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University of Pittsburgh    
  Feb 25, 2018
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog

Computer Science, BS

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Note: The requirements outlined in this section represent minimum degree satisfaction. Please consult the School of Computing and Information’s Intranet for detailed policies, procedures, forms, and advising resources.

Skills Requirements for CS majors

Skills requirements help ensure that all students attain appropriate levels of competence in writing, algebra, and quantitative and formal reasoning. Skills requirements must be completed within the first year of enrollment. Students are placed in or exempted from skills requirements based on certain achievement test scores, University of Pittsburgh Placement Test scores, or course work completed at other colleges and universities. Because these are completed before a student may apply to the School of Computing and Information, questions should be referred to the student’s initial academic advisor.

Skills requirements are outlined below:

Composition Requirement

  • Students must pass foundational composition courses with a grade of C- or better to fulfill the requirement, and students must complete the requirement by the end of their first two terms of full-time enrollment.
  • For further information, see the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Skills Requirements page.

Writing-Designated Courses (W Courses)

  • After completion of a Seminar in Composition course, each student must complete two courses that are designated as writing intensive (W-courses) or one W-course and a second English composition course.
  • Each student must satisfy one element of those requirements within his or her major field of study. Some computer science courses that fulfill the departmental writing (W course) requirement will be offered each term.
  • For further information, see the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Skills Requirements page.


The mathematical proficiency of all incoming students will be assessed. Students who need additional mathematical preparation will be required to complete the preparation by the end of the first two terms of full-time enrollment. Preparation includes, but is not limited to earning a grade of C- or better in a course in algebra. Students will be exempt from the mathematics proficiency test if:

  • they have achieved a satisfactory grade on the Advanced Placement examination in calculus in high school;
  • they have earned a C- or better in calculus through College in High School;
  • they have completed an approved equivalent of Algebra or another approved course; or
  • they have scored 600 or better on the Math SAT.

Quantitative and Formal Reasoning

Mathematics is well described as the queen of sciences, providing the universal language of measurement, quantitative analysis and quantitative reasoning, and providing that predictive power that is the base of our science and our technology. All students are required to take and pass with a grade of C- or better at least one course in university mathematics (other than trigonometry) for which algebra is a prerequisite, or an approved course in statistics or mathematical or formal logic.

A student who has demonstrated proficiency in mathematics adequate for placement in an upper-level course in mathematics is exempt from this requirement.

General Education Requirements for CS majors

All students graduating must satisfy 14 general education requirements covering prominent areas in the liberal arts such as second language, literature, music, art, philosophy, social science, history, natural science, and foreign culture/international courses. In the process of satisfying these requirements, students select from a broad range of approved courses.

For information on the current general education requirements which mirror those selected by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, please see their Web site at

Major Requirements

The computer science major requires 40 credits in computer science courses and an additional 11-12 credits in mathematics and/or statistics as detailed below:

Core Courses

A minimum of 16 credits must be satisfactorily completed in the following five core courses:

Upper-level Elective Courses

Fifteen additional credits in upper-level elective courses (numbered 1000 or higher) must also be completed.

Internships, directed studies, and co-op courses may not be used to satisfy this requirement (see below).


Students should complete their required mathematics courses early. Typically, MATH 0220  would be completed in the freshman year. Strong students may elect also to take MATH 1180  - LINEAR ALGEBRA 1.

Related Area

A 12-credit related area may be completed in approved mathematics and/or statistics courses. Other options include economics, business, chemistry, physics, psychology, or philosophy

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