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Becoming a CS Major

Students considering majoring in Computer Science, please click on your year and degree for additional information - AB'23 and BSE'24

This  website contains much of the information to consider when deciding whether to become a CS major.  Browse through the pages listed on the left for answers to your questions about various requirements in the CS department at Princeton.   Review Paths Through the Major to learn how to earn a degree with a computer science concentration.  It includes some general paths through the major that vary depending on degree (BSE vs AB) and what semester you start taking computer science courses.

To begin the process of becoming a CS major, whether newly declaring your major or transferring to CS from a different discipline, you need to make an appointment to see your class adviser.  He or she will want to get to know you and will need to sign off on your degree program.  (CS class advisers are authorized to sign for the director of undergraduate studies on the official form to let you into the major.)  BSE first year students who will select a major in the spring, will follow the instructions sent out by SEAS Engineering.  AB sophomores and any student tranferring into CS should meet with Brian Kernighan or the appropriate CS Class Adviser.    See class adviser listing.

People Who Can Help

There are a number of members of the department who are available to you as you consider your options.  Whether you are already concentrating in computer science or just thinking about it, the CS adviser for your class is the best person to discuss requirements and plans of study.  He or she knows the rules applying to your class and, if you are a concentrator, is familiar with your record.

The two official representatives of the department to the Office of the Dean of the College are the Directors of Undergraduate Studies (DUS): Brian Kernighan (room 311, bwk@cs.princeton.edu) and JP Singh (room 324 jps@cs.princeton.edu). 

Brian Kernighan is the director of undergraduate studies for pre-majors, non-majors and study abroad.  If you are a first year student or someone else who isn't yet officially a CS major, but you need information about the CS program you should either see Brian Kernighan or the appropriate CS class adviser. 

David Walker is the guardian of the department rules and director of undergraduate studies for majors, which includes oversight of honors and awards, and students leaving the major.  If you are already a CS major, and have an issue that you do not think your class adviser can or should handle, you should see him -- the only exception is study abroad (see Brian Kernighan).  If your class adviser is unavailable for an extended period, you may also see him with questions or to sign add/drop forms.

Current CS majors are an excellent source of information on life in the department and the “inside story” on courses. The getting involved page lists several groups of people you can talk to, like PWICS (Princeton Women In Computer Science), the CS Undergrad Council and the ACM Student Group. These groups also set up fun get-togethers from time to time.

Last but not least, Colleen Kenny (room 210, ckenny@princeton.edu) is the Undergraduate Studies Program Manager. She is a great person to answer many questions you might have on the logistics of how the department works.  She also has copies of forms and information relevant to undergrads.

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