U of T Computer Science: Definitive Guide for Applicants (2022)

U of T Computer Science: The Definitive Guide for Applicants (2022)

If you’re applying to the Computer Science program (HBSc) at the University of Toronto (St. George, Scarborough, or Mississauga campus), this guide is for you.

As a potential applicant, you’re probably overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. 

That’s why we created this guide. 

Here, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the U of T Computer Science program, including the application, deadlines, acceptance rate, program info, and much more for all three U of T campuses—all in one place. 

By the way, if you’re serious about getting into U of T Computer Science, our 1-on-1 Youth Coaching services will help you become a stronger applicant, student, and leader. We work on things like improving real-world skills, building self-awareness, and achieving big goals, so you can maximize your post-secondary potential.

Table of Contents:

  1. Requirements & Admission Process: Admission average and requirements; Acceptance rate; Deadlines; Acceptance Dates; and More.
  2. Supplemental Application: Breakdown; Questions; Tips and Examples; and More.
  3. About the Program: Campus comparisons; POSt enrolment after first year; Specialists, Majors, and Minors; Co-op placements; Tuition; and More.
  4. Common Questions from Students: Which campus is best for CS?; Is the CS program hard to get into?; What’s the workload like?; and More.

U of T Comp Sci: Requirements & Admission Process

The Computer Science program at the University of Toronto is ranked first in Canada as well as 9th in the world (according to the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities) — that’s pretty impressive! 

With award-winning faculty and a focus on experiential, hands-on learning, the Computer Science program helps students develop their scientific knowledge and ignite their creativity so that they can advance the technology of tomorrow. 

Sounds pretty great, right?

Before applying to the CS program at U of T, you must first decide which University of Toronto campus you want to study at. 

There are three choices

Each program is unique and the application, prerequisites, and program offerings are slightly different for each campus (don’t worry, we’ve got a complete breakdown of these differences so you can choose which one is the best for you). 

University of Toronto Computer Science – Application Criteria & How to Apply

All applicants must submit an application to the Faculty of Arts & Sciences via the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) website. The application opens in October 2022 and the final date to submit the OUAC application is January 12, 2023

Here are the different OUAC applications, so you can make sure you choose the right one: 

  • 101 Application: For Ontario high school students. 
  • 105 Application: For Canadian or international students who are not currently enrolled at an Ontario high school, and want to apply to more than one university in Ontario.  
  • International Application: For applicants who live outside of Canada, are not currently studying in Canada (or haven’t studied in Canada before), and are not applying to any other Ontario university. 

REMEMBER: On your OUAC application, you MUST indicate which U of T campus you want to apply to and add the campus-specific code: St. George (TAD); Mississauga (TMZ); or Scarborough (TXC). If you are not accepted to your top choice campus, you will also be considered for another campus and/or program. 

Along with your application, you must have the following information on your application:

  1. Admission Category: This is a general area of study to tell the university what you intend to study at U of T. There are 6 choices, but you must select ‘Computer Science’ for this program.
  2. College Preference: If you are applying to the St. George Campus, you must submit your college membership preferences. You can choose between Innis College, New College, St. Michael’s College, Trinity College, University College, Victoria College, and Woodsworth College. If you are applying to UTSC or UTM, you don’t need to do this

Around 1-2 weeks after you’ve submitted your OUAC application, you’ll receive an email from U of T confirming that they received your application and telling you if there are any other steps you need to complete. 

Once you’ve done this, you must set up your JOIN U of T portal ID to submit your supporting docs.

REMEMBER: If you are applying to the St. George campus, you MUST submit a Supplemental Application. If you are applying to Scarborough or Mississauga, you do not need to submit one. Your Supplemental Application is due on February 1, 2023.

For more information on completing your OUAC application, visit this page (St. George Campus); this page (Scarborough Campus); and this page (Mississauga Campus).

COACH’S TIP: We highly recommend that you apply to other programs, just in case you aren’t successful this time around. If you don’t make it into the top program you apply to, U of T will consider you for other campuses and other programs (but only if you apply). You are allowed to apply to up to 3 programs per application

Need help with your application? Connect with a coach now.

University of Toronto Requirements – Computer Science

If you are applying as an Ontario student, here are the academic/course requirements for the U of T Computer Science program for each campus:

u of t computer science university of toronto comp sci

UTSG CS: If you are applying as a student outside of Ontario in Canada, find the school qualifications and course equivalents here. If you are applying from the US, visit this page to ensure you meet the requirements. 

UTM CS: If you are applying as a student outside of Ontario in Canada, find the school qualifications and course equivalents here. If you are applying from the US, visit this page to ensure you meet the requirements. 
UTSC CS: If you are applying as a student outside of Ontario in Canada, find the school qualifications and course equivalents here. If you are applying from the US, visit this page to ensure you meet the requirements.

