Frequently Asked Questions (CS Undergraduate Programs)

Who is the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in Computer Science?

Prof. Mark Maloof is the DUS. His office is 325 St. Mary’s Hall. You can find his office hours on his Web page.

How do I declare a CS major?

If you are in the College, you need to write to the DUS in Computer Science to obtain approval. The DUS will also assign you a departmental advisor.  With this information, you can complete the Academic Program Changes form  If you are not in the College, then you will need to transfer to the College to major in computer science.

How do I declare a CS minor?

If you are in the College, NHS, or SFS, you can declare a minor in  computer science by talking to your advising dean. If you are in the  MSB, you must fill out the MSB’s minor declaration form.

What math electives should I take?

The math electives you take depend largely on your interests. It is common for students majoring in computer science to take some combination of courses on calculus, linear algebra, probability, and statistics, but depending on your interests other courses may be relevant. Probability and statistics are important for a wide variety of areas of computer science, such as algorithms, artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning, and security. Topics from linear algebra are important for computer graphics, machine learning, and data science. Topics from calculus, especially multivariate calculus, come up in machine learning and neural networks. We mentioned the importance of probability and statistics for the study of algorithms, but depending on your interests, courses in graph theory or combinatorics might also be relevant. As you progress through the curriculum and your interests in computer science develop, we recommend that you consult with your departmental advisor when selecting math electives.

How do I obtain permission to take CS courses outside the department?

You must obtain permission to count CS courses taken outside of the department toward your CS degree requirements. These courses include external electives, summer courses, Consortium courses, and study-abroad courses. We strongly recommend that you obtain permission before enrolling to ensure the courses will count toward your degree requirements.

To approve courses, the DUS consults with faculty teaching comparable courses and with the Undergraduate Committee. This process may take up to one week or longer depending on how busy we all are. Please make sure you account for this process when you start preparing your proposal for the classes you want to take. The department maintains a list of approved and unapproved courses.

  • If a course you want to take is on that list and we have approved it, then the DUS does not need to consult with the faculty to approve it. The DUS can sign the required form.
  • If a course you want to take is not on that list, then the DUS has to consult with the faculty as described. When you seek approval for a course, it is important to find and provide as much information about the course as you can. To seek approval, please use the External CS Course Approval form. You will also need to notify the DUS by e-mail that you have completed the entries for the form. Because of the work required, please limit requests to three courses per institution.

Note that the College has its own criteria for courses for transfer credit. Once you complete an approved course, you need to complete the Evaluation of Transfer Credit form.

Can CS majors take graduate-level courses to fulfill their degree requirements?

Yes. AB and BS students can take graduate-level courses with the permission of the instructor. Graduate-level courses count as major electives. After obtaining permission from an instructor, you need to complete the Registrar’s Add/Drop Form and obtain the instructor’s signature. You must then take the completed form to the Registrar’s Office.

Can CS minors take graduate-level courses to fulfill their degree requirements?

No. The faculty decided that the minor requirements do not adequately prepare students for graduate-level coursework. It may be the case that a minor who has completed their requirements has the preparation to take a graduate-level class, in which case they can take it as a general elective with the instructor’s permission.

How can I work as an undergraduate course assistant (Student Academic Assistant)?

Individual instructors recruit and manage the course assistants for their classes. Professor Woods recruits and manages the course assistants for COSC-051 and COSC-052.  If you would like to work as a course assistant for a course, contact the course’s instructor.

How can I get involved in research?

Please visit the page for Undergraduate Research for relevant information.