Can I go back to school yet?
May 13, 2011 4:25 PM Subscribe
Given my level of preparation, how reasonable is it for me to hope to get into a funded master's program in computer science? And can you suggest some schools that fund non-PhD students?
posted by anonymous to Education (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I graduated a few years ago from a well-regarded small liberal arts school with a degree in linguistics. My undergraduate GPA was only ~3.5, but it was noticeably better in the last two years than the first two (freshman year, I hadn't learned to do homework yet and got a pair of C-minuses in Calc III and Linear Algebra). Senior year, I took Intro CS and loved it, then took a senior undergraduate-level course on Natural Language Processing, and loved that, too (grades there were A and B+, respectively).
For the last three years, I've been doing QA for a small software company; my supervisor thinks highly of me. This past semester, I took a data structures class at UW-Madison (got an A). In the fall, I'm planning on taking Intro to the Theory of Computing and Intro to Programming Languages and Compilers (both are upper-level undergrad classes), and I'd like to apply to grad school (so at that point I'll have completed 3 CS courses and be midway through 2 more, with plans to take at least 1 more next spring). I'm taking the GRE next month and planning on doing well (the first practice test I took was 720 verbal and 790 quantitative, which is about as low as I would find acceptable for myself).
I'm planning to apply to UW-Madison (which seems like a stretch, but I'm already here, so I figure I might as well) and to schools on the west coast, ideally in Oregon. Am I crazy to try to apply when I will have only completed 3 CS courses? I know that most Madison CS grad students are funded regardless of what degree they're seeking; are there other schools where that's true? Any other advice would be welcome.
Why I don't want a PhD: I don't love academia enough for that, and I don't want to commit that large a chunk of my life.
Why I want an MS: I enjoy classes, and I like learning. I want to be able to devote my time to learning in a more in-depth way than I can while working full time, and it's certainly a bonus that my employment prospects are likely to be improved my the degree.
Why I want funding: I already have a healthy amount of debt from my undergraduate degree, and if possible, I want to avoid taking on any more.
Anonymous because I don't like talking about grades in public.