Current Graduate Students

Information for New Graduate Students

Welcome, new graduate students! Explore the information below to learn about new student orientation, ISO orientation, housing resources, health insurance, ID information, payroll, English language exams, and more. 

When students arrive they will attend an informative orientation led by the department that will help them become familiar with all of the resources we have to offer here in the Department of Computer Science. This is also a time for new students to meet other students and faculty. Typically this orientation is held within a week prior to the first day of the fall semester.

All new international students holding all non-immigrant statuses are required to bring their legal documents and proof of the orientation quiz completion to the ISO upon your arrival in Charlottesville.This is required so that the ISO can determine your legal status and make copies for our records as required by U.S. law. You can find all of the information on this on the International Students & Scholars website.

Each student will receive (3) different ID's at the University. 

1. The first is your Computer ID which will also be your email address (followed by This is also what you will use to login to anything that requires Netbadge access. 

2. The second ID will be your University ID. This ID number will appear on your ID card and be the one you will use the most on grounds. 

3. The third ID number is your SIS ID which the administration will use for your class registration, grading, transcript, and other official functions. 


You can find all three IDs in your Student Center in SIS. You can obtain your University ID Card after you register at the ID Card Office, Observatory Hill Dining Hall, during normal business hours.

Activate UVA Email Account & Systems Access

You will need to follow the procedures listed here to gain access to your email account and other university systems such as UVA Collab and the Student Information System (SIS).

All UVA students must have health insurance and must complete the Health Insurance Hard Waiver. Students receiving funding will be provided with health insurance through the University. You will need to sign up for this once you arrive and need to sign up each year in August. If you are not receiving funding you may also sign up, but will have to pay for your premium. All students may add dental insurance that can be purchased separately. This premium is not paid by UVA. Visit the following links for more information and to sign up:

In our department, we have three types of positions that are filled by graduate students: MTAs, GTAs, and GRAs.

MTAs are Masters students who are paid by the hour for tasks such as grading assignments, holding office hours to help students, etc. The current MTA hourly rate is $15. MTAs are scheduled approximately 10-20 hours per week. MTA positions offer no other benefits and do not waive or reduce the tuition costs – so tuition would still need to be paid in full by the MTA student.

GTAs are typically PhD students who are serving as Teaching Assistants, and GRAs are typically PhD students who are serving as Research Assistants. 

In each academic year, the department expects to fulfill a significant number of MTA positions. Being an MTA can help a student reduce their overall cost of attendance. Being a MTA is a great way to learn a topic more deeply, and our current MTAs say that helping other students learn is a very fulfilling experience. While Masters students are certainly not required to be an MTA, our UVA CS community relies on this expertise, so Masters students are encouraged to apply. 

All new PhD students are usually considered GRA's (even if your admission letter says that you are receiving a "CS Fellowship"). So, if you are an international student and expect to receive funding, then one of the first things you need to do when you arrive is to get your social security card. You must be in the country for 10 days and then go to the social security office: 1470 Pantops Mountain Pl, Charlottesville, VA 22911. 

New students who expect to be an MTA, GTA or GRA  must obtain a Social Security Card as soon as possible. You will receive email notifications from Workday to complete your I-9. You can login to Workday with your Netbadge. These will come to your UVA email address. Once that is completed, then you will be ready to get paid! Here is a list of acceptable documents to complete your I-9. To make things easy on yourself and the process quicker, come prepared with the required documents. 

Information for international students that need to obtain a Social Security number can be found here:

This is a VERY important step for International students! As soon as possible, you will need to get a social security card by taking their passport to the address below. This will need to be done before you will be allowed to receiving any type of payment. ALL PHD STUDENTS MUST GET A SOCIAL SECURITY CARD.

Social Security Office
1470 Pantops Mountain Place
Charlottesville, VA 22911
(800) 772-1213
(434) 295-1144

You need a checking account at a U.S. bank in order to receive your stipend payments. If you do not have one, visit a local bank (list here) and open a bank account before you fill out your payroll paperwork. Once you have done that, then you can set up direct deposit in your SIS account. If direct deposit is not set up, then you will receive a check mailed to your current address listed in SIS.

 Direct Deposit directions.

