Frequently Asked Questions About the C.S. Major

Q: Do I Know Enough to start the a C.S. major?: How much do I have to know about C.S. before starting the major?
A: We assume that students know absolutely nothing about C.S. coming in to COM 1300, Introduction to Computer Science

Q: How Do I Know if C.S. is for me?
A: There is no one personality, set of abilities, or interests that guarantee success or failure in C.S. Whether one is "left brained" or "right brained" is no indication - one person will approach software engineering primarily as a creative process while another will approach it primarily as an analytic process, and both are valid and powerful, depending on the exact situation. Whether one has enjoyed or despised math in his K-12 education is not much of an indication either - aside from the fact that there are many factors that go into K-12 math going well or badly that have little to do with student ability, some parts of C.S. are highly mathematical and some parts are entirely divorced from math. The only way to know if C.S. will work for you is to try it.

Q: Do I have to go to graduate school to succeed?: Do I have to get a masters or PhD to succeed in Computer Science?
A: Our B.S. in C.S. tracks are designed to give students the opportunity to succeed without going to graduate school. Students in the B.A. track, however, are strongly encouraged to get at least a masters.

Q: MYP, Night Seder: Is it possible to be in MYP and manage the workload to complete the B.S. in C.S.? What about night seder?
A: Many students have been in MYP, had a night seder, and completed the Distributed Systems or Data Science tracks. Having a consistent night seder does, however, require managing your time well, e.g. using your Friday, motsaei Shabbos, and Sunday afternoon wisely. This is no different than continuing to learn throughout the rest of your life - the choices you make when it comes to priorities and time management will greatly impact how much time you have for learning.

Q: Laptop: Do I need my own laptop to do my C.S. work? If so, what kind of laptop should I get?
A: You do need your own laptop to do your C.S. work. If you are buying a new laptop, we strongly recommend a large amount of RAM (at least 16GB, preferably 32GB or even 64GB) and a fast internal drive (e.g. SSD NVMe). If you already own a laptop, we recommend that you not invest in a new one until successfully completing Intro to C.S. and Data Structures. Whether you get a Mac or a Windows laptop is up to you. If you choose a Windows laptop, you may be required for some classes to use the Windows Subsystem for Linux and/or run a Linux virtual machine on your laptop.

Q: Do I need a minor to get a good C.S. job?
A: You do not need a minor to get a good C.S. job in any industry. Smart companies hire the best software engineers they can find and are more than happy to teach those software engineers on the job what they need to know about the business/industry. From the perspective of getting a good C.S. job, the best thing you can do in your "copious free time" is build some software that 1) does something that you find interesting, useful, or important 2) is not required by your C.S. courses and 3) you can explain on an interview why you were motivated to build specifically that and how you did. Then create a public GitHub repository, push the code there, and include a link to it on your resume. If there are courses offered that are relevant to what you'd like to accomplish in life personally or professionally, you should take those courses, but you should not think that having a minor per se on your resume is necessary for your career. It is a much better use of your time to think through how to develop yourself into the person and/or professional you want to be, and take the courses (or pursue activities outside the classroom) that will give you the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual tools to get there.

Q: Data Science track and Math Minor: If I complete the B.S. Data Science track, do I have to take any additional classes to earn a math minor?
A: No - students who complete the B.S. in C.S., Data Science track, get a minor in math automatically.

Q: 8 semester Residency Requirement for a B.S. How long does it take to finish one of the B.S. tracks?
A: B.S. in C.S. students must be full time students at Y.U. for a full 8 semesters. The B.A. has the same residency requirements as any other B.A. program from Y.C.

Q: Can I finish in 3.5 years if I start YU in January? I am starting YU in January. Can I finish the B.S. in C.S. in 7 semesters instead of 8?
A: No - B.S. in C.S. students must be full time students for a full 8 semesters.

Q: Honors Requirements: I am in the Yeshiva College Honors Program. Are there any differences between the different C.S. tracks when it comes to honors requirements?
A: No

Q: Double Majoring: If I am in one of the B.S. in C.S. tracks, can I double major with another Y.C. major?
A: Other Y.C. departments / programs grant a B.A. degree, not a B.S., and according to the rules of NYSED you can not double major when one major is a B.S. and one is a B.A. You can, however, earn a minor from any other YC department.

Q: Summer Classes: Can I take C.S. classes in the summer?
A: As a rule, we do not allow for C.S. classes to be taken in the summer. Please do not expect to get credit for any C.S. summer courses without getting written permission from the C.S. department chair before taking the summer class. Math classes (i.e. those whose course name/number starts with "MAT", not "COM) that are required for a C.S. major may be taken in the summer as long as the given course at the given university has been approved by the math department. However, we very strongly recommend that C.S. students use their summers to get work experience in C.S. both to build their resumes and to help them explore and understand what area in C.S. they would like to pursue a career in.

Q: Switching to the B.S. in C.S. program from another major: If I started in a different major and want to switch into one of the BS in CS tracks, how many years will it take me to graduate?
A: B.S. in C.S. students must be on campus full time for 8 semesters. In the case of a student switching majors, we will try to work with you to help you graduate after 8 semesters on campus by catching up via summer courses. Whether it is possible to catch up or not will depend on what other courses (e.g. math courses) you took before deciding to switch in to the B.S. in C.S. program and/or other factors in your personal situation.

Q: Finishing a B.S. track as a part time student: Can I be a part time student in the fourth year of one of the B.S. in C.S. tracks?
A: No - B.S. in C.S. students must be full time students for a full 8 semesters. If you find that you have extra room in your schedule, you can take any classes you like in YC or SSSB, and/or transfer credits from your UTS program in order to be registered for a full 12 credits each semester.

Q: A.P. Exemption for Non-C.S. Requirements: Can I use A.P. credit for the non-C.S. requirements in one of the B.S. tracks?
A: Yes. The B.S. in C.S. program is a part of Yeshiva College, and all the same rules regarding to what counts for credit in other majors apply here as well.

Q: A.P. in C.S. Exemption: Can I be exempted from taking Intro to C.S. (COM 1300) if I took the A.P. in C.S. exam?
A: No.

Q: Grandfather Clause to Double Major: I started on campus before Fall 2020 and would like to complete one of the B.S. tracks but receive a B.A. in C.S. and double major with another B.A. major from Yeshiva College. May I do so?
A: Yes, assuming you fulfill all the requirements for the CS major track of your choice as well as all the Y.C. Core requirements.