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Frequently Asked Questions



Where is Notre Dame?

Notre Dame is located near South Bend in Northern Indiana. Notre Dame is about 90 miles east of Chicago. Notre Dame is serviced by a number of airlines through South Bend Regional Airport (airport code is SBN). The University is the cultural center of the northern Indiana-southwestern Michigan area and offers cultural, social, athletic, and political events throughout the year. Saint Mary's College, a liberal arts college for women, augments Notre Dame's offerings. Both the the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend and the Debartolo Performing Arts Center on campus hosts road shows of Broadway plays and is the home of a first-rate symphony orchestra.

What is the history of Notre Dame?

The University was founded in 1842 by the Reverend Edward Frederick Sorin and 6 brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross. It was chartered as a university by a special act of the Indiana legislature in 1844, and engineering studies were begun in 1873. The University's 1,250-acre campus is situated immediately north of the city of South Bend, an industrial center of about 130,000 people, approximately 90 miles east of Chicago. Its twin lakes and many wooded areas provide a setting of natural beauty for more than seventy University buildings, many of which have been erected in the past thirty years. The College of Engineering occupies a 160,000-square foot addition to Cushing Hall, the engineering building.

What types of projects are currently being researched in the Department?

See our research focus areas and a list of current projects.

What are the course requirements for a graduate degree?

See the summary of degree requirements for a brief listing and the Graduate Studies Handbook for the complete details.

How important are my English skills?

Fluency in reading, writing and speaking in English is required. The University does occasionally offer English classes for those whose native language is not English. These skills must be acquired before beginning a graduate program in the Computer Science and Engineering Department.

In order to be certain that you can adequately benefit from the quality educational experience we provide, we ask that all non-English speaking applicants take the TOEFL test and have official copies of the test scores forwarded to the Department. We also recommend such students take the TSE. Ordinarily, we waive the TOEFL requirement only for applicants who come from English-speaking countries. Delay in receiving your GRE and/or TOEFL scores will not automatically cancel your application; in rare cases, we may choose to consider your application without the scores, but normally we will wait until they arrive. Please note, however, that their absence will weaken your application. If you are admitted, we reserve the right to ask you to take the tests at Notre Dame.

What kind of assistantships are typically awarded to newly-admitted students?

All of our Ph.D. students are financially support.  See the Financial Support page for details.

How much does it cost to rent a room/apartment in Notre Dame?

A limited number of on-campus living accommodations are available for both married and single graduate students. More information on the graduate housing, single family apartments and off campus housing is available from the Housing Office.

How do I apply for financial aid?

You do not need to apply for financial aid.  New Ph.D. students are automatically assigned teaching assistant duties, unless you have already secured a research advisor.  See the Financial Support page for details.

What information is necessary in an application?

In addition to the University application, we require: three letters of recommendation, an official transcript of grades from both undergraduate and graduate programs, and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) results. Non-native speaking applicants also need to take the TOEFL, and we recommend the Test of Spoken English (TSE) Exam. The GRE subject exams are not necessary. All grades from ETS must be official; photocopies are not acceptable. If you are admitted based on preliminary or unofficial copies of your transcripts, we will require official records or copies which have been certified as authentic. As soon as a decision has been made on your application, you will be notified. This might take up to several months past the due date.

What are the minimum GRE and TOEFL scores for admission to the Department?

Test scores are not the main consideration for admission decisions.  The admissions committee considers all facets of an application before making admissions decisions. There are no minimum scores for admission to our department, however, our admissions policy is highly selective.

We are seeking applications from mature, intelligent, self-directed adults with excellent communication and technical skills.  We look very closely at the quality of your writing, your technical achievements, your grades in school, your work experience, and the detailed comments from your recommendations.  If you have conducted a research project, created software or hardware systems, or published written work, you should highlight those accomplishments in your application.

Of course, higher test scores do help.  We generally look for GRE scores in the 80th percentile or higher, but that is not an absolute rule.

International students must demonstrate strong English skills with a TOEFL IBT score of 95 or higher and a score 23 or higher in the speaking component.  IELTS requires a minimum score of 7 in all sections.