Minor in Computer Science

Program FAQ

  • Considering applying to Vanderbilt and majoring in CS
    • The undergraduate catalogue with CS specific information can be found here
    • Visit the CS Home page
    • Applications are handled through our Admissions office
    • We suggest you take a complete campus tour to get the full vision of what life at Vanderbilt can be like.  Schedule visits through the Admissions office
    • If you would like to visit with a CS professor during your Admissions tour, please contact me and we will set up a 30 minute office call for you and your family
  • Considering transferring to a CS major from another Engineering discipline
    • The directions to change your major or add another major or minor within the School of Engineering can be found here.
  • Considering transferring to a CS major from another Vanderbilt School

    Information on Intra-University transfers can be found here.  Engineering school specific information on the transfer can be found here.

  • Considering adding CS as a second major
    • CS can be added as a major to any discipline outside of the School of Engineering. If you are an undeclared A&S student, you can still declare CS as your second major any time–as early as your first year of study.
    • If you would like to double major in CS as a VUSE student, make an appointment with me to discuss your options.  You will be required to fulfill all of the requirements for both majors.
    • Major requirements for students outside of VUSE can be found under "SECOND MAJOR IN COMPUTER SCIENCE FOR NON-ENGINEERING STUDENTS" in our catalog.
    • Students outside of VUSE can begin the request process by sending an email to Dr. Doug Fisher at douglas.h.fisher@vanderbilt.edu. In this email please include the following:
      • Your full name as it appears in YES, Your Vunet ID, your current classification (first year, sophomore, etc.)
      • Any CS courses you have already completed; Any CS courses you are currently taking; Any CS courses you are currently registered for (if registration for subsequent semesters has already occurred)
      • For all remaining semesters for which registration HAS NOT YET OCCURRED,  give a detailed listing of which CS courses you plan to take
      • In your proposed plan, use specific course numbers, do not list “CS depth” for example
      • In your proposed plan, do not list CS3891, CS3892 or CS3860 as these courses vary every semester or require prior approval from a professor
      • Adhere to all required prerequisites; no prerequisite waivers are granted in CS.
    • You may need more paperwork from your school (A&S, Peabody, Blair). This will be determined after your request from the online form above is reviewed.
    • As a second major, you will be assigned an advisor.  Your first major advisor will maintain your academic hold but I encourage you to contact your CS second major advisor before course registration begins each semester to be sure you are on track.  This can be done by email or in person.
    • Change/add of major forms will not be signed or approved by the CS department during the two weeks prior to the first day of fall and spring registration. This is to allow enough time for YES to register the change so that you are eligible for reserved seats.  If you apply during registration your form will be processed as soon as registration is over.
  • Considering adding CS as a minor
    • The CS minor consists of five courses and is an excellent addition to any major both within and outside the School of Engineering.
    • Begin your minor request by sending an email to Dr. Doug Fisher douglas.h.fisher@vanderbilt.edu. In this email please include the following:
      • Your full name as it appears in YES, Your Vunet ID, your current classification (first year, sophomore, etc.)
      • Any CS courses you have already completed; Any CS courses you are currently taking; Any CS courses you are currently registered for (if registration for subsequent semesters has already occurred)
      • List the remaining CS course you plan to take to fulfill the minor, and which semester you propose to take them
      • In your proposed plan, do not list CS3891, CS3892 or CS3860 as these courses vary every semester or require prior approval from a professor
      • Adhere to all required prerequisites; no prerequisite waivers are granted in CS.
      • Once your request for a minor from outside of VUSE is approved you will receive an email from Dr. Fisher.  Take this email and the add/drop major/minor form to FGH 104 to be processed.
      • The email will serve as your “advisor signature” on the form.
    • If you are not an Engineering student, you may need more paperwork from your school (A&S, Peabody, Blair). This will be determined after your request from the online form above is reviewed.
    • As a minor, you will be assigned an advisor.  Your first major advisor will maintain your academic hold. Feel free to contact your CS minor advisor with any questions concerning CS courses.  This can be done by email or in person.
    • Change/add of major forms will not be signed or approved by the CS department during the two weeks prior to the first day of fall and spring registration. This is to allow enough time for YES to register the change so that you are eligible for reserved seats.  If you apply during registration your form will be processed as soon as registration is over.
  • More information on the Data Science Minor
    • The CS department is responsible for several DS courses including CS1100, CS1104, CS2204 and CS3262.  For more information on these particular courses, consult the catalog, the Data Science Institute or the current instructors of the courses.
    • For more information on the minor and how to add it to your plan, click here.
  • If you would like to earn academic credit for research at Vanderbilt:
    • You will need to find a professor who is doing work you are interested in and apply to her/his lab.  Information on our research can be found here.
    • You might also discuss your interests with a professor you have taken a class from.
    • Academic credit for research is covered in the following courses:
      • CS 2860 which has a prerequisite of CS 1101
      • CS3860/CS3861 which has a prerequisite of CS 3251
    • Spots are limited and experience is considered when placement decisions are made. The instructions on how to sign up can be found here.
  • If you are taking a CS course at another university over the summer and hope to get Vanderbilt credit (information for both majors and non-majors)
    • Visit the Academic Services office (FGH104) to pick up a transfer credit form
    • You will need the syllabus from the proposed course which should include a listing of learning objectives, any prerequisite requirements, how often the class meets per week and for how many weeks.
    • If the class duration is not on the syllabus, you should be able to find that information on the university website.  Print it out and include it with your packet.
    • Turn in the syllabus and transfer credit form to the Office of Academic Services, FGH 104.
    • We urge you to complete this process before registering or paying for any course.
    • If you are a student in a school other than The School of Engineering, you may have other requirements or forms to complete; check with your Dean.
  • Are you a CS major who wants to study abroad?

