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Changing Your Major to Computer Science

Computer science applicants will encounter universities with greatly differing program-specific admissions policies. Certain schools such as Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern, and UCLA allow high school students to be directly admitted into their CS program, while other schools require freshmen to first complete a number of entry-level courses with a minimum GPA prior to being admitted into the major. Given how incredibly competitive entry into CS programs is today, teens should be aware of the initial barriers to entry and—for those eying a backdoor route into a given program—the level of ease with which one can later internally transfer into a computer science major.

The table below provides this important information for a number of top-ranked computer science programs. Column headers are defined below:

Direct Admit - Indicates whether prospective undergraduates can be admitted directly into a computer science major.

Prerequisites - Links to the institutional webpage that details requirements for transferring into a computer science major.

Minimum Progress - Indicates the minimum number of credits, semesters, or quarters needed to transfer into a computer science major.

Minimum GPA - Indicates the minimum GPA one must possess to be considered for admission into a computer science major. At most institutions, earning the minimum GPA does not guarantee admission.

Difficulty - An ordinal rating (from "Less" to "Very") indicating how difficult it is to transfer into a computer science major.

More Info - Links to an institutional webpage providing more detail about how current students can transfer into a computer science major. If there is no additional info beyond what is provided in the institutions "Prerequisites" page, links for "Prerequisites" and "More Info" are identical.

*At institutions where there is no direct admission, requirements for declaring/moving into a computer science major are indicated. 

