Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Major Change to CS - Revised

Overview

The Computer Science (CS) major is the largest academic program in the College of Information and Computer Sciences and has seen rapid growth over the last decade. Many students are admitted directly to the CS major when they apply for admission to the University, while others join the program from another major or from an exploratory track.

While the College remains committed to providing opportunities for students from other majors to gain experience and expertise in information and computer sciences, we expect the process of joining the CS major to become more restrictive over the next several years due to lack of capacity in the program. It is possible that the CS major may not be able to accept on-campus transfers during some academic years. However, students from other majors will continue to have access to a range of introductory programming and computing courses as well other academic programs including the CS minor and the IT minor

This web page describes the requirements and processes for applying to join the CS major that are in effect for each academic year. As available capacity for on-campus students to join the CS major changes over time, the requirements and processes for admission are also likely to change.

Updates for Fall 2022:

  • Some students admitted to the Computer Engineering major for Fall 2022 will not be eligible to change majors to computer science. This restriction is noted on student's individual admission letters.
  • Students taking the experimental offering of the second course in the new CICS introductory course sequence (Info 190T) in Fall 2022 will be eligible to submit an application in Fall 2022 to join the CS major for Spring 2023. The requirements will be identical to the current Pathway 1 with a B or better grade in Info 190T replacing the requirement for a B or better grade in COMPSCI 187.

 

Application Deadlines

The program does not require prior programming experience, such as high school AP courses in computer science. Students apply to join the CS major when they have completed or are enrolled in at least COMPSCI 187 and MATH 132.  Applications are considered for the major two times a year with deadlines preceding Spring and Fall registration periods: 

Application Deadline

Course Registration Period When to apply*   Application Confirmation Period
March 1 for Fall 2022 After Spring add/drop
~Feb 16 through
Mar 1 5:00 PM EST
mid- to late-March
October 3  for Spring 2023 After Fall
add/drop
~Sep 20 through
Oct 3 5:00 PM EST
mid- to late-October

*Applications are only accepted according to the above schedule and are reviewed after the deadline.

B.S. Degree Requirements
B.A. Degree Requirements

Application Form The form is no longer available.

Application Withdrawal Petition 

Late applications will not be accepted.

We will review applications and current courses and will contact applicants to confirm a valid application semester (mid- to late-October). Then, at the end of the semester after grades are available, we will then verify records and contact successful applicants with an offer of admission.

Admission Eligibility and APPLICATION Process

The Undergraduate Program Director (UPD) determines the minimum performance required for all major changes to CS, and generally looks for successful completion of the predictor courses taken here at UMass Amherst. Admission standards for major changes into CS are up to the discretion of the Undergraduate Program Director, and are subject to change.  These new rules on the CS major change process will be recognized starting on September 6, 2020 12:01 AM. Rule clarifications for Pathway 2 were provided September 28, 2020. Note that normal restrictions on courses taken pass/fail do not apply to courses taken in Spring 2020 and Fall 2020. See the FAQ for Spring/Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.

Students can apply through two admission pathways, as described below.

 

Pathway 1 Application Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible to apply, students must have taken, or must currently be taking, MATH 132 and COMPSCI 187 at UMass Amherst and must have submitted no more than one previous application to Pathway 1 or have had no more than one previous equivalent admission contract. Note that MATH 132 and COMPSCI 187 may be taken in different semesters at UMass Amherst, but to be on track for a CS primary major, students should complete these two courses by the end of their second semester. AP credit for math MATH 132 may also be used in place of MATH 132 taken at UMass Amherst.

 

The admission eligibility requirements for Pathway 1 are as follows:

  1. Students must submit an application.
  2. Students must earn a grade of B or better in COMPSCI 187 taken at UMass Amherst.
  3. Students must earn a grade of B or better in MATH 132 taken at UMass Amherst or have AP Credit for MATH 132.
  4. Students must achieve a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA during the application semester.
  5. Students must not choose pass/fail on MATH 132 or COMPSCI 187. (Note: does not apply for MATH 132 and COMPSCI 187 taken in Spring/Fall 2020 or Spring 2021)
  6. Students must achieve a C or better in all classes during the application semester.
  7. Students must have achieved a grade of C or better in any other courses required by the CS major taken prior to the application semester. In the case of repeated courses, only the most recent grade is considered. Only in the case of CS major requirements that can be satisfied using multiple courses (for example, the requirement to take Stat 515 or Math 233), an exception may be allowed. Please contact csapply@cs.umass.edu prior to submitting an application.
  8. Students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits of letter-graded courses and/or mandatory pass-fail courses (such as a First Year Seminar or COMPSCI 198C). Courses that students elect to take pass-fail do not count towards the 12 credit requirement.

 

Pathway 1 Admission Decisions:

  • Students who meet the Pathway 1 admission eligibility requirements and apply during or before their 4th full time semester at UMass Amherst will be offered admission to the major.  
  • To be able to complete the CS degree within the 10-semester statute of limitations defined in Section III.J of the UMass Amherst Academic Regulations document, the CS program expects students to join the CS major by the end of their fourth full time semester. Students who seek admission to CS in their 5th full time semester or later may be considered for an exception to this rule based on progress toward completing CS major requirements and their overall academic record. Students applying in their 5th full time semester or later are required to meet with the CICS Director of Advising who will help to determine whether an exception is appropriate.
  • Students who earn the required grades in COMPSCI 187 and MATH 132, but do not meet one of the other requirements (e.g., a grade below C in another class, a GPA below 3), can apply again in a later semester under Pathway 1.
  • Students who achieve a grade of C or better in either or both of MATH 132 and COMPSCI 187, but are not eligible for admission under Pathway 1,  may be able to apply under Pathway 2 in a later semester.
  • Students who earn a grade C- or lower in COMPSCI 187 or MATH132 can re-take either or both courses as needed and apply again under Pathway 1 (assuming they have not exceeded the University limit on retakes or the two application limit). 
  • Applicants are notified of all decisions via @umass email. 

