Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a series of questions (and answers!) frequently asked by our current students. Use this page as a resource as you plan out each of your semesters as a CSCI major. You should contact your academic advisor with any questions not answered here; further, you are required to meet with your advisor at least once per year (i.e., the "SAM requirement"). And the School of Science Advising Hub in JRSC 1C12 is also a good resource to go to with questions.

Which degree requirements am I required to follow?

You are required to follow the major requirements for the academic year you started here at RPI. This also applies to you if you are a transfer student.

Note that you can also opt to follow the new curriculum requirements. More specifically, if degree requirements change from when you have entered the program, you can follow the requirements that apply to your class or choose to follow the new requirements. For past degree requirements, please check our main website or past Rensselaer Catalogs.

Further, if you are a dual or double major, you must meet the requirements of both of your selected majors; however, do not rely on any dual major templates that you find because these do not typically go through the rigorous approval process that individual templates go through. Instead, verify all of your curriculum requirements directly. Your academic advisors in both of your majors can help you.

Which Math Option courses should I take?

To fulfill your Math Option courses, we have a number of recommended courses listed on our main website under Major Requirements.

What are the CSCI capstone requirements?

Specific capstone requirements are listed on your curriculum template. In general, for students who started in Fall 2022 or Spring 2023 or earlier, your capstone consists of three courses in a specific concentration area. Concentration areas and corresponding courses are described on our main website, with a direct link to concentration area courses here.

In brief, for Fall 2022/Spring 2023 or earlier, you must pick three courses from one concentration area to complete your capstone. And these courses can also count as your CS Option courses and your in-major communication intensive (CI) course.

For students who started in Fall 2023 or Spring 2024 (or later), your capstone is embedded in your specific track, which you decide upon toward the end of your sophomore year.

How do I add a CSCI major or switch to CSCI?

If you are a current RPI student and would like to add CSCI as a major or change your major to CSCI, our policy is detailed on our main website.

What are the requirements for a CSCI minor?

If you are a current RPI student and would like to add a CSCI minor, our policy is detailed on our main website.

How do I find which courses are being offered and when?

Course descriptions and prerequisites for catalog courses are available at this URL; also refer to YACS or QuACS. If you do not see a course offered for a given semester, it is unfortunately very likely not going to be offered, even if it is listed in the catalog.

How can I figure out transfer credits from another institution?

Courses that transfer in for credit at RPI are generally listed at this URL. There are also instructions provided there. If you do not see a course listed, reach out to the specific department for the course to see if it could transfer in (i.e., to request a transfer course evaluation). For CSCI courses, please see David Goldschmidt in AE 218 during his office hours posted here.  Also see our main website for more details about transferring CSCI courses.

How do I find out specific rules or forms from the Registrar?

A variety of Registrar instructions, forms, and rules are available at this URL.

What if I cannot register for a course because it is full?

As a CSCI major, you are guaranteed a seat in the required 1000- and 2000-level CSCI courses (i.e., we will make room or add more sections as necessary), as well as CSCI 4210 Operating Systems and CSCI 4430 Programming Languages.

If you find any other course to be closed or full, you should review your options with your academic advisor, possibly leading you to register for another course. You should also contact the instructor directly to see if a waiting list is being maintained or if the enrollment cap is flexible.

How do I find my academic advisor or a faculty member?

Our faculty are more than happy to speak with you about your academics and research opportunities. To find our faculty, use this URL; more generally, you can search for people using the RPInfo directory.

What courses can I designate as Pass/No Credit (P/NC)

You can use the P/NC designation only for your free elective credits and some of your HASS credits.

Do I really have to take BIOL 1010/1015 as a CSCI major?

Yes, you are required to take BIOL 1010 (lecture) and BIOL 1015 (lab). And these cannot be taken P/NC. Upper-level BIOL courses at RPI may or may not substitute and must first be approved by the Associate Dean of Science for Academic Affairs in the School of Science Office.

You may be able to take a course that is equivalent to BIOL 1010/1015 at another college or university and transfer the course in, but note that not all courses will transfer in. Further, the course must have an in-person lab component and be approved by the Associate Dean of Science for Academic Affairs.

What do I need to do if I skipped CSCI 1100 as a CSCI major?

If you skipped CSCI 1100 and started with CSCI 1200 (and do not have AP credit for CSCI 1100), then you need a total of 4 credits of CSCI course(s) to replace the CSCI 1100 credits. These must be at the 2000 level or above. And you can use mentoring credits for this, as well as independent study credits, as long as they're in CSCI and are not taken P/NC.

What CS Option courses are available to take?

For your required CS Option courses, you can take any non-required 4000-level CSCI course. This include CSCI 496x and CSCI 497x "special topics" courses that are not yet in the official course catalog. And note that all of these courses are included in at least one concentration area (for your CSCI Capstone).

Independent studies in CSCI (e.g., RCOS projects) cannot be used as CS Option courses. More specifically, any and all CSCI 4940/4941 credits only count as free elective credits (or potentially as CSCI 1100 replacement credits).

Do I still need to take CSCI 2500 Comp Org if I've already taken ECSE 2660 CANOS?

No! If you have taken ECSE 2660 CANOS, then you should not take CSCI 2500 Computer Organization. In other words, ECSE 2660 is a replacement course for CSCI 2500. If this does not show up in Degree Works for you, ask the Registrar to correct this.

Which CSCI courses can count as my required in-major communication intensive (CI) course?

You are required to take at least one communication intensive (CI) course within your major. If you are a dual major, you can decide which of the two majors you'd like to take the CI course in. For a complete list of CI courses, you can review the courses listed in the Rensselaer Catalog or click here for a list of concentration area courses, which includes a "(CI)" designation on our CI courses.