Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Program Requirements

Am I eligible to apply?
It is the prospective student's responsibility to determine if they are eligible to apply to our graduate programs. We do not pre-screen applicants. Please visit Applications & Admissions to determine if you meet the minimum academic requirements, GPA, and English Language Proficiency scores.
Can I be admitted as a part-time student?
Only applicants who are working are eligible. A student admitted as part-time will never be eligible for financial support since financial support is decided at admission.
Is GRE required? Will the at-home GRE be accepted?

The GRE test is not required. However, for applicants who have obtained their degree outside of Canada, we highly recommend taking the GRE General. It can help your application if your degree is not from a well-known North American university or your GPA is not very high. We do not require the GRE Subject Test.

GRE at-home will be accepted for the 2022 intake due to ongoing complications from Covid-19. Prospective students should clearly indicate whether it's an at-home or "normal" score.

If the applicant elects to submit a GRE score, the standard GRE score may be weighted slightly more heavily than an at- home GRE score.

How do I convert my GPA to a 4.0 scale?

We do not provide a GPA calculator as transcripts and marksheets are widely varied. 

GPA is typically calculated using the past two years of post-secondary study or over the last 20 half courses. You can calculate your equivalent GPA to our university's 4.0 scale by visiting the FGSR Minimum Academic Requirements by Country, where every grade listed on that page is the equivalent to a B (or 3 out of 4). Prospective students can also review the Grading System

Do I have to take the TOEFL?

English proficiency tests are not required if:

1) You have received a degree from an academic institution within Canada or the United States, OR

2) You have received a degree from an academic institution recognized by the University in which the medium of instruction is English.

If you do not have either of the above, you must provide proof of English language proficiency. Accepted tests are TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB, PTE, CAEL or Duolingo. Please refer to English Language Proficiency test scores to determine minimum English score requirements to apply. Applicants whose English test scores do meet meet minimum requirements will not be considered. 

For the 2022/23 academic year, TOEFL At-Home will be accepted due to circumstances surrounding Covid-19. Minimum TOEFL requirements listed here still apply.

I don't have a conventional background in computing science - am I still eligible for admission?
We do consider outstanding applicants from related disciplines. If we think you can easily bridge from your existing background to an adequate computer science background, we may admit you. Students with significant deficiencies in the CS background will not be admitted.
I have a three-year bachelor's degree - can I still apply?
Yes, you can still submit an application however three-year degrees do not normally meet university requirements. If you are admitted to our graduate program, you may have to take some of our undergraduate courses to complete background requirements. You would be advised of any additional required courses if you are offered a placement.
Would MOOC courses like Coursera, EdX or other coursework count for credit?
Extracurricular activities such as participation in clubs, hackathons, open source software, online certificates and other professional growth opportunities may play a role in determining admission, but would not be used for credit towards course work during the graduate degree.
Can I apply if my undergraduate degree is still in progress?
Yes. Students may begin applying for graduate programs even if they are nearing completion but have not yet finished their Bachelor's degree. During the online application process, transcripts would be submitted up until the current semester, and we would note on their file that their degree is in progress.

Applying to a Graduate Program

Is there an application fee?

Yes, there is a non-refundable application fee of $135 CAD. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discovery Card.

As of Sept 1, 2021 the fee for applications to all graduate programs has increased from $100 to $135 CAD. 

If you have any questions about fees, please contact grad.webadm@ualberta.ca.

Can my application fee be waived?

All students must pay the $135 CAD graduate application fee. 

As of July 2, 2021, the FGSR is no longer waiving application fees for some students based on their country of origin. 

If you have any questions about fees, please contact grad.webadm@ualberta.ca.

What is an acceptable English translation?

We do not accept translated documents notarized by a notary public or endorsed by a lawyer, professor or judge. 

Official Certified English translations of original language documents such as degrees, certificates, and transcripts must be provided by the issuing institution or by a certified translator, and must be literal word-for-word translations presenting the same order of information and format as the original.

No information may be left out, altered, or added. This means that all grades, comments, dates, and discussion must be included. 

Do I need a supervisor?

M.Sc. students are not required to have a supervisor or contact a professor prior to admission. They have the opportunity to investigate our research areas, and various projects happening in each of these areas, during the first six months of their program. By choosing a name, you will be directing the professor's attention to your application. 

Ph.D students are required to select a research area and a supervisor prior to arriving at UAlberta. Browse through our research areas and faculty members to find a professor whose research is of interest to you. Ph.D. students will only be admitted if a professor agrees to supervise you.

What is an official document?

An official document is issued by the institution awarding the degree and has been certified by an authorized official of that institution.