 

Pathway 2 Application Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible to apply under Pathway 2, students must have taken or currently be taking one programming predictor course (COMPSCI 220 or 230) and must have taken or currently be taking one math predictor course (COMPSCI 240 or 250) at UMass Amherst. The math and programming predictor courses may be taken in different semesters at UMass Amherst, but to be on track for a CS primary major, students should complete these two courses by the end of their third semester.

Note that students will need to submit override requests to get seats in required courses in this pathway. Seats for applicants are subject to availability. Students may only take a total of two different courses among COMPSCI 220, 230, 240 and 250 in the process of satisfying the Pathway 2 programming and math predictor requirements. Students who have completed the Pathway 2 programming or math predictor requirements prior to a Pathway 2 application semester may submit override requests for seats in additional 200-level courses, but approval is subject to availability of seats. Students who are not eligible for admission under Pathway 1 are advised to apply under Pathway 2 as soon as they are eligible.

To apply to Pathway 2, students do not need to have previously applied under Pathway 1. However, students are limited to one of (a) two applications to Pathway 1, (b) one application to Pathway 1 and one application to Pathway 2, or (c) one application to Pathway 2. Importantly, only one application is allowed under Pathway 2. Note that previous admission contracts equivalent to Pathway 1 or Pathway 2 applications count as such for determining the number of prior applications.

 

The admission eligibility requirements for Pathway 2 are as follows:

  1. Students must submit an application.
  2. Students need to earn a grade in their programming predictor course (COMPSCI 220 or 230) as specified below depending on their performance in prerequisite courses:

    • Students will need to earn a B in the programming predictor course if:

      • they earned a grade of C, C+ or B- in COMPSCI 187 taken at UMass Amherst
      • they have approved transfer credit for COMPSCI 187 or otherwise have not taken COMPSCI 187 at UMass Amherst
    • Students will need to earn a C in the programming predictor course if:

      • they earned a grade of B or higher in COMPSCI 187 taken at UMass Amherst
  3. Students need to earn a grade in the math predictor course (COMPSCI 240 or 250) as specified below depending on their performance in prerequisite courses:

    • Students will need to earn a B in the math predictor course if:

      • they earned a grade of C, C+ or B- in MATH 132 taken at UMass Amherst
      • they have approved transfer credit for MATH 132
    • Students will need to earn a C in the math predictor course if:

      • they earned a grade of B or higher in MATH 132 taken at UMass Amherst
      • they have AP credit for MATH 132.
  4. None of COMPSCI 220, 230, 240, 250 may be taken pass/fail. (Note: does not apply for these courses taken in Spring/Fall 2020 or Spring 2021)
  5. Students must achieve a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA during the application semester.
  6. Students must achieve a C or better in all classes during an application semester.
  7. Students must have achieved a grade of C or better in any other courses required by the CS major taken prior to the application semester. In the case of repeated courses, only the most recent grade is considered. Only in the case of CS major requirements that can be satisfied using multiple courses (for example, the requirement to take Stat 515 or Math 233), an exception may be allowed. Please contact csapply@cs.umass.edu prior to submitting an application.
  8. Students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits of letter-graded courses and/or mandatory pass-fail courses (such as a First Year Seminar or COMPSCI 198C). Courses that students elect to take pass-fail do not count towards the 12 credit requirement.

 

Pathway 2 Admission Decisions:

  • Students who meet the Pathway 2 admission eligibility requirements and apply during or before their 4th full time semester at UMass Amherst will be offered admission to the major.
  • To be able to complete the CS degree within the 10-semester statute of limitations defined in Section III.J of the UMass Amherst Academic Regulations document, the CS program expects students to join the CS major by the end of their fourth full time semester. Students who seek admission to CS in their 5th full time semester or later may be considered for an exception to this rule based on progress toward completing CS major requirements and their overall academic record. Students applying in their 5th full time semester or later are required to meet with the CICS Director of Advising, who will help to determine whether an exception is appropriate.
  • Students who do not meet all Pathway 2 requirements on their first attempt will not be eligible for admission or for additional applications.
  • Applicants are notified of all decisions via @umass email.

 

Exceptions to Eligibility Requirements

Transfer students and others who can not become eligible to submit a first application under either admission pathway described above (for example, due to having transfer credit for all predictor courses) should contact csapply@cs.umass.edu to discuss your individual circumstances. Transfer students and others who upon entry to UMass Amherst could only be eligible for a single application may contact csapply@cs.umass.edu to discuss the possibility of an exception to the application limit rule.

ADVISING

Successful applicants are not considered to be CS Majors until requirements have been met and paperwork is processed to change your major to CS (generally closer to the start of the fall or spring semester). Continue to follow the advising protocol of your current primary major (we will not remove your registration holds).  For CS Advising help and general questions, visit the CICS Advising.  Bring your contract email and be sure to identify yourself as a CS major applicant.  If you have additional questions, email the Undergraduate Program Director (upd@cs.umass.edu) and be sure to say you are a CS major applicant.

Course OVERRIDES

Overrides are usually needed to enroll in most CS courses that are restricted to majors, so if you meet prerequisites, make sure that you request overrides via the on-line form for the upcoming semester (when link is available).  Register for courses to align with your pathway requirements and do not overload a contract term.

Frequently asked questions