Note: The following requirements pertain to students enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh prior to Fall 2003. Students who enrolled in Fall 2005 (Term 2061) and afterward, please the current requirements.

About the Degree

The Department of Computer Science of the University of Pittsburgh was established in 1966, which makes it one of the oldest such departments in the country. This degree program was initiated in 1974 with the following objectives:

  • To provide an opportunity for students to focus their educational efforts on computer science as a discipline.
  • To prepare students for employment and positions of responsibility in an increasingly computer oriented world.
  • To prepare students for graduate study in computer science.

The curriculum for the BS degree program consists of seven required courses (22 credits) and five 3-credit elective courses. This makes a total of 37 computer science credits. The required courses are broken into three sequences:

  1. a three course programming sequence: CS 0401, CS 0445, and CS 1501.
  2. a two course systems sequence: CS 0447, and CS 1550.
  3. a two course sequence on discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science: CS 0441 and CS 1502.

Students should have some programming experience (usually acquired in high school) before taking CS0401. Any high school course that includes the writing of several BASIC or Pascal programs would be sufficient. It is also possible to take one of the Department’s programming service courses, such as CS0007, as preparation.

The four 0400 level classes constitute the “core courses”. The core courses provide an introduction to the fundamental areas and to the basic concepts of computer science. These courses include the study of modern languages such as C++. Also included is a careful investigation of fundamental problem solving techniques used to solve an important variety of computational problems. Ideally it is recommended that a student complete the core courses before starting 1000 level courses. A typical sequence that would complete the computer science core is:

1st term: CS 0401, CS 0441

2nd term: CS 0445, CS0447

All computer science courses must be completed with a grade of C or better.

Finally, three courses (11-12 credits) in mathematics are required. This includes a two semester calculus sequence, and either a linear algebra course or a probability and statistics course. These courses provide a level of mathematical maturity that is essential to the study of computer science.

Degree Requirements for the CS Major

The following requirements apply to those students who begin their computer science major during or after September 1998. Students who began their major before this time should consult the previous Bulletin and/or the Undergraduate Computer Science office.

Required Courses: There are seven required courses (22 credits), broken into three sequences:

  1. Programming: CS 0401, CS 0445, and CS 1501.
  2. Systems: CS 0447, and CS 1550.
  3. Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science: CS 0441, and CS 1502.

Elective Courses: Each student must select at least five elective 1000 level courses. Internships, Directed Studies, and Co-op ‘courses’ may not be used to satisfy this requirement.

Mathematics courses (11-12 cr.): Math 0220, 0230, and at least one of the following courses: Math 0280, Math 1180, Stat 1000, Stat 1151. It is highly recommended that students complete their math requirement early. Typically, a student will complete Math 0220 during their freshman year. Strong students, including those considering graduate school, should elect to take both Math 1180 and Stat 1151.

Important Notes to the CS Major

Restrictions: Majors (students who have completed CS0401) are not permitted to enroll in CS0002, 0004, 0007, or 0110. Computer Science majors are permitted to enroll in the intermediate-level service courses (CS 0131, 0132, 0134) and may take them for a letter grade.

Grade Requirements for Courses in Major: Each computer science course, in order to count toward the major, must be passed with a grade of C or better.

Requirements For Honors Major in CS: To graduate with honors, a computer science major must complete one additional upper-level course and have a QPA of at least 3.5 in major courses and an overall QPA of at least 3.25. The student may not use an Independent Study or Internship to count as the additional upper-level course.

Double Majors: Students majoring in computer science are encouraged to complete a concentration of courses or even a second major in at least one other field.

Graduate Course Work: An undergraduate CS major may enroll in a graduate CS class and receive credit for one of the five required upper-level courses. Permission of the instructor is required.

Related Area: A student majoring in computer science can complete a related area in mathematics by taking 12 credits in mathematics. An algebra, trigonometry, or precalculus course may NOT be used as part of a related area. Students majoring in computer science also select their related areas from many other fields. Areas frequently selected include: economics and business, chemistry, physics, psychology, and philosophy.

S/N Grading Option: All CS courses for the major must be taken on a letter grade basis. Mathematics courses required for the major may be taken on a Satisfactory/Audit basis.

Credit by Exam: Credit by exam is not available.

Advising and Registration: A student intending to major in computer science is advised by the CAS Advising Center until passing three CS major courses (typically, these are CS 0401, CS 0441, CS 0445). Prior to completing the three courses, a student may also meet with the Director of Undergraduate Programs. See the sample plan page for a sample four year program.

W Courses: Some computer science courses will be offered for W credit during some terms. Check the Course Description newspaper to determine which courses are being offered for W credit.