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BS Degree Requirements - 2011-2012


The requirements shown below are in effect for students admitted to the Department of Computer Science during the 2011-2012 academic year. All students are bound by the requirements in effect at the time the student is admitted to the Department; however, a student may elect to follow newer requirements in their entirety if they wish.

The BS in Computer Science has requirements from the following areas:

Each of these requirements is described under the appropriate heading. Please note that all the specific course requirements can be satisfied with substantially fewer than the 128 hours required for graduation. This allows (and requires) students to choose further courses to round out their degree program. Those choices are subject to very minor restrictions.

To get a quick overall impression of the BS degree program and how courses might be scheduled to satisfy these degree requirements, see

Course Requirements

Required courses must be taken in four major areas:

Note that while a particular course may possibly be used to satisfy any one of a number of these course requirements, a single course can be used to satisfy only one such requirement.

Computer Science

All students must complete the Computer Science Foundation courses, the courses required for at least one Computer Science Track, and Computer Science Electives. All CSCI course prerequisites are enforced.


Courses in the following categories are required:

  • Calculus, both of the following courses:
    • APPM 1350-4, Calculus 1 for Engineers.
    • APPM 1360-4, Calculus 2 for Engineers.

      Transfer students may substitute non-engineering Calculus 1 and 2 taken before the student's transfer into the College of Engineering and Applied Science for APPM 1350 and APPM 1360. The number of credit hours that count towards the graduation requirements is limited to 4 for each semester of calculus.

  • Linear Algebra, one of the following courses:
    • CSCI 2830-3, Special Topics in Computer Science: Linear Algebra with Computer Science Applications.
    • MATH 3130-3, Introduction to Linear Algebra.
    • APPM 3310-3, Matrix Methods and Applications.
  • Probability or Statistics, one of the following courses:
    • MATH 3510-3, Introduction to Probability and Statistics.
    • MATH 4510-3, Introduction to Probability Theory.
    • MATH 4520-3, Introduction to Mathematical Statistics.
    • Any probability or statistics course with a prerequisite of Calculus 1 and 2, if approved by an undergraduate advisor.
  • Discrete Mathematics, one of the following courses:

Natural Science

A total of at least 17 hours of acceptable coursework in the Natural Sciences is required:

  • The coursework must include a science sequence approved for the student's chosen track.

  • The coursework must include a minimum of three hours of acceptable upper-division (numbered 3000 or above) science courses.

Humanities and Social Sciences

A total of at least 24 hours of approved coursework in the Humanities and Social Sciences is required:

Credit Hours

Satisfying all the other course requirements as described above typically adds up to a minimum of 116 credit hours, the exact number depending on specific courses selected and/or transfer credit. This typically leaves around 12 hours for "free electives". Students may take

  • any acceptable courses, bringing the total credit hours up to 128 or more.

All courses are considered "acceptable" except as noted in the following list:

  • Remedial courses (e.g. CSCI 4830 "The Internet for Everyone," pre-calculus math modules) are not acceptable.

  • Co-op work experience does not count towards these 128 hours, nor does any other work experience.

  • The final 45 hours must be taken after admission to the College of Engineering and Applied Science on the Boulder campus. Also, certain Computer Science courses must be taken on the Boulder campus. See Residency below.

Minimum Grades

Students need to have the following grade point averages:

  • A cumulative GPA of 2.25 (C) or better in all CSCI courses taken at CU.
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.25 (C) or better in all courses attempted at CU.
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.25 (C) or better in all CU courses used to satisfy graduation requirements.

Students need to have the following grades in individual courses:

  • A grade of C- or better is required in each Computer Science Foundation course, as well as in each course used to satisfy the Track Foundation and Track Core.

  • A grade of C- or better is needed in all prerequisite courses to take a subsequent course.

  • The minimum passing grade for a course that is considered a prerequisite for another required course is C-. If a grade of D+ or lower is received in a course which is prerequisite to another, the student is required to repeat the course until the minimum acceptable course grade has been earned. If a student takes the advanced course, it does not remove the obligation to repeat the prerequisite course, even if the grade earned in the advanced course is a C- or above.

  • In general, aside from the above restrictions, any passing grade, i.e., a D- or better, is good enough to fulfill a degree requirement.

  • A student is not permitted to enroll in a course offered by the College when that course has not been successfully completed in three prior attempts.

  • The Department allows courses counting as free electives to be taken Pass/Fail. Students must petition the Department to take a course Pass/Fail. The College of Engineering and Applied Science has further restrictions on taking a course Pass/Fail. These restrictions are outlined in the College's Grading Policies.


  • The last 45 credit hours must be earned on the Boulder campus after admission to the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

  • In addition, unless otherwise explicitly approved, these courses must be taken on the Boulder campus:

    • all Computer Science Foundation courses
    • all courses used to satisfy the Track Foundation
    • all courses used to satisfy the Track Core
    • the Track Capstone

    Courses for which transfer credit has been explicitly approved are not required to meet the residency requirement.

Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS)

Students must take care of any MAPS (Minimum Academic Preparation Standards) deficiencies. Please see Undergraduate Admissions Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) for further information.

Senior Exit Exam

Students may be required to participate in a "Senior Exit Exam" prior to graduation. The purpose of the exam is to provide a statistical evaluation of the knowledge and skills acquired in the degree program by the group of graduating seniors. Performance on the exam does not enter into a student's record and does not affect a student's graduation as long as the student does make a good faith effort on the exam. The exam is typically taken during the spring semester of the student's Track Capstone, independently of when a student actually plans to graduate.

Departmental Questionnaire

Students may be required to participate in a Departmental Questionnaire prior to graduation. The purpose of this questionnaire is for the department to collect feedback from its graduating students. The questionnaire is typically given at the same time as the Senior Exit Exam.

Diploma Card

The College of Engineering and Applied Science requires the submission of a completed Diploma Card, available in the Dean's Office, early in the semester in which the student intends to graduate. See the Dean's Office for details.


Students may at times have legitimate reasons to deviate from these degree requirements. A student may request changes to his or her degree requirements by submitting a completed College of Engineering and Applied Science College Petition to Undergraduate Program Advisor Lesley McDowell. The petition must have appropriate approval for the requested changes to take effect.

See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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May 5, 2012 (11:08)