Undergraduate FAQ

How does the computer science program work in general? Do you begin in freshman year with core courses and then gradually choose your own electives to “design your own major” as you progress through the other four years?

Most students at Drexel are on a five-year program with three, six month co-ops. A four-year option with one co-op is possible, though most students opt for the five-year program because of the extra work experience. The only difference is that in the four-year option, the first two co-ops are removed and the course schedule compressed. Also note that Drexel is on a quarter system (four terms per year) mainly due to co-op.

In a typical five-year program, students take one CS sequence in the freshman year (3 quarters) along with English, science and math courses, in addition to a freshman design sequence. In the sophomore and pre-junior years, students finish their core CS, math and science classes along with some general electives. Advanced CS courses, organized into tracks, along with additional electives are taken in the junior and senior years. In the senior year all students complete a year-long senior design sequence (large group software project).

This scenario is for the BS degree option. We also offer a BA option with fewer math and sciences but more humanities courses. Also note that it is easy to organize non-CS electives so that you can complete a minor in another area. It’s recommended to do this so that you can obtain some domain expertise in an area you wish to apply your computing skills.

More details are available on the Web site. Look under term by term curriculum on the B.S. and B.A. Programs page.

How accessible are the professors after classes and during the day?

You will find professors in our department very accessible and quite willing to help our students. They hold designated office hours each week, but are always available to help whenever you have a question.

Are there opportunities for students to work with professors on projects in and out of class?

There are many options for students with the initiative to do this. One option is to do an independent study. Another option is to do one of your co-ops with a professor in one of our research labs.

Are all the CS classes taught by professors or are some taught by TAs?

Almost all are taught by our professors. For some of the classes with labs you may have TAs running the lab session, though these are always overseen by the coordinating professor.

How large are the core classes that all CS majors must take? And do the class sizes become smaller as they become more specific in the later years?

We do not have any large lecture classes. We have quite a few lab based courses with a max of 25 in the lab. You will never have a class in CS with more than 30 students, though most have fewer 15-25. Upper level courses are in the range from 10-25 students. You can see the actual enrollments in classes by looking at

For CS classes, choose the spring quarter schedule and look under the College of Engineering.

Are all the professors full time teachers, and do they do research projects as well?

We have two types of faculty: Professors who are active in research (1/2 time doing research and 1/2 time teaching) and professors who spend all of their time teaching.

Currently, 14 faculty members are in active research and six are full-time teachers. The 14 doing research primarily teach upper level courses in their area of expertise. Our research active faculty received funding of approximately $4.5 million for their research projects last year. A lot of this money goes towards hiring students (graduate and undergraduate) to assist with the research.