Information for Prospective Graduate Students
Graduate students in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems are key contributors to our research and instructional missions and enjoy a high quality of life. Continue reading for more information on our students’ academic experience and a little about what life is like in Flagstaff, Arizona. We also provide information on the admissions process and application requirements, and opportunities to fund your graduate education.
While each student’s experience is unique, most graduate students engage with course-based learning opportunities (particularly non-thesis master’s students) and hands-on research projects.
Graduate students have the flexibility to customize their program of study by selecting courses from a wide variety of areas, including:
- Computer science and software engineering, for example cybersecurity, machine learning, software architecture, computer networks, distributed systems, and software testing.
- Electrical and computer engineering, for example computer architecture, random signals and systems, wireless networks, pattern recognition, and signal processing.
- Eco- and bioinformatics, for example population health, remote sensing, healthcare informatics, ecological modeling, and environmental data analysis.
In addition to these regular offerings, our faculty also routinely offer specialized seminars, providing students with learning opportunities in cutting-edge areas and state-of-the-art expertise.
Doctoral students and master’s students in the thesis option of our degrees work closely with their faculty mentors to conduct high-impact, innovative research in a variety of areas, with a cross-cutting emphasis on understanding problems and engineering solutions that lead to benefits in human and environmental health.
You can discover more about our research by reviewing abstracts and faculty member bios in any of our three areas of concentration:
- Cyber and Software Systems (faculty): Work in this area is closely related to computer science, electrical engineering, and software engineering.
- Ecological and Environmental Informatics (faculty): Work in this area is closely related to ecology, remote sensing, and environmental modeling.
- Health and Bioinformatics (faculty): Work in this area is related to genetics and genomics, epidemiology, and population health.
Flagstaff offers an ideal, scenic environment for living and learning. With a four-season climate, amazing landscapes, and ample sunshine, you’ll discover outdoor adventures unlike anywhere else in the United States.
At 7000 feet elevation and in the midst of the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world, Flagstaff has drawn positive attention from a number of publications:
- Travel and Leisure magazine named Flagstaff among the top 10 Best College Towns in America.
- Time.com called it one of the nation’s happiest cities.
- Outside Magazine ranked Flagstaff as the 7th best town in the nation.
- Fodor.com named the city one of 20 College Towns We Love to Visit, citing Flagstaff’s nearly 700 acres of park land and 50 miles of trails.
Flagstaff offers a wide array of nearby recreation opportunities, including:
- Winter recreation: Snowboard or ski at Arizona Snowbowl, Northern Arizona’s ski resort located just 15 miles from downtown Flagstaff, or cross-country ski at the Nordic Village.
- Hike, run, or bike: Enjoy the 50 miles of hiking, mountain biking trails, and running tracks that are part of Flagstaff’s Urban Trail System, or sunbathe on Sedona’s red rocks and swim in Oak Creek, less than an hour’s drive to the south in Sedona.
- National Parks and Monuments: Flagstaff is surrounded by National Parks and Monuments, including being only one-and-a-half hours away from Grand Canyon National Park and minutes away from Walnut Canyon National Monument.
- Active campus life: You’ll find that there’s always something happening on the NAU campus, from athletic events, to theatrical plays, to musical performances, and everything in between.
- Vibrant community: Community events are constantly on offer in Flagstaff, including community theater, like Theatrikos and the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival, and downtown events like the Flagstaff Community Farmers Market, First Friday Art Walk, Movies on the Square, and Heritage Square concerts.
- Nearby: Flagstaff is a destination in to itself, but also located nearby other places of interest, like being within a two-hour drive to Phoenix, Arizona and a three-and-a-half hour drive to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Admission into all of our graduate programs is competitive and there are no specific grades or exam scores that guarantee admission. The entire admissions process is based on a complete graduate studies application that contains all necessary information—the online application will guide you through most necessary information.
For all prospective students without an NAU degree, we require GRE exam scores as part of the applications process. International students must also provide officially-reported TOEFL or IELTS scores. Students applying must request that ETS or IELTS officially report exam scores to NAU–we do not accept or consider GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores reported to us unofficially directly by the applying student.
All applicants to any graduate program at Northern Arizona University must fulfill general admission requirements.
For additional requirements that are specific to our graduate programs, consult the corresponding University catalog entry (under the “Details” tab with the heading “Additional Admission Requirements”) for your program of interest:
- Informatics and Computing, Doctor of Philosophy
- Computer Science, Master of Science
- Electrical Engineering, Master of Science
- Informatics, Master of Science
There are many options to finance your graduate studies in SICCS, for students who cannot afford either the entire or part of the expense, including graduate assistantships, tuition waivers, and scholarships.
Outstanding incoming doctoral students may be nominated for an NAU Presidential Fellowship.
Many doctoral and master’s students in our School are supported through graduate assistantships, which fall in one of two categories: Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA). GTA positions require that students provide instruction in courses and labs that support our undergraduate degree programs. GRA positions require that students contribute to the development funded research projects.
Both types of assistantships normally include the following: a full tuition waiver (excluding university and program fees), a waiver of fees for student health insurance, and a stipend paid to the student (as of Fall 2018, the stipend for master’s students is $17.5K per year and the stipend for doctoral students is $20K per year). Therefore, assistantships provide funding for the vast majority of costs involved in attending NAU in addition to providing a stipend that can be used for living expenses.
Graduate Teaching Assistantships
All students who apply to one of our graduate programs are automatically considered for available GTA positions and selected based on their excellent academic credentials and extent to which their expertise fills specific instructional needs. International students must have a TOEFL score of 90+ (or equivalent) to be considered for a GTA.
Graduate Research Assistantships
Individual faculty award GRA to incoming or continuing graduate students through funding intended to support specific research projects, such as National Science Foundation or National Institutes of Health research grants. The best way for a student applying to our programs to be considered for a GRA is to first carefully review faculty research project abstracts and research profiles. Students should then contact individual faculty conducting research in an area of interest, share their background and specific area of research interest, provide a current resume or curriculum vita and any publications students have contributed to, and express their interest in a GRA position. Based on this information, faculty may elect to make GRA offers to highly-qualified students.