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Stevens CS
Frequently Asked Questions
 
  1. What undergraduate majors does Stevens Computer Science offer?
  2. I am just starting. Should I register for CS 105 or CS 115?
  3. I received AP credit in high school. What is the first programming course I should take?
  4. The CS Honors courses CS 181 and CS 182 are equivalent to which other CS courses?
  5. Who is my advisor?
  6. What is a study plan?
  7. How do I complete my Study Plan correctly?
  8. What humanities courses must I take?
  9. What management courses must I take?
  10. What science courses must I take?
  11. What electives do I have in my program?
  12. Which courses may I take as technical electives?
  13. Which courses may I can take as the software development elective?
  14. Which courses may I take as a science or mathematics elective?
  15. Can any graduate courses be used in place of a CS undergraduate course?
  16. Can I take both an undergraduate course and an equivalent graduate course?
  17. Can I take CS 501 or CS 570 for credit?
  18. Can I use my BS courses towards a graduate certificate?
  19. What if I am working on both a BS and an MS?
  20. What constitutes a concentration area?
  21. Must I have a concentration area?
  22. How do I know which CS courses will be offered which semesters?
  23. Can I take a WebCampus course?
  24. Which courses should I take for minors in the Computer Science Department?
  25. How do I get an account on CS machines?
  26. How can I find out more about research?

What undergraduate majors does Stevens Computer Science offer?

The Computer Science Department offers three majors:

  • Computer Science offers the flexibility for students to "drill down" to specific subject areas, such as graphics, computer games, networks, financial computing, and enterprise computing.
  • Cybersecurity focuses on the technical and managerial aspects of securing the nation's IT infrastructure. In addition to a strong Computer Science background, it provides in-depth studies in cryptography, privacy and building secure systems.
  • Information Systems emphasizes the organizational issues of managing information, covering management skills as well as IT skills. Both information management and project management are strong themes of the program.

All programs share a strong technical "spine" and a two-semester senior project course that emphasizes client interaction and project management.

Beginning in Fall 2013, the Information Systems major, which has been a 50-50 program between Computer Science and the Howe School of Technology Management (HSTM), will be administered completely by HSTM.

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I am just starting. Should I register for CS 105 or CS 115?

You should take CS 115 if you have had at least a year of programming in high school. If you do not have this background and choose to take CS 115 anyway, you may find it to be a challenging experience. If you have any question about your level of preparation, take CS 105. If you are unsure, discuss this matter with a computer science advisor before the start of classes. If s/he determines that you are inadequately prepared, you are strongly advised to enroll in CS 105.


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I received AP credit in high school. What is the first programming course I should take?

Students who received a grade of 4 or 5 on the Computer Science AP examination will receive credit for a CS elective and will be placed in CS 181 (Introduction to Computer Science – Honors) for the first semester. If you feel you need a review, you should substitute CS 115 for CS 181 and follow the standard CS course of study.


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The CS Honors courses CS 181 and CS 182 are equivalent to which other CS courses?

CS 181 + CS 182 = CS 115 + CS 284 + CS 385. If you took CS 181 and CS 182, then you must take an additional 3-credit elective so you can graduate with the same number of credits as the rest of your class.


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Who is my advisor?

The department assigns advisors based on a student's undergraduate degree program.

CyS majors contact Prof. Wetzel.
IS majors contact Prof. Ben-Zvi in HSTM.

CS majors use the following table to determine your Faculty Advisor.

Last Three Digits of Student ID Faculty Advisor Email
xyz ≤ 199 Prof. Duggan dduggan AT stevens.edu
200 ≤ xyz ≤ 399 Prof. Wang Hui.Wang AT stevens.edu
400 ≤ xyz ≤ 599 Prof. Burlick (replacing Prof. Compagnoni during 2013-14) mburlick AT stevens.edu
600 ≤ xyz ≤ 799 Prof. Klappholz davidk6 AT gmail.com
800 ≤ xyz ≤ 999 Prof. Gabarró sgabarro AT stevens.edu

The advisor for students who are pursuing a minor in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Information Systems or Gaming is Prof. Klappholz.

The advisor for all matters relating to transfer students is Prof. Naumann.


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What is a Study Plan?

