Computer Science


The computer science curriculum gives students a solid grounding in both theoretical and practical computer usage. Students become proficient in many areas, with a good academic foundation for various careers in the software industry, as well as preparation for graduate school.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • B.S.
  • M.S.
  • Minor
  • Ph.D.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A., B.S., M.S., Ph.D., and undergraduate minor
  • The Computer Science Department engages in a substantial research program in which both advanced undergraduates and all graduate students participate.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

It is recommended that high school students intending to apply to the BSOE have completed four years of mathematics (through advanced algebra and trigonometry) and three years of science in high school, including one year each of chemistry, physics, and biology. Comparable college mathematics and science courses completed at other institutions may be accepted in place of high school preparation. Students without this preparation may be required to take additional courses to prepare themselves for the program.

Information for Transfers

The prerequisite structure for upper-division courses at UC Santa Cruz requires that many courses be taken sequentially. Because of this, it is necessary for prospective transfer students to have completed as many of the lower-division required courses as possible before transferring.

Transfer students should not follow the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) because it will not provide enough mathematics and science courses to allow them to complete the computer science program in two years. Most students find it easier to spread the general education requirements out over four years.


  • Animation and graphics programming
  • Computer security
  • Computer systems design, development, and administration
  • Database system design, development, and administration
  • Programming languages and compilers
  • Software engineering
  • Technical writing
  • Web development

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.


BSOE students may wish to develop their cross-cultural competency, typically via the Education Abroad Program (EAP). Interested students must work very closely with the faculty and academic advisers in their major very early during the freshman or sophomore year to create a plan for transferability of coursework towards graduation. For more EAP information, visit

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

Charlie McDowell, professor of computer science in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, is recognized as "a tireless advocate for women in tech" in an article on the technology news site TechCrunch.

McDowell is featured as one of "10 Men Making Waves for Women in Tech," a list that also includes alumnus Jacob Martinez (B.S., ecology and evolutionary biology, '05), director of the Watsonville Tecnología-Educación-Comunidad (TEC) program.

Department Website

More Information

Undergraduate Advising Office
Jack Baskin School of Engineering
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064
(831) 459-5840