Undergraduate Degree Program for Computer Science

As a Computer Science (CS) major, you will take courses covering algorithms, data structures, logic, programming languages, systems, and theory. You will also choose from electives like artificial intelligence, computer graphics, computer vision, cryptography, databases, networks and scientific computing. Undergraduates also have the option of completing a minor in computer science. The minor provides an excellent opportunity for students to certify that they have accomplished significant depth of study in computer science, without completing the full CS major.

The Department of Computer Science was organized in 1965 and is one of the oldest departments of its kind in the country. The department is affiliated with both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. Students in either college may major in computer science, however, the individual college requirements for courses outside of the major will differ. Students interested in the CS major need strong skills in mathematics and the sciences and an interest in computer programming. You will typically enter the major in your third or fourth semester, after attaining programming proficiency and successfully completing CS 2800: Discrete Structures. CS majors will also take courses in algorithms and operating systems. You will complete at least one project course. Working with a faculty advisor, students plan a program that supports both your career objectives and is true to the aims of a liberal education.

Using outside electives, or a specialization in another major, you can explore upper-level course offerings in other disciplines. Some of the more popular outside specializations are cognitive studies, computational biology, economics, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, mechanical engineering, music and operations research.

Cornell University’s Department of Computer Science is a world leader in research; as an undergraduate, you are encouraged to participate. You may find your research niche in self-directed independent study supervised by a faculty member, or you may choose to work in a research group, participating in a faculty member’s research. As a CS major you may also decide to participate in a co-op or internship, which will give you a unique opportunity to apply your knowledge in real-world settings


The program in computer science is broad and rigorous, and structured in a way that supports your in-depth study in other disciplines. Carefully considered course selection can set the stage for graduate study, technical employment, or other professional careers in business, law, or medicine.

Master of Engineering Program

An opportunity to advance your skills in CS is available through our Master of Engineering program (M.Eng.). Through advanced courses in CS and other fields you can work toward more well-defined interests and/or increase your depth and breadth of CS knowledge.

The M.Eng. program is designed to enhance professional skills in practical computer science. As a course and project based degree, the M.Eng. program is particularly suited to students seeking advanced credentials for employment in industry. Typically, an M.Eng. student takes several advanced courses and completes a faculty-supervised project in an area such as artificial intelligence, databases, distributed and cloud computing, graphics, networks, scientific computing, or software engineering.

Cornell undergraduates might also be eligible for the CS Early M.Eng. credit option which allows CU undergrads to begin working on M.Eng. degree credit in their final semester as an undergraduate.


Some Areas of Faculty Research

  • algorithms
  • artificial intelligence
  • automated reasoning
  • computational biology
  • database systems
  • distributed systems
  • graphics
  • information retrieval
  • machine learning
  • natural-language processing
  • networking
  • operating systems
  • programming languages
  • robotics
  • security
  • theory of computation

Computer Science by the Numbers

Computer Science undergraduate students: 1,112

  • College of Engineering: 712
  • College of Arts and Sciences: 400

Starting salaries of B.S. Computer Science graduates (2021):

  • Median salary: $116,000
  • High salary: $165,000

Post-graduate plans for computer science graduates at the time of graduation (2021):

  • Employed 64% 64%
  • Attending Graduate School 33% 33%
  • Seeking Employment 2% 2%
  • Other 1% 1%