Resources for Incoming & Prospective Undergraduate Students

Welcome to the School of Computer Science!

If you are planning on pursing a School of Computer Science (SoCS) program, this page has all the information that you need to understand CS programs, options, prerequisites, and more!

For a general overview of what to expect in your first year of computer science at McGill, check out our SoCS Orientation 2023 slides


Bachelor of Science

*** Liberal Programs require fewer credits than Majors, to allow for a diverse degree.

BSc Joint Programs – Double-Major in Computer Science and another subject Faculty of Arts

(***) Add this onto your Major Concentration to take more Computer Science classes

BA versus BSc Computer Science

Bachelor of Arts Majors have less required credits than Bachelor of Science Majors, but BA students doing a CS Major can expand their program and take more CS courses by adding the CS Supplementary Minor. Arts vs Science for CS.

Software Engineering versus Computer Science

SoCS offers programs in Software Engineering for both BSc and BA students. These programs are different from the Faculty of Engineering’s programs in Computer Engineering or Software Engineering. Explained here: Software Engineering FAQ

Co-Op versus Internship

SoCS does *not* offer Co-Op programs with mandatory industry placement. Students who want to add a practical component to their degree can organize an internship through their Faculty Internship Office.

BSc students can do an Internship Practicum or Internship Year in Science as part of their degree. Once completed, they have Internship Option added to their Major program!

BA students can also pursue internship options.

What classes should I take if I want to study Computer Science? (Prospective students)

Admissions requirements are vary depending on if you are applying for a BA or BSc, see the McGill Admissions guide for detailed requirements. We always recommend that students interested in CS have familiarity with math. Prior experience with programming or coding is not required because we will teach you those skills!

If you are coming from a high school outside of Quebec

You will start at McGill as a U0 student. U0 students are required to complete their Faculty Freshman/Foundation Program *before* taking classes for their desired Major. We recommend you take these Freshman Foundation classes if you want to Major in a CS program:

If you are coming from CEGEP

You will start McGill as a U1 student and are not required to take any 100-level Freshman/Foundation Year Program classes. These are the CEGEP classes required if you want to Major in a CS program.

If you are coming from a program like IB, AP, CAPE, French Baccalaureate etc.

You will start McGill with some advanced standing credits and start as U0 or U1. You may or may not have to take Freshman/Foundation Program classes, depending on how many advanced credits you have and the standards of your Faculty. See the Arts page and Science page for more details.

If you did not take courses equivalent to Calculus 1, Calculus 2, and Linear Algebra & Geometry, we recommend that you take MATH 140, MATH 141, and MATH 133 at McGill.

Do I need programming experience to study Computer Science?

No, you do not need any prior experience programming or coding to enter a Computer Science program! We teach you all the basics with the course COMP 202: Foundations of Programming.

If you do have previous programming experience, you can skip COMP 202 and go right to taking the next fundamental CS course – COMP 250: Introduction to Computer Science.

All Computer Science programs include the same core courses to teach you the fundamental building blocks of CS, enabling you to specialize in any field. See here for the CS core course progression.

What can I study and learn in Computer Science?

CS is a vast and interdisciplinary subject with many different specialized fields, it also combines well with and compliments other subjects. You can really do anything with Computer Science!

See here: “Computer Science studies Family Tree”

Need advice? Contact an Advisor!

See here for Faculty and Computer Science advising contacts.