InstitutionDirect AdmitPrerequisitesMinimum ProgressMinimum GPADifficultyMore InfoNotes
Arizona State University-TempeYesClick Herehttps://scai.engineering.asu.edu/computer-science-bs/degree-requirements/24 credits3Moderatehttps://engineering.asu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Admissions-req-2021-2022-Updated-8.23.21.pdf
Boston UniversityYesClick Herehttps://www.bu.edu/academics/cas/policies/declaring-changing-major-minor/NoneNoneLesshttps://www.bu.edu/admissions/why-bu/academics/majors/undecided/
Brown UniversityNoClick Herehttps://cs.brown.edu/degrees/undergrad/concentrating-in-cs/concentration-requirements-2020/new-scb-requirements/NoneNoneLesshttps://cs.brown.edu/degrees/undergrad/concentrating-in-cs/concentration-requirements-2020/declaring-the-concentration/
California Institute of TechnologyNoNoneNoneNoneLesshttps://www.admissions.caltech.edu/explore/student-life#:~:text=As%20you%20complete%20your%20first,offered%20across%20six%20academic%20divisions.
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis ObispoYesClick Herehttps://eadvise.calpoly.edu/changing-majors/within-the-college-of-engineering1 semester3.3-to-3.7Veryhttps://advising.calpoly.edu/change-majorOnly current College of Engineering students allowed to apply
Carnegie Mellon UniversityYesClick Herehttps://csd.cmu.edu/academics/undegraduate/guidelines-transfer-dual-degree-minor-and-additional-major-cs6 courses3Veryhttps://csd.cmu.edu/academics/undegraduate/guidelines-transfer-dual-degree-minor-and-additional-major-cs
Case Western Reserve UniversityNoNonehttps://engineering.case.edu/computer-and-data-sciences/academics/computer-science/bachelor-scienceNoneNoneLesshttps://case.edu/ugstudies/academic-policies/declaring-major-or-minor
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNoNonehttps://www.cs.columbia.edu/undergrad-faq/1 yearNoneLesshttps://www.cs.columbia.edu/undergrad-faq/CS major offered in both Columbia College and SEAS
Cornell UniversityNoCornell CShttps://www.cs.cornell.edu/undergrad/uadmis/becoming-cs-major1 year2.5Moderatehttps://www.cs.cornell.edu/undergrad/uadmis/becoming-cs-majorCS major offered in both Engineering and Arts and Sciences
Dartmouth CollegeNoNonehttps://web.cs.dartmouth.edu/undergraduate/declaring-your-cs-majorminorNoneNoneLesshttps://admissions.dartmouth.edu/follow/blog/abbi-fralick/declaring-major-dartmouth
Duke UniversityNoNonehttps://www.cs.duke.edu/undergradNoneNoneLesshttps://advising.duke.edu/major/declare
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main CampusYesClick Herehttps://www.cc.gatech.edu/create-application-changing-majors-computer-science1 semester2Lesshttps://advising.gatech.edu/change-major
Harvard UniversityNoNonehttps://csadvising.seas.harvard.edu/concentration/declare/NoneNoneLesshttps://college.harvard.edu/life-harvard/student-stories/how-do-i-choose-major-harvard#:~:text=Harvard%20does%20not%20require%20that,fall%20of%20their%20sophomore%20year.
Harvey Mudd CollegeNoNonehttps://www.cs.hmc.edu/program/cs-majorNoneNoneLesshttps://www.hmc.edu/registrar/planning-your-major/declaring-major/
Indiana University-BloomingtonYesClick Herehttps://luddy.indiana.edu/admissions/apply/change-declare-major.html302Less-to-Moderatehttps://luddy.indiana.edu/admissions/apply/change-declare-major.html
Johns Hopkins UniversityNoClick Herehttps://e-catalogue.jhu.edu/engineering/full-time-residential-programs/degree-programs/computer-science/computer-science-bs/#textNoneNoneLesshttps://e-catalogue.jhu.edu/arts-sciences/full-time-residential-programs/undergraduate-policies/academic-policies/requirements-for-a-bachelors-degree/#majorsminorstext
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyNoNonehttps://www.eecs.mit.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs/curriculum/NoneNoneLesshttps://registrar.mit.edu/registration-academics/academic-requirements/majors-minors/changing-major
New York UniversityYesClick Herehttps://cs.nyu.edu/home/undergrad/major_programs.html3 credits2Lesshttps://cs.nyu.edu/home/undergrad/declaring.html
North Carolina State University at RaleighNoClick Herehttps://www.engr.ncsu.edu/academics/undergrad/coda/9 courses2Veryhttps://studentservices.ncsu.edu/your-degree/coda-home/coda/
Northeastern UniversityYesClick Herehttps://www.khoury.northeastern.edu/information-for-overview/current-undergrad/undergraduate-advising-academic-support/academic-procedures/1 Semester2.7Moderatehttps://www.khoury.northeastern.edu/information-for-overview/current-undergrad/undergraduate-advising-academic-support/academic-procedures/
