I currently hold a bachelor's degree at Biomedical Engineering and I want to do a Master's Degree in Computer Science at California.

Would that be a problem?

Since I don't have a high GPA and the proper specialization, should I pursue a certificate of Computer Science first, increase my GPA and then apply for the Master's?

  • 2
    I graduated with a BS in Bioinformatics and I have a Master's in Computer Science. As long as you meet or take the pre-requisites, the education side of the Master's is covered. The GPA can be supported through stuff like the GRE, work experience, or whatever else you can think of. I'm not sure what type of Certificate you're looking for in Computer Science. I don't know how schools find certifications to be.
    – Compass
    Feb 20, 2015 at 14:40
  • First of all, thank you. I thought about a certificate of achievement from a City College, like this one > sbcc.edu/apply/files/cert/compsci.pdf . What do you think?
    – Machado
    Feb 20, 2015 at 15:15
  • 1
    Those look to be prerequisite courses, for sure, but depending on the type of Master's you are going for, they may not be sufficient. An industry Master's, that's probably enough.
    – Compass
    Feb 20, 2015 at 15:23
  • 1
    Every school is different, but as the department chair told me when I asked if I had a chance of admission in the CS Master's program with a BS in math, "If we only accepted people with a BS in CS, we would have no program." Talk to the graduate coordinator at the dept. They may have some prereqs you need to take first, but this is a situation they've encountered many, many times.
    – Kathy
    Feb 20, 2015 at 15:26

2 Answers 2


I have the same situation. I applied for a CS program after finishing a bachelor in Biomedical Engineering. I just gave an interview just because my bachelor was not relevant and then they accepted me. Depends on your field of interest and your background in that field.

My field was Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition sand I used to apply them to medical data/signal/images and I just continued the same as a master student in CS. As you see the huge overlap between these two made it easier for me so first think of what you are going to do next and some tips:

  • You need to know programming! in BME we used to use MATLAB but this is not enough for a computer scientist.
  • If you are going to do Analysis (algorithm based fields, data analysis and etc) you need to have a good impression of algorithms and math. Of course not professionally but you need an algorithmic & mathematical mind to work in analytics-based fields of CS.
  • If you are going to do something more related to software stuff or computer networks or information technology, you need to be comfortable with different softwares (depending on the field) and operating systems.
  • And finally the most important point: All what you read above was only my experience and point of view!

Hope I could help and good luck!

  • That's cool @kasramsh . Actually, I'm an Android developer with 3 years of programming experience, that's why I'm willing to do so. :-)
    – Machado
    Apr 17, 2015 at 14:54
  • So go for it @Machado! you'll find your position in the community soon or late. Good luck! Apr 17, 2015 at 15:50
  • @Machado, your experience in the field will be heavily weighted at some schools. I don't know if the school in California takes that attitude, but some schools do, such as UW Madison.... Look at the prerequisites for the courses you're interested in taking. That will help you detect any gaps you might have; you might want to resolve those as an unmatriculated student before starting the master's. Apr 18, 2015 at 7:45

I have an Engineering BASc and went on to do an MA and then PhD in Philosophy winning major Canadian and provincial scholarships.

Universities varied widely in how they interpreted their requirements for how many additional courses or years of study I would need for admittance to their MA programs. Some variation was likely due to the discretion of graduate admissions officers. It helped significantly that I had excellent marks, since one of the common admittance criteria is evidence that you will succeed as a graduate student.

I had taken a number of philosophy courses part-time after graduating, and got excellent marks. Several universities wanted me to start in second or third year in a second bachelor's program and then complete it in order to meet their requirement of a BA majoring in the discipline. One was willing to provisionally admit me once my total accumulated credits in philosophy amounted to the equivalent of those required for a double-major in philosophy (and another subject), which was their normal minimum requirement for background in the discipline. This allowed me to start after just 8 months in a specially designed qualifying program.

I don't think a Certificate is useful for entrance into a Master's. The courses themselves, how you do in them, and the reputation of the institution where you take them is more important.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .