Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Major Change to CS - Revised

The College is proud of its strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and is eager for new students to join our major. The program does not require prior programming experience, such as high school AP courses in computer science. Some students are admitted directly to the major when they apply for admission to the University. The rest apply after students 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

Registration Period When to apply* Review
October 1 for Spring 2021 (November) After Fall add/drop ends
(~Sep 17 through Oct 1 5:00 PM)
mid- to late-October
March 1 for Fall 2021 (April) After Spring add/drop ends
(~Feb 16 through Mar 1 5:00 PM)
mid- to late-March

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

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

Application to the CS Major 
*The CS Major Application is now CLOSED as of 5:00 PM on Thursday, October 1, 2020.  Late applications are 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 here.

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

Pathway 1 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. 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 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 or Fall 2020)

  6. Students must achieve a C or better in all classes during the application semester.

  7. Students must be enrolled in least 12 credits (full time student status) during the application semester.

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.  

  • Students who meet the  Pathway 1 admission eligibility requirements and apply in their 5th full time semester or later at UMass Amherst may not be able to complete their degree within the 10-semester statute of limitations defined in Section III.J of the UMass Amherst Academic Regulations document. As a result, eligible students who are in their 5th or later semester will be required to meet with the CICS Director of Advising prior to receiving an admission offer to ensure that they understand the potential consequences of taking more than 10 semesters to complete their degree. 

  • 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) may be able to apply again in a later semester under Pathway 2.

  • 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  Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible to apply under Pathway 2, students must have taken or must currently be taking one programming predictor course (COMPSCI 220 or 230) and must have taken or must 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. In the process of seeking admission to the CS major, students may only take a total of two courses among COMPSCI 220, 230, 240 and 250.

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.

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 earned a grade of C or higher in ECE 241 taken at UMass Amherst
      • they have approved transfer credit for COMPSCI 187
    • 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 or Fall 2020)
  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 be enrolled in least 12 credits (full time student status) during an application semester.

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.  

  • Students who meet the  Pathway 2 admission eligibility requirements and apply in their 5th semester or later at UMass Amherst may not be able to complete their degree within the 10-semester statute of limitations defined in Section III.J of the UMass Amherst Academic Regulations document. As a result, eligible students who are in their 5th or later semester will be required to meet with the CICS Director of Advising prior to receiving an admission offer to ensure that they understand the potential consequences of taking more than 10 semesters to complete their degree. 

  • 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.

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

Is there a mandatory information meeting requirement? There is no mandatory information meeting required to satisfy the requirements in either Pathway 1 or Pathway 2.

If I withdraw from a course and drop below 12 credits during an application semester will I be admitted? Both Pathway 1 and Pathway 2 require that you are enrolled in at least 12 credits. If you drop below 12 credits your application will not be accepted.

What if I took 187 or M132 Pass/Fail (P/F) during the Spring 2020 semester when P grades were allowed, how does that impact my required courses during this application period? Grades of P in Spring 2020 will be accepted in place of the required grades for admission to the CS major. See the FAQ here. Please also note that if you would have received a grade below that normally required, we strongly suggest reviewing the course material for further mastery, to ensure your success in future CICS courses.

If I take a course Pass/Fail (P/F) during the Fall 2020 semester how does that impact my required courses during this application period? Grades of P in Fall 2020 will be accepted in place of the required grades for admission to the CS major. See the FAQ here. Please also note that if you would have received a grade below that normally required, we strongly suggest reviewing the course material for further mastery, to ensure your success in future CICS courses.