CS Undergraduate Degree Options FAQ

Illinois Computer Science offers a variety of undergraduate degree programs, including several innovative CS + X degrees that blend a strong grounding in computer science with training in another field.

Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about CS Undergraduate Degree Options at Illinois:

1) Who should enroll in CS + X?

CS + X majors are for students who are interested in both CS and the ‘X’ field. They understand that computing technologies are influencing nearly every field, including ‘X’, and they want to build computational tools with the potential to innovate, change, and shape the future of ‘X’.  CS + X students will graduate with a strong grounding in both ‘X’ and CS.

2) Who should NOT enroll in CS + X?

CS + X majors are not for students who are primarily focused on CS. Those without an interest in an ‘X’ should apply only for CS Engineering

3) What are the differences between CS + X and CS Engineering?

  • CS + X students specialize in order to apply CS to ‘X’, while CS Engineering students specialize to go deeper into some aspect of CS. 
    • CS + X students must take 24 hours of ‘X’, with at least 12 hours at the 300- or 400-level, and they are not required to take specialized upper-level CS courses.  CS + X majors can elect to take upper-level CS courses, but they may not be able to fit as many into their schedule as CS Engineering majors.
    • In contrast, CS Engineering majors must take at least six 400-level CS courses as technical electives (18 hours+, 3 from a specific focus area), plus 2 more 400-level courses (6 hours+, from anywhere on campus). 
  • CS + X students are not eligible for the Fifth Year Master’s programs or a Software Engineering Certificate. These options are only available to CS Engineering students.
  • Because CS + X degrees are offered through the college in which X resides, and not in the College of Engineering, the general education and distribution requirements may differ.  For example, students in the CS major in Engineering are required to take two semesters of physics, but students in CS + X majors are not. CS + X majors in the College of LAS are required to take four semesters (or four high school years) of a foreign language, whereas CS Engineering students are required only to take three.  There are other minor differences; consult the specific degree requirements of each program.

4) What are the similarities between CS + X and CS Engineering?

CS + X students take the same core CS courses as CS Engineering students – the exact same classes and sections – providing the same strong foundation in CS. 

5) Is CS + X a double major, second degree, or joint degree program?

No. CS + X students graduate with a single degree incorporating core elements of CS and ‘X’.  Students pursing double majors, second degrees, or joint degree programs graduate with more than one degree.