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This page is for new students applying to CAS

Admissions Guide

The Department of Computing and Software admits new students in the Fall term only (September). The number of new students admitted to our graduate programs varies from year to year.

NOTE: Admission is very competitive, so meeting/surpassing the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to our program. Many variables are considered when the Department of Computing and Software is making a decision to recommend an application for admission, some of which include: research fit; available funding; applicant’s statement of interest; the applicant’s specific industry/research experience outlined in their resume/CV; and the applicant’s reference reports. GRE scores are NOT taken into consideration for admission.

Admission Requirements:

Master’s Degree:

  • Honours Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent
  • For MASc / MSc programs: B+ minimum average, based on a full year equivalent of final year courses (3rd/4th level) relevant to
    the program
  • For M.Eng program: B- minimum average, based on a full year equivalent of final year courses (3rd/4th level) relevant to the

Doctoral (PhD) Degree:

  • Master’s Degree
  • B+ minimum average, based on previous graduate work
  • Admission to a graduate program is based on a judgment by the University that the applicant can successfully complete the graduate degree program
  1. You will need to determine if you meet our minimum eligibility requirements
  2. In preparation for your application (for thesis based programs), you should decide on a list of prospective supervisors (the application requests your selection of 3 potential supervisors). For project based program (M.Eng) you are not required to pre-select a supervisor. It is recommended that you review the bios and research of our faculty members ( before applying to identify Areas of Research and projects that align with your interests and experience. You may wish to reach out to your chosen faculty member(s) by email to generate their interest. In your initial communication with faculty members, you should offer a brief introduction sharing your research interests and explain how you expect your education and experience will contribute to their research. Our faculty members are very busy year-round so a lack of response from them typically means that they are not accepting new graduate students at that time.
  3. After you have decided on a list of prospective supervisors and area(s) of research, you can start to prepare your documents for your online application. To ensure that nothing is overlooked, please refer to the Required Documents tab.
  4. You are now ready to apply! For instructions on how to complete your application, please see the How to Apply tab. Note that requests to waive the application fee will not be obliged.

Application Deadlines

We will be accepting applications for September 2021 as of November 1st, 2020

We do not accept applications for January or May admission.

Deadline to submit completed international student applications is: March 30th, 2021 (including application fee).

Deadline to submit completed domestic student applications is: June 30th, 2021 (including application fee).

The deadline for domestic applications is July 31st, 2021 (including application fee).  After the deadline, only complete (with all reference letters) domestic PhD applications may be accepted up to August 20th, 2021.



Offers of admission will be made on an ongoing basis until all spaces are filled.

Required Documents

**Please make sure that you fill out your name correctly. If you are offered an admission to McMaster University, we will register you under the name that appears on your application form. Your name should be consistent with your passport, birth certificate, social insurance number, etc. unless your personal situation changes.

ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS MUST BE UPLOADED TO YOUR APPLICATION PRIOR TO HITTING “SUBMIT”. If any of the requested material is not uploaded at the time of application, your application may be declined without review. Once you hit “submit”, nothing can be changed/deleted/added.

NOTE: a complete application is required for review; applications deemed incomplete will not be reviewed. To ensure that your application is complete, please review this checklist of required documents before you apply. Details on each item are provided below:

  • Official Academic Transcripts and Degree Completion Certificates

  • Statement of Interest

  • Resume/CV

  • ELP (TOEFL/IELTS) Scores (if applicable)

  • Proof of Permanent Resident Status (if applicable)

  • 2 Academic References (read carefully)

Please Note: Any submitted documents will not be returned, nor will they be transferred to another department within McMaster University.

Official Academic Transcripts and Degree Completion Certificates

Electronic academic transcripts for ALL post-secondary studies completed or in progress at the time of application must be included in your application. Transcripts must show all courses and marks (where applicable), along with the transcripts’ legends/keys/grading schemes. If you are presented with an offer, it will be conditional that you provide us with the original copies at a later date. If the final transcript does not show that a completed degree has been conferred, an official/notarized copy of your diploma is also required.

