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I am a senior computer science major at a state school in the US. I have done internships at "Big 4" companies in my field as well as CS research with NSF grants.

I am interested in getting a Master's degree in a social science (history, English, or something related) but am not sure how I could get a school to look at my application. They are looking for students who have extensive experience and internships in related fields, which I don't have.

For what it's worth, I write very well and read copiously in my free time. My standardized test scores bear this out; when I took the SAT in high school, I got perfect scores on the reading and writing sections. Professors have also been very impressed with my analyses in humanities classes, though I haven't taken very many of them.

I understand that it probably wouldn't be so hard to get into a state school, but it would be nice to be accepted to a top 10 or so university. Is there a good way to get these schools to consider my application?

  • "State school" and "top 10" are not distinct categories and probably have a large overlap. (e.g. in my field Berkeley, Michigan, and UCLA are certainly top 10.) – Noah Snyder May 21 at 16:52
  • Social science or humanities? Many social science disciplines would be great places to leverage a more analytical background. For the humanities it might be more of a stretch. – Bryan Krause May 21 at 17:19
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    If you are interested in applying your CS background to social science, or even humanities, you will find many programs consider this a plus because there is a direct connection and they often take students with such a background. If you want to leave all the computing behind, its a tougher sell as you end up being unable to claim any specific background, only a general education. Still doable - especially if you are willing and able to shell out tuition for the masters degree - its just tougher to be seen as a good fit. – BrianH May 21 at 17:45
  • @BrianH What are ways that computing can be applied to history or English? – therxv May 21 at 17:51
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    That's actually a hot area currently - topic analysis and natural language processing methods for linguistic analysis especially is finding a use in both. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_history has a few useful references. Most Information departments are full of people using computational methods for social science, or using social science/humanities methods applied to technology (ethnography applied to social media is big, for example). Deep Learning applied to gender studies in film, computational linguistic analysis of newspaper headlines, big data + linguistics, etc. – BrianH May 21 at 17:58
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In the US, the undergraduate education is sufficiently broad that moving to a graduate program in a field other than your major is certainly possible and reasonable.

Of course the competition for entry into top schools is fierce, so any given individual has only a small chance.

But the only way to be certain is to apply. But best to apply to several places with somewhat different characteristics.

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    In the US, the undergraduate education is sufficiently broad that moving to a graduate program in a field other than your major is certainly possible and reasonable — Careful. That may be true for small liberal-arts colleges, but it's certainly not true at my own public R1. I would expect most undergraduate engineering majors to be ill-prepared for (and unattractive to) most humanities graduate programs, and vice versa. – JeffE Jun 20 at 22:25
  • Indeed. While the poster is getting a little confused between what is traditionally considered humanities and what is considered social science (and I have a background in both) a US undergraduate CS degree would not prepare the student for humanities graduate research. The style and amount of writing, alone, would be a dive into the deep end, nevermind the complete lack of relevant theory or research methods training. – GrotesqueSI 1 hour ago

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