Welcome to your first year (1280 × 383 px)

Your first year with us

We've created a first-year experience that provides you with a great foundation in computer science and problem-solving.

Regardless of your program of choice, you will develop programming skills, explore the foundations of computer science and design, and embark on an exploration of the social and philosophical impacts of computing.

Register for your courses

Registering for courses for the first time can feel overwhelming. We're here to help you determine what courses make the most sense for you.

To make it easy, we created course teaser videos to give you a snapshot of what some of your classes may look like. See the course teasers below!

Create a schedule that works for you

To help you get started in choosing your courses, there are a few things you should consider. Find your program below and let's get started!

It is recommended that eight (8) of the ten (10) following courses be completed in the first year of Computer Science.

Required courses for both BCS and BACS Degrees:
  • CSCI 1110 (if you have prior programming experience and can easily complete this assignment); offered in Fall and Winter terms; for those students for those students who found the assignment challenging, take CSCI 1105 and then CSCI 1110 in the following term.
  • CSCI 1120 (offered in Fall and Winter terms)
  • CSCI 1170 (offered in Fall and Winter terms)
  • ASSC 1800 (writing requirement) - not a prerequisite for ASSC 1801)
  • ASSC 1801 (writing requirement) - offered in the Winter term only

Bachelor of Applied Computer Science (BACS) Only:

  • MGMT 1301 (offered in Fall term only); prerequisite for MGMT 1302
  • MGMT 1302 (offered in Winter term only)
  • Plus 2-3 electives to complete your schedule according to the degree checklist.

Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS) only:

  • CSCI 1300 offered in Fall and Winter terms - not a prerequisite for CSCI 1315. (Please note that if students plan to pursue a minor in Mathematics, MATH 1000 can be taken in lieu of CSCI 1300)
  • CSCI 1315 (offered in Fall and Winter terms). 
  • CSCI 1107, CSCI 1108 or CSCI 1109 - each of these courses meets a Science with a Lab requirement.
  • Please refer to the degree checklist for more information.

Please visit the academic calendar and timetable for information on course offerings and for prerequisite information pertaining to courses.

If you would like to request your personal degree checklist, please reach out to undergrad@cs.dal.ca

A snapshot of your courses

Get a glimpse of what your classes will look like with our course teaser videos!

Intro to Computer Programming (CSCI 1105)

Intro to Web Design and Development (CSCI 1170)

Practical Data Science (CSCI 1109)

Have a question? We've got you.

We've compiled some of the frequently asked questions that we hear from our first year students. 

Frequently Asked Questions from First Year Students

Am I expected to know how to program before I get to Dal?

You do not need previous coding or programming experience to start in CSCI 1105. The basic knowledge and concepts will be taught in the first year and we have many supports in place for students that require extra help.

If you do have prior programming experience, you can start your degree in CSCI 1110.

Do I need to have my own laptop?

A large proportion of laboratories are scheduled in classrooms that are not equipped with desktop computers. There are many work stations available for portable devices, while a limited number have desktops machines available for homework use. 

Read about the laptops we recommend.

What operating system / programs should I have on my computer?

We recommend that you choose an operating system in which you are comfortable. We aim to use programming languages and software that is available on most platforms. When a specialized operating system is needed, Computer Science has computers that run both Windows and Mac OSX available to students. Students can also log in to our main Linux server to complete their work.

We've compiled a list of recommended specs.

Where can I find more information about my courses?

The academic calendar provides the official information all computer science courses.


What can I do if the class that I want is full?

The process for registering in full classes at Dal varies by faculty and department. In computer science, all class size enrolments are managed by the Dean’s Office.

When a class that you want is full, add yourself to the class waiting list. As seats become available, seats will be made available to students on the wait list. CS students are given priority to available seats in CS courses.

What elective should I take?

This question is common and has no single answer. Recommending a public speaking course might be a great suggestion to one student and a terrifying suggestion to another. The best approach is to discuss options with an advisor after first having thought through:

  • What topics interest you (beyond just computing)
  • What topics do you not enjoy
  • Are you looking to explore new topics or stay among topics that you already know about
  • Are you looking to get more depth in a particular area, possibly going to a minor, or do you want to take whatever looks interesting at the time?

With what other programs at Dal can I combine my studies?

You can combine your BACS or BCS degrees with any of the minors listed.

Students who want to consider a double major or combined honours can do so under the BSc and BA umbrellas with any of the programs in the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Arts and Social Science. Please connect with an advisor to discuss these options.

When and how do I apply for co-op?

Apply for co-op at the end of your first year.

Applications can be processed as late as the start of September of your second year.

Apply by submitting a study plan in the "myCareer" section of myDal and registering for CSCI 8890 in the fall term of your second year.

Learn more about our co-op option.

Is there an honours program? When should I apply?

You can complete an honours degree in the Bachelor of Computer Science program. 

You should begin to plan for the honours program as you enter your third year. It is still possible to enter as late as the start of fourth year. 

Find out more about our honours requirements.

As always, our advisors are here to help if you didn't find an answer to your question.

Need help? Connect with an advisor.

If you are looking to meet with an advisor to discuss  your course options in more detail, students are able to book 5 minute advising appointments via our MS Bookings system.

Book an appointment today!