Northwestern UniversityNoNoneNoneNoneLesshttps://www.mccormick.northwestern.edu/computer-science/academics/undergraduate/bachelors/First-year students admitted into Weinberg or McCormick can declare a CS major after enrolling
Ohio State University-Main CampusNoClick Herehttps://advising.engineering.osu.edu/change-pre-major12 credits2.5Moderate-to-Veryhttps://advising.engineering.osu.edu/current-students/applying-your-majorOSU offer majors in Computer Science and Engineering (College of Engineering) AND Computer and Information Science (College of Arts and Sciences)
Pennsylvania State University-Main CampusNoClick Herehttps://advising.engr.psu.edu/advising/entrance-to-major/new-reenrolling-summer-2020-or-later.aspx29 credits3.1Moderatehttps://www.registrar.psu.edu/degree-planning/change-major.cfm
Princeton UniversityNoClick Herehttps://www.cs.princeton.edu/ugrad/becoming-cs-major3-to-5 coursesNoneLesshttps://odoc.princeton.edu/advising/how-do-i
Purdue University-Main CampusYesClick Herehttps://catalog.purdue.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=13&poid=1833012 credits2.75Veryhttps://www.purdue.edu/science/Current_Students/codo/index.html
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteYesClick Herehttps://science.rpi.edu/computer-science/programs/undergrad/bs-computerscience3 courses3Moderatehttps://info.rpi.edu/registrar/academic-planning
Rice UniversityYesNonehttps://csweb.rice.edu/zero-coding-experienceNoneNoneLesshttps://oaa.rice.edu/academic-planning/majors-and-minors/deciding-your-major
Rochester Institute of TechnologyYesClick Herehttps://www.rit.edu/computing/department-computer-science#prospective-students1 semester3Moderate-to-Veryhttps://www.rit.edu/computing/department-computer-science#prospective-students
Rutgers University-New BrunswickNoRutgers CShttps://www.cs.rutgers.edu/academics/undergraduate/admission-to-the-major5 courses2Less-to-Moderatehttps://www.cs.rutgers.edu/academics/undergraduate/admission-to-the-major
Stanford UniversityNoNonehttps://cs.stanford.edu/degrees/undergrad/Declare.shtmlNoneNoneLesshttps://advising.stanford.edu/current-students/advising-student-handbook/declaring-major
Stony Brook UniversityYesClick Herehttps://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/ceas-undergrad/current_students/major_entry_requirements/10 credits2Veryhttps://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/ceas-undergrad/current_students/major_entry_requirements/
Texas A & M University-College StationYesClick Herehttps://tap.tamu.edu/Change-of-Major2/Engineering18 credits3.25Veryhttps://us.tamu.edu/Change-of-Major
The University of Texas at AustinYesClick Herehttps://cns.utexas.edu/students/future/internal-transfer24 credits2.5Veryhttps://cns.utexas.edu/students/future/internal-transfer
University of California-BerkeleyYesClick Herehttps://engineering.berkeley.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions/change-of-college/NANANot Allowedhttps://engineering.berkeley.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions/change-of-college/
University of California-DavisYesClick Herehttps://cs.ucdavis.edu/undergraduate/non-majors/changing-majors-double-majors12 credits3Moderate-to-Veryhttps://cs.ucdavis.edu/undergraduate/non-majors/changing-majors-double-majors
University of California-IrvineYesUC Irvine CShttps://changeofmajor.uci.edu/engineering/#computer_science7 courses3Moderate-to-Veryhttps://changeofmajor.uci.edu/engineering/#computer_science
University of California-Los AngelesYesClick Herehttps://www.seasoasa.ucla.edu/com-faq/2 quarters3.5Veryhttps://www.seasoasa.ucla.edu/change-of-major/
University of California-MercedNoClick Herehttps://engr-advising.ucmerced.edu/policies/declaration-major2 courses2Less-to-Moderatehttps://bobcat-advising-center.ucmerced.edu/first-year-students/changing-major-or-declaring-minor
University of California-RiversideYesClick Herehttps://student.engr.ucr.edu/policies/major-changes4 courses3Moderatehttps://student.engr.ucr.edu/policies/major-changes
University of California-San DiegoYesClick Herehttps://cse.ucsd.edu/undergraduate/cse-capped-admissions-program4 courses3.3Veryhttps://cse.ucsd.edu/undergraduate/cse-capped-admissions-program
