maximum number of hours a student may take in Summer is 3 (one course).  Be advised that each course is just as rigorous as its on-campus equivalent. We recommend that OMS CS degree-seeking students working full-time while taking courses enroll in no more than one course in their first semester.
 
How much time can students expect to spend on reading, course assignments, etc.?
This is difficult to estimate, since all students have different learning styles. A general rule is three hours a week per credit hour, in addition to viewing the course videos. Therefore someone taking two courses at three credit hours each can expect to spend roughly 18 hours per week on coursework.
 
Are students required to purchase textbooks?
Possibly. Most course materials will be provided free of charge online; however, some courses may require additional purchases for materials.
 
How does the student workload compare to a residential degree? How many hours a week should students expect to spend on it?
The total workload is the same as the residential program. The weekly or hourly workload depends on how quickly students wish to complete the program.
 
How long does it take to complete and receive a degree?
The typical time for students to complete the OMS CS is about three years, though we will allow for longer enrollments—up to six years—for those students who need greater flexibility.
 
How do you guarantee academic honesty?
All exams are proctored using national proctoring standards. We have access to 4,500 physical proctoring facilities and are working with online proctoring institutions.
 
How does a student locate a proctoring facility?
All proctoring is currently being done online.
 
How does OMSCS handle grading? Is each student evaluated individually by a human being, or is there an automated process?
Grading is the privilege and responsibility of Georgia Tech’s instructors. We leverage MOOC technology to automate aspects of the grading process, using a significant portion of the tuition fee to support the scaling of student evaluation through such technologies. Similar techniques already are in use at Georgia Tech to handle grading in classes with very large enrollments.
 
Can students work full-time while enrolled in OMS CS degree program?
Yes. OMS CS is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate the work/life situations of many types of students.
 
Can students qualify for Optional Practical Training (OPT) if they complete the program?
No. International students applying to OMS are not be offered visas, hence they do not qualify for OPT.
 
What are the expectations for enrollment, coursework, and performance?
Admitted degree-seeking students are expected to continue making progress through the program and can take up to 6 hours in Fall and Spring semesters, 3 hours in Summer semester (but only after fulfilling the foundational requirements). OMS CS staff and faculty recommend a maximum of 6 hours per semester for students who are also working full time. 
 
Is there be a graduation ceremony? If so, are students required to attend?
OMS students are welcome to participate in the Graduate Commencement Ceremony that is held on campus for Fall and Spring graduates. Participation is not required but is welcomed. There is no summer commencement ceremony.
 
How will this degree appear on my diploma and/or transcript?
The name "Online Master of Science" is an informal designation to help both Georgia Tech and prospective students distinguish the delivery method of the OMS program from our on-campus degree. The degree name in both cases is Master of Science in Computer Science.

Cost and Academic Credit

How much does the degree program cost?
Exact cost depends on how quickly students complete the program. Working students will take an average of two courses per term, resulting in a total program cost of about $6,600 over five terms. Students who complete their programs more quickly pay less; those who take longer pay more.
 
Can students be eligible to receive financial aid for OMS CS?
Yes. All federal financial aid benefits and restrictions apply to enrolled OMS CS students. Federal aid enrollment requirements apply.
 
What is the payment schedule for the program?
For all program costs and schedules, please see the Program Information page.
 
I’m an international student currently enrolled at another U.S. program. May I be granted an I-20 to leave my current program and apply to OMS CS?
No. Georgia Tech will not support visas for OMS CS students. International students do not require U.S. residency to enroll in OMS CS.
 
I’m enrolled in a master’s program at another university. May I transfer to OMS CS?
Graduate students may not "transfer" to Georgia Tech in the same manner that undergraduates can transfer; however, you are free to apply to the OMS program. The Institute limits the number of M.S. transfer credits to six hours, subject to the approval of the College of Computing. Please review this document for more information.
 
I’m enrolled in a Georgia Tech M.S. program. May I transfer to OMS CS?
You must reapply for admission to OMS CS and meet all program requirements. Please speak with your on-campus MS CS advisor about this request.

Why OMS CS?