Statement of Interest

The statement of interest should be uploaded to your application as a PDF file; without it, your application will be deemed incomplete. This document should be a few paragraphs indicating the type of research you are interested in pursuing; how your education and experience aligns with research areas in the Department of Computing and Software; any contributions you hope to make to research initiatives during your study and how you plan to make them (methods, approach) and finally evidence of your ability to work collaboratively and independently. This statement helps faculty members identify prospective graduate students for their program.


Like with the statement of interest, your resume/CV should be uploaded to your application as a PDF file; without it, your application will be deemed incomplete. It should be in the same format as you would submit for an employment opportunity.

English Language Proficiency Scores (if applicable)

“Effective from  March 13, 2020 to December 31, 2020 for the Faculty of Engineering, we will temporarily allow Duolingo English proficiency test scores ( to be used to generate conditional offers.  We will use the following minimum:

  • 120 for English Language Proficiency 

Applicants should request that Duolingo send the results directly to Computing and Software department - Attn: Delcia.
IELTS or TOEFL scores will be subsequently required by those receiving offers before attending studies at McMaster University.

Your ELP scores should be uploaded to your application as a PDF file as well as the original sent to the department graduate administrator. Your application will be deemed incomplete if these scores are not included.

English comprehension and communication (oral and written) are necessary for learning and research at McMaster University, as English is the language of instruction. You will be required to satisfy a certain level of English language proficiency (ELP) to gain admission to our programs IF the following points are true for you:

  1. English is not your native language; and

  2. English is not the language of instruction at your previous institution*

Proof of English proficiency can be satisfied by providing any of the following test results from tests taken within 2 years of the application deadline:

  1. TOEFL Scores:

    1. Minimum 550 – written test

    2. Minimum 213 – computer-based test

    3. Minimum score of 88

      1. (To ensure your TOEFL score is received by this department, please indicate Institution Code 0936 and Department Code 78 when requesting your transcripts from the TOEFL testing centre.)

  2. IELTS Scores:

    1. Test MUST be academic; not general

    2. Minimum overall score of 6.5

    3. Minimum score of 5.5 for each section

*If English IS the language of instruction at your previous institution, you can be exempted from the ELP requirement by providing either:

1. an official letter from your previous institution stating that the language of instruction is English, OR

2. official transcripts which state that English is the language of instruction.

Proof of Permanent Resident / Landed Immigrant Status (if applicable)

For permanent residents/landed immigrant only: if your VISA STATUS lists “Permanent Resident of Canada” or “Landed Immigrant”, you must upload a scan of your permanent residence card (front and back) or Record of Landing (IMM1000) to your application.

Two Academic References

Before beginning your application, you should obtain the consent of two instructors who are familiar with your academic work to provide confidential reference reports. You are not required to submit reference letters as part of your application; however, you must list your references and their contact information in your application. By entering the email addresses of your references through your online application, McMaster’s Electronic Referencing (e-reference) system will send your referees an e-reference request on your behalf.

IMPORTANT: the system will send the e-reference request to your referees ONLY AFTER YOU SUBMIT your online application. This means that you will need to have completed AND uploaded your scanned transcripts, degree completion certificates (if applicable), Statement of Interest, Resume/CV, ELP results (if applicable) and proof of permanent residence (if applicable) to your online application BEFORE you can click “submit”.

Referees may require 3-4 weeks to complete a reference report.

If, for some reason, you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the reference form (Referee Report on graduate applicant (pdf)) and send to your referees for completion. Downloaded reference forms must be sent by the referee DIRECTLY to Delcia Aguiar  through email (

How to Apply

Online applications are being accepted in MOSAIC starting November 1st, 2020, via the following link,

Please read through the “How to Apply” Information outlined on the School of Graduate Studies Website:

Please read instructions carefully when submitting an online application in MOSAIC.

