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FAQs about the Revised BS Curriculum

FAQs about the Revised BS Curriculum
(effective September 2016)

Q:  What is a CIRT?
A:  A CIRT is a Change in Requirement Term form.  The requirement term displays the major requirements on the ARR in effect at the time of entry into the major.

Q:  What is an ARR?
A:  Academic Requirements Report which is essentially a degree audit of your academic progress.  Found on SPIRE in your Student Services Center.

Q:  What is the deadline?
A:  All students (primary/secondary; BS/BA) who entered the CS Major prior to May 2016 must submit the CIRT form by Friday, September 30, 2016.

Q:  What do I submit?
A:  The CIRT form is required for all students who entered the CS Major prior to May 2016 (we emailed you).  Include the completed Revised BS Tracking form only if changing to the Revised BS.

Q:  Do I need to get the UPD's signature on the CIRT?
A:  No.  Sign the form and submit.  The form will be signed once approved.

Q:  What if I still have questions after reading the webpages?
A:  Attend an Information Session prior to the deadline.

Q:  I want to change now, do I need to attend an Information Session?
A:  No.  If you are comfortable with your decision after reading over the details on the webpage, you may submit the CIRT form now.

Q:  If I change to the Revised BS, when will it show on SPIRE?
A:  Once your CIRT form is reviewed and the change is made on SPIRE, your ARR will show the revised curriculum.  The sooner you submit the CIRT, the sooner your ARR will change.

Q:  What are all of the differences between the revised BS curriculum and previous? I see that CS377 and CS383 are no longer required courses for GENCMPSC. What else is different?
A:  Essentially, only 311 is required and the remainder of the 8 upper-level courses are open for you to choose what you want within the listed requirements.  You can choose to take courses from a particular area, like AI, or select from many areas.  Opens up your options.

Q:  Do all courses above 300 and 400 level satisfy the requirement for their respective level, e.g., 390MB- Health Sensoring and Monitoring, 391L- S-Computer Crime Law, 491IP- S-Programming The IPhone and iPad?
A:  Yes, COMPSCI 391L, 390MB, and 491IP satisfy CS300+; 491IP can satisfy CS300+ or CS400+.

Q:  How do I find out if a COMPSCI x90-x99 course satisfies a CS Elective?
A:  Many COMPSCI x90-x99 courses have already been approved, but require an ARR fix.  Students must petition upd@cs.umass.edu to use approved courses (x90-x99).  These are not automatically updated on the ARR when you register, which is why you need to petition to have your ARR fixed.  Go to our Courses page and if the course is approved as a CS Elective, it will be stated in the description:  https://www.cics.umass.edu/ugrad-education/courses

Q:  What counts as a CS Elective for the BS?
A:  Please see the section, 'What is an Approved CS Elective?':  https://www.cics.umass.edu/content/revised-bs-requirements-effective-september-2016

Q:  Are subplans not valid anymore?
A:  Subplans are declared under the current curriculum, but the revised BS does not have declared subplans.  Specialized areas of CS showing a list of courses is provided for planning purposes.

Q:  I'm not graduating for 2 years and I'm confident that I want to do SOFTENG, although I am only in 187 right now.  Why should I opt for the revised curriculum?
A:  You may still take all the same courses that students take for the current SOFTENG subplan, however, if you don't change and can't get one of the courses required for the subplan, you may have to change your graduation date to finish the subplan requirements.  Changing to the revised BS is not an option 2 years from now.

Q:  I do not fully understand how the list of courses for each area integrates into specific subplans. I have to take several 500 level courses for Software Engineering, so how do these fit into the Revised BS?
A:  The list of suggested courses by areas (formerly subplans) are simply taken from the current subplans and listed to show students options to support their interests in a particular area.  For example:  COMPSCI 520 and 521 can satisfy either 300-level or 400-level CS Electives under the Revised BS, but both are required under the SOFTENG subplan.  CS300+ can be satisfied by 300-level or higher; CS400+ can be satisfied by 400-level or higher.

EXAMPLE of how the courses compare between the two:
Required 311 Required
Required/IE 320 CS300/IE
Required 520 CS400
Required 521 CS400
Any 2 377 CS300
Any 2 445 CS400
CS300 326 CS300/Outside Option
CS300 491IP CS300

The advantage of the revised BS is that you can opt to take the same courses as if it were a subplan, but you don't need to.  As long as you satisfy the 8 upper-level courses according to the requirements, you can customize your choices.

Say you can't get a seat in 521, or need to repeat it.  If you are in the SOFTENG subplan, this may pose a problem for you to graduate on time.  If you are doing the Revised BS, you have the option to take another CS course instead of 521 that satisfies a CS Elective 400+ and still graduate on time.

*Additionally as a double major with Math, under the Revised BS, MATH 411, MATH 545, MATH 551 or MATH 552 are options to replace a CS300 with an Outside Elective.

Q:  What satisfies a CS Elective 300+ and what satisfies a CS400+?
A:  CS300+ can be satisfied by CS 300-level or higher; CS400+ can be satisfied by CS 400-level or higher.  CS 500-level or higher cover either.

Q:  I was eligible for the Biology Variance to use BIOL 151 for the CS Lab Science Requirement because I entered the CS Major before May 2014.  Does this variance still apply if I change to the revised BS?
A:  Yes.  An ARR Exception will be needed to fix your ARR to show the course correctly and we hope that these changes will be made soon after the change is made on SPIRE.

Q:  I entered the CS Major after May 2014.  Can I use the Biology Variance for the revised BS?
A:  No.  Only students who entered the CS Major prior to May 2014 are eligible for the Biology Variance as stated on our webpage.

Q:  If I'm graduating after Fall 2016, do I still have to complete the CIRT form?
A:  Yes.  All students who received the email must submit the form.

Q:  Do I need to fill out the CIRT form if I am doing the BA?
A:  Yes.  There is a check box for BA students.

Q:  I had a question concerning the CIRT forms and how they will affect the visibility of our subplans. I've heard that under the old system our subplans would appear in some capacity on our diplomas once we graduate but in the new system they will not. Can you clarify this for me?
A:  Subplans do not appear on diplomas (never have).  Subplans show only on your transcript.  The diploma is the same under either curriculum:  Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.