Your CIS Department Contacts:

Mike Felker
Graduate Coordinator for the CIS/MSE & MCIT programs
Office: 158 Levine
Phone: 215-898-9672

Britton Carnevali
Graduate Coordinator for PhD program
Office: 310 Levine
Phone: 215-898-5515

Charity Payne
Graduate Coordinator for ROBO
Office: 459 Levine
Phone: 215-898-0374

Liz Wai-Ping Ng
Associate Director for Embedded Systems MSE program
Office: 313 Levine
Phone: 215-898-8543



Applying to the CIS Graduate Program

Application Procedure

All applications for engineering graduate programs are submitted online. Penn Engineering Graduate Admissions provides links to create an application or log in to view an existing application here.

Information by Program

Information about our Doctoral (Ph.D.), Master of Science in Engineering in Computer and Information Science (MSE), and the Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) graduate programs can be found here. You can also access information about our faculty, research and courses.

Applicants to the CIS Doctoral and CIS/MSE graduate programs are expected to have a strong academic background in computer science; the core courses for Doctoral students are the same core courses taken by CIS/MSE students.

The MCIT graduate program is designed for candidates with a strong academic background in an area other than computer science; i.e., candidates with a strong academic background in computer science should NOT apply to the MCIT graduate program.

Candidates may apply to the doctoral program only as full-time students.

Penn Engineering Graduate Admissions provides an admissions FAQ here.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test scores must be submitted. Our institution code is 2888; it is not necessary to use a department code. The GRE subject test is not required. Information about the GRE test can be found at

The GMAT does not provide the same information as the GRE, therefore we expect applicants to submit GRE scores.

The average GRE scores for candidates admitted to our graduate programs for the past several years are available here. This will give you an idea of what is expected of applicants. On the ETS website you can download a chart comparing the pre-2011 GRE Verbal and Quantitative grading system with the current grading system.


International students and permanent residents whose native language is not English must submit proof of English proficiency. This may be done in the following ways:

  • Completion of three full years of course work in an academic program at a college or university in the U.S. prior to matriculation*;
  • Submission of an official TOEFL score;
    • A total score of at least 100 is expected for the internet-based exam.
    • Our TOEFL Institution Code (University of Pennsylvania, Engineering and Applied Science) is 2888.
    • Information about the TOEFL can be found at
  • Submission of an official score report for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score of at least 7.5.

*Proof of English Language proficiency may also be demonstrated by completion of three full years of course work in an academic program at a college or university in Canada, the U.K., New Zealand, or Australia. Click here for more information.

Grade Point Average

Applicants to the CIS graduate programs are expected to have high grade point averages.


Deadlines for doctoral and master's program admissions applications can be found here.

The deadlines are to monitor the number of applications, admittances, matriculants, etc. There is no Spring Application Cycle. 

All materials - test scores, recommendations, etc. - should be submitted when the application is submitted.

All applications are reviewed, and applicants notified of the decision, as expeditiously as possible.

Personal Statement

All applicants should use the personal statement to describe academic, career, and, if applicable, research objectives, as well as any other information you wish to convey. Applicants must include a resume with the personal statement. Applicants to the doctoral program should review the CIS Departmental Research Areas and note in the personal statement those research areas to be of special interest.


Applicants to the doctoral program are required to provide three (3) recommendations.

Applicants to the master's programs are required to provide two (2) recommendations.

Recommendations should be from faculty familiar with the applicant's academic abilities; one industry recommendation is acceptable.

The process for submitting recommendations is outlined on the Engineering Graduate Admissions website. Recommenders are strongly encouraged to submit their recommendations online - this is the quickest and most efficient method of submitting the recommendation. Hard copy recommendation forms are not available. 

If recommenders wish to submit a hard copy recommendation rather than the preferred online version, it must be sent to:

University of Pennsylvania
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Graduate Admissions
109 Towne Building
220 S. 33rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6391


All materials needed to complete the application - transcripts, test scores, recommendations, personal statements, etc. - should be submitted online to ensure accuracy and a swift completion of the application dossier.

Applicants must upload an unofficial copy (scanned, MS Word, PDF, etc.) of all transcripts into the online application; if an applicant is unable to upload the transcript copy, then the online self-reported transcript must be completed. 

The transcript submitted online is used for the evaluation.

The Official Transcript may be submitted when offer of admission is received One [1] official transcript from each university or college attended where course credit was earned. This must be submitted by the issuing institution.

