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Free Electives Policy

General (Free) Electives Policy for Undergrads

Can I take any course I want as a general elective?

With certain exceptions, CS students may take any 3 or 4-credit course from any academic department within the University as a general elective.

The first exception is that at least one general elective must be in a non-technical area, that is, not in computer science, the sciences, mathematics, engineering, and similar disciplines. It is safe to choose a course in the humanities or social sciences that does not have a computation or other technical focus.

For all general electives, CS students must avoid:

  • Courses in areas required by the CS curriculum (such as mathematics) unless they are at a level higher than those required by the CS courses
  • Non-CS courses having a significant computing component or a significant overlap in content with courses required by the CS curriculum
  • CS courses for non-majors

The determination of the acceptability of any proposed general elective course will be made by the CS department undergraduate coordinator.

Examples of courses that may NOT be used as general electives are:

  • Programming language courses offered by other departments
    • all computer science courses have course numbers. and courses are offered by the Mathematics Department.
  • MIS or IT courses
  • Mathematics courses below the level of the science and engineering calculus sequence
  • CS courses for non-majors
  • Many certificate courses (including some Computer Science Dept. courses) offered through Continuing Education

You may take courses that do not qualify as general electives. Such courses will appear on your transcript and are part of your overall GPA, but they will not count for credits toward your BS degree in Computer Science.

Students who took courses in the above categories before they came to UMass Lowell are usually allowed to use them as general electives.