* Faculty       * Staff       * Students & Alumni       * Committees       * Contact       * Institute Directory
* Undergraduate Program       * Graduate Program       * Courses       * Institute Catalog      
* Undergraduate       * Graduate       * Institute Admissions: Undergraduate | Graduate      
* Colloquia       * Seminars       * News       * Events       * Institute Events      
* Overview       * Lab Manual       * Institute Computing      
No Menu Selected

* Academics

Undergraduate Program

CS Major Requirements for Students Entering in Fall 2015 and Beyond

Total credits: 128

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.

The table below represents the undergraduate curriculum for a Computer Science major starting with the Class of 2019. Students need not take courses in this exact order, as long as all requirements are met.

First Year
Fall Spring
CSCI-1100 Computer Science I1 4 CSCI-1200 Data Structures 4
MATH-1010 Calculus I 4 MATH-1020 Calculus II 4
PHYS-1100 Physics I 4 BIOL-1010 Introduction to Biology 3
HASS Elective 4 BIOL-1015 Introduction to Biology Lab 1
HASS Elective 4
Second Year
Fall Spring
CSCI-2200 Foundations of Computer Science2 4 CSCI-2300 Introduction to Algorithms 4
CSCI-2500 Computer Organization 4 CSCI-2600 Principles of Software 4
Mathematics Option I 4 Mathematics Option II 4
HASS Elective 4 HASS Elective 4
Third Year
Fall Spring
CSCI-4430 Programming Languages 4 CSCI-4210 Operating Systems 4
Computer Science Option/Capstone 4 HASS Elective 4
Science Option 4 Free Elective 4
HASS Elective 4 Free Elective 4
Fourth Year
Fall Spring
Computer Science Option/Capstone 4 Computer Science Option/Capstone 4
Free Elective 4 Free Elective 4
Free Elective 4 Free Elective 4
Free Elective 4 Free Elective 4

1Students may skip CSCI-1100 and replace it with four credits of other CSCI course(s) at the 2000 level or above.

2Students may not receive credit for both CSCI-2200 Foundations of Computer Science and MATH-2800 Discrete Structures.

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

Science Option

A 4-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 (CS) Options

Three additional computing courses of three or four credits 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, ECSE-4720, and reading and independent study courses. The Pass/No Credit option cannot be used for these courses.

Mathematics Options

Two additional courses in mathematics. Mathematics Option I must be one of the following courses: MATH-2010, MATH-4030, MATH-4040/4140 Intermediate Logic, MATH-4100, or MATP-4600. Mathematics Option II must be any course in MATH/MATP at the 2000 level or above (excluding MATH-2800). Independent study courses cannot be used to satisfy this option. The Pass/No Credit option cannot be used for these courses. Note that although some courses are cross-listed as both MATH and CSCI, if a course is used to fulfill the Mathematics Option requirement, it cannot also be used as a Computer Science Option / Capstone course. For suggestions about choosing math courses, see General MATH/MATP Option Guidance.

Computer Science Capstone

A culminating experience selected from one of the two categories below (note that the P/NC option cannot be used for any of the courses below):

  1. The research-focused capstone consists of a 4-credit Undergraduate Research Project (URP) supervised by a CSCI (or CSCI-affiliated) faculty member. The student will complete a formal written research project report or paper approved by the faculty supervisor.
  2. The coursework concentration capstone consists of three 4000- or 6000-level CSCI (or CSCI cross-listed) courses in one of the following topic areas:

    Concentration Area: Theory and Algorithms (click here for courses)
    Concentration Area: Systems and Software (click here for courses)
    Concentration Area: Artificial Intelligence and Data (click here for courses)
    Concentration Area: Vision, Graphics, Robotics, and Games (click here for courses)

    All 4000- and 6000-level CSCI catalog courses that are not part of the required undergraduate core are assigned to one or more topic areas. Similarly, all 4000- and 6000-level special topics courses are assigned to one or more topic areas when the given course is listed. Note that the courses taken also count as Computer Science Option courses.

Courses assigned to concentration topic areas

Concentration area courses are listed here.

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. The ECSE-2660 course will replace the CSCI-2500 on your CAPP Report.
  • ENGR-1010 Professional Development I and ENGR-4010 Professional Development III count as HASS credits.

HASS Core Requirement

As part of their B.S. degree program, all Rensselaer undergraduates take a selection of HASS courses referred to as the HASS 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 HASS 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
  Cognitive Science
Science and Technology Studies, Social Science
Interdisciplinary Studies

IHSS interdisciplinary courses may be counted in either category.

To ensure depth in the HASS core, students must also take at least two courses within a single department area's 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 HASS courses may be applied toward the HASS 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 HASS courses (up to eight credit hours) toward their HASS 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 HASS curriculum adviser. Transfer students entering Rensselaer at the sophomore level or above are not limited in the number of courses they may transfer for HASS core credit. All others must take at least 16 credit hours of their HASS core at Rensselaer.

Enrolled Rensselaer students wishing to take an HASS 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 as a freshman in Fall 2006 or later, or transfer student who entered Fall 2008 and later, is required to successfully complete at least two 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, Arts, and Social Sciences. (Courses taught by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social sciences are noted on the list)
  • Communication Intensive courses CANNOT be taken as Pass/No Credit (effective for students who enter Fall 2010 or later)

Communication Intensive Requirement

View the Current Communication Intensive Course Listing

* Return to main Undergraduate Program page