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.

Applications of computer science are found in many other areas of study, from art, music, and linguistics to social sciences, economics, business, digital, and social media, environmental and life sciences, and sciences. Thus, interdisciplinary activities are encouraged. For those students whose primary interest is in another area, a minor in computer science is offered.

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

  1. By the end of the fall term in which you are applying, you must have completed at least three (3) of the lower-division foundation course requirements from the list below.
  2. By the end of your last spring term in community college, you must complete the remaining two (2) foundation courses from the list below.
  3. All lower-division requirements must be completed with a minimum 2.80 GPA

Computer Science 12A/L (or Computer Engineering 13, or both CMPS 5J and CMPS 11) and 12B/M; Computer Engineering 16; and Mathematics 19A and 19B.


  • 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

General Catalog Information

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