  • It takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete an application. For security reasons, you will be logged out of the online application if you take more than 45 minutes on any one page.
  • You must save your application frequently. The application system will allow you to partially complete the process (if necessary) and return to it later.
  • If you have successfully paid your application fee but are unable to submit the application, please try to clear your browsing history and/or login to your application using a different browser.
  • Please note that McMaster University is closed from December 24 – January 4th inclusive and the technical support email account will not be monitored during this time. Please be assured that we will respond to technical support request messages received once the University re-opens in January 2021.
  • The email address you provide will be the one we use to communicate with you throughout the admissions process.
  • Mosaic is the University’s main site for students to carry out key tasks related to their academic life, like checking course schedules and paying tuition. For future students, it’s also the place where you can check on the status of your application for admission. You will be able to log into Mosaic once you’ve submitted your application and received your application confirmation email containing login information.
  • Individual file sizes should NOT exceed 5MB and the total file size of all uploaded documents should NOT exceed a maximum of 10MB.
  • To review – generate a report of your application details and review for accuracy. You may wish to save a copy of this report for your future reference.

Offers of admission will be made on an ongoing basis until all spaces are filled.
If you are made an offer of admission by the School of Graduate Studies, you will be required to provide all official documents upon arrival at the University, unless otherwise stated.

Please Note:
Admission is competitive. Due to limited spaces, only a small percentage of applicants gain admission. Meeting the minimum requirements does NOT guarantee admission.

Application Fee:

To finalize your application, you need to agree to our terms and conditions, and pay a non-refundable application fee. Be sure to have a valid credit card or Interac card (domestic applicants) ready for the application fee ($110 CAD)

The Student Accounts & Cashiers website indicates acceptable methods of payment.

If you are paying the application fee by credit or debit card, please remember to return to the online application to click "Submit"

Your application will not be considered for admission until your application fee has been paid.

Having Technical Difficulties?

Send an email to and include the details of your query.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Will I receive financial support?

Full time MASc/MSc students receive funding from the department/supervisor in the form of scholarships and/or teaching assistantships (funding is for 20 months). Full time PhD students receive funding from the department/supervisor in the form of scholarships and/or teaching assistantships (funding is for 48 months). There is no funding for M.Eng students.

What are the tuition rates?

Pending Board of Governors approval. All fees are subject to change.

MASc/MSc – under “Graduate Programs – Masters”

PhD - under “Graduate Programs – PHD”

M.Eng – under “Graduate Programs – Course Based or Professional Programs”

Can the application fee be waived?

No. Unfortunately we cannot waive the application fee for any reason. Your application WILL NOT be processed without payment.

Do I need to find a supervisor or need the support of a professor before applying?

No. However, in your application for MASc/MSc/Phd, you MUST identify 3 potential supervisors.

After receiving an offer of admission, every graduate student in Computing & Software must have a supervisor who is a faculty member who directs the student’s work on his/her degree program.

What are the areas of specialization of your department?

  1. Computer Systems

  2. Health Informatics & Bioinformatics

  3. Scientific Computing & Optimization

  4. Security Privacy & Data Analytics

  5. Software Quality

  6. Theory & Methodologies of Computation

Is an undergraduate degree in computer science or software engineering necessary to pursue a graduate degree in computer science or software engineering in Computing & Software?

No, but an applicant for any graduate program in Computing & Software must have substantial background in computer science or software engineering or a related field.

How can I determine the status of my application?

Within a few days of successfully submitting your application, you will receive a confirmation email from the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). This confirmation email will contain important information about how to access Mosaic so that you can follow the status of your application and your checklist of required documents. Applications once submitted initially will read “initiated”. Typically, documents in the “initiated” stage indicate that your application has not been marked complete. This should not be immediate cause for concern as Mosaic checklist updates are performed manually (not automatically); therefore – given the volume of applications received – you may need to wait up to a month to see a status update. If after a month from your application submission you notice that some documents have remained in the “initiated” stage, this could indicate that your application is incomplete. To complete the application, this has to be done by the departmental graduate administrator manually as it is not automatic. The graduate administrator will change the status once your application has been reviewed and it’s been confirmed that it contains all required documents to pass as “complete”.