If official transcripts cannot be obtained, applicants should supply certified true copies of official transcripts and certified statements confirming degrees awarded and academic standing achieved. Certification of transcripts and degrees must be effected by imprinting them with the official seal of the institution or by endorsing them by hand with the original signature of the responsible university officer (eg, Registrar, Admissions Officer, President). Photocopies that are not certified in this way are not acceptable for official admission purposes.

Generally we do not accept copies of transcripts certified by notary public. Copies of transcripts certified by a notary public are only accepted in exceptional circumstances and never from a North American institution.

When can I expect a decision on my application?
Many decisions will be made in late February but the decision process will go on until April.

Tuition and Financial Support

How much should I expect to pay for tuition?

Tuition is based on the type of program-thesis or course based-and whether you are registered full-time or part-time­. See FGSR's tuition and cost of living estimates.

Is there financial aid? How do I apply?

Yes, there is financial aid for PhD and M.Sc Thesis-based students, most typically offered as a teaching (TA) or research (RA) assistantship. You do not have to make a special application for financial aid. The graduate application asks if you need financial aid, so an application for admission is also an application for financial aid.

Any funding that you are eligible to receive would be outlined in your letter of admission if you are accepted into the program. Most students in the PhD and M.Sc Thesis programs are admitted with a guaranteed funding rate in the form of a TA or RA throughout the academic years of their program. Students who receive funding generally get it for 5 guaranteed terms as that's the recommended timeline for the program.

What about scholarships that don't involve teaching assistantships?
There are a number of entrance scholarships that we automatically nominate excellent applicants for. Canadian students are encouraged to apply for NSERC graduate scholarships, and there are other scholarships that we help our students obtain once they are here. For Canadian students, your home department can probably assist you in finding out what kind of federal or provincial scholarship opportunities there are for you in Canada. Students from other countries are encouraged to explore these opportunities as well in their home country.
Are co-ops available?
There is no guarantee for a co-op for a masters student. Students would be responsible for arranging it and they could potentially get a leave of absence to complete it. Included here is a program timeline.

Graduate Studies

Are there interdisciplinary programs or opportunities for interdisciplinary research?
Several of our faculty members have interests in cognitive science, and we also have adjunct professors from Psychology, Philosophy, Pharmacology and Engineering. There are several people who do interdisciplinary research of one form or the other. Take a look at the individual faculty member web pages in our department.
Are there opportunities for me to attend major conferences in my area of interest?
Yes. It is often the case that faculty send their M.Sc. and Ph.D. graduate students to major conferences to present joint research papers. Also, there are small travel funds provided by the University to help graduate students attend conferences.

Student Life

Is there a Computing Science Graduate Students Association?

Yes, there is an active Computing Science Graduate Students' Association (CSGSA). Please visit the CSGSA website for information on upcoming events, forums, general information and much more.

There is also a Graduate Students' Association (GSA) which carries out events involving all the graduate students at the University of Alberta. Please visit their website for information on events and activities that take place throughout the year.

There are several other student groups at the University of Alberta affiliated with the Students' Union. Explore these student groups for information on their interests and activities.

What is Edmonton like?

Edmonton is a vibrant city. In the summer, there are nearly non-stop festivals: the Jazz Festival, the Folk Music Festival (top-rated world wide), the Fringe Theatre Festival (also top-rated world wide), Capital Ex (carnival, parades, and miscellaneous fun), Heritage Days (international festival) and many more.

The river valley provides 100's of kilometers for hiking, biking, jogging, and cross-country skiing. If you are a runner, there are very active running clubs; there are marathons and races throughout the summer. There are lakes and provincial parks nearby. There is an active rowing club. Whatever sport or recreational activity you want to do, you'll be able to do it here, and also learn new ones!

In the winter, there are plays, concerts (Edmonton is on the rock concert circuit), symphonies, jazz clubs, sports bars, music & dance clubs (rock, alternative, blues, country). You name it, you'll find it here.

Edmonton is only 3.5 hours away from the resorts of Jasper, Banff, and the Canadian Rockies, places that people worldwide dream of visiting on vacation! Spending a few years of your life near these places is a real treat, and gives you constant access to world-class downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, and ice climbing.

I'd be a foreign student in Canada. Is it likely there will be anyone else there from my country?
Canada in general and the University of Alberta in particular is a multi-cultural place. There are students from all over the globe studying at the U of A, and there is a very active International Student Centre. This centre helps students from outside Canada in feeling at home here in Edmonton. Whether you come from China, Croatia, or anywhere in-between, you will be able to make connections with other people from your part of the world.
Where can I get information about housing?
Visit University Residence Services for information on campus residences. Or, if you prefer, the Students' Union Housing Registry is a great place to look for rental properties in Edmonton.
Can I get a work permit after completing my graduate program?

To work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). Please visit the Government of Canada website at https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work-postgrad.asp  and UAlberta - Work After Graduation for more details.