A Study Plan is a form that contains the list of the courses you will take to fulfill the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Cybersecurity or Information Systems.

Stevens requires you to fill out a Study Plan no later than your second semester in school. However, the CS department requires you to fill one out during your first semester to avoid problems when you register for the second semester. Your assigned advisor must approve and sign your Study Plan.

Without a signed and filed Study Plan, you might accidentally take a course that doesn't satisfy a requirement you think it meets. Without a signed and filed Study Plan you may take a course that is not valid toward your degree, which may delay your graduation. You cannot file an application for candidacy (graduation) without a Study Plan. Sophomores, juniors and seniors without a study plan will be prevented from registering. If you did file one, but there is no record of it, it is your responsibility to see to it that the problem is fixed, perhaps by re-filing a Study Plan.

Use the recommended course sequence from the Stevens Catalog to develop your study plan. You should do this in consultation with your Faculty Advisor, who must eventually sign off on your Study Plan.

You may go to the collection of Study Plan forms available on this site. You should follow the catalog of the semester and year you entered Stevens, independent of expected graduation date. For example if you entered Stevens in the Fall of 2008, you should follow the 2008-2009 academic catalog. If you switched to a major in the Computer Science department from another department, you may choose the catalog when you entered Stevens or the catalog in place when you switched into the department.

Therefore, different students may have different requirements. You can not necessarily trust the advice of your friends.

You may modify your Study Plan at will with the approval of your advisor who will make sure that your modified course plan satisfies degree requirements. If not, you risk taking courses which may not count towards your Computer Science degree.

You must specify on the Study Plan when you will take the required courses and you may show electives as TBD (To Be Determined). A better approach is to use the recommended Study Plan, fill in dates for all courses and deviate from it if necessary. This approach makes discussions with your advisor easier and avoids misunderstandings.


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How do I complete my Study Plan correctly?

The department holds mandatory meetings each Fall semester to make sure that students understand how to fill out a Study Plan and to oversee that they do it correctly. You will receive an email reminding you of this meeting early in the Fall semester.

Here is a sample study plan. Some points of interest are:

Term Specification

Semesters should be numbered using the last 2 digits of the year followed by the Semester letter.
For example for the academic year 2008-2009
use 08F for the fall semester of 2008
09W for the intersession of 2009
09S for the spring semester of 2009,
09A for the first summer session of 2009, and
09B for the second summer session of 2009.

This numbering scheme is recommended by the registrar's office and required on the Application for Candidacy Form according to the registrar's office. Listing the semester you plan to take each course helps you determine that you can graduate in your desired number of semesters.

Advanced Placement and transfer credits

If you have transfer (TR) or advanced placement (AP) credit for a course, list the semester and grade as 'TR' or 'AP’ respectively.


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What humanities courses must I take?

CS majors (started Fall 2007 and later) must take eight humanities courses.
CS majors (started prior to Fall 2007) must take nine humanities courses.
CyS and IS majors must take eight humanities courses.

Read the information in the humanities section of your year-of-entry catalog regarding the general requirement and the information in the CS Department's section of the catalog regarding the department specific humanities requirements for CS, CyS and IS students.

The Institute made significant changes in humanities offerings starting in Fall 2011. Therefore, there are different requirements for students who started before or after Fall 2011.

For students who STARTED BEFORE FALL 2011, the requirements and constraints are:

  1. Four 100-level courses: two must be from the Literature/Philosophy group (Group A), and two must be from the History/Social Science group (Group B).
  2. Two 300/400-level courses each in the junior and senior years, one of which must be HSS 371, Computers and Society. (As a historical exception, MGT/BT 243, Macroeconomics, and MGT/BT 244, Microeconomics, may be counted as in this category as upper-level humanities courses.)
  3. The only art and music classes that fulfill the 100-level humanities requirements are:
    • Group A:
      • HMU 192 Music Appreciation I
      • HMU 193 Music Appreciation II
    • Group B:
      • HAR 190 History of Art: Prehistory to the Modern Era
      • HAR 191 Modern Art History and Theory
      • HMU 101 Music History I
      • HMU 102 Music History II
      • HMU/HAR 120 History of Technology and the Arts
  4. Other art and music classes do not fulfill the upper-level humanities requirement EXCEPT that students may complete 6 semesters of HMU 490 Music Performance: Concert Band, OR 6 semesters of HMU 491 Music Performance: Jazz Ensemble, OR HMU 492 Music Appreciation: Stevens Choir.