Please check the on-line application using your access ID number to see what documents have been received. Applications will not be reviewed until ALL materials are received. Due to the volume of applications received, please note email queries to a status update will not be provided as they are visible online.

My application is complete, what do I do now?

Your completed application is sent for review by our admissions committee. If deemed admissible, your application will be made available to all faculty currently accepting new students. If selected, you will be contacted by an interested faculty member directly and any offers of admission will come from the School of Graduate Studies. This process normally takes 8-12 weeks from the time your application was marked as “complete”. However, in peak periods, this review can take longer than usual. Offers of admission will be made on an ongoing basis until all spaces are filled.

Can I re-apply if I’m unsuccessful?

If an unsuccessful applicant wishes to reapply, a new application package - including supporting documentation and application fee – must be submitted. Applications from one year are not held over to another year. All documentation submitted in support of your application for admission becomes the property of the University and will not be returned.

Do you offer both full and part time studies for your programs?

Yes. All our programs are offered on a full-time and part-time basis.

How long is each program?

Our MASc/MSc/M.Eng programs have a nominal duration of 16-20 months. All full-time Masters students have up to 24 months to complete the program on-time. (part-time Masters students have up to 3 years to complete on-time) All full-time PhD students have up to 48 months to complete the program on-time. (part time PhD students have up to 6 years to complete on-time)

What is the difference between thesis master’s degree (MSc or MASc) and a course master’s degree (M.Eng)?

Thesis master’s students complete four courses and write and defend a thesis that presents the results of an individual research project. MASc students are required to complete a seminar and defense. Course master’s students complete six courses and an independent study project.

What is the difference between computer science (CS) and software engineering (SE)?

Computer science is the general study of the science and engineering of computing. Software engineering is the disciplined development of software in accordance with engineering principles. There is a large overlap between these two fields with respect to both of study and employment.

What is the difference between the PhD degree programs in computer science and software engineering?

Students in the first program focus on computer science, while students in the second focus on software engineering. Otherwise, the two PhD programs are very similar: students complete four courses, pass a two-part comprehensive exam and write and defend a thesis that presents the results of a PhD level research project.

What is a typical entry date?

We only accept 1 intake per year – Fall (September)

Do I need to send you official transcripts?

No. We do not require any official documents unless an applicant is granted an offer of admission. Only PDF copies are required for application review. Original copies of the language test scores must be sent directly to the department graduate administrator.

Do I need to submit GRE results?

No. We do not require GRE results. You are free to include it but it will not enhance your application.

Is Co-op an option in any of your programs?

Yes. Students that are enrolled in PhD, MSc/MASc and MEng programs are eligible to complete a co-op work term after completing 8 or 12 months of studies (varies according to program) only with supervisor approval.

Can I defer or change the start date?

Your offer of admission is only valid for the term of entry indicated; this applies to all details and funding information contained within the offer, as well. If you would like to defer or change your start date, you must obtain approval from your supervisor; this approval needs to be emailed to the departmental graduate administrator who will then initiate the process to produce a revised offer of admission.

Contact Us

Due to the large volume of applications, application status requests will not be answered.

Offers of admission will be made on an ongoing basis until all spaces are filled.

You are able to log on to MOSAIC and check your application status at any time.

All required documents should be uploaded to your online application prior to submission

If you have official documents you would like to send, please send them to:

Department of Computing and Software
c/o Delcia Aguiar
Information Technology Building (ITB)
Room 202
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L7

Having Technical Difficulties?

Send an email to and include the details of your query.

For all other inquiries, please contact: