Changes to Major Admission Criteria

The Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CS&E) at the University of Minnesota has seen a tremendous increase in the interest in our educational programs for more than a decade. In that time, CS&E has nearly tripled the number of undergraduate students in CSci majors (491 in Fall 2013 to 1,313 in Fall 2023), introduced new degree programs (such as data science), and annually graduates well over three times as many students as it did 10 years ago (179 in the 12-13 academic year to 613 in 22-23). We have done everything we can to accommodate interested students, including increasing class sizes and advocating to the College of Science and Engineering, the University, and state representatives for more resources to meet the demand. Unfortunately, investment in computing faculty, staff, and facilities has not kept up with the demand. 

In Fall 2022, the technical GPA cutoff for admission to the computer science major was increased to 2.8. In Spring 2023, we were able to increase by just 0.1 to have a technical GPA cutoff of 2.9. We also reviewed submitted Personal Statements (formerly named self-advocacy statements) and admitted small numbers of students below the technical GPA cutoffs through that process. 

After many difficult discussions, the department made the decision to set the fall 2023 technical GPA cutoff at 3.1 (and to additionally admit a small number of students below that cutoff via the personal statement process). It is extremely likely that the spring 2024 cutoff will be set at 3.2 or higher.

We regret having to turn away increasing numbers of interested students, and we are continuing to work with department, college, and University leadership to not only increase our capacity to serve our students, but to also address things like:

  • Comprehensively overhauling our major admissions processes;
  • Identifying and removing barriers to positive student learning experiences (class size and modalities, department climate and environment, inclusive teaching practices, etc.); and
  • Collaborating with other departments, programs, and opportunities so that students can still develop computing skills outside of their declared major.

For questions about your options and potential next steps, we strongly recommend:

  • Working with your college academic advisor;
  • Working with the career services office of your college (CLACSE); and   
  • Working with the Center for Academic Planning and Exploration (CAPE), which is a great place to explore academic options throughout the University.

Questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding CS&E’s limited capacity and the actions we are forced to take can be directed to our Department Head (