Scheduling Classes

Let's look at the core CS classes required for the major. It might look intimadating at first, but it just shows the requirements of classes. For example, to take CS 1501, you must take CS 441 and CS 445.

The dashed lines mean those classes are "coreqs". For example, you can take CS 449 if you are taking CS 447 in the semester. But, you cannot take CS 449 before CS 447.

Click a course on the graph to see details

The diagram above shows the relationships between the core classes!

Overview

The core courses can be broken up into different tracks.

Core Programming Intensive

These classes teach the most fundamental CS concepts. Bolded classes are considered very demanding.

  • CMP 401
  • CS 445
  • CS 1501

Mathy

These are more theory based classes that involve proofs and math.

  • CS 441
  • CS 1502

Systems

Do you actually know how a computer works? These classes will teach you!

  • CS 447
  • CS 449
  • CS 1550

Related Links

The full requirements: https://www.sci.pitt.edu/academics/undergraduate-majors/computer-science

More information here: http://sci.pitt.edu/academics/ugrad/cs/

CS Capstone Guide: https://pittcs.wiki/academics/registration/capstone/

Potential Schedules

We recommend taking CS445 and CS1501 as soon as possible. These courses form the foundation of your CS education and will unlock a lot of upper electives. They also are an absolute necessity for technical interviews.

Making a Good CS Plan

  1. Take 401, 445, and 1501 early on
  2. Decide which semester you will take 1501.
  3. Throw away the plan (in college, things change!)

Below are some potential schedules. Your schedule will look different depending on your other classes!

Whenever you schedule a class make sure to play close attention to the professor. It's better to optimize your schedule to have better professors good. Check the respective pages for each course on the wiki and use Rate My Professor.

Note: These are just example schedules. Everyone's situation is different and yours will likely look different.

A - Common

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4Semester 5
4014414474491550
44515011502

B - Common

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4Semester 5
40144715014491550
4414451502CS ElectiveCS Elective

C - Common

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4
4014474491502
44144515011550

D - Common

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4Semester 5
007/ 0104014451501449
4414471502CS Elective

E - Common

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4Semester 5
40144144715011550
4454491502CS Elective

F - Slowish Start

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4Semester 5
007/ 0104014451501449
4414471502

G - Slowish Start (Tougher)

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4Semester 5
007/ 0104014451501449
4411502CS Elective
447

H - Slowish Start (Toughest)

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4Semester 5
007/ 01040144515011550
4411502CS Elective
447449

I - AP Credit required

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4
44544715011550
4414491502CS Elective

J - Tryhard

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3Semester 4
40144715011550
441445449CS Elective(s)
1502

What should I take with these CS classes?

It depends on the rigor of the CS course, and the professor. Notably, if we are talking about CS 1501, we would not want a heavy course load. We recommend not taking Calculus II with CS1501/CS1550 as they are very demanding. Instead, take Calc with a lower level required course like 401 or 449 or take it with your upper electives!

We would likely take some light gen-eds with CS 1501 or CS 1550. As noted, they are demanding and you wouldn't want other tough classes from interfering with them.

CS Electives

You discover your interests in CS as you take some electives. You’re not limited to take classes in a certain domain, but try to take classes that you'll enjoy. Electives are meant to cover topics you want to explore, not classes you suffer in. For example, if you didn’t enjoy CS 447, 449, or 1550 you probably don’t want to take Computer Architecture or other low level courses. On the other hand, if you enjoy certain parts of CS 1501, such as the introduction to cryptography section, CS 1653 would probably be a good elective to take.

Check out the course explorer to look at the different electives that are offered. Pick the ones that pique your interest.

CSC's highly subjective CS Electives Difficulty Ranking

These rankings are incredibly subjective and difficulty varies more by professor rather than course.