For students who STARTED IN FALL 2011 OR LATER, the requirements and constraints are:

  1. All students must take CAL 103 and CAL 105 as freshmen, plus at least six humanities electives. No AP credit is given for CAL 103 or CAL 105.
  2. At least one of the electives must be at the 100 or 200 level.
  3. At least one of the electives must be at the 300 level or higher.
  4. Electives must be taken in at least two of the four humanities divisions: Literature, Philosophy, History, and Social Science.
  5. One of the electives must be HSS 371 (Computers and Society) or HPL 455 (Ethical Issues in Science and Technology).
  6. BT 243, Macroeconomics, and BT 244, Microeconomics, may be counted as upper-level humanities courses.
  7. Only certain art and music courses may count toward the humanities elective requirement. They are:
    • HMU 192 Music Appreciation I
    • HMU 193 Music Appreciation II
    • HAR 190 History of Art: Preshistory to the Modern Era
    • HAR 191 Modern Art History and Theory
    • HAR 350 History of Photography
    • HAR 480 Media Culture and Theory
    • HMU 101 Music History I
    • HMU 102 Music History II
    • HMU/HAR 120 History of Technology and the Arts
  8. For a free elective, students may complete 6 semesters of one of three performance courses, each of which carries a half-credit per semester: HMU 490 (Music Performance: Concert Band); or HMU 491 (Music Performance: Jazz Ensemble); or HMU 492 (Music Appreciation: Stevens Choir). The student must take 6 offerings of the same performance course: either 6 offerings of HMU 490, 6 offerings of HMU 491, or 6 offerings of HMU 492. The 3 credits that result from taking 6 semesters of the same one of these three performance courses may be counted as one free elective (but not a humanities elective). If the student does not complete 6 offerings of one of these performance courses, the credits will be additional credits beyond program requirements.

While at Stevens, students may transfer in no more than two humanities courses from other institutions.


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What management courses must I take?

Starting Fall 2007 or later: You must take MGT 111 (Social Psychology and Organizational Behavior). In Fall 2012 this course was renumbered to BT 330.
Starting during the 2006-7 academic year: CS majors must take at least one of: MGT 111 (aka BT 330), MGT 243, or BT 421.
Starting before Fall 2006: CS majors must take at least one of: MGT 111 (aka BT 330), MGT 243, or BT 121.


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What science courses must I take?

Choose one of the following rows.

Fall Spring Laboratory
Physics PEP 111 Mechanics PEP 112 E&M PEP 221
Chemistry CH 115 Gen Chem I CH 116 Gen Chem II CH 117
Chem & Bio CH 115 Gen Chem I CH 281 Bio & Biotech CH 117
Chem & Bio CH 115 Gen Chem I CH 281 Bio & Biotech CH 282
Physics & Bio PEP 111 Mechanics CH 281 Bio & Biotech CH 282

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What electives do I have in my program?

Starting Fall 2007 or later: You have 2 science/math electives, 2 technical electives, 2 free electives, and one software development elective. Science/math, technical, and software development electives are defined in answers to other questions in this FAQ. Free electives are not unconstrained. Courses to be taken as a "free" elective must be approved by your advisor on a signed study plan before you enroll. You can count any 3-credit course, except

  • Any course that is required for your study plan.
  • Any course that is equivalent to another course counted towards the degree. For example, MA 117, MA 118, MA 119, MA 134, MA 502, CPE 360, CPE 517, CPE 384, CPE 385, CPE 400, EE 250 may not be counted.
If you have doubt about whether a course can be counted as a free elective, consult your advisor.

2006-7 academic year: You have 2 CS electives and 6 general electives. Of the 6 general electives, one must be a science/math elective and one must be a management elective, from a prescribed list of management courses (see above). The remaining 4 electives may be in an approved Application Area. If they are not, three of them must be CS courses, and the fourth is a free elective.