    You will need approval from your academic adviser using the CS form available through the link below.  Find the necessary form and instructions here.

  • Will I be able to finish my CS major on time?

    First, realize that becoming a major means you have decided to pursue the major before registration begins. You have filled out the appropriate paperwork and YES reflects your choice of new major.  If you decide to pursue the major after registration has opened, most of our popular introductory courses will already be filled and you have essentially postponed your entry into the major for another semester.  Your lack of prior planning does not earn you the ability to jump ahead of other student on the wait list for one of these courses.  The discussion that follows assumes you have taken no CS courses, or possibly CS1101 before declaring the major.

    New in 2019 and beyond: A&S students may declare CS as a second major at any time (provided the A&S major declaration window is open). You do not need to have declared your primary major yet.  See your A&S advisor for more details.

    Freshmen (Primary or Secondary majors): Whether you begin your CS1101 course in the fall or spring, the major can easily be completed in 8 semesters.  Even if a few of our more popular classes fill up as you register for your sophomore fall courses, you will complete the program and as a declared major, the department and your advisor are committed to guiding you to the finish! You also have the flexibility of adding an additional major, minor or possibly completing your CS master’s degree.  For more information on these additions to your CS career, see the Special programs section of the undergraduate catalog.

    Sophomore Primary major: The CS major can be completed in 6 semesters provided most of your freshmen year classes can be applied to some part of the major requirements, to include tech and open electives.  If you were previously in another Engineering major, this will be even easier as you probably have much of the math and science required. Even if a few of our more popular classes fill up as you register for your sophomore fall courses, your sophomore spring semester registration should go well as you will be an upperclassmen registering for introductory courses.

    Sophomore Secondary major: The secondary major can be completed in 6 semesters with a little bit of careful planning.  You may need to take several CS courses per semester, but this is still achievable.

    Junior Primary major: The CS primary major is not designed for less than 6 semesters.  If you were pursing another Engineering major and only lack CS specific classes, then it may be possible.  You should meet with Dr. J. Johnson prior to transfer to be sure you can finish. If you are willing to stay an extra year to finish this late-add CS major, that is another option.  The minor is strongly recommended however.

    Junior Secondary major: Completing the CS secondary major in 4 semesters is not possible unless you have taken at least CS2201 prior to your Junior year. With very little variance allowed, and assuming required classes are not scheduled at the same time, you may be able to complete the major, but it is highly unlikely and no guarantees will be made.

    Senior year: Neither the major nor the minor can be completed in two semesters.

    Adding the major late does not give you priority to get into classes ahead of other students who added the major at a reasonable time in their Vanderbilt career.  We will not jump you ahead in a waitlist or put you in a full class because you are behind and need to catch up.  We are committed to helping you fulfill your Vanderbilt requirements for your chosen major when you come to the major with sufficient time still left in your four year window. If you are willing to stay/finance an additional year due to your late-add of the major we will certainly be happy to help you with that.

  • Replacing ES1400

    Students transferring into the School of Engineering who do not have credit for ES140x may substitute an equivalent number of credits from any course(s) in the School of Engineering except

    1) CS 1100, 1103, 1151 and ENGM 2440,

    2) ES 2700, 2900, 3884,

    3) ENGM 3350, and

    4) courses that is(are) restricted to open elective credit toward a degree in the school, such as BME 1015, 2201, 2860, CS 1000, ENGM 4800, ES 1001.

    The substituting course(s) cannot simultaneously be counted toward other requirements in the primary degree nor can it(they) be taken pass/fail.  Accepted substitutions include UG research courses and ES 2100W Technical Communications (for those programs that don’t require this course).

    When you have completed the course you will be using to replace ES1400, contact your advisor and they will work with the Office of Academic Services to get your degree audit updated.  If you are a senior and you are taking your ES1400 replacement in your final semester at Vanderbilt, contact your advisor for help with your degree audit at the beginning of that semester.

    Since students cannot receive credit for both CS1101 and CS1104 (under any circumstances), taking both courses will not earn credit for ES1400 either.

    There are some exceptions for students who are in the class of ’21, ’22, and ’23.  Contact your CS advisor for more details.