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Undergraduate Program

CS Major Requirements for Students Entering in Fall 2012

This template is provided as a convenience to students. In the event of a discrepancy between this web page and other information sources, the final authority is the catalog that was published in the year the student entered.

In addition to the semester by semster template which appears below, a checklist of requirements grouped by subjects is available as a Word document.

First Year
Fall Spring
CSCI-1100 Computer Science I* 4 CSCI-1200 Data Structures 4
MATH-1010 Calculus 4 MATH-1020 Calculus II 4
PHYS-1100 Physics I 4 Science Option 4
HASS Elective 4 HASS Elective 4
Second Year
Fall Spring
CSCI-2200 Foundations of Computer Science 4 CSCI-2300 Introduction to Algorithms 4
CSCI-2500 Computer Organization 4 Math / Logic option 4
Math / Logic option 4 HASS Elective 4
HASS Elective 4 Free Elective 4
Third Year
Fall Spring
CSCI-4430 Programming Languages 4 CSCI-4210 Operating Systems 4
Computer Science Option 4 HASS Elective 4
HASS Elective 4 Free Elective 4
BIOL-1010 Intro. to Biology 4 Free Elective 4
Fourth Year
Fall Spring
CSCI-4440 Software Design and Doc 4 Computer Science Option 4
Computer Science Option 4 Free Elective 4
Free Elective 4 Free Elective 4
Free Elective 4 Free Elective 4

*Students may skip CSCI-1100 and replace it with any other four credits in Computer Science.

Courses do not need to be taken according to the above schedule, as long as all courses are taken and prerequisites are met.

A total of at least 128 credits are required for graduation.

Note that credit cannot be obtained for CSCI-1100 Computer Science I after CSCI-1200 Data Structures has already been passed.



A four-credit course chosen from the following: astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, and physics. The Pass/No Credit option cannot be used for this course. The course ERTH-1030 cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.

Computer Science

Three additional computing courses of 3 or 4 credits each at the 4000 or 6000 level. For this purpose, courses in the series CSCI-4xxx, CSCI-6xxx. ECSE-46xx, and ECSE-47xx may be used, excluding ECSE-4630, ECSE-4640, and ECSE-4720. ECSE-4490 may also fulfill this requirement. Reading and independent study courses and courses taken as Pass/No Credit cannot be used.

Mathematics / Logic

Two additional courses chosen from PHIL-2140, PHIL-4140, PHill-4420, any course in MATH and MATP at the 2000 level or above. Independent study courses cannot be used to satisfy this option. The Pass/No Credit option cannot be used for these courses.

Notes for dual majors

These notes apply even if you used to be a dual major but now CSCI is your only major.

  • Students who take both ECSE-2610 Computer Components and Operations and ECSE-2660 Computer Architecture, Networks, and Operating Systems do not have to take CSCI-2500 Computer Organization.
  • ENGR-1010 Professional Development I and ENGR-4010 Professional Development III count as H & SS credits.

HASS Core Requirement

As part of their B.S. degree program, all Rensselaer undergraduates take a selection of H&SS courses referred to as the H&SS core. This core is the foundation of undergraduate education. In it, students develop the skills necessary for personal and professional success, and they also begin to explore the social and cultural areas of study and issues of debate that are important in the global society of the twenty-first century.

The core consists of 24 credit hours, or six courses distributed to afford students a breadth of perspective across the various disciplines as well as a more in-depth experience in at least one area. Engineering students automatically take two of the 24 credit hours as professional development in their engineering design sequence and take a two-credit H&SS professional development course in their junior year.

To ensure breadth in the core courses, students must select as least two courses (eight credit hours) from each of the lists below.

Humanities   Code   Social Sciences   Code
Foreign Languages
Science and Technology Studies, Humanities
Interdisciplinary Studies
Science and Technology Studies, Social Science
Interdisciplinary Studies

H&SS interdisciplinary courses may be substituted for courses in either category.

To ensure depth in the H&SS core, students must also take at least two courses within a single area code (STSH and STSS can be counted as a single area), at least one of which is taken at an advanced level (above 1000). No course within the depth sequence may be taken as Pass/No Credit.

No more than three 1000-level H&SS courses may be applied toward the H&SS core requirement, no more than six credits may be taken as Pass/No credit, and at least one course (four credits) must be at the 4000 level.

Students entering Rensselaer in their first year may transfer up to two H&SS courses (up to eight credit hours) toward their H&SS core requirement (including Advanced Placement credit).

Transfer students from an accredited collegiate program who have completed at least one college year but who come to Rensselaer with first-year status may qualify for additional core transfers at the discretion of the H&SS curriculum adviser. Transfer students entering Rensselaer at the sophomore level or above are not limited in the number of courses they may transfer for H&SS core credit. All others must take at least 16 credit hours of their H&SS core at Rensselaer.

Enrolled Rensselaer students wishing to take an H&SS course for credit at another accredited institution must obtain prior approval for the course from the core curriculum adviser. Applicants must furnish a catalog description of the proposed course and a completed copy of Rensselaer's Transfer Credit Approval form to the core curriculum adviser. A maximum of two courses (up to eight credit hours) of transfers is allowed (including AP courses).

Communication Intensive Requirement

Every undergraduate student who entered in Fall 2006 or later, excluding transfer students, is required to successfully complete at least 2 communication intensive courses (chosen from the approved list) as part of the requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.

  • at least one of these must be in the student's major, and
  • at least one of the courses must be writing intensive and taught in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. (Courses taught by the School of Humanities and Social sciences are noted on the list)

Note: All courses approved as Communication Intensive include a "writing intensive" component.

View the Current Communication Intensive Course Listing

Students may not use AP credit, SAT scores or transfer credit from another university to satisfy the communication intensive requirement.

Transfer students, regardless of year of entry, must meet the Writing Intensive Requirement

* Return to main Undergraduate Program page