CS minor FAQ

Declaring a CS minor

Why should I consider CS as a minor?
As we point out in our computer science minor guide, a CS minor will help you to stand out in your chosen field. Computer science skills give you a huge practical advantage, from programming skills (C++, Python) to soft skills (problem-solving, teamwork, critical thinking). Nearly every job today requires the use of a computer, and your technical skills will allow you to make better use of those machines than many of your colleagues. Today’s employers are looking for people who have analytical skills that reach across academic subjects — for example, an engineering major combined with a computer science minor, a finance major combined with a computer science minor, or a music major combined with a computer science minor. Any UIC major can offer a great combination!

Are there any other benefits that come with a CS minor?
UIC computer science minors are eligible to apply for Sprinternships, which are paid three-week micro-internships at Chicago-area companies, and for membership in Break Through Tech Chicago, which comes with its own whole set of perks.

How do I apply for a CS minor?
If you’re a female or nonbinary UIC student, Break Through Tech Chicago will help you from the start. All you need to do is submit an application form to get the process rolling. (To find the application form, go to this student resources webpage and fill out the “Minor / Concentration Form” if you are a College of Engineering student or the “Minor request form” if you are a student in another UIC college.) Once you submit this form, we will be in touch by email to help you take the next steps.

What if I want to major in computer science?
If you already are a UIC College of Engineering student, go to the student resources webpage and fill out the “Change of major form.” If you are a student in another UIC college, start here.

I heard that UIC offers a data science major now, too. How does that differ from computer science?
Computer science is the study of the theory and practice of how computers work. Computer science students learn how to program and delve into topics such as operating systems, networking, security, algorithms, and computer architecture. Computer science students gain a broad mastery of the field as well as the communication skills to connect with all of the people whom computing affects. Data science is an interdisciplinary field involving computer science and statistics. Data science students focus on analytical understanding: taking a massive pool of information, distilling the nuggets of meaning from it, and communicating that meaning to other people, from corporations to government agencies.

Is there a data science minor at UIC now, too?
Not yet. But you can create a data science-focused version of the computer science minor. Enroll in the computer science minor and find the time to take an additional prerequisite (STAT 381 or IE 341) that will allow you to choose CS 418 Data Science as your minor elective. There, you’ve got a data science-oriented minor.

When am I ready to apply for the CS minor?
You are ready now! If you haven’t yet taken CS 111 Program Design I, we will help you to enroll in that course and then to formally declare the minor. If you already have completed CS 111 with a grade of C or better, we will guide you toward your next courses. Either way, you can get things going by filling out the minor application (see the “How do I apply for the CS minor?” question above).

Pursuing the CS minor

What is required to become a CS minor?
Break Through Tech Chicago supports female and nonbinary UIC students in their pursuit of a CS minor. Email us at btt@uic.edu for help in navigating the prerequisites (CS 111 Program Design I and one math course: MATH 165, 170, or 180) and in completing the application for the minor. This information may be helpful, too: when you apply, you must have a GPA of at least 2.0 on a scale of 4.0 for College of Engineering students or 2.5 on a scale of 4.0 for all other majors.

Which courses make up the computer science minor?
All computer science minors must take CS 141 (or CS 107), CS 151, CS 211, and CS 251. Then you choose one elective: CS 261, CS 301, CS 341, CS 342, CS 401, or any other 400-level CS class that you have the prerequisites to take. Through the computer science minor, you will earn at least 15 hours/credits in total.

Can I take CS 112 or CS 113 instead of CS 111?
Yes! CS 111, CS 112, and CS113 are all versions of the same course, Program Design I. CS 112 is a version that focuses on biology and biological topics, and CS 113 is a version that focuses on law and public policy. Please be aware that CS 112 and CS 113 typically are offered in the fall only.