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). Specifically for data science, the B.S. program has more than doubled every year since its creation, with an increasing number of pre-major students noting their interest every admission cycle.

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 data science major was increased to 2.0. In Spring 2023, we were able to increase by just 0.2 to have a technical GPA cutoff of 2.2. After many difficult discussions, the department’s faculty leadership made the decision to set the fall 2023 technical GPA cutoff at 2.5. It is extremely likely that the spring 2024 cutoff will increase by more than .1 from the last cutoff.

All students may submit a Personal Statement (formerly named self-advocacy statement) with their applications. The statement was added to the admissions process in order to provide a more holistic review of applicants to the major. We strongly encourage students who are near the projected technical GPA cutoff to submit a Personal Statement.

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 CSci 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.
    • In particular, the CAPE office has an “Exploring Majors in Tech” page that is extremely helpful for students wanting to work in computer science/data science/technology.

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 ( and the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Data Science (