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.

Real World Outcomes

Computer science majors from UC Davis are well prepared for both the competitive job market and for postgraduate study. Graduates have gone on to careers with major employers such as Microsoft, IBM, Lockheed Martin and numerous start-up companies.


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, which is in the College of Letters and Sciences, and the Computer Science and Engineering major, which is in the College of Engineering?

One of the most common questions students ask advisers 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.

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