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University of California finally allows computer science to count towards admissions science requirement

The University of California has finally updated its admissions guidelines to allow high school computer science classes to count as a student’s recommended third year of science (UC category D) for admission to the University. The change, which has been over 5 years in the making, will have a seismic impact on computer science in the State of California and beyond.

Previously, the UC considered most computer science courses as electives (UC category G), causing students and high schools to assign lower priority to computer science than to “core” academic categories. Ironically, computer science has counted towards UC core graduation requirements for 95% of Bachelor of Science degrees, but was not similarly recognized in university admissions.

With this change, high school computer science can now be on a similar level as other core academic disciplines, giving California students a new incentive to enroll in computer science classes. This policy will also increase diversity in computer science, because history has shown that when computer science counts towards core academic requirements, young women and underrepresented minorities are more likely to study it.

The impact of this change will be felt beyond California. The UC is the largest public university system in the U.S. to adopt a policy which allows computer science to satisfy a core, non-elective academic requirement for admissions. Because of the size and influence of the UC, we expect other universities will follow suit.

Details for California educators:

  • Computer science courses must still meet the UC science (category D) criteria, which have been adjusted (in alignment with the Next Gen Science Standards), enabling certain computer science or engineering courses to qualify.
  • The updated UC course criteria and guidance is here.
  • The UC will provide an update for statewide counselors and advisors later this month.
  • If you teach a Code.org course in a California high school: Code.org has submitted our CS Principles and CS Discoveries courses for Category D approval by the UC, and we’ll update you when we hear back.

Click HERE to learn more

By: Hadi Partovi, Code.org
Date: February 4, 2019

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