University of California-Santa BarbaraYesClick Herehttps://engineering.ucsb.edu/undergraduate/academic-advising/change-major-college-engineering30 credits3Veryhttps://engineering.ucsb.edu/undergraduate/academic-advising/change-major-college-engineering
University of California-Santa CruzNoClick Herehttps://undergrad.soe.ucsc.edu/sites/default/files/file-content-type/2021-11/CS_maj_dec_chart_2021_22.pdfNANANot Allowedhttps://advising.ucsc.edu/gettingstartedinthemajor/frosh/cmps_fr.htmlStudents must declare CS at the time of application.
University of Colorado BoulderYesClick Herehttps://www.colorado.edu/engineering-advising/iut-engineering-bachelor-arts-degree-computer-science4 courses2.5Moderatehttps://www.colorado.edu/engineering-advising/iut-engineering-bachelor-arts-degree-computer-science
University of ChicagoNoClick Herehttp://collegecatalog.uchicago.edu/thecollege/computerscience/NoneNoneLesshttp://majors.cs.uchicago.edu/cmsc-major-faq.html#just-in-case
University of FloridaNoClick Herehttps://catalog.ufl.edu/UGRD/colleges-schools/UGLAS/CSC_BS/#criticaltrackingtextVariesVariesModeratehttps://www.cise.ufl.edu/admissions/undergraduate/CS offered in both the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignYesClick Herehttps://cs.illinois.edu/admissions/undergraduate/transfer-students2 CS Courses3.5-to-3.67Veryhttps://catalog.ufl.edu/UGRD/colleges-schools/UGLAS/CSC_BS/#criticaltrackingtextCS offered in the College of Engineering; CS & Statistics, CS & Mathematics, and CS + "X" majors offered in Liberal Arts and Sciences.
University of Maryland-College ParkYesClick Herehttps://undergrad.cs.umd.edu/internal-transfer-students2 semesters2.7Moderate-to-Veryhttps://undergrad.cs.umd.edu/internal-transfer-studentsLEP Application Required
University of Massachusetts-AmherstYesClick Herehttps://www.cics.umass.edu/content/major-change-cs-revised12 credits3Moderate-to-Veryhttps://www.cics.umass.edu/content/major-change-cs-revised
University of Michigan-Ann ArborNoClick Herehttps://cse.engin.umich.edu/academics/undergraduate/Varies2.5Moderatehttps://cse.engin.umich.edu/academics/undergraduate/CS offered in the both Engineering and LSA
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesNoClick Herehttps://cse.umn.edu/college/transfer-within-university43.2Moderate-to-Veryhttps://cse.umn.edu/college/transfer-within-university
University of PennsylvaniaYesClick Herehttps://ugrad.seas.upenn.edu/student-handbook/undergraduate-policies/transfer-in-to-penn-engineering/8 course units3Moderatehttps://admissions.upenn.edu/blog/changing-majorsStudents in Arts and Sciences can pursue a second major in CS
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusYesClick Herehttps://www.sci.pitt.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions24 credits2.75Moderatehttps://viterbiundergrad.usc.edu/pre-engineering/faq/
University of Southern CaliforniaYesClick Herehttps://viterbiundergrad.usc.edu/pre-engineering/1 semester3Moderate-to-Veryhttps://viterbiundergrad.usc.edu/pre-engineering/
University of Virginia-Main CampusYesClick Herehttps://engineering.virginia.edu/current-students/current-undergraduate-students/transferring-uva-engineering5 courses2Moderatehttps://engineering.virginia.edu/departments/computer-science/cs-undergraduate-programs#accordion396965CS offered in the both Engineering and LSA
University of Washington-Seattle CampusYesClick Herehttps://www.cs.washington.edu/academics/ugrad/admissions/currentuw7 coursesVariesVeryhttps://admit.washington.edu/apply/admission-to-majors/
University of Wisconsin-MadisonNoClick Herehttps://www.cs.wisc.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-faqs/2 courses2.25Less-to-Moderatehttps://www.cs.wisc.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-faqs/
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityYesClick Herehttps://eng.vt.edu/content/dam/eng_vt_edu/academics/coe_com.pdf9 courses2Moderate-to-Veryhttps://www.registrar.vt.edu/dates-deadlines/Change_of_Major_Dates.html
Washington University in St LouisYesNonehttps://cse.wustl.edu/academics/undergraduate/BS-Computer-Science.html1 semesterNoneLesshttps://admissions.wustl.edu/common-questions/Students in any other divison/major can complete a second major in CS.
Yale UniversityYesNonehttp://catalog.yale.edu/ycps/subjects-of-instruction/computer-science/NoneNoneLesshttps://advising.yalecollege.yale.edu/declaring-major

 

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