Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Undergraduate FAQ

You may also find it useful to look through the UMass Registrar's FAQ on grades and classes.

General Questions

Q: How do I receive permission to enroll in more than 19 credits in a single semester?
You can appeal for "credit overload" to the college's academic advising office

Q: What are the requirements for a high school senior who is enrolling in Computer Science at UMass Amherst?
You first need to be admitted to the university and express an interest in the major.  The admissions department then decides whether to admit you directly into the major -- usually this requires that you do well in high school precalculus as well as meeting the general requirements for admission to the university.  There are also limited places for students admitted to other majors to join the CS major after they arrive on campus.

Q: I have AP credit from high school. How do I figure out what courses at UMass I can get credit for given the exam score?
 UMass has a standard list of AP equivalencies that you should check.

Q: I took the language placement test in language x. How do I find out my grade? Whom do I contact to interpret what the grade means?
A: You can check your grade on Spire once it is available. Or call the New Students Program for your score, and you should talk to the x department about what course would be appropriate to start in.

Q: In addition to Computer Science and Math courses, what other courses count towards the 60 units within Computer Science/College of Natural Sciences required by the college for a BS degree?

A: All courses from CNS majors, which include 

    Animal Science
    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    Building and Construction Technology
    Earth Systems
    Environmental Science
    Food Science
    Mathematics and Statistics
    Natural Resources Conservation
    Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences
    Pre-Veterinary Science
    Sustainable Food and Farming (BS)
    Sustainable Horticulture (BS)
    Turfgrass Science and Management

College of Information and Computer Sciences

ALL COURSES from the College of Information and Computer Sciences.

CNS-comparable 5-College majors

Courses from CNS-comparable 5-College majors count (e.g., CHEM @SMI).

Individual Courses

Additionallythese specific individual classes from majors outside of CNS, CICS also count.

ANTHRO 103 Human Origins and Variation
ANTHRO 281 Research Methods Anthropology
ANTHRO 317 Primate Behavior
CE-ENGIN 240 Statics
CHEM-ENG 120 Fundamentals
CHEM-ENG 290B Chem Eng Princp/Biological Syst
E&C-ENG 211 Circuit Analysis I
E&C-ENG 212 Circuit Analysis II
E&C-ENG 214 Active Net I
E&C-ENG 221 Int Dig & Comp Sys
E&C-ENG 222 Microprocessor Lab
E&C-ENG 242 Data Structures & Algorithms
E&C-ENG 357 Field Analysis I
E&C-ENG 358 Field Analysis II
E&C-ENG 361 Fund of Elec Engr
ECON@SMI 190 Intro to Statistics & Econometrics
ECON 309 Game Theory
ECON 452 Econometrics
EDUC 276 Erroneous Beliefs
EDUC 517 Intro Comp Use Tchng
EDUC 527 Intro Ed Uses of Computers
ENGIN 104E Intro To Engr B
ENGIN 191A Seminar
ENGIN 191E Sem-First Year Prog
ENGIN 191X S-C++ Prog Engineers
ENVIRDES 597A ST-Computers In Environmental Design
ESS@SMI 150 Nutrition and Health
EXERSCI 130 Intro To Excsci
EXERSCI 210 Hum Perf & Nutrition
EXERSCI 305 Kinesiology
EXERSCI 478 Exercise Physiology
FINOPMGT 422 Financial Engineering
FINOPMGT 497H ST-Advanced Topics in Finance
KIN 100 Introduction to Kinesiology
KIN 110 Human Performance & Nutrition
KIN 430 Biomechanics
KIN 470 Exercise Physiology
LING 201 Intro to Linguistic Theory
LOGC@SMI 100 Valid & Invalid Reasoning
M&I-ENG 201 Intro Matl Science
M&I-ENG 210 Statics
M&I-ENG 211 Strength Of Material
M&I-ENG 230 Thermodynamics I
M&I-ENG 310 Dynamics
M&I-ENG 460 Human Factrs Engin I
MUSIC 110 Fundamentals of Theory
NUTRITN 130 Nutr For Hlth Lfstyl
NUTRITN 140 Nutrition, Weight & Fitness
NUTRITN 230 Basic Nutrition
OIM 240 Business Data Analysis
OIM 350 Business Intelligence and Analytics
OIM 454 Data Mining in Business
PHIL 110 Introduction To Logic
PHIL 511 Modal Logic
PHIL 513 Math Logic I
PHIL@MNT 210 Logical Thought
PUBHLTH 160 My Body, My Health
PUBHLTH 223 Intro to Biostatistics for Public Health
PUBHLTH 460 Telling Stories with Data: Statistics, Modeling, and Data Visualization
PUBHLTH 540 Intro Biostatistics
RES-ECON 211 Intro Statistics for the Life Sciences
RES-ECON 212 Intro Stats/Soc Sci
SOCIOL 212 Elem Statistics
SOCIOL 313 Survey Design and Analysis
UWW 222 Introduction to Body & Brain
UWW 240 Intro To Ecology

