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BS | How to Declare

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Overview

We are excited that you are considering the Computer Science program! The process is fairly simple and you are not expected to have fulfilled any prior major or class requirements to declare. Keep in mind that the process can take up to two weeks, and we cannot expedite requests. We advise that students curate a plan early, especially if they anticipate declaring by a certain date! Additionally, take into consideration that we do not process declarations during finals week, breaks, or the Summer quarter. Please follow these steps:

  1. Choose a CS major advisor. This is optional. The CS Department allows students to choose their advisors, so students can pick someone aligned with their academic, professional, and personal interests from the CS faculty page. If you would like to choose an advisor ahead of time, feel free to meet with them or email them to ask for permission. See below for more information about choosing an advisor. If you don't have anyone in mind, the course advisor will assign you an advisor based on your interests and the capacity of an advisor's advising group. Please take into consideration that your first choice may not be available, however, don't let that discourage you from declaring because you can always change advisors later.
  2. Complete a declaration form. Fill out the CS declaration form and email the course advisor. You will share your unofficial transcript and your photo (state in the email if you'd like it posted on the Course Advisor Facebook page or not) in that email. Then, you will declare through Axess.
  3. Meet with the CS course advisorWhen you have finished the above steps, you will need to meet with the course advisor and there is no appointment necessary (it will take only around 5 minutes to meet them). To coordinate a time to visit the course advisor, check their office hours schedule. Please note that the course advisor does not offer office hours during the Summer quarter. 

After Declaring

  • After you see the course advisor, it can take up to two weeks for your declaration to be processed. About two weeks after you declare, you may want to do the following things to make sure your declaration is successful. If you have any problems, please email the course advisor (advisor@cs.stanford.edu).
  • Check that you've started to get mail from the bscs, students, and cs-students-announce mailing lists. They are the main mailing lists for the department and see a fair amount of traffic. Check your official status in Axess. Your status should indicate that you are a CS major. The advisor listed should also be the correct undergraduate CS advisor.
  • Try emailing your CS email (e.g. CSID@cs.stanford.edu) or sshing into xenon to verify that your CSID account was created.
  • Go to the faculty advisors page and check that your name is listed under your advisor's advising group. If your graduation year is incorrect, use pedit to change your profile or email the course advisor. 

What to Consider when Choosing a Faculty Advisor

In general, lecturers have larger advisee groups (20 or more people) while professors often have small groups. Professors are generally knowledgeable about research, graduate school, and academia. Most lecturers will know more than professors about the CS curriculum, especially the introductory classes (keep in mind the course advisor is always available as another source of advice on classes). Students often ask advisors to write letters of recommendation: a letter from a professor might carry more weight in certain cases like graduate school applications, particularly if you have taken their class or worked with the professor or the professor's group on a research project. It's also important to find an advisor from whom you are comfortable asking for and taking advice.

To ask a professor or lecturer to be your advisor, it is best to meet with them in person. To set up a meeting it is best to email them directly or go to their office hours. Most professors and lecturers list their office hours on their web page or office door. To find a faculty advisor, check the Computer Forums' list of CS faculty members, including their research interests. Also, check the list of everyone currently advising undergraduates. Since some advisors limit the number of students they advise, not everyone will be willing to take on new advisees, so don't feel bad if a professor or lecturer says they can't currently take any additional students. Once you have selected a faculty advisor and they have agreed to be your advisor, take a look at the declaring page to find out what to do next.

You are free to change your undergraduate advisor at any time. Let your old advisor know and get approval from your new advisor. Send an email to Jessica Valdez (valdezjr@stanford.edu) and the Course Advisor (advisor@cs.stanford.edu) with your old advisor's name, your new advisor's name, and your student ID number. They will update your official information. Within a couple of weeks, the information on Axess should reflect the changes.

School of Engineering

Undergraduate Handbook

Explore the School of Engineering undergraduate handbook website for a visual representation of the CS major plan options.

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Department of Computer Science

Info Session Archive

Reference a summarized version of the CS major and CS minor declaration process with recorded sessions and presentation slides. 

Access Here