All International Students whose first language is not English are required to take the UVELPE test. Note that you cannot fail the UVELPE; based on the results, some students are recommended for writing or spoken English classes, designed to ensure a successful research and teaching career at the University of Virginia.

If you are going to be a MTA or a GTA in the Fall, you MUST take the SPEAK test. (UVELPE and SPEAK are two separate tests). All of the information on these tests can be found on the Center for American English Language & Culture website.

Graduate Student Handbook

The graduate student handbook helps students navigate the policies, procedures and requirements for graduate programs

Degree Requirements

*All Master’s degrees require a minimum of 31 graded, graduate-level credits (a graduate-level class is any class numbered 5000 or above). A graded credit means that the course resulted in a letter grade (A, B, C…) as opposed to an audited course (AU) or a pass/fail or credit/no credit course (CR/NC). 

No grade lower than a “B” will be accepted towards satisfying the master’s degree requirements. The average of all grades for courses taken while pursuing a CS graduate degree must have at least a B average (i.e., a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0). While a course with a passing grade lower than B will count in the GPA, it will not count toward degree requirements.

A UVA BS/BA student who has completed acceptable CS graduate courses that were not used to satisfy the BS/BA requirement can request to use UVA CS graduate courses to fulfill the requirements of our master’s curriculum.

A non-UVA BS/BA student who has completed acceptable CS graduate courses that were not used to satisfy the non-UVA BS/BA requirement can request a transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credits. 

Whether any individual transfer course counts toward our master’s degree requirements is determined by the MGPD.

All Master’s degrees require:

  • 1 credit of CS 6190 (Computer Science Perspectives).
  • 12 credits of graded, graduate-level CS breadth electives, comprised of a minimum of 3 credits in any four of the six focal areas (tracks) listed in this linked document
  • The breadth requirement is the same for all three master’s degrees and for the PhD.
  • 18 credits of graded, graduate-level CS electives (or other graduate courses approved by the advisor and the Master’s Graduate Program Director) are required for each Master’s degree.
  • No 5000-level CS courses are acceptable.
  • At most 3 credits of CS 6993/7993 (Independent Study) may count toward the degree.
  • CS 8897/9897 (Graduate Teaching Instruction) can be used to satisfy the full-time requirement.

*This information is for reference only. For more information on the Master of Science Degree visit the Graduate Record page.

The Ph.D. degree requires 72 graduate-level credits, including:

  • at least 24 credits of graded graduate-level coursework (of which up to 18 can be transfer credit— see below), containing
    • no 5000-level CS courses
    • at least 6 credits of graded graduate-level coursework in excess of that required for the Master’s degree (if possessing or obtaining a Master’s degree)
      • these credits traditionally cannot be transferred in, you must actually take at least 6 credits of coursework at UVA to get a UVA PhD
  • CS 8897 and CS 9897 (Graduate Teaching Instruction) cannot be used to satisfy this 24-credit requirement (but see below)
  • 48 graduate-level credits, typically satisfied via research hours such as CS 9999, containing
    • at least 12 credits in any combination of CS 8897 and CS 9897 (Graduate Teaching Instruction), corresponding to two semesters as a full-time, 20 hour per week TA (see Chapter 3.2)
  • Completion of the Qualifying Examination (see Chapter 5)
  • Completion of the PhD Proposal (see Chapter 6.3)
  • Completion of the Oral Defense of the written Dissertation (see Chapter 6.4)
  • Finally, complete the “Graduate Student Leave Request” form (see Section 2.5) to leave the program.

These requirements have significant overlap with the MCS and MS degree requirements; many students choose to earn one of those Master’s degrees as part of their PhD studies.

Get In Touch

Jack W. Davidson

Professor, Computer Science Director, Cyber Defense Program of Study

Jack W. Davidson is a Professor of Computer Science at UVA. He joined in 1981 after receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Arizona. His research interests include compilers, computer security, programming languages, computer architecture, and embedded systems. He is the principal investigator on several ongoing grants.

Felix Xiaozhu Lin

William Wulf Faculty Fellow Associate Professor, Computer Science

Felix Xiaozhu Lin joined the Department of Computer Science as an associate professor in August 2020. Prior to his appointment at UVA Engineering, Lin was a tenured associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University.