Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the difference between the February 20 and May 20 application deadlines?

A: The February 20th deadline is for early admission. All applications received by this date will be considered. Well-qualified students will be admitted during the early admission phase, receiving notification of their admission by March 20th. All other applications will be moved to the regular decision pool. During the regular admissions phase, all applications received by May 20th will be considered, along with those received prior to the February 20th early deadline. Students will hear about admission decisions by the first week of June.


Q: What are the admission requirements?

A: Information regarding admissions requirements may be found on the Career Change Certificate homepage.


Q: Is there a waitlist?

A: In the event that the number of qualified applicants exceeds the capacity of the program (as has been the case in the past), a waitlist will be created at the end of the admissions process. Students will be taken off the waitlist on a rolling basis as space becomes available when admitted students decline admission or do not confirm by the deadline.


Q: Should I choose the Summer or Fall quarter start option?

A: The certificate courses are organized sequentially, and should be taken in order. Students with limited programming experience should start during Summer quarter with the boot camp courses. All other students start in the Fall. Exceptions may be discussed with the computer science fundamentals certificate program director, Sheila Oh (


Q: What do I need to do after I get admitted?

A: Once admitted to the program, you will receive an email and mailed letter from Graduate Admission, welcoming you to the program, and asking you to confirm your admission to the certificate program. You have two weeks to confirm your admission. If you do not confirm by that deadline, your space in the program will be given to a student on the wait list. If you have any questions on confirming your admission, you may contact Graduate Admissions.


Q: How do I enroll in classes?

A: Once you confirm your admission, you will automatically be enrolled in your start term courses (boot camp courses for summer and certificate courses for Fall).


Q: Anything else to know before classes start?

A: All admitted students are invited to attend a new student orientation that will take place in mid-May. This will allows you to get familiar with the campus, buy books at the bookstore, and ask any outstanding questions regarding enrollment. An additional graduate orientation will take place the week before Fall quarter courses start. This orientation is required for all graduate students. All CSSE graduate faculty will be in attendance and program expectations will be addressed.


Q: What is the programming boot camp?

A: The boot camp condenses programming I, programming II, and data structures into a 12-week summer session. The boot camp consists of 3 courses, each worth 3 credits. The classes are held from 3:30-5:30pm, Monday through Thursday. Visit the Programming Boot Camp page for more information.


Q: Do I need to take the boot camp?

A: The boot camp is available to students who have not completed the necessary programming prerequisites for the certificate program. If a student has not completed some or all the necessary programming courses, one or more boot camp courses will be recommended at the time of acceptance into the certificate program. It is possible to fulfill these courses at a local college or university.


Q: When can I apply for the boot camp?

A: Students will not be able to apply specifically to the programming boot camp. Admitted students who confirm their admission will be offered the boot camp as a way to fulfill the certificate prerequisites. If a student is able to confirm completion of an equivalent course, they may pass out of one or more boot camp courses.


Q: Can I attend the boot camp while working full-time?

A: Due to the condensed time frame of the boot camp, students are expected to complete 20 hours of work outside of class per week. This is more intense than the part-time expectations of the certificate program itself. Therefore, attending the boot camp while working full-time is not recommended.


Q: What if I'm already a software developer/engineer/programmer? Do I still need to take all the courses?

A: If you are already working in the software industry, please contact the computer science fundamentals certificate program director, Sheila Oh ( to discuss your options.


Q: What are the start and end dates?

A: For the 2018-19 academic year, boot camp courses start June 25th and end September 13th. The certificate program runs for an entire academic year. Fall quarter courses start September 26th, Winter quarter starts January 7th, and Spring quarter courses begin April 1st. Students who complete the certificate during the 2018-19 academic year will be eligible to start the MSCS program in Fall 2019. For more information on exact dates, visit the Registrar's page.


Q: How many credits are in the certificate?

A: The certificate is designed to be a part-time program, with courses offered from 6:00-8:40pm, two evenings a week. The entire certificate consists of 18 credits. There are a total of six courses, with two courses offered each quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring).


Q: What courses are offered in the certificate program?

A: The certificate is comprised of six courses total. Students will enroll in two courses every quarter: Object-Oriented Concepts (CPSC 5011) and Database Systems (CPSC 5021) during Fall quarter, Data Structures & Algorithms (CPSC 5031) and Computing Systems Principles I (CPSC 5041) during Winter quarter, and Computing Systems Principles II (CPSC 5042) and Fundamentals of Software Engineering (CPSC 5051) during Spring quarter. See our website for course descriptions.


Q: What is the tuition for the certificate? How about financial aid?

A: Tuition is billed per credit. Tuition information may be found at Graduate Admissions page. Financial aid information may be found on the Registrar's page.


Q: When will I receive my certificate?

A: You will apply to receive the certificate by the first week of Spring quarter. Based on successful completion of the certificate courses, your certificate will be mailed to you during the summer.


Q: When do I apply for the MSCS program?

A: Most students apply for the MSCS program during Winter or Spring quarter. Students will need to maintain a B average in the certificate courses to qualify for the MSCS program.


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