Advising Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is the Undergraduate Advising Head (UAH)?

The Undergraduate Advising Head (UAH) for the 2017-18 academic year is Professor Mitch Cherniack. His office hours are held in Volen 259 on Tuesdays from 2-3:30 p.m. Students do not need to make appointments to attend these office hours and can drop in during the designated time.

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I took a programming class elsewhere. How can I get credit for COSI 11a towards my major?

Students who get a 5 on the AP Exam in Computer Science are automatically exempted from COSI 11a and need not do anything.  Students who have taken and passed the introductory course for computer science majors at another institution, or scored 4 on the AP Exam in Computer Science are eligible to take a placement exam to qualify for an exemption for the computer science major at Brandeis. Placement exams are offered once per semester, and in fall 2017 will be offered on:

Wednesday, January 17 at 5:30 p.m. at a location TBD

Any student who wishes to take the placement exam must email golitsyn@brandeis.edu to register for it by Monday, January 15 at noon with the following information: a) What course you took that makes you eligible for the placement exam; b) When and where you took that course; c) AP test results or proof of what grade you received (certificate, transcript, etc.).

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I learned programming on my own and have not taken a course equivalent to COSI 11a. Can I take the 11a exemption exam?

No. COSI 11a is a pivotal, gateway course to the major for two reasons:  1) it introduces fundamental programming concepts and methodologies that are essential for any computer science graduate, and 2) it provides students with an intensive programming experience that (along with other programming-intensive courses we offer such as COSI 12b) help to ensure that students who graduate are proficient at programming. We do allow exemptions to students who have taken an equivalent course elsewhere provided that they take and pass the exemption exam. But this is the only exemption (along with the AP exemption discussed above) we allow. Students who choose to major in computer science should do so knowing that COSI 11a is a required course for the major. 

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I wish to take COSI 12b or COSI 21a even though I haven't taken COSI 11a. Is this possible?

No. Only students who have been granted an exemption from COSI 11a may take COSI 12b or COSI 21a without having taken COSI 11a. The process for getting an exemption from COSI 11a is described above.

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I wish to take COSI 21a even though I haven't taken COSI 12b. Is this possible?

As of fall 2016, COSI 12b (or permission of the UAH) is now a prerequisite to COSI 21a. In general, the UAH will only grant permission for a student to take COSI 21a without having taken COSI 12b if he/she received a grade of A- or higher in COSI 11a.

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How can I propose the substitution of a different course for a course required for the major or minor?

Course substitutions can be proposed by completing the online petition on the registrar's website.

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Can I substitute Math 23b for COSI 29a?

A student who has taken both Math 23b and either Math 8a or Math 36a can substitute these courses for COSI 29a.

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Can I take a course without having taken its prerequisites?

No. The prerequisites to any given course are carefully chosen so as to ensure that all students taking the course have a mastery of topics that will be assumed as understood when introducing new course material. A student who wishes to take a course without having taken its prerequisite(s) must have been approved for an exemption from (each of) the prerequisite course(s).

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I wish to declare a major or minor in COSI. Do I need to meet with the UAH to arrange this?

No. Send an email to the UAH describing: 1) whether you wish to declare for the major or minor, 2) if the major, whether a BA or BS is desired, and 3) your sage ID and the procedure can then be completed by the UAH online.

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I wish to drop my major or minor in COSI, or change my current BA (BS) major to a BS (BA). Do I need to meet with the UAH to arrange this?

No. Send an email to the UAH describing: 1) what you wish to do, and 2) your sage ID and the procedure can then be completed by the UAH online.

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How do I arrange a meeting with the UAH?

The UAH will announce drop-in office hours on his/her office door. For the academic year 2017-18, the UAH is Mitch Cherniack and his office hours are held in Volen 259 on Tuesdays from 2-3:30. Students need not make appointments to attend these office hours and need only drop in during the designated time.

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The requirements for the major or minor have changed since I declared. Must I abide by the new requirements?

All students have the option of following the current requirements for the major or minor as specified in the current version of the bulletin  or following the requirements that were in effect when the major or minor was declared. You can tell which requirements with which you are currently associated by performing a degree audit on sage. If you wish to change the requirements to an earlier or later version of the bulletin, you may request this by emailing the registrar at registrar@brandeis.edu

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Does COSI 2a count as an elective for the major?

COSI 2a is a course designed for non-majors and thus does not count towards the major. When the bulletin description of requirements for the major were revised a few years ago, the declaration that COSI 2a does not count towards the major was accidentally omitted. This was corrected in fall 2016 and the bulletin now states that COSI 2a does not count towards the major. However, students who declared their major when the bulletin wording allowed for COSI 2a to count towards the major can use the process described above to use this previous version of the major requirements.

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I am studying abroad and would like for a course in the institution I am visiting to count as an elective towards the major. What are the rules for this?

In general, the rule of thumb is that a course offered at another institution can count as an elective towards the computer science major if that course counts towards the major for computer science (or its equivalent) at the institution where it is offered. Students should make the case for the set of courses they wish to take while abroad to the UAH before they leave. This requires providing documentation of the requirements of the computer science major specified by the institution where they will be studying that show that the course or courses in question are accepted for the major.

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When I do a course audit on sage, I am seeing a mistake. How do I get this corrected?

All questions about sage course audits should be directed to the registrar at registrar@brandeis.edu

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Do COSI 166 and COSI 167 together count as 1 or 2 electives towards the COSI elective requirements?

COSI 166 is worth 4 credits and thus counts as a single elective. COSI 167 is worth 2 credits. Because there is no other COSI course worth 2 credits, it alone cannot substitute for another elective. Therefore, the combination of COSI 166 with COSI 167 effectively counts as 1 elective.

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How can I substitute courses taken at Brandeis or elsewhere for math courses that are required for the major?

Substitutions for math courses must be approved by the math department. Correspondence from the math department approving a given substitution should be forwarded to the UAH when the students files an online petition for the substitution for the substitution to be approved for COSI requirements.

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Can I use Advanced Placement (AP) credits to substitute for a math requirement for the BS in COSI?

Substitutions for math courses must be approved by the math department. Correspondence from the math department approving a given substitution should be forwarded to the UAH when the students files an online petition for the substitution for the substitution to be approved for COSI requirements.