Computer Science Undergraduate Handbook (2020-2021) - FMS Application
University of Utah, School of Computing
Full Major Status (FMS) Application, Advice, and Criteria
Any student interested in pursuing a degree in computer science can take the courses
designated as "Pre-Major". Upon completion of these courses, and in order
to enroll in CS courses at the 3000-level and above, students must have full major
status (FMS). Instructions on how and when to apply are below.
CS 1030 † - Foundations of Computer Science
CS 1410 - Introduction to Object Oriented Programming
CS 2420 - Introduction to Algorithms and Data Structures
Complete the same steps as for FMS listed above, with these two differences:
Applicants for the CS minors must have established a primary major and may not be in a
pre- or undeclared major.
Calculus II is recommended, but not required for CS minors.
Please click on the appropriate item for more information.
FMS Admission Criteria
The purpose of the FMS admission process is to ensure that students have the proper
attributes to succeed in completing a degree in computer science. These attributes
The ability to effectively write and understand computer programs.
The ability to complete a rigorous and demanding course in one attempt.
The ability to show good to excellent performance in courses known to be predictors of
These attributes are highly correlated with grades earned in the pre-major courses.
All applicants for FMS are reviewed by the School of Computing Undergraduate
Admissions Committee. The committee considers the GPAs of the applicant, both the
GPA of pre-major courses and the overall University GPA. In addition, applicants
are expected to adhere to the following policies:
The grade earned in each pre-major course must be C- or higher in order to apply.
Grades in prerequisite courses are accepted only when they occur prior to the
successor course. For example, a student may not take CS 1410 after CS 2420,
solely to improve their GPA.
The GPA in the pre-major courses must be 3.0 or higher in order to apply*.
The overall GPA in all courses taken at the University must be 3.0 or
higher in order to apply*.
* Students whose life situation has excluded them from a typical
path into the computer science major should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies to
determine the possibility of FMS.
Factors in Admission Decisions
The goal of the Admissions Committee is to select those students with the promise for
success in the challenging CS degree program; therefore, not all
applicants may be admitted
Below are some of the criteria used to evaluate an applicant’s potential for success:
Applicants with an A or A- grade in CS 2420 are very promising, while applicants with
a C+, C, or C- grades in any pre-major course have very little chance of success in
upper-level CS courses.
Applicants on an upward trajectory, with grades that steadily improve with each CS and
MATH course taken, show promise, while applicants on a downward trajectory have very
little chance of success in upper-level CS courses.
Applicants who have repeated one or zero courses show great potential to complete the
degree requirements directly and efficiently, while applicants who have repeated
multiple courses show a concerning pattern that may continue.
If other CS, math, physics, and engineering courses have been taken by the applicant,
those grades are considered. In particular, A or A- grades in CS 2100, MATH 2210, MATH
2270 demonstrate the ability to perform well in upper-level courses.
Applicants with pre-major and overall GPAs of 3.5 or higher, no repeated
courses, and a B or higher in CS 2420, are assured admission to the computer science
Providing an Academic Statement
Applicants may submit a statement to support their application. The purpose of this
statement is to guide the Admissions Committee in recognizing factors in the applicant's
academic performance that may not be directly evident from the pre-major and overall
Applicants who have previously been denied admission should use the statement to point
out significant improvement since the last application.
Applicants whose past performance may not be indicative of future performance should
explain the changes made that will ensure success in the computer science degree
If Not Admitted
If you were not admitted to the computer science major on the first try, consider
improving your academic record and applying a second time. The following are
suggestions for what you can do to demonstrate a high potential for success in the
challenging CS degree program. Please note that it is not necessary to follow all of
the suggestions below – choose carefully and be cautious not to overload your course
If your grade in CS 2420 is below a B-, retake the course and strive to improve
significantly, while adhering to the policy for repeating courses.
Earn an A or A- or better in courses that help you make progress in the CS
degree without requiring FMS, such as CS 2100, CS 3200, MATH 2210, MATH 2270,
and PHYS 2210.
If you have a pattern of repeating multiple classes, demonstrate that you can
earn an A or A- or better in two of the courses listed above in only one
Achieve a 4.0 semester while taking challenging computer science, math, and/or