Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are the certificate program credits transferable for credit in the Master of Science in computer science or in the Master of Science in cybersecurity programs?
A: Yes. An application must be completed to gain admission to one of the M.S. programs in the Department of Computer Science. Those accepted to the M.S. program may transfer their certificate credits toward the graduate degree.

Q: Can I apply for federal loans for this program?
A: At this time, graduate certificate students are not eligible for federal loans, although we encourage you to contact your employer about the prospect of tuition reimbursement.

Q: Can I enroll in this program even if my Bachelor’s degree is not in computer science?
A: Perhaps. Each prospective student is different, and each case is individual and is evaluated on an individual basis. The admission requirements for the CSIA graduate certificate program are:

  • A Bachelor's degree, preferably in computer science or related field
  • A 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of course work for the Bachelor’s degree
  • Two courses in mathematics beyond pre-calculus
  • One year of science with a laboratory
  • A course in a structured programming language (equivalent of CSCI 1111 or CSCI 1121)
  • A course in discrete structures (equivalent of CSCI 1311)
  • A course in data structures (equivalent of CSCI 1132)
  • A course in computer architecture (equivalent of CSCI 2461)

A standard bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field will satisfy these requirements in many cases. In some other cases, equivalent experience will substitute for some of these courses. For example, many network administrators have roughly equivalent skills to those gained from courses in computer architecture and/or operating systems. Most people who have programmed a decent amount in C++ or Java can satisfy the structured programming language course.

Q: How much calculus is really needed?
A: Note that the admissions requirements state “two years mathematics beyond pre-calculus” but are not more specific. What we are really looking for is enough mathematical grounding so you will be prepared when a few equations are used to describe an encryption method, the expected risk of something, or a hardware circuit.  Zero to few actual integrals or derivatives will be encountered.

Q: I'm a little rusty in my math (or computer networking) skills, and am afraid I may not have the prerequisites for this program.  What should I do?
A: If you know you don’t have the prerequisites, GW (and other local universities) offers the prerequisite courses, and you should take them first. If you are just a little rusty or uncertain, contact us with your questions. 

Q: I'm already enrolled in another GW program. Can I enroll in this one in addition (and apply these courses to that program)?
A: You can be enrolled in only one GW program at a time. “Enrolled” is different than “taking a course or two”. “Enrolled” means having applied and been accepted in a program. In some cases, you can “drop out” of one program, enroll in the CSIA program, earn your certificate, and then transfer those courses into the original program, to which you must reapply; but don’t try this without first consulting with your advisor in your current program.