Frequently Asked Questions
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Some of these answers are from the perspective of students entering the program at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Students who are entering the program from another institution and plan to spend their second (abroad) semester in Platteville should read below.
- You'll receive a quality master's degree, allowing you to gain depth in a number of practical areas within computer science.
- You'll have an opportunity to meet people and form professional contacts in other countries. Your international experiences will be invaluable to both you and your employers.
- Students going to Germany will have an opportunity to visit Europe. See picturesque castles, visit villages that have been around for hundreds of years, work with students from all over the world, and enjoy good food and beer!
- Students going to Australia will get to experience life in the tropics. Townsville is minutes from both tropical rain forests and the Great Barrier Reef. Learn about Aboriginal culture, see lots of wildlife, work with students from Australia and Asia, and contemplate computer science on the beach!
What's this about "home" and "abroad" institutions?
The "home" institution is the school through which the student enters the program. The student must meet all entrance requirements for that institution. The "abroad" institution is the school at which the student spends the second semester. Once admitted to the home institution, the student is automatically eligible for taking classes at the abroad institution.
What schools are involved?
- United States: University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Platteville, Wisconsin (UW-Platteville)
- Germany: Hochschule Darmstadt (h_da) in Darmstadt, Germany
- Australia: James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville, Australia
What are the entrance requirements?
You enter the program by applying to the institution that will be your "home" institution. For example, students entering through Germany would apply directly to h_da, and students entering through the United States would apply directly to UW-Platteville. Each institution has additional entrance requirements beyond the bachelor's degree.
What if my undergraduate degree is in something besides computer science or software engineering?
The above sequence assumes the student has already taken an introductory course equivalent to CS 1430, Programming in C++. It is not necessary that the course cover C++: other programming languages (especially Java) would be sufficient. If such a course has not been taken, a minimum of four semesters will be needed before the student can fully enter the graduate program. Since that first semester will consist of taking just CS 1430 (with perhaps a mathematics course), it is strongly recommended that such students take a course equivalent to CS 1430 in their local area before moving to Platteville. However, it is important to communicate your interests and the course you plan to take with UW-Platteville faculty to make sure of a smooth transition into the master's program.
Do I have to know German?
However, if you plan to enter through one of the partner institutions (in particular, h_da), you will need to be proficient at the native language for that institution. Thus if you are proficient at English but not German, you would need to enter the program through UW-Platteville or Australia.
Is there a possibility that the international requirement will be dropped?
What degree will I earn?
You will receive a Master of Science in Computer Science.
When do classes start?
Location Fall Semester Spring Semester
Platteville, WI Sept. to Dec. mid-Jan. to mid-May
Townsville, Australia Aug. to Nov. March to July
Darmstadt, Germany late Oct. to mid-Jan. Mar. to July
("Fall" and "Spring" are the names used at UW-Platteville - the other institutions use different names for their terms.)
Are any of the classes available online?
How much does the program cost?
Room, board, and travel expenses will be covered by the student, including housing overseas and expenses for such things as passports and visas. A grant is available for helping to defray travel expenses; see the International Grants and Scholarships and look for "Study Abroad Grant". This grant is available to American citizens or permanent resident aliens who are enrolled in the program. Other grants may be available to you, so check them out!
See the academic costs site for information on room and board at UW-Platteville (ignore the information there on tuition and fees). As of 2009, living and eating on campus costs approximately $2750 per semester.
Living expenses in Platteville and Darmstadt are similar in that about 1 € buys about as much as $US 1 to 1.50. For the current exchange rate, see sites such as the European Central Bank and ExchangeRate.com.
Likewise, living expenses in Townsville are similar to expenses in Platteville - see ExchangeRate.com for the exchange rate. There is an additional visa fee for students attending classes in Australia, approximately $300 Australian.
International students entering the program through Platteville (that is, international students who treat Platteville as their home institution) would pay the same tuition and fees as a nonresident. This is because UW-Platteville is largely supported by Wisconsin state tax dollars. Assistantships can reduce this expense - see the next item. Students entering the program through the sister institutions (that is, treating Platteville as their "abroad" institution) pay the same tuition and fees as their home institution; such students need to see below for information on costs.