Q: I have taken, or would like to take, some classes at another university and I would like to transfer the credit to UMass. Is there a list of classes that are already approved?
 Yes we have a short list for colleges on our Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE) webpage. If there is a course you have taken, or a university or college that is not listed, follow the TCE Process to have courses reviewed. See a question below on just how many courses you can transfer in. Residency requirements vary by program.

QI'm interested in getting into the gaming industry. What track should I join?
We do not have a specific track in gaming, however, a number of our students have gone on to work in the gaming industry. Gaming is a broad collection of CS topics, and fortunately, we do offer the right courses to cover them. You should complete the set using the General Computer Science track. Specifically, we suggest: CS320 Software Engineering, CS325 Human Computer Interaction, CS373 Computer Graphics, CS377 Operating Systems, CS383 Artifical Intelligence, CS453 Computer Networking, and CS529 Software Eng Project Management. Also Physics 151 and 152 as your lab science requirement. There are usually other relevant courses offered as well. We've also recently offered CS491IP Programming the iPhone and iPad, and have had courses in Flash and multimedia topics. We also suggest minoring in Art (contact  Prof Galvis-Assmus) or at least taking Art Dept courses in digital graphic design.  

CICS Laptop requirements

Q: What are laptop requirements for CICS students?
A: Visit this link for recommended laptop specifications as well as hardware and software notes.

The CS Minor

Q: I am interested in the computer science minor. How much math experience do I need?
A: There is no specific mathematics requirement for the computer science minor, but all the courses require R1 proficiency (such as MATH 104). It's true that COMPSCI 240 and 250 require MATH 132 as prerequisite. MATH 131 and MATH 132 are thus recommended, but students without those math courses can still complete the minor by taking other "core" CS courses COMPSCI 220 and COMPSCI 230.

Q: Is the minor really only 5 classes? I thought it was 10 classes?
A: It used to be 10 classes, but we revised the program. If you are in the old program, in almost all cases, it's strictly easier to complete the 5-course minor.

Q: Can I take classes in another department to complete the CS Minor?
A: Yes and No. You may transfer in equivalent courses for CICS 160 or 210 taken at another university. But the three upper-level (200+) courses of a minor must be courses taken in our department. Classes taken at the Five Colleges do not count towards this residency requirement.

The BS-CS degree

Q: How many classes can I transfer into the BS?
A:  For the BS-CS, 5 of your 8 electives must be taken at UMass Amherst.  Five College and study abroad courses do not count toward this 5-course residency requirement, but may count toward the 3 remaining electives.

The CS LAB Science Requirement for the BS

Q: What courses can fulfil the Lab Science Requirement for the BS

A. Two Lab Science Courses (8 credits)
Satisfy laboratory science requirement by taking two majors-level science courses in the College of Natural Sciences* that includes a lab component (8 total credits). See your Academic Requirements Report (ARR) for specific program requirements. Students select two courses from the following list---mixing departments is acceptable:

