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 Graduate Certificate in Computing Fundamentals.

iCAN is a full-time program. It is expected that students will spend around 7 hours in class and 30 hours outside of class on their coursework.

A coding background is not needed in order to apply.

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

In the iCAN program, you will learn the fundamentals of computing: programming, data structures, and algorithms. If you have taken formal CS classes such as programming, discrete math, data structures, and algorithms, then iCAN is not the right program for you.

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.

The iCAN program is a graduate certificate program. 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.

Please click here for the current academic calendar.

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 (3-4 credits) and 400-level CS elective (3-4 credits)

The iCAN program offers a synchronous online format.  At this time, there are no plans to offer an in-person, on campus program option.

Miscellaneous Questions

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