EECS computer-science minor makes its debut

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 4:15pm

Sixty-six students from 14 MIT departments have declared that they will minor in computer science, taking advantage of a new offering that debuted in fall 2016.

Designed to enable students to earn credentials in computer science while they pursue other majors, the computer science minor ensures that graduates learn the fundamentals of programming, algorithms, and discrete mathematics. To complete the minor, students must take six subjects in Course 6, including four required courses in the fundamentals and two electives, at least one of which must be at an advanced level, typically within either artificial intelligence and/or theoretical computer science.

"The six courses in the minor program provide a thorough-going introduction to computer science," says Chris Terman, the undergraduate officer for MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). He notes that before the minor was developed, the only way to earn computer science credentials at MIT was to major in 6-2 (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), 6-3 (Computer Science and Engineering), 6-7 (Computer Science and Molecular Biology) or 18C (Mathematics with Computer Science). The Minor in Computer Science is open to all undergraduates except those in courses 6-1 (electrical science and engineering), 6-2, 6-3, 6-7, 7 (biology), and 18C.

Students enrolled in the new minor thus far hail from a wide range of departments at MIT, including Aeronautics and Astronautics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, Economics, and Management.

As of spring 2017, there were 27 sophomores, 26 juniors, and 12 seniors in the degree program. However, more people may actually be pursuing the minor, because students may wait until their senior year to declare a minor, Terman notes.

Overall, the launch of the new minor has been a success, Terman says: "Use of online advising and progress-monitoring has helped keep the administrative burden low, so the minor program is serving a new cadre of students without adding substantially to the department’s advising and teaching load.”

For more information on the new computer science minor, visit eecs.mit.edu/csminor.