Starting before Fall 2006: You have 2 CS electives, 6 general electives, and one free elective. Of the 6 general electives, one must be a science/math elective and one must be a management elective, from a prescribed list of management courses. The remaining 4 electives may be in an approved Application Area. If they are not, they must be CS courses.


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Which courses may I take as technical electives?

Courses to be taken as technical electives must be approved by your advisor on a signed study plan before you enroll.

You can count as a technical elective any 300-level or 400-level CS course that will not be used to satisfy the requirements of any degree. There is only one CpE course that you may count as a technical elective: CpE 358 (Switching Theory and Logical Design). To emphasize this point, no other CPE courses, no EE courses, no mathematics or science courses are accepted as CS electives. There are no exceptions.

In addition, you can take as a technical elective any 500-level CS course or SSW course for which you have the prerequisites except for:

  • Any course that is required for your study plan (which depends on the year in which you entered Stevens).
  • CS 501 because it teaches Java, which is covered in CS 284 and CS 181. (Students who started in Fall 2012 or later may take CS 501 as a FREE elective.)
  • CS 570 because it teaches C++, which is covered in CS 385 and CS 182. (This prohibition applies only to students who started in Fall 2012 or later; students who started before Fall 2012 MAY take CS 570 as a tech elective. Students who started in Fall 2012 or later may take CS 570 as a FREE elective.)
  • SSW 540 because it is similar to CS 347, which is required.
  • Any 500-level CS course that is equivalent to some undergraduate course that you are required to take. These are: CS 510, CS 514, CS 520, CS 550, CS 561, and CS 590.

At most one SSW course may be counted as a technical elective.

You can count as a technical elective any 600-level or higher level CS course if your GPA is at least 3.0. (To take courses at this level you must submit a permission form signed by the instructor, your advisor, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.)

CS 105 may count as a technical elective, but only under certain circumstances. CS 105 counts as a technical elective only if it is taken before any other beginning CS courses such as CS 115, CS 181, CS 284, etc. If CS 105 is taken at the same time as or after other introductory CS courses then it may not be counted as a technical elective nor as a free elective; in this case it will be an extra course above program requirements. (Likewise, CS 115 will be counted as an extra course if it is taken at the same time as or following CS 181.)

IS majors may, with their advisor's prior approval, count BT, MGT, or MIS courses at the 300-level or above.

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Which courses may I take as the software development elective?

Any of the following:

  • CS 516 Compiler Design
  • CS 521 TCP/IP Networking
  • CS 522 Mobile Systems and Applications
  • CS 526 Enterprise and Cloud Computing
  • CS 537 Interactive Computer Graphics
  • CS 541 Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 546 Web Programming
  • CS 548 Enterprise Software Architecture and Design
  • CS 549 Distributed Systems and Cloud Computing
  • CS 558 Computer Vision

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Which courses may I take as a science or mathematics elective?

Courses to be taken as a science or math elective must be approved by your advisor on a signed study plan before you enroll. You can count any 3-credit physics, chemistry, biology, or mathematics course, except

  • Any course that is required for your study plan.
  • Any course that is equivalent to another course counted towards the degree. For example, MA 117, MA 118, MA 119, MA 134, and MA 502 may not be counted.


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Can any graduate courses be used in place of a CS undergraduate course?

With your advisor's permission -- and only with permission -- certain substitutions may be permitted in order to solve a scheduling problem. Contact your advisor.


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Can I take both an undergraduate course and an equivalent graduate course?

No. If you take both courses only one of them may count toward a degree. You cannot count one toward a BS and one toward an MS.


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Can I take CS 501 or CS 570 for credit?

For many years undergraduates were prohibited from taking CS 501 for credit because it teaches Java at an elementary level. Undergraduates received adequate education in Java programming via required courses CS 115 and CS 284 (for honors students: CS 181).

However, starting in Fall 2012 Python was adopted as the language for CS 115, thereby reducing required undergraduate Java education to only CS 284 or CS 181. The department felt that some students might wish to improve their Java skills following CS 284 or CS 181 and they should be allowed the chance. Similar reasoning applied to C++ education: the language is taught in the required course CS 385 or 182, but CS 570 exists as an elementary C++ course and it might be beneficial to some. Since both CS 501 and CS 570 are elementary courses, students who started in Fall 2012 or later are allowed to take these courses as free electives, but NOT as technical electives.

