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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Computer Science and Computer Engineering?

Is previous experience in programming required to pursue a major in CSE?

How late can I transfer into Computer Science or Computer Engineering?

Can CSE majors study abroad?

How do I get a Summer Internship?

Can I do research for pay during the semester?

What should I work on my own outside of class?

What kind of laptop should I get?

What is the Corporate Practice minor?

Can a course that could be counted as a “CSE Elective” be counted as a “Tech Elective” instead?

What is the difference between Computer Science and Computer Engineering?

Either degree track is a great choice. The two disciplines are very similar and have substantial overlap. Any explanation of the differences between the disciplines necessarily over-simplifies things. That said, here are some thoughts about the differences.

Computer Engineering focuses on understanding the electronic devices that go into the creation of modern computers, and on the architecture and organization of such systems, both within the central processing unit and in how larger systems are assembled. Computer Science focuses on the design, development, and use of algorithms that are typically implemented in software. This involves understanding of the key properties of algorithms and how to design correct algorithms to solve real problems in an efficient fashion.

Some people view Computer Science as a sister discipline to Mathematics, and Computer Engineering as a sister discipline to Electrical Engineering. You can see some evidence for this view in the Electrical Engineering courses required for Computer Engineering majors that are not required for Computer Science majors.

From a curriculum standpoint, the courses are the same at the sophomore level, and they differ at the junior and senior levels in that Computer Engineering majors take five EE courses, whereas Computer Science majors take CS-specific courses such as Theory of Computing and Algorithms.

Is previous experience in programming required to pursue a major in CSE?

Our undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and in Computer Engineering do not assume that you came to Notre Dame with any previous experience in programming. Many of our graduating seniors tell us that they came to Notre Dame with no programming experience. Notre Dame students are all smart and hard-working, and can readily become expert software engineers through their time and experience at Notre Dame.

How late can I transfer into Computer Science or Computer Engineering?

Transferring between Computer Science and Computer Engineering should be straightforward up to junior year, since both majors have basically the same recommended course schedule for the first two years.

Transferring into the Computer Science or the Computer Engineering degree program from some other degree track may result in some course schedule complications if done after the fall semester of sophomore year. Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department for more information.

Can CSE majors study abroad?

Yes! A large fraction of CSE majors have one or more study abroad experiences. Study abroad can be done in the summer or in an academic semester. There are organized study abroad experiences for the College of Engineering each summer in London, Rome, Dublin and Alcoy (Spain). Popular locations for study abroad during the academic year include London, Dublin, Perth, and others. If you study abroad for a semester in the academic year, you need to plan ahead of time to be sure that it won’t interfere with on-time graduation.

How do I get a Summer Internship?

There are ample opportunities for students to find summer internships. There are two major recruiting events on campus during the school year: the Fall Career Expo and the Winter Career Expo. Participating in these events is the easiest way to get into direct contact with potential employers and to get them to know you first hand.

In addition to this, GoIrish is a great resource to check for job postings throughout the school year. You can find GoIrish in insideND. Also feel free to apply to Summer Internship programs you can find online. There are many companies with large summer programs available. Even those who don’t recruit directly at Notre Dame have often hired Notre Dame students as interns in the past.

Summer research and other positions are also usually available on campus. Don’t be shy to email your professors asking for summer research availability during the summer. Also, emails with possible summer positions are often sent out to majors.

To increase the chances of getting an internship, it is also recommended that you keep an up-to-date resume on GoIrish. Make sure that you have it read over by multiple people. It is recommended that you make an appointment with the Career Center for them to either assist you in writing your resume or to give you feedback on a previously written one. For more information visit http://careercenter.nd.edu/students/.

Can I do research for pay during the semester?

Students can do research either for course credit or pay during the Semester. However, getting paid for research during the semester will depend on the offering a particular professor has. Pay is not guaranteed for all research assistant positions during the semester. Note that if research involves pay, it will not count for credit.

What should I work on my own outside of class?

The programs offered through the department should prepare you for a successful career. Nonetheless, there many ways to enrich your learning. For example, it would be in your best interest to prepare yourself for tech interviews. There is literature available, such as Cracking The Coding Interview, that you can explore as well as websites that present challenges similar to those presented in tech interviews.

In addition, consider creating a personal project that you work on your free time. Such a project can be a great way of finding ways to apply what you learn in class as well as fortifying your résumé.

What kind of laptop should I get?

You are not required to get a laptop. There are multiple computer labs available throughout campus with the software you need installed. Some of these labs are reserved particularly for CS/CPEG students. Please see Resources page for more information on this. Regardless of this, it is recommended that you get your own laptop/personal computer to ensure proper productivity and flexibility when doing your homework assignments.

What is the Corporate Practice minor?

The Corporate Practice minor is offered through the college of engineering. It gives students exposure to the basics of business. It is open only to seniors who have completed the College’s Engineering/Business sequence (EG 40421 and 40422), and enrollment is restricted to no more than 60 students (may be less in any given year due to demands on the business program). See the Minors page for more information and please contact your adviser if you believe this track is right for you.

Can a course that could be counted as a “CSE Elective” be counted as a “Tech Elective” instead?

Yes. We use a hierarchical rule for our three tiers of electives: CSE, Technical, Free. A course that counts as a CSE elective may count for either a Technical or a Free elective; a course that counts as a Technical elective may count as a Free elective. Note that the reverse is not true.es. We use a hierarchical rule for our three tiers of electives: CSE, Technical, Free. A course that counts as a CSE elective may count for either a Technical or a Free elective; a course that counts as a Technical elective may count as a Free elective. Note that the reverse is not true.