Faculty advising is an important part of the undergraduate experience. Advisors can help you tailor a program to meet your particular situation and needs.

  • O-Week Academic Fair: New students, visit our table to chat with CS Major Advisors before registering for classes; also refer to AP/IB Credit or Transfer Credit.
  • CS Majors Group Advising Sessions: Hosted by the CS Major Advisors in Duncan Hall each November and April, plan to attend each semester unless your proposed schedule has already been cleared with your faculty adviser.
  • Individual meetings with your advisor: Before you meet with your adviser, complete as much as you can on your degree checklist

These advisors are aware of the latest courses and other developments in the major and can give you personalized advice. When students declare the CS major, they are assigned a major adviser with whom they can meet as needed. Please meet with your major adviser at least once per semester to discuss courses, internships, careers, and other plans.

Undergraduate advisors are automatically assigned using the first two letters of the student's last name.

Declaring the CS Major

At Rice, undergraduate students are not required to declare a major until their sophomore year. But if you are leaning towards CS, declare early so your advisor can give you appropriate options. Remember, it is relatively easy to change majors at Rice through the sophomore year.

Still unsure? These resources may help:

CS-Majors and CS-Friends mailing lists

Welcome to the CS community at Rice! Students who declare their CS major are added to the department's mailing list for "CS-Majors." It's full of internship opportunities, tech talks, and special seminar announcements, as well as important registration and advising notifications.

Regardless of major, all interested students can request membership in the "CS-UG-Friends" mailing list. Email Beth Rivera to be added to the list. Many of the same announcements are sent to that list.

AP & IB Credit in Computer Science

The department grants credit for work done in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, as confirmed by the corresponding standardized exams. Students receive credit as follows:

  • AP Computer Science A exam with a score of 4 or 5 yields 3 hours credit in COMP 105.
  • IB Computer Science score of 6 or 7 yields 3 hours credit in COMP 105.

Credit in other tests, such as Calculus or Physics, apply toward the corresponding degree requirements.

Transfer Credit

Students can request Rice credit for coursework taken at other institutions. See the Registrar's information on transfer credit for details. To get credit for a specific course that would apply towards your major or distribution requirements, you must get departmental approval.

To receive credit for a computer science course, the student must contact their departmental advisor, who will work with the student to determine if the transferred course is equivalent in content, scope, and difficulty to a Rice course. The amount of credit given will depend on specific circumstances; for example, a two-course sequence that is equivalent to COMP 311 will likely produce credit for only one course at Rice.

Courses with no equivalent in our curriculum can transfer as non-specific course numbers such as COMP 1XX, 2XX, 3XX, or 4XX. Such credit may count towards the electives and cap of a Computer Science major. Consult your departmental advisor for specific information.

Other departments that offer computing-related courses may grant transfer credit for courses that do not satisfy Computer Science's requirements. For example, an introductory programming course might be equivalent to CAAM 210 or an assembly-language programming course might be equivalent to ELEC 220. Consult the undergraduate advisors in those departments for specific assistance.

BSCS Capstone (CAP)

Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science (BSCS) majors in their junior year need to submit a justification of their chosen BS capstone to their CS advisor for approval. This justification includes a description of the chosen area of focused study, the skills and knowledge needed for that area and how the chosen set of capstone courses will address those necessary skills and knowledge. For detailed suggestions on how to write an effective BS CAP justification, see:

Opportunities for Independent Study

The Department offers a number of independent study or project courses. These courses all require close interaction with members of the faculty. The student must find a faculty member to supervise the project and evaluate the student's performance (e.g., provide a grade). In working out the details for one of these courses, the student and the professor must agree on the form of the project and the manner in which it will be evaluated. Consult your degree plan or your departmental advisor for information on the applicability of these courses to specific degree requirements.

  • COMP 290/390/490 exists to provide course credit for academic research. The numerical level of the course (i.e., 290 vs. 390 vs. 490) depends on the depth and originality of the work. The course allows for a variable number of credit hours. Student and the supervising professor must agree, in advance, on the level and number of credit hours, as well as the means of evaluating the work. A student may receive credit for COMP 290/390/490 multiple times, but it cannot be applied more than one time to satisfy the CS elective or BS Capstone requirement.
  • COMP 491 involves making a significant contribution to the pedagogy of an undergraduate course. To qualify for COMP 491 credit, the student must perform duties beyond grading, holding office hours, and another standard "for pay" teaching assistant (TA) tasks. This additional work might include developing assignments; lecturing in a class, lab section, or tutorial; or developing other supporting materials. Credit for COMP 491 requires the approval of the chair of the undergraduate committee for both a written proposal (by the student early in the semester) and a final report (by the faculty member after the semester). A student may receive credit for COMP 491 multiple times, but it cannot be applied more than one time to satisfy the CS elective or BS Capstone requirement. Note: It is possible to be a paid TA and also earn credit for COMP 491; although is it common for students to work as TAs, the TA aspect is not required to qualify for COMP 491 credit.