Why is Georgia Tech doing this?
Georgia Tech in general, and the College of Computing in particular, is committed to fully incorporating beneficial educational technologies into the higher ed experience. The development of massive-online educational models brings an unprecedented opportunity to extend access to high-quality education to an exponentially larger number of people, from around the world, than we can accommodate on a physical campus. Our educational mission as a public university is to explore and maximize such opportunities.
 
What’s new about this approach?
It is the first professional Online Master of Science degree in computer science that can be earned completely through the “massive online” format. It shows how leaders from MOOC, industry and academia can join to offer an advanced degree program on a massive and affordable scale. We believe this program can establish corporate acceptance of high-quality and 100 percent online degrees as being on par with degrees received in traditional on-campus settings, and serve as a blueprint for helping the United States address the shortage of people with advanced computer science and other STEM skills.
 
Why computer science?
There are an estimated 3 million open technology positions in the job market today. Training skilled computing professionals is a societal need, and that is a challenge Georgia Tech and AT&T want to address.
 
How does computer science lend itself to evaluation using the massive-online approach?
Often computer science problems have a right or wrong answer and lend themselves to objective, rather than subjective, assessment and evaluation. This is what makes computer science amenable to the MOOC platform. In instances where this is not the case, we will apply the resources necessary to evaluate and assess student performance.
 
Will Georgia Tech offer other degrees in this format?
 
Why has AT&T invested in the world of online higher education?
AT&T believes the disruptive power of the MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) platform can help address the shortage of engineers and other technical-degreed talent in the United States. By making graduate degrees and certifications available online at very affordable rates, Georgia Tech and AT&T are eliminating barriers for many students unable to afford or access an advanced degree, and increasing the pipeline for the next generation of technology leaders.

AT&T Collaboration

Why is AT&T the corporate collaborator for this initiative?
As a premier global communications company and a champion for innovation in education, AT&T will provide technology access, connectivity and products at inception, as well as evolving service and platform support. The company will serve on an advisory board and, where appropriate, offer corporate projects for credit, be a source from which Georgia Tech draws curriculum content and guest instructors and offer internship opportunities to select students. AT&T will tap into the program to train its own employees and will recruit graduates.
 
Why is AT&T collaborating with Georgia Tech?
Georgia Tech is an international leader in scientific and technological research and education.  Our company is already well-stocked with Georgia Tech-educated talent and this will give us even greater access to their world-class resources.
 
What is the extent of AT&T’s involvement? Is the company providing more than financial resources and the initial student cohort?
AT&T will be the founding corporate collaborator of the program, contributing $2 million to the initiative, in addition to providing technology access, connectivity and products at inception, as well as evolving service and platform support. The company will serve on an advisory board and, where appropriate, offer corporate projects for credit, be a source from which Georgia Tech draws curriculum content and guest instructors, and offer internship opportunities to select students. AT&T will tap into the program to train its own employees and will recruit graduates.
 
How will AT&T technologies be integrated into the program?
AT&T will provide technology access, connectivity and products at inception, as well as evolving service and platform support. 
 
Is AT&T helping to determine the curriculum?
Where appropriate and subject to the approval of a GT faculty committee, we will offer corporate projects for credit and be a source from which Georgia Tech draws curriculum content and guest instructors.

The Need for STEM Education

Why do working professionals need this degree? Can’t they just enroll in classes?
The United States is facing a severe shortage of skilled workers in STEM fields. The Georgia Tech master’s degree in computer science represents an achievement and skill set that companies like AT&T value and want more of their employees to have. The OMS CS program will produce graduates on par with those receiving degrees from an on-campus program, and will also bestow skills certifications for employees who complete designated coursework and take proctored exams.
 
Why does AT&T care about education and STEM-skills programs in particular?
AT&T hires about 30,000 employees a year, and STEM skills are required across its business. It’s clear that the United States must develop a robust pipeline of skilled STEM workers to remain globally competitive; many jobs are going unfilled as candidates lack the necessary skills, training or degrees. STEM jobs are projected to grow by 17 percent over the next six years, compared to 10 percent for other professions. Through this program, Georgia Tech will be able to offer employers like AT&T a larger and more diverse pool of highly qualified STEM-trained workers.