How to Choose
Combining Computer Science with another discipline
For many students, combining computer science with another discipline is a great way to explore a wider range of options. This page describes your choices. Links to the detailed programs can be found here.
B.Sc. Liberal Program
Starting in Fall 2007 McGill introduced a brand new kind of B.Sc. program that allows you to combine a Core Science Component (CSC) (45 credits) of Computer Science or Software Engineering with a Breadth Component (at least 18 credits) of another discipline. This is a great option for students who wish to learn about the core part of Computer Science, but who also want some breadth, including Arts, Management or other Sciences.
The B.Sc. Liberal program lets you create your own combination. Here are just some examples:
Joint Major in Computer Science and Biology
With the advent of new biotechnologies, biology is becoming more and more of a quantitative science, with a clear need for advanced mathematical and computational approaches to design experiments, and manage, store, analyze, and integrate their results. This new joint program will give you an in-depth understanding of biology, computer science, and how the two are irrevocably intertwined. This new breed of multidisciplinary scientists will be highly sought after on the job market as well as in graduate programs. Students interested in this joint major should apply to the Biological, Biomedical and Life Sciences Group. All other Computer Science programs are in the Physical, Earth, Math and Computer Sciences Group.
Joint Major (or Honours) in Mathematics and Computer Science
Joint Major (or Honours) in Statistics and Computer Science
Computer science and mathematics are a natural fit. In fact, many of the early pioneers of computer science, such as Alan Turing and John von Neumann, were mathematicians themselves! By combining the two fields, students develop the rigorous conceptual thinking and problem-solving abilities that characterise training in mathematics. At the same time, they are continually challenged by their computer science courses to put those ideas into practice. Advanced computer science subjects ranging from machine learning to cryptography to internet searching are often highly mathematical, so the solid training our joint programs provide are excellent preparations for graduate school or careers in industry. The joint honours program is particularly challenging and, therefore, particularly rewarding. Many of our best students follow this option and go on to complete PhD s in their choice of computer science or mathematics at the best universities in the world. They invariably say that their training in the joint honours program was decisive in their success.
Joint Major in Physics and Computer Science
Computer science and physics are no strangers either. From the invention of randomized algorithms to study nuclear explosions during the top-secret Manhattan Project, to the invention of the World Wide Web at the CERN particle physics laboratory, physicists have been enthusiastic users and innovators when it comes to computers. As time goes on, large-scale computer simulations play an ever-increasing role in physics research, resulting an ever-increasing need for physicists with real training in computer science. On another front, the world internet speed record is currently held by scientists working to develop a worldwide distributed computing system for analyzing the avalanche of data expected to be generated by the next generation of experiments at that same CERN that invented the Web. A joint major in computer science and physics positions students to work as professional physicists, as software engineers, or somewhere in between, pushing the frontiers of scientific technology.
Adding a minor program to your Computer Science or Software Engineering degreeComputer Science students are often interested in many other areas. If you choose a Computer Science Major program you use 60 credits to fulfill the requirements for the Major, but you still have 30 credits (10 courses) that can be taken as freely chosen electives. Some students like to use their elective credits to complete a Minor Program. Minor programs are usually between 18 and 24 credits and there are a wide variety of minors that Computer Science students can take. These include some popular choices like Cognitive Science, Management, Mathematics, Music Technology and Technical Entrepreneurship. However, minors are not limited to technology-related subjects and a wide range of other Science minors are available including Biology, Biotechnology, Earth and Planetary Sciences and Environment. You can even broaden your studies outside of Science and select a minor from Arts. You can choose from a huge list of minor and major concentrations in Arts including Economics, English Literature, Linguistics, Philosophy and many others. By combining a Computer Science or Software Engineering major with a minor you can really build the combined program of your choice!
Minor in Computer Science or Computational Molecular BiologyPerhaps your main interests lie outside of Computer Science, but you still have an interest in a smaller program in Computer Science. The Computer Science minor is a great way to combine some Computer Science studies with your main interests. If you end up really liking your Computer Science classes you can consider switching into the Computer Science Major program.
There is also a Computational Molecular Biology Minor. If your main major is in the biological sciences, this minor may interest you. It provides you with with the skills from computer science to solve computational problems arising in molecular biology and genomics and also provides you with the necessary skills to build software tools from these algorithms.
For more information about the minors see the program listing page.