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I am a 4th year Electronics engineering student studying in India. I applied to Master's of Science in computer science programs (I wish to change fields) offered by 11 universities in the US, but my application was rejected by all 11 of them.

One of the important factors (correct me if I am wrong) that I consider is weak in my application is my background. I have no formal background (even though I have lots of informal background) in Computer Science (my university did not encourage Minoring in a second subject).

To address the above stated problem, I am considering enrolling into the "academic graduate pathway program"(by academic I mean that it is not intended to fulfil english language requirements, but to fulfil background requirements for the graduate studies in some field) which is basically an additional year before the Master's program where I will study all the required prerequisites for a Master's program in Computer Science.

The problem is that the cost is an issue. I will have to spend an year's worth of extra money before the Master's.

So, my question :

  • Is enrolling into the pathway program necessary (and if yes, how much) for improving my chances of getting into a Master's in Computer science program, or would taking online courses on coursera, edx, udacity ... be equivalent (by equivalent I mean would it benefit equally in the admission procedure)?
  • Hypothetically, if I get an offer for a 6 month research internship in a subject of my interest (Machine Learning - which is what I wish to concentrate on during my graduate studies), will the internship, or studying at the pathway program benefit my application more ?
  • Are there any other ways, specific to my case, in which I can complete the background requirement, without formally enrolling in such a program ?

1 Answer 1

It might be a year, but are there that many pre-reqs in total? Isn't it just 3 to 4 courses? Regarding admission, if you want to continue for a master's at that school offering the pathway program, and if that program is really competitive, then the pathway program is crucial for you. The good programs trust their own professors and quality and content of their own courses. They'll be more convinced of your preparation, if you do well. However, if you're not aiming very high for a master's, maybe consider cheaper options to fill in your pre-req background.