  • CHEM 111 or 121 General Chem - Science Majors
  • CHEM 112 General Chem - Science Majors or 122 General Chemistry
  • GEOL 101 The Earth (with lab) or GEOL 103 Oceanography and GEOL 131 Experiencing Geology (lab) or GEOL 105 The Dynamic Earth and GEOL 131 (lab)**
  • PHYSICS 151 General Physics I or PHYSICS 181 Physics I - Mechanics
  • PHYSICS 152 General Physics II or PHYSICS 182 Physics II - Electricity and Magnetism
  • Options in Biology for the CS Lab Science Requirement

**GEO-SCI 103/131 and GEO-SCI 105/131 require an ARR Exception. In general, if your grades are lower in courses that need an ARR Fix than in other courses for this requirement, we will not update your ARR.  We will fix your ARR and you do not need to tell us.  Only email upd@cs.umass.edu if you do not want to use these courses.

*The College of Information and Computer Sciences offers the following course that may be used as one of the CS Lab Science courses:

  • CICS 256 (formerly 290M) Make: A Hands-on Introduction to Physical Computing, 4 cr

The course is currently open to Freshmen/Sophomore BS-CS Majors only (Juniors may be considered if available seats).  The ARR does not list the course as an option, therefore an ARR Exception will be completed closer to graduation.  We will fix your ARR and you do not need to tell us.  Only email upd@cs.umass.edu if you do not want to use this course.

Q: Can the two 4-credit "science" classes that I need to take be in two different departments.
A: Yes. For example, you can take Chem 111 (4cr) and Physics 151 (3cr) and Physics153 Lab (1cr) for a total of 8 credits. See details approved courses for the CS Lab Science Requirement.

Q:  If BIOL 151 can be used to satisfy one of my CS Science Requirements based on the Biology Variance, then why can't I enroll?
A:  There are only certain majors allowed to enroll in BIOL 151/152 and unfortunately, CS is not one of them.  The CS Curriculum and Undergraduate Program Committees allows a Biology Variance for students who entered the major after May 2014.  While Biology courses are not required for the CS Lab Science Requirement, we allow options to use BIOL 151, 152, and 153.

Q:  My ARR doesn't show any Biology courses acceptable for the CS Lab Science Requirement, but the CS webpage says I can take BIOL 151/152/153 (9 credits) for two CS Lab Science Requirement courses.  Why does my ARR not show these courses as options for the CS Lab Science Requirement?
A:  Students must take BIOL 151, 152, and 153 (lab) for a total of 9 credits, to satisfy two CS Lab Science courses. Students may email upd@cs.umass.edu to request an ARR fix after completing all three courses, although it is not necessary.  We look for these courses when the CS Lab Science Requirement is not satisfied and the ARR will be fixed when clearing students for graduation.

Q: What kind of courses can I use for the CS Lab Science Requirement for the BS?
A: Science requirements for the BS degree must be 4 credit courses that:  (1) count toward major requirements in the sponsoring department; and (2) includes a laboratory component.  Students normally select two courses from this list---mixing departments is acceptable. Petitions for variances in the lab science requirement require the student to submit documentation to the UPD (upd@cs.umass.edu) that demonstrates that the alternate course meets the lab science requirement.

Integrative Experience Requirement

Q: Can I count either COMPSCI 320 or 326 as both IE and toward an upper level CS Elective?

Q: Can I count a COMPSCI 320 or 326 equivalent taken elsewhere for the IE Requirement?
A: No.  You must take either COMPSCI 320 or 326 here at UMass Amherst to satisfy the IE Requirment.

Q: Can I count another major's IE course for the CS Major?
A: No.  All primary CS Majors must take either COMPSCI 320 or 326 to satisfy the IE Requirement.  Double majors who want to use another department's IE course must switch CS to a secondary major.


Q: I'm doing an internship related to CS and I want to get credit for my internship.  Is that possible?
A: Credited internships are available with select industry partners only. See the CICS Careers Guide to Internships for more information.

Graduate School

Q: I am interested in graduate studies in Computer Science. How do I find out more?
A: A good first step in finding out about graduate school in Computer Science is to visit the new website on undergraduate research and graduate school for students, mentors, and advisors. After reviewing this site you should make an appointment with you advisor for guidance on how to apply and which graduate schools would be suitable for you.