Therefore, the department has adopted the following policy about CS 501 and CS 570:

  • Undergrads who started before Fall 2012: MAY NOT take CS 501 for credit but MAY take CS 570 as a tech elective.
  • Undergrads who started Fall 2012 or later: may take either or both of CS 501 and CS 570 as a free elective, NOT as a tech elective.
  • MS students who have or are pursuing a Stevens BS in CS or CyS: may take neither CS 501 not CS 570 for credit in their MS program.
  • MS students whose BS is not from Stevens may take either or both of CS 501 and CS 570 for credit in their MS program.

The policies regarding CS 501 and CS 570 are inconsistent for students enrolling before Fall 2012 for the historical reasons outlined above. The two courses are treated consistently for students enrolling Fall 2012 or later.

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Can I use my BS courses towards a graduate certificate?

Yes, this is the only time where "double-dipping" is allowed. You may use a course for both an undergraduate degree and graduate certificate.

You may not use a course for both an undergraduate degree and a Master's degree.


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What if I am working on both a BS and an MS?

Some of the possible core courses for the MS are equivalent to courses required for the BS. You can't get credit for taking this material a second time, so you must take other core courses in your MS degree. Likewise, if you took some core MS courses as electives for your BS degree then you cannot apply these courses to your MS degree.
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What constitutes a concentration area?

You may choose one of the Concentration Areas listed in the catalog. A Concentration Area is no more than a suggestion for a useful collection of CS electives. It does not show up on your transcript.

For many but not all concentration areas, there is a corresponding graduate certificate program with the same or almost the same content. You may follow a graduate certificate program if you have the necessary GPA and the prerequisites. A graduate certificate does appear on your transcript.


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Must I have a concentration area?

No. You may choose to take either a concentration area, or ad hoc CS electives. A concentration area is just advice in your choice of CS electives. Your concentration area may simultaneously earn you a graduate certificate, subject to the requirements of the computer science department.


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How do I know which CS courses will be offered which semesters?

The Registrar's website has the official list of offered courses. To help with planning, the department website lists when CS courses are usually offered: undergraduate courses and graduate courses. This information is merely a guide, not a promise to offer.


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Can I take a WebCampus course?

Yes, but it is preferable that you take the regular course. WebCampus courses are geared towards distance learning and should only be taken if it is impossible for a student to be present on campus or a course is not being offered on campus during the desired semester. Though the quality of the WebCampus courses should be very high and the same material is covered as in a regular course, they cannot replace the face-to-face interaction with faculty.

If you are an international student, you may take at most one WebCampus course per semester. This limit is a US government rule.


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Which courses should I take for minors in the Computer Science Department?

Departmental minors are listed here.


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How do I get an account on CS machines?

The department provides a laboratory of Linux machines located in B-127 for assignment work. Certain courses require that you use Linux, in particular, the systems courses (CS 392 Systems Programming, CS 492 Operating Systems, CS 521 TCP/IP Networking, CS 549 Distributed and Cloud Computing). Other courses may require you to submit your assignments via submission scripts on the Linux machines. Your course instructor will arrange an account if needed.


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How can I find out more about research?

Stevens Computer Science is home to world-class research in Cybersecurity, Visual Computing (Graphics/Vision/Visualization), Programming Languages, Machine Learning, and Computational Biology. There are concrete things you can do to get involved in this research:

  • Attend the Computer Science research seminars, where researchers come to describe their latest results. These talks are announced on cs-announce, and you can also see a list of the talks at the CS Seminar web page.
  • Take a course with a faculty member whose research interests you, and talk to him/her.

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Contacts  
 

Daniel Duchamp
Research Professor & Department Director
Lieb
Room 313
Phone: 201.216.5390
Fax: 201.216.8249
dduchamp@stevens.edu

Dawn Garcia
Administrative Assistant
Lieb
Room 317
Phone: 201.216.5578
Fax: 201.216.8249
dgarcia@cs.stevens.edu

Sherry Dorso
Assistant to the Director
Lieb 317
Phone: 201.216.5328
Fax: 201.216.8249
sdorso@stevens.edu

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