  • one [1] official final transcript, showing completion of the degree. You must also send a certificate of graduation, when the transcript does not list the degree earned. This must be submitted by the issuing institution.
  • We encourage all applicants that have attended a Chinese Institution to use the CHESSIC translation service when sending their official documentation. The first document is $12 and all additional documents are $10. Please note, it may take up to 20 business days for the documents to be electronically transmitted.

Mail to:

University of Pennsylvania
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Graduate Admissions
111 Towne Building
220 S. 33rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6391

International applicants are not required to provide proof of financial support at the time of submission of an application to the CIS graduate program and should not submit this information with the application.

International applicants may wish to provide an evaluation of their transcripts by a credential evaluation service such as the World Education Services but such an evaluation is NOT mandatory.

Candidates who wish to have their papers, abstracts, talks, portfolios, etc., reviewed as part of the application dossier should not send hard copies or DVDs; please link these materials on your web page and list the appropriate URLs in your personal statement.

The online application process allows the applicant to log in to determine what materials have been received and applicants are STRONGLY encouraged to do this. When an applicant logs in, the information  regarding materials received, etc. is listed at the bottom of the page, right below the application status.

It is not possible to evaluate a candidate's potential for admission to the graduate program until the application is complete and all transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statement, test scores, application fee, etc. have been submitted.

Test scores, transcripts, etc. should be submitted when the application is submitted or shortly after the application is submitted. An application will not be evaluated until all needed materials have been submitted and it is complete.  All completed applications are evaluated.

Application Fee

The application fee is $80. This information is available in the online application.

The application fee to apply for a CIS graduate program is waived for United States active duty service members and military veterans. Send an email request to Dr. Sonya Gwak @, including a scanned copy of your DD 214 or other appropriate documentation.

Application Statistics
Admission statistics - number of applicants/admits, average GRE scores, etc. - for our graduate programs for the past several years are available here. This will give you an idea of what is expected of applicants.
Financial Aid Information

Departmental financial aid is available only for doctoral students. Applicants to the CIS Doctoral Program are considered for available funding; it is not necessary to submit extra material to be considered for funding.

There is no departmental funding available for master's students. There are no RA positions available in the department; only research fellow positions for doctoral candidates. Teaching Assistant (TA) duties are generally met by Ph.D. candidates participating in a Teaching Practicum. Information about other funding resources can be found here.

The University of Pennsylvania participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program; information can be found here.


Submatriculation: Undergraduate students should not apply for submatriculation status in the CIS/MSE program until their junior year. They will be expected to complete the following courses by no later than the end of the semester they apply:

  • CIS 120, CIS 121, CIS 160,

  • one theory course (CIS 262, CIS 320),

  • Any two of the following project oriented classes: (Nets 212, CIS 341, CIS/ESE 350, CIS 371, CIS 380, CIS 550, CIS 555, CIS 460, CIS 505, CIS 553)

The application must include a plan for completing all requirements for their current undergraduate and CIS/MSE program.  Applicants should have at least a 3.2 GPA in their major, as well at least a B+ average in the chosen six courses above. Admissions decision are made only after the chosen six courses above are completed. Admission is selective and decisions are made by the graduate group.

School of Engineering Information regarding the submatriculation option is available here. Click here for information re: submatriculating in the Master's in Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) program.



Dual degree/transfer from another SEAS program

Information re: requesting to be considered for a dual degree/transfer can be found at

Requirements for engineering masters students transferring to CIS/MSE or doing dual degree program with another engineering masters degree:
• Minimum GPA of 3.7
• Transfer request can occur only after end of 1st semester at Penn, but no later than the add/drop deadline of 3rd semester.
• Received a grade of A in one CIS class by the end of 3rd semester.

Transfers only (in addition to above requirements):
• One page statement of purpose explaining why the student wishes to
• transfer to CIS/MSE.
• A grade of A- and above in a core CIS theory class (CIS 502 or CIS 511) by the end of 3rd semester

Students requesting to be considered for dual degree status/transfer status should not make such a request until after completion, including posting of grades, of the first semester in the program to which they were originally admitted.

Such requests are evaluated with the same criteria used in evaluating candidates applying directly to our graduate programs; i.e. candidates should have the appropriate background, academic credentials, test scores, etc. Click here to access School of Engineering info re: dual degrees/transferring programs.