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General Questions

The Illinois Computing Accelerator for Non-specialists (iCAN) is a one-year program for non-computer science college graduates who are interested in a high-tech computing career or pursuing a graduate degree in computer science. Specifically designed coursework in computing fundamentals is coupled with individualized attention from world-class faculty, plus academic and career mentoring.

The iCAN program is a one-year (fall, spring, summer) program that results in a Computing Fundamentals certificate.

iCAN is a full-time program. It is expected that students will spend around 10 hours in class and 20 hours outside of class on their coursework.

A coding background is not needed in order to apply.

The iCAN program assumes a knowledge of high school algebra. Any additional math that is required will be taught in the program.

Yes. Our program assumes that students have no knowledge of computer science and is designed to prepare such students for a career in industry or for graduate studies in computer science.

You must have at least completed a bachelor's degree, in something other than computer science, in order to apply to the iCAN program.

Please contact us at ican@cs.illinois.edu. We would love to talk to you to understand your goals and help you determine whether iCAN is the right program for you.

Program Structure

The iCAN program begins in the fall semester and runs for the entire academic year.

For the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • Fall semester: 8/24/2020 - 12/9/2020, plus finals
  • Spring semester: 1/19/2020 - 5/5/2021, plus finals
  • Summer semester: 5/17/2021 - 8/5/2021, plus finals

The iCAN program consists of 20 credits. These credits are spread over eight courses. Students take three courses in the fall and spring semesters and two courses in the summer.

The iCAN program consists of eight courses. Students will enroll in the following courses each semester.

  • Fall: Fundamentals of Computer Science I (3 credits), Fundamentals of Computing Mathematics (3 credits), and Excursions in Computing I (1 credit)

  • Spring:  Fundamentals of Computer Science II (3 credits), Fundamentals of Data Structures and Algorithms (3 credits), and Excursions in Computing II (1 credit)

  • Summer: Computing Fundamentals Capstone (3 credits) and 400-level CS elective (3-4 credits)

As a result of COVID-19, all courses for the iCAN program will be offered online during the 2020-2021 academic year. Although courses will be online, there will be regularly scheduled  group activities and live meetings with the instructors in order to build community. So, it is expected that students will be active online participants.

For fall 2020, live meetings of the courses will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 2:15pm, and 2:30 to 3:45pm. On Fridays, live meetings will be from 1 to 2pm. All times are for the Central Time Zone.

Miscellaneous Questions

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at ican@illinois.edu.

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Illinois Computing Accelerator for Non-specialists

iCAN is a new one-year program for non-computer science college graduates who are interested in a high-tech computing career or pursuing a graduate degree in computer science. Specifically designed coursework in computing fundamentals is coupled with individualized attention from world-class faculty, plus academic and career mentoring.

Learn more