Computer science is offered as a major in the McCormick School of Engineering and in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.Computer science is offered as a major in the McCormick School of Engineering and in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Undergraduate
Computer Science Major (BS/BA)

Undergraduate Programs

The Computer Science Department (CS) at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering offers a number of major/minor undergraduate degrees. Details about each degree are included below. To switch into a major/minor, please contact advising@cs.northwestern.edu.

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Computer Science BS/BA

Computer science is offered as a major or minor, in both the McCormick School of Engineering and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. The courses are identical between the two programs, as are the required Computer Science courses, although the minors require fewer courses. These programs give students the tools to comprehend the breadth of the field, its key intellectual divisions and questions, and its past and likely future impacts on engineering, science, medicine, business, and law.

The curriculum is designed to show students how to approach problems from an algorithmic perspective, how to understand the nature and broad reach of computation, and how to apply that knowledge abstractly. Students in the program also learn how to approach problems from the systems perspective, understanding the evolving layers of the software and hardware stack, and how to use and extend them.

The programs are an ideal match for those who seek to learn how to design and implement complex software systems, individually and as a team member, and for those who seek to design and implement effective human-computer interfaces.

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Curriculum Overview

Below is the list of core requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program offered by McCormick School of Engineering and for the Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science program offered by the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

6 Core Courses

These courses include a general overview of Computer Science (COMP_SCI 101), the introductory programming sequence (COMP_SCI 111, 211, 214), and Introductions to Systems (COMP_SCI 213) and Discrete Math (COMP_SCI 212).

5 Breadth Courses

These include one course in each of the areas of Theory, Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Interfaces, and Software Development.

6 Technical Electives

These are essentially any 6 advanced CS courses.

2 Project Courses

Two courses that involve extended, student-directed projects.

Mathematical Background

This requirement includes calculus, linear algebra, and statistics.

The minors omit the technical elective and project requirements, and require only 3 breadth courses.  For details on which courses satisfy which requirements, see the Course Catalog links for the appropriate program, below.

For details on which courses satisfy which requirements, see the Northwestern Academic Catalog links for the appropriate program, below.

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BS in Computer Science (McCormick)

McCormick’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science offers students the opportunity to study Computer Science in and engineering-focused context, with a greater emphasis on design, as well as the sciences and other areas of engineering.

View McCormick major requirements

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BA in Computer Science (Weinberg)

Weinberg’s Bachelor of Arts with a major in Computer Science offers students the opportunity to study Computer Science within the context of Weinberg’s focus on liberal arts and sciences.

View Weinberg major requirements


Learn about combined BS(or BA)/MS program

Learn about computer science minor