Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Students intending to enter this program at the freshman level should have completed two years of algebra and one semester of trigonometry in high school. One year each of high school geometry and physics, as well as basic knowledge of computer organization and programming, are very desirable.

All lower-division courses (course numbers below 300) included among the degree requirements are available at many community colleges in California; students intending to enter the program upon transferring to San Francisco State University from a community college should take as many of those courses there as possible.

Students should plan their program of study in the major with the help of a departmental advisor as soon as possible so that the correct sequence of courses is taken and a proper set of electives is chosen. It is also suggested that students consult with an advisor before selecting courses to meet the General Education requirements. (See program below for acceptable science electives.)

Students are encouraged to participate in the Computer Science Cooperative Education Program at SF State. Under this program, they may obtain industrial employment related to their academic studies. This combination of on-the-job training and academic experience can greatly enhance the value of an undergraduate degree in Computer Science.

An Endowed Scholarship Fund, established in the memory of Jules H. Strauss, offers an annual award to a computer science major who shows scholarly accomplishment and demonstrates financial need.

An Entrepreneurship Program and Developers Prize, funded by our alumni, encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship among students.

Students are advised that CR/NC grades are not acceptable in courses to be counted for the Computer Science major or minor programs with the exception of the CSC 211 lab.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to design, develop, document, and test software using current techniques.
  2. Students will understand the fundamentals of computer architecture and computing theory.
  3. Students will be able to solve problems working in group settings.
  4. Students will demonstrate the ability to give presentations and write technical reports.
  5. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of social and ethical issues related to the profession.

Computer Science (B.S.)  71 units

Mathematics and Physics (22 units)

MATH 226Calculus I4
MATH 227Calculus II4
MATH 324Probability and Statistics with Computing3
MATH 325Linear Algebra3
PHYS 220General Physics with Calculus I3
PHYS 222General Physics with Calculus I Laboratory1
PHYS 230General Physics with Calculus II3
PHYS 232General Physics with Calculus II Laboratory1

Core Computer Science Requirements (25 units)

CSC 210Introduction to Computer Programming3
CSC 211Introduction to Software Lab1
CSC 220Data Structures3
CSC 230Discrete Mathematical Structures for Computer Science3
CSC 256Machine Structures3
CSC 300GWEthics, Communication, and Tools for Software Development - GWAR3
CSC 317Introduction to Web Software Development3
CSC 340Programming Methodology3
CSC 413Software Development3

Advanced Computer Science Requirements (12 units)

CSC 415Operating System Principles3
CSC 510Analysis of Algorithms I3
CSC 600Programming Paradigms and Languages3
CSC 648Software Engineering3

Senior Presentations

Each student is required to make an oral presentation during their senior year. Guidelines for the presentations are available on the Computer Science website: cs.sfsu.edu.

Electives (12 units)

All students must complete four 3-unit senior electives.  At least 9 units must be CSC courses.  In addition to the courses listed below, any 600-level CSC course, with the exception of the advanced requirements courses CSC 600 and CSC 648, can be used as an elective.  The department also allows one CSC graduate course to be used as a senior elective (700-level or higher, and non-paired excluding 895, 898, 897, 899).  Exceptions must be approved in advance by a senior advisor.

CSC 508Machine Learning and Data Science for Personalized Medicine3
CSC 520Theory of Computing3
CSC 615UNIX Programming3
CSC 620Natural Language Technologies3
CSC 621Biomedical Imaging and Analysis3
CSC 630Computer Graphics Systems Design3
CSC 631Multiplayer Game Development3
CSC 637Software Techniques for Computer Music3
CSC 641Computer Performance Evaluation3
CSC 642Human-Computer Interaction3
CSC 645Computer Networks3
CSC 651System Administration3
CSC 652Introduction to Security and Data Privacy3
CSC 656Computer Organization3
CSC 658Programming Cafe3
CSC 664Multimedia Systems3
CSC 665Artificial Intelligence3
CSC 667Internet Application Design and Development3
CSC 668Advanced Object Oriented Software Design and Development3
CSC 675Introduction to Database Systems3
CSC 690Interactive Multimedia Application Development3
CSC 698Topics in Computing3
CSC 699Independent Study1-3
MATH 400Numerical Analysis3
MATH 425Applied and Computational Linear Algebra3

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Government LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

Find the correct roadmap (A, B, C, or D):

  1. Select the row that matches your English Course choice for A2.*
  2. Select the column that matches your QR Category (found at your student center under Math Alert).
  3. Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.

For example, if you are taking ENG 104 as your first English course and your student center math alert says you are QR Category III, you should choose Roadmap D.

Pathway QR Cat I/II QR Cat III/IV
ENG 114 Roadmap A Roadmap C
ENG 104/ENG 105 Roadmap B Roadmap D

*Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 204 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AS-T in Computer Science. This roadmap opens in a new tab.

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Computer Science

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All Students Must Meet the Transfer Eligibility Requirements Outlined Below for Admission.

For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units.
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.0 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  • Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of General Education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course.