Are assistantships available?
Assistantships are not enough to live on—on the order of a few thousand a semester—but being on an assistantship does mean the differential between resident and non-resident fees are waived. That is, while you're on an assistantship, non-resident students pay fees as if they were residents. Most Wisconsin residents find it easier and more profitable to work locally instead; there are good opportunities in the area for students with software development and computer skills.
Once you have been admitted you may apply for an assistantship by filling out an application and contacting the program coordinator. Assistantship duties range from constructing software to further departmental goals to being a lab assistant. UW-Platteville does not support teaching assistantships, so the assistantships are typically research-oriented.
How do I apply?
What is the application deadline?
International students - that is, those who will require a visa - need to apply earlier. The specific date depends on where the student is from, but May 1 is the general deadline for a September admission and Sept. 10 for a January admission. Later applications will certainly be considered, but may not provide sufficient time to obtain the visa.
Are GRE scores required?
How do I register for classes?
How do I arrange housing?
Students from the international partner institutions are currently being housed in the residence halls. International students have the option of arranging for off-campus housing, but they would need to make their own arrangements. One challenge is that most house rentals require a 12 month contract. But most international students find living on campus gives more opportunities to mix with American students.
Can I take graduate courses as an undergrad?
Questions of interest to students coming to Platteville
That is, questions for students for whom their home institution is at one of the partner institutions.
How do I apply?
How much is tuition?
How much is room, board, and other expenses?
As an alternative, you can live off-campus. If you desired to do this, you would need to make your own arrangements. Many upper-level UW-Platteville students do live off-campus, but since most leases in Platteville are for 12 months it may be very difficult to find a place for just one semester. Generally, the expectation is that students will live on campus for their semester in Platteville. In our experience, JIM-CS students visiting Platteville report that living in the residence halls works well because it encourages mixing with American and other students.
If you do live off-campus, you can choose whether to sign up for a campus meal plan or not. Students generally find a meal plan a bit more expensive than cooking for themselves, but it also has the advantage of not having to spend a lot of time buying food at the grocery store, cooking, and cleaning. In addition, the meal plan provides more variety and quantity than most students can get on their own.
Living expenses are pretty similar between Darmstadt, Townsville, and Platteville. More discussion on living expenses can be found in Ch. 2 of the International Student Handbook.
What else do I need to pay for?
International students are required to make a deposit of about $200. About half of this deposit will be applied towards your housing bill when you arrive; the other half pays for transportation from the airport to Platteville and for a few supplies. Students also need to pay a fee for their visa; this was $180 in Fall of 2008.
There are a number of additional expenses regular students pay that international JIM-CS students do not need to pay. These include tuition, the "SUFAC" fee, and the book rental fee. If you are billed for these items, talk to the program coordinator to get the issue resolved.
How do I pay?
How do I fill out the health insurance form?
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818
For the time period, enter the date you leave your country as the start date and the date you will return as the end date.
Can I arrive early?
UW-Platteville will send a bus to O'Hare International Airport (in Chicago) on a preset date to transport students from O'Hare to Platteville. The bus will travel to O'Hare just once; if you arrive early you will need to either get to O'Hare so you can travel with the other students or you will need to provide your own transportation from wherever you are to Platteville. In any case, if you are going to arrive before the pickup date, you must
- Send an itinerary of travel plans and flight schedule to us before departure.
- Call Jean Olson at 608.342.1686 on arrival and let her know where you are and the time you arrived. This must be done as soon as you arrive.
- Keep either Jean Olson or the CSSE department notified of any changes to your travel plans.
The student visa that you will receive requires that people at UW-Platteville know where you are at all times while you are in the country on the visa. It's possible to get sent back home if you do not satisfy these requirements!
How do I get around?
Student organizations often sponsor van rides to the closest cities, Dubuque and Madison. From these cities it is possible to take bus trips to larger metropolitan areas such as Chicago.
Where can I get more information?
Who do I contact?
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