Prospective Students

Prospective Students

Join UC Davis Computer Science

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What Is Computer Science?

As the trend toward globalization connects people in every part of the world economically, culturally and politically, digital networks and systems are increasingly responsible for processing and delivering the massive amounts of information that keep communication flowing. Computer scientists design, maintain and improve upon these vital information systems. As a computer science major, you will focus on designing systems for application in science, industry and management. The emphasis in this program is on software, although you will master essential concepts of hardware as well.

Why major in Computer Science at UC Davis?

  • Computer science majors from UC Davis are well prepared for both the competitive job market and for postgraduate study. Graduates go on to careers with major employers such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and numerous startups.
  • Our faculty members are renowned throughout the state, nation, and world for their cutting-edge computer-science discoveries and contributions.
  • A nurturing and collaborative environment with numerous opportunities to enhance your undergraduate experience through clubs and organizations.
  • We are composed of a diverse faculty and student population, representing many different backgrounds, cultures and perspectives.
  • We are close to Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, leading to numerous internships and job opportunities for our students.


After completing foundation courses in mathematics, basic computer science and natural science, you will progress to more advanced studies in programming, networking, database systems and other topics. You will customize your major by selecting courses from such topics as computer graphics, artificial intelligence, data visualization and advanced mathematics. Throughout your studies, you will be encouraged to put your coursework into practice with internships and private sector employment.

What is the difference between the Computer Science major and the Computer Science and Engineering major?

One of the most common questions students ask advisors concerns the difference between the Computer Science (CS) and Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) majors. Actually, the two majors are almost identical in terms of computer science core material, including digital circuits. The difference between the two curricula is that CSE also covers microprocessors, analog circuits and electronics, while CS offers greater flexibility via large numbers of free electives. An important advantage of CSE is that the student sees the entire machine, from top to bottom, insight that is highly beneficial in developing software for today's high-performance applications. On the other hand, CS is attractive in that it facilitates supplementary study in another field as a minor or even as a double major. Graduates of the two curricula tend to go into the same kinds of jobs, or focus on the same research fields if they attend graduate school. In either case, success stems overwhelmingly from the depth of insight gained in school, rather than the specific major.

If I am admitted to UC Davis under a different major, can I switch my major to Computer Science or Computer Science and Engineering?

It is very difficult to switch to Computer Science or Computer Science & Engineering if you are admitted under a different major, however, it may be possible. Please keep in mind, the Computer Science program is impacted, meaning that there are more students in our majors, minors, or who want to take our classes than there are spaces available. This makes it harder to get classes and transfer into our department than in non-impacted majors. The requirements to change into the major continue to get stricter as the interest and demand for the program grows. We, therefore, encourage you to explore interests, majors, and career areas to make an informed decision about the major that is right for you, so you can create an interdisciplinary skill set for your future endeavors. Pursuing a CS major will likely result in an extended time to degree, so pursuing a non-impacted major may be a better option for you. If you are accepted to other universities for a CS program, it may be in your best interest to pursue one of those programs instead as there is no guarantee you will be able to change into a CS major here.

Other Majors for CS Field:
- Cognitive Science
- Data Science
- Statistics
- Applied Mathematics
- Applied Physics
- Biotechnology
- other majors in College of Engineering

Transfer students must also meet transfer admissions requirements in addition to the requirements listed on the Change of Majors and Double Majors page for Computer Science and Computer Science and Engineering Change of Major.

Learn more about our department, our programs, our university and much more.