Frequently Asked Questions

Undergraduate Advisement

Can I get credit for AP Credit in Computer Science?

Students who have taken either the "A"-level or the "AB"-level AP exam in Computer Science may receive "passing" credit as follows:

AP Exam Grade Credit
A or AB 5 CSE 113
A or AB 4 CSE 113
A or AB 3 elective university credits

In general, however, the Department does not recommend taking credit for the AP exam even if eligible.

What courses can I take to satisfy the Science and Engineering Sequence?

This sequence may be taken from any of the following departments only (example sequences are given in parentheses; other sequences are possible, but note the exceptions):

In the Sciences:

  • Biological Sciences (e.g., BIO 119-120)
  • Chemistry (e.g., CHE 101-102, CHE 103-104, CHE 105-106)
  • Geological Sciences (e.g., GLY 103-104)
  • Physics (e.g., PHY 101-102, PHY 107-108, PHY 121-122)

In Engineering:

  • Engineering and Applied Science (e.g., EAS 205-206)
  • Chemical Engineering (e.g., EAS 204-CE 304)
  • Civil Engineering (e.g., CIE 323-324)
  • Industrial Engineering (e.g., IE 373-374)
  • Mechanical Engineering (e.g., MEA 311-412)

Why can't I register for CSE 305?

CSE 305: Introduction to Programming Languages is available only through force-registration. You must submit a completed force-registration slip to the Undergraduate Advisor in order to register for this course.

Can I transfer courses from other schools?

Students wishing to take courses at other institutions to substitute for or to satisfy CSE program requirements should petition the Undergraduate Affairs Committee before taking such courses. The petition should include the name of the college or university, the department offering the course, the number and name of the course, a catalog description or syllabus for the course (preferably including the name of the text), and a brief explanation as to why the course is being taken elsewhere. Our 100-level courses are freshman courses. Our 200-level courses are sophomore courses. Our 300-level courses are junior courses. Our 400-level courses are senior courses. Course numbers at other universities, including SUNY schools, don't necessarily match our numbers. So, for example, a senior-level course numbered 154.7 at XYZ College would normally be a 400-level course at UB. (See also Transfer Policy.)

What are the definitions of: Double Degree, Double Major, and Joint Degree?

Double Degree:
CS students must earn at least 150 credit hours, and CEN students 158 credit hours, while satisfying all the requirements for both departments. The degrees may be different, i.e., one BA and one BS. This is most commonly done by a student who wants to earn a bachelor's degree in CS or CEN from UB, but who already possesses a bachelor's degree in another subject from another university.

Double Major:
CS students must earn at least 120 credit hours, and CEN students 128 credit hours, while satisfying all requirements for both departments. This is often done by counting course X as a requirement for department A and as an elective for department B. Both majors must be the same degree, i.e., both BA or both BS.

Joint Degree:
CS students must earn 120 credit hours, and CEN students 128 credit hours, satisfying something less than the requirements for each department. Joint degrees must be negotiated in advance with advisors from all included departments.

For more information, see current Undergraduate Catalog and section on special program offerings.

Can I retake a course?

The department follows current University policy.

What if I have special circumstances?

Students may petition the Undergraduate Affairs Committee in writing if special circumstances warrant modifying a requirement.

Which degree is better, the BA or BS in Computer Science?

Students often ask which degree is "superior" or which is better for the job market. The answer to this question depends on what you intend to do after graduation. If you intend to go on to graduate school, both degrees are equally good. If you intend to enter the job market immediately after graduation, which degree is "better" depends on the particular job you are applying for.  Generally, the BS degree emphasises depth.  The BA degree emphasizes breadth.

Representatives from a major computer company have told us that, all factors being equal, if you have no relevant Computer Science work experience, then the more Computer Science courses you have, the better your chance of employment in an entry-level position. Of course, it is possible for a BA major to take as many Computer Science courses as a BS major, as well as having the external concentration. However, they also told us that after three years, the work experience becomes more important than which degree you have. They also agreed that an appropriate external concentration for a BA might well tip the scales in your favor.

The bottom-line recommendation they had was this: In your cover letter for a job, simply say that you have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, and then spell out what your undergraduate program consisted of (e.g., for someone looking for a job in computer graphics: "I took courses in <list your CSE courses, presumably including CSE 480, Computer Graphics!>, as well as an external concentration in art, which allowed me to apply my artistic background to my work in graphics."); after all, your transcript will indicate which degree you have. Of course, it is preferable to earn a BA with good grades than a BS with lower grades.