S Tier: RoughProfessors
CS 1510 - Algorithm DesignKirk Pruhs
CS 1511 - Theory of ComputationKirk Pruhs
A Tier: A Tough ChallengeProfessors
CS 1541 - Intro to Computer ArchitectureXulong Tang, David Ahn
CS 1622 - Intro to Compiler DesignJarrett Billingsley
CS 1651 - Advanced Systems SoftwareJack Lange
CS 1652 - Data Communication and Computer NetworksJack Lange, Shreif Khattab
CS 1675 - Intro to Machine LearningJoseph Yurko, Milos Hauskrecht
B Tier: Quite a ChallengeProfessors
CS 1566 - Intro to Computer GraphicsDr. Tan (Thumrongsak Kosiyatrakul)
CS 1571 - Intro to Artificial IntelligenceErin Walker
CS 1645 - Intro to High Performance Computing SystemsConstantinos Costa
CS 1653 - Applied Crypto and Network SecurityAdam Lee, William Garrison, Shreif Khattab
CS 1657 - Privacy in Electronic SocietyWilliam Garrison
C Tier: A ChallengeProfessors
CS 1555 - Database Management SystemsPanos Chrysanthis, Constantinos Costa
CS 1567 - Robotic System DesignDr. Tan (Thumrongsak Kosiyatrakul)
CS 1637 - Intro to Human Computer InteractionErin Walker, Jacob Biehl
CS 1666 - Principles of Computer Game Design and ImplementationNick Farnan
CS 1671 - Human Language TechnologiesDiane Litman
CS 1674 - Intro to Computer VisionSeong Hwang, Adriana Kovashka
CS 1678 - Intro to Deep LearningAdriana Kovashka
CS 1699 - Special Topics (these vary in difficulty, but because they're experiemental they're graded leniently)
D Tier: Not BadProfessors
CS 1520 - Programming Language for Web ApplicationsNick Farnan, Evangelos Karageorgos, Timothy James, Jake Stambaugh
CS 1530 - Software EngineeringSohel Sarwar, Shi-Kuo Chang
CS 1621 - Structure Programming LanguagesYoutao Zhang
CS 1632 - Software Quality AssuranceDavid Ahn
CS 1656 - Intro to Data ScienceAlexandros Labrinidis
CS 1660 - Intro to Cloud ComputingMohamed Farag

FAQ

CS 0007 or CS 401?

Should you start with Intro to Programming or Intermediate Programming? Cases by expereince levels:

  • You have never written a single line of code (like me as a freshman): Take 0007.
    • Caveat: If you have enough time before the semester starts, watch online tutorials to learn Java and start with 401! If you can learn -- variables, assignments, if-statements, logical operators, functions, Strings, lists, input/output, and loops -- before the semester, you can probably take 401.
  • You took a high school-level programming course: Take 401, unless the programming course was in a language like HTML/CSS.
    • Caveat: If the course wasn't in Java, you'll have to learn the syntax. Learning syntax doesn't take long, just look at code examples from the textbook.
  • You took a college-level for-credit programming course: Take 445.
    • Caveat: You'll definitely want to review OOP and algorithm analysis, which are the core concepts of DS&A 1. If the course wasn't in Java, 445 will be a little more difficult. Get up to speed by learning Java syntax before the semester via textbooks/video tutorials and... write a lot of code.

Note: Don't be fooled/intimidated by the sudden jump in the course number CS0007 to CS0401. They are sequential courses, and depending on your professors, they may even cover a lot of the same material. Use the pre-reqs to gauge course difficulty, not the course number.

Should I Graduate Early?

If you have enough credits, you can graduate early! It is a great way to save some tuition money. But, there are also some more classes that can help you as a CS major.

It really depends on what your interests are. For example, if you are interested in Data Science, we would recommend taking some Statistics classes. In particular, STAT 1261, and STAT 1201 would be excellent options.

If you are interested in Cryptography, we would recommend taking some Math classes. In particular, Introduction to Mathematical Cryptography, Elementary Number Theory, Combinatorial Mathematics, would be great options. Note that all these classes require MATH 413.

If you're interested in writing/improving your communication and expression skills, the Creative Writing minor is a great choice!