Computer Science and Engineering

Baskin School of Engineering
(831) 459-2158

Programs Offered

Computer Engineering B.S.

Computer Science B.S.

Computer Science B.A.

Network and Digital Technology B.A.

Technology and Information Management B.S.

Computer Engineering Minor

Computer Science Minor

Technology and Information Management Minor

Computer Engineering Bachelor’s/Master’s Contiguous Pathway

Computer Science and Engineering Bachelor’s/Master’s Contiguous Pathway

Computer Engineering M.S.

Computer Science and Engineering M.S.

Computer Engineering Ph.D.

Computer Science and Engineering Ph.D.

Human Language Media and Modeling Designated Emphasis

Other Programs of Interest

Computer Science: Computer Game Design B.S.

Robotics Engineering B.S.

Computer scientists and engineers study the design and architecture of digital systems, their properties, and their application. The science and engineering of computing systems includes a variety of disciplines from the mathematical study of computation to the design of architectures leveraging advanced technologies, as well as expertise in the many different levels of abstraction in between, and the realization of a vast array of applications and information technologies. These systems are now present in almost every human endeavor, in the form of embedded systems to cloud-scale computation, from personal devices to society-scale networks and systems, from data science to the everyday systems they automate.

Computing is the field that is most strongly influencing the societal, industrial, and technological advances of this century, bringing a revolution spanning from what humans can do (via information technology, data science, e-commerce, and more) to how they communicate (the web, social networks, mobile devices, and virtual/augmented reality). Indeed, as of January 2019,, the three largest companies worldwide by market capitalization are all information technology companies. The rapid and targeted communication afforded by these systems have affected our culture and politics. Computing, from hardware to algorithms and networking, is responsible for an increasing share of the value even of products that once were purely mechanical systems, such as automobiles. 

Computing spans multiple areas that are continually evolving, spurred by both technological and theoretical advances; the current areas can be roughly categorized as follows: 

  • Design and architecture, or how computing systems are built: from VLSI/CAD, to architectures and parallel systems.
  • Systems, or how the architectures can be organized: operating systems, storage, networking, and databases, the languages used to program them, and the techniques used to ensure their secure operation.
  • Theory, concerning the abstract properties of computing systems, spanning from the theory of computation to algorithms, from the foundations of programming languages and concurrency to the theory of databases and distributed systems.
  • Data science, or how to computationally understand information about the world, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, natural language processing and vision.
  • Applications, or how computing systems can be used and what the implications of their use are, from web to mobile systems, from vision to assistive technologies, from fairness and privacy issues to the societal implications of computing, to the incentive structures that make collaboration and communication possible.

Computing at UC Santa Cruz has already attained a very high level of international recognition. The Computer Science and Engineering Department’s organization, as a single cohesive department, facilitates new projects and courses that span multiple areas. As a broad department, it benefits from a wider and more prepared graduate student cohort, and the close coordination of degrees with course offerings that provide engineering majors with more streamlined and cutting-edge degree programs. With its proximity to Silicon Valley and its outstanding research, UCSC is a leader in computing research and education.

The Computer Science and Engineering Department offers five undergraduate degree programs, three undergraduate minors, and graduate master’s and doctoral degree programs.

Two additional programs in the Baskin School of Engineering share the same introductory programming courses as the Computer Science and Engineering Department’s computing majors. The Computational Media Department offers a degree that focuses on computer game design by providing students with artistic, systems, and management perspectives for developing computer games. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department offers a degree in robotics that builds on courses in computer engineering and electrical engineering, combined with mechanical engineering, that focuses on building and controlling robotic devices.