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 Here credits3Moderate
Boston UniversityYesClick Here
Brown UniversityNoClick Here
California Institute of TechnologyNoNoneNoneNoneLess,offered%20across%20six%20academic%20divisions.
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis ObispoYesClick Here semester3.3-to-3.7Very current College of Engineering students allowed to apply
Carnegie Mellon UniversityYesClick Here courses3Very
Case Western Reserve UniversityNoNone
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNoNone yearNoneLess major offered in both Columbia College and SEAS
Cornell UniversityNoCornell CS year2.5Moderate major offered in both Engineering and Arts and Sciences
Dartmouth CollegeNoNone
Duke UniversityNoNone
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main CampusYesClick Here semester2Less
Harvard UniversityNoNone,fall%20of%20their%20sophomore%20year.
Harvey Mudd CollegeNoNone
Indiana University-BloomingtonYesClick Here
Johns Hopkins UniversityNoClick Here
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyNoNone
New York UniversityYesClick Here credits2Less
North Carolina State University at RaleighNoClick Here courses2Very
Northeastern UniversityYesClick Here Semester2.7Moderate
Northwestern UniversityNoNoneNoneNoneLess students admitted into Weinberg or McCormick can declare a CS major after enrolling
Ohio State University-Main CampusNoClick Here credits2.5Moderate-to-Very 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 Here credits3.1Moderate
Princeton UniversityNoClick Here coursesNoneLess
Purdue University-Main CampusYesClick Here credits2.75Very
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteYesClick Here courses3Moderate
Rice UniversityYesNone
Rochester Institute of TechnologyYesClick Here semester3Moderate-to-Very
Rutgers University-New BrunswickNoRutgers CS courses2Less-to-Moderate
Stanford UniversityNoNone
Stony Brook UniversityYesClick Here credits2Very
Texas A & M University-College StationYesClick Here credits3.25Very
The University of Texas at AustinYesClick Here credits2.5Very
University of California-BerkeleyYesClick Here Allowed
University of California-DavisYesClick Here credits3Moderate-to-Very
University of California-IrvineYesUC Irvine CS courses3Moderate-to-Very
University of California-Los AngelesYesClick Here quarters3.5Very
University of California-MercedNoClick Here courses2Less-to-Moderate
University of California-RiversideYesClick Here courses3Moderate
University of California-San DiegoYesClick Here courses3.3Very
University of California-Santa BarbaraYesClick Here credits3Very
University of California-Santa CruzNoClick Here Allowed must declare CS at the time of application.
University of Colorado BoulderYesClick Here courses2.5Moderate
University of ChicagoNoClick Here
University of FloridaNoClick Here offered in both the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignYesClick Here CS Courses3.5-to-3.67Very 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 Here semesters2.7Moderate-to-Very Application Required
University of Massachusetts-AmherstYesClick Here credits3Moderate-to-Very
University of Michigan-Ann ArborNoClick Here offered in the both Engineering and LSA
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesNoClick Here
University of PennsylvaniaYesClick Here course units3Moderate in Arts and Sciences can pursue a second major in CS
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusYesClick Here credits2.75Moderate
University of Southern CaliforniaYesClick Here semester3Moderate-to-Very
University of Virginia-Main CampusYesClick Here courses2Moderate offered in the both Engineering and LSA
University of Washington-Seattle CampusYesClick Here coursesVariesVery
University of Wisconsin-MadisonNoClick Here courses2.25Less-to-Moderate
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityYesClick Here courses2Moderate-to-Very
Washington University in St LouisYesNone semesterNoneLess in any other divison/major can complete a second major in CS.
Yale UniversityYesNone

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