CS + X Degree Programs
The University of Illinois has designed an innovative degree option, called CS + X, that allows students to pursue a flexible program of study incorporating a strong grounding in computer science with technical or professional training in the arts and sciences.
Computing is ubiquitous, with application areas in virtually any field imaginable – from developing gene-sequencing algorithms, to designing methods for high frequency trading, creating computer-generated graphics and special effects, analyzing social data from internet communications, and creating embedded real-time systems for medical devices.
In fact, according to the National Science Foundation, "[K]nowledge of computer science and computer programming is becoming a necessary skill... in marketing, advertising, journalism, and the creative arts."
After earning their CS + X degrees, our graduates are poised to launch their careers or pursue graduate studies in a wide variety of fields.
CS + X Programs
Today, anyone can create an advertisement on Facebook or Google. Technology is both radically changing advertising and is supported by advertising dollars. But how are ads selected and audiences chosen, and how is the effectiveness of ads measured? CS + Advertising allows students to develop computational skills to apply to the arts of persuasion and ad targeting and placement in order to understand, execute, and analyze modern advertising.
Students majoring in CS + Animal Sciences will be well-positioned to apply CS to advance animal health and behavior, food production, nutrition, animal biology, and environmental concerns. For example, this could include mining data from remote sensors to detect and treat health problems in large herds, or analyzing genomic information to improve disease resistance.
Anthropologists use computational tools and algorithms to analyze large amounts of data either gathered from a field site or by studying online social communities and social networks. Students majoring in CS + Anthropology will have knowledge of how people live and communicate as social beings, which can inform best designs and user interfaces for software.
Do you love pursuing and discovering new knowledge? Would you like to apply your problem-solving skills and computational expertise to big-impact mysteries like the origins of life and our universe? If you answered yes to either question, then you should consider the CS + Astronomy degree.
Students majoring in CS + Chemistry are prepared for a variety of careers, including helping manufacturers design more productive and efficient processes, helping pharmaceutical firms characterize new compounds for drug discovery, and conducting research that requires studying the fundamental properties of atoms, molecules, and chemical reactions.
CS + Chemistry majors might develop computer models or simulate chemical and biochemical processes, perform statistical analysis of large data sets, or create visualizations of reaction pathways, molecular interactions, or other phenomena.
Are you interested in improving food security and nutrition? Do you want to make food production more efficient and environmentally friendly? Are you fascinated by the development of disease- and pest-resistant crops? If so, you may want to consider CS + Crop Sciences (CS + CSPC).
The first degree of its kind, the CS + Crop Sciences major prepares students to pursue careers in agriculture with an emphasis on technology. More than ever before, agriculture relies on technologies such as GIS-based data gathering, drone-enabled soil and field analysis, the study of weather and climate, and molecular genetics, which all generate huge amounts of data. Learn about computational modeling and data collection, analysis, and management, in order to advance agricultural practices.
There are few disciplines more impacted by "big data" than Economics, where there is a need for analysts who not only have the sophisticated skills that are necessary to examine large administrative datasets, but also have the ability to write their own algorithms and software tools to do so.
The Computer Science + Economics curriculum provides students with enhanced quantitative analysis and programming skills. Students learn a variety of economic analytical skills, both theoretical and empirical, as well as computational skills.
The Computer Science + Education, BS is sponsored jointly by the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. The major in Computer Science and Education is a flexible program for undergraduate students who plan to pursue careers in either field and offers two foci of concentration.
Everything happens somewhere, and Illinois is the national leader in CyberGIS -- the use of high-performance, large-scale computing to answer geospatial quetions. Students in CS + Geography & Geographic Information Science will not only develop advanced programming skills to deal with geospatial data, but also create new methods and tools to analyze that data.
Do you ever wonder how Apple’s Siri, Google’s Translate, or Amazon’s Echo work? Are you intrigued by advances in artificial intelligence, which enable computers to have human-like behavior and understand spoken or written language? Do you think you have what it takes to design user-friendly computer programs and interfaces using natural language communication? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you should consider the CS + Linguistics degree.
Do you want to push the state-of-the art in music composition? Are you excited to enhance the human experience with music via song analysis tools and recommendation systems? What will be the next technological breakthrough in how we create and enjoy music? Can we teach an artificial intelligence how to compose novel and compelling scores? If you find these possibilities intriguing, the CS + Music program could be right for you.
CS + Music will prepare students for advanced study at the graduate level for many existing programs on music and audio technology, as well as equip them with the proper skills to successfully join and lead a vibrant workforce community centered around the creation and distribution of entertainment media through constantly evolving technology platforms.
Philosophy uses the tools of logic and reason to analyze the ways in which humans experience the world. Students studying CS + Philosophy are prepared to tackle modern questions related to ethics, logic, and privacy in the digital age, which are increasingly important to areas like artificial intelligence and security.
All computer science programs prefer students to be on a calculus track, having either precalculus or calculus by their senior year in high school. Applicants applying to the Computer Science program in The Grainger College of Engineering should demonstrate teamwork and interpersonal communication skills along with an interest in improving society through engineering. Applicants applying to any of the CS+ programs should demonstrate genuine interest in the ‘+’ aspect of the major. You can find more details about the major-specific review criteria as well as our holistic review process for first-year applicants on the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website.
CS Undergraduate Degree Options FAQ
Is a CS undergraduate degree right for you?
How is CS + X different from our bachelor's degree from The Grainger College of Engineering?
CS + X Degree Requirements, Flowcharts, and Planning Forms
Find the requirements and forms for each college that has partnered with Grainger Engineering to find the path that is right for you.
"The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is updating and reinvigorating a number of traditional majors by combining them with computer science. The reasoning is that liberal-arts, arts, and agricultural fields increasingly encompass data analysis that requires computer-science skills.”
"Like a number of colleges across the country, the University of Illinois is ramping up its efforts to equip students with the ideal combination of strong technology acumen and solid creative and interpersonal skills – a combo that many employers say they want in their new hires. ”
Guaranteed Admission to the Online MCS or MCS-DS
If you complete any CS or CS+X major or a CS minor at UIUC with a GPA of 3.0 or better in the last two years of your undergraduate degree and a GPA of 3.2 or better in CS courses, you are guaranteed admission to our Online MCS or MCS in Data Science (MCS-DS) programs.
Recent UIUC graduates may qualify for an application fee waiver!