Pathways For Undergrad And Master's Students

Updated 2021-11-10

Pathways are a means for organizing our courses into areas. Undergraduates doing an AB must complete one pathway; those doing an ScB, two. Master’s students must complete one pathway. The courses allowed for undergraduate pathways are somewhat different from those allowed for master’s pathways, as explained below.

For each pathway we specify core courses, graduate courses, related courses, and intermediate courses. Core courses are 1000-level courses that satisfy both undergraduate and master’s pathways. Graduate courses are 2000-level courses that may be used by undergraduates only if they’re also using a core course in the pathway. Related courses are 1000-level courses that may be used by undergraduates (but not master’s students) as part of the pathway if they’ve also used a core course. The intermediate courses are required of undergraduates completing a pathway, but are not required of master’s students.

Instructions For Undergraduates

To complete a pathway as an undergraduate, you must take one of its core courses and one other course from any of the core, graduate, and related lists. In addition, you must take the intermediate courses that are listed for the pathway. Note that it’s perfectly fine and, in fact, encouraged, for undergraduates to take 2000-level courses for which they satisfy the prerequisites. But you’re definitely not required to take any 2000-level courses.

For the intermediate courses, note that probability and statistics is satisfied only by one of CSCI 1450, APMA 1650, and APMA 1655. Linear algebra is satisfied only by one of CSCI 530, MATH 520, and MATH 540.

Instructions For Master’s Students

To complete a pathway as a master’s student, you must take two courses such that each is either a core course or a graduate course. You don’t need to take the intermediate courses. Taking a related course won’t count as being part of the pathway.

The current pathways are:

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

Description: Studies the theory and application of algorithms for making decisions and inferences from rules and data

Faculty: Bach, Felzenszwalb, Greenwald, Konidaris, Littman, Pavlick, Ritchie, Singh, Sridhar, Sun, Tellex, Tompkin

Computational Biology

Description: Studies the foundations and applications of algorithms for analyzing biological data and processes

Faculty: Istrail, Ramachandran, Singh

Computer Architecture

Description: Studies the design, construction, and analysis of computer architecture and hardware

Faculty: Bahar, Herlihy, Reda


Description: Studies the management and use of large data collections

Faculty: Cetintemel, Littman, Pavlick, Upfal, Zdonik


Description: Studies the design, construction, and analysis of processes at the interface between humans and systems

Faculty: Huang, Laidlaw, Ritchie, Tompkin, Zizyte


Description: Studies the design, construction, analysis, and defense of techniques to protect systems, data, and communications

Faculty: Kamara, Kemerlis, Krishnamurthi, Lysyanskaya, Tamassia

Software Principles

Description: Studies the design, construction, and analysis of modern software systems

Faculty: Fisler, Krishnamurthi, Lewis, Nelson, Reiss, Zizyte


Description: Studies the design, construction, and analysis of modern, multi-faceted computing systems.

Faculty: Bahar, Benson, Cetintemel, Doeppner, Herlihy, Kemerlis, Nelson, Schwarzkopf


Description: Studies the foundations of models and algorithms for computing in various contexts

Faculty: Istrail, Klein, Lewis, Lysyanskaya, Tamassia, Upfal

Visual Computing

Description: Studies the creation, interaction, and analysis of images and visual information, including animation and games

Faculty: Huang, Hughes, Laidlaw, Meier, Ritchie, Sridhar, Tompkin, van Dam

In addition, there is the alternative pathway:


This pathway is modeled after the Brown programs for designing one’s own concentration. Students electing this pathway must write a proposal for their pathway and have it approved by an advisor and the director of undergraduate or graduate studies, as appropriate. The proposal must meet the breadth and overall course requirements. This must be done by the end of shopping period of the student’s seventh semester, for undergraduates, and by the end of shopping period of the student’s second semester, for master’s students.