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Students planning to apply to graduate school in computer science should begin the application process early in their senior year. While requirements differ from one graduate school to another, most programs require test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Students should plan to take the GRE early in their senior year. Seniors should be aware that there are many available funding possibilities for graduate studies. The Office of Research Support (ORS), 01 Allen Building ((919) 684-3030), has on-line search capabilities to assist in identifying sources for graduate fellowships, and it also offers help with the application process. Students should also check with the Department of Computer Science Student Support office for fellowship opportunities. Deadlines vary and those who wish to go directly into graduate studies should contact ORS early in their senior year. Students should write or call the graduate programs in which they are interested and get specific requirements from them directly. Care should be taken in determining whether a Master's degree or Ph.D. degree is desired, since many schools have separate admissions procedures for these programs.
Students planning to go directly into the job market after their senior year should still consider taking the GRE before they graduate, just in case they decide to pursue graduate studies at some later date. Many graduate schools accept results several years old, and it is unlikely that students will perform better after being out of school for a few years.
Undergraduates interested in graduate study should interact with faculty members often. In addition to contact through classes, independent study is a good way to get to know faculty members. Most faculty are willing to suggest a topic for independent study or to consider a topic the student has selected. This contact will help a faculty member write convincing and knowledgeable recommendations, which are necessary for many graduate programs and jobs.
Duke Department of Computer Science