Library Mall, fall, with view of Capitol

Prospective Undergraduate Computer Sciences Students

Frequently Asked Questions

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I’m not a current UW student, but I plan to enroll/transfer soon. Can I still be advised by CS advisors?

Computer Science Undergraduate Advisors provide extensive advising resources to current UW-Madison students and transfer students.

If you are in the early stages of considering transferring to UW-Madison or have not yet started your first year on campus (a.k.a., freshman year), we encourage you to access advising through our excellent online resources (i.e., this website) and to email us at Please also consider signing up for a Computer Science Informational Session through the UW Admissions Office.

You will have plenty of time to talk with us once you arrive on campus as a first year student. We look forward to supporting you in learning about and thinking through all your options!

How can I visit campus?

UW-Madison provides prospective students with a number of opportunities to visit campus and learn more. Choose the visit that matches your academic interests!

Where can I find information about applying to UW?

For specific applications and deadlines visit the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

What happens once I’m admitted?

There are several ways that students can learn more about campus and the Computer Sciences Department.  Your UW Day is a full-day program designed to give admitted first year students all the information and campus perspective that you will want in order to make a final college selection. Students also interested in Computer Sciences can attend one of our prospective informational sessions.  Please also consider signing up for a Computer Science Informational Session through the UW Admissions Office.  SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration) will be your first step as a UW-Madison student.  During orientation, you will learn about campus life, degree requirements and how to register/enroll in courses.  In addition, CS advisors will be at the Majors Fair to talk with you about any questions that you have.

Is Computer Sciences in the School of Computer, Data Science & Information Sciences (CDIS), the College of Letters & Science or the College of Engineering?

The Computer Sciences Department and its academic programs are in the College of Letters & Science. If you are applying to UW-Madison and have an interest in Computer Sciences, you will apply to the College of Letters & Science. The School of Computer, Data Science & Information Sciences (CDIS) is an administrative partnership among these three departments to strengthen collaboration and industry opportunities. CDIS is housed within the College of Letters and Sciences, and this does not change any major/degree requirements needed for Computer Sciences.

What is the difference between Computer Sciences and Computer Engineering?

  • Computer Sciences is the study and application of computation and programming theory. CS places a greater focus on software . Computer Scientists, for example, build the OS and apps that make the iPhone run.
  •  Computer Engineering (CMPE) is the study and application of computers, computing, and computer-based systems. CMPE places a greater focus on hardware. Computer Engineers, for example, build the physical iPhone.
  • There is a lot of overlap between these two fields. Many students double major in CS and CMPE.