You might also be wondering how the University of Toronto uses these academic requirements in their evaluation of applicants

When you apply to the University of Toronto, your application is considered with these steps:

  • Step 1: U of T will verify that every applicant meets the University’s general admissions requirements.
  • Step 2: The university will assess whether applicants meet the requirements to the specific program they’re applying to (listed above). Students must have all the necessary prerequisites, grade cutoffs, and Supplemental Applications (if applicable).  
  • Step 3: For those students who meet the requirements outlined in Step 1 and Step 2, U of T will assess students based on academic performance, potential, and competitive strength. 
  • Step 4: U of T will do a final assessment of the top applicants, using their two most recent years of study (marks, prerequisites, information on the Supp App, etc.) to make the final decisions. 
  • Step 5: Conditional offers are sent out to the top applicants. An acceptance/rejection will be sent to each applicant for every U of T faculty they applied to. If a student isn’t accepted to their top choice program, they can still be considered for other programs/campuses they’ve applied to.

For more information on admission requirements and process, visit this page.

U of T Computer Science Admission Average

A lot of students ask us about the University of Toronto Computer Science admission average so that they can see how they compare to other applicants. 

Here are the U of T Computer Science admission averages for the 3 campuses:

  • UTSG Computer Science Admission Average: Low 90s
  • UTSC Computer Science Admission Average: Low 90s (Non Co-op); Low 90s (Co-op)
  • UTM Computer Science Admission Average: Low to Mid-80s

REMEMBER: For the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses, applicants only need to submit an OUAC application, meaning that you are considered solely on academic performance. This means that grades are the difference maker. The higher your average, the higher your chance of getting in. 

For the St. George Campus, you will have the opportunity to submit a Supplemental Application, giving the admissions committee a chance to learn more about you beyond your grades.

U of T Acceptance Rate & Number of Applicants 

We get a lot of questions about the University of Toronto Computer Science acceptance rate because this program is a top ranked program and attracts applicants from all around the world. 

As a result, the number of applicants continues to increase year over year. For example, in 2014 there were approximately 537 applicants, and then in 2019 there were 981 (and this number continues to rise year over year). 

For the entire university, the U of T acceptance rate in 2015 was 52%, and in 2018 the acceptance rate was 45.2% (according to the Institutional Data Hub), showing a slight decline. 

It’s also helpful to remember that the St. George Campus typically receives the most applications overall, so it will be tougher to get into out of the 3 campuses.

In 2021, admission to top programs like Computer Science at U of T is about 43%

U of T Application Deadline for Computer Science 

The U of T Computer Science OUAC Application opens in October 2022 for all campuses— and we highly recommend that you complete it as soon as it is. 

This goes for the St. George Supplemental Application as well. Even though it’s due on February 1, 2023, the earliest rounds of consideration happen before this deadline, so try to get it done as early as you can. 

U of T reviews applications on a continual basis (even before the deadline), typically in February, March, and May, so it’s best not to leave things to the last minute. 

With thousands of students applying to U of T every year, admission categories, including Computer Science, fill up quickly. 

U of T Computer Science – Acceptance Dates

Acceptance letters are sent between late-January and late May, with most offers being sent between March and May

If you are not selected for your top program, you’ll still be considered for other campuses and other programs (you can apply to a maximum of 3 programs at U of T). 

We know that this is A LOT of information all at once. But we don’t want you to stress — we’re always here for you. Our Youth Coaches™ are experts in all things U of T Computer Science and we’re ready to give you all the support and mentorship you need. Reach out to a Youth Coach™ now.

Need support with this process? We got you.

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Anna

UTSC CS Grad
Youth Coach™

U of T Computer Science: Supplemental Application

The Supplemental Application for the U of T Computer Science program is required for applicants to the UTSG Computer Science program ONLY (i.e. not UTSC or UTM).

To access your University of Toronto Computer Science Supplemental Application, log in to your JOIN U of T account after applying through OUAC. 

If you’re a UTSG CS applicant, the Supplemental Application can be the difference maker for your application and help improve your chances of getting accepted.

Why? It gives you an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are beyond your grades and computer science, and showcase your skills, experiences, qualities, interests, goals, and more.   

U of T Comp Sci Supp App – Questions

There are 4 short answer questions that ask you to discuss your personal experiences, skills, interests, and qualities. 

Here are the questions: 

  1. Describe a situation you witnessed, or were involved in, where someone was treated unfairly or discriminated against. How did you respond, and would you do anything differently if that situation occurred again?
  2. Briefly describe a personal goal you have set for yourself, and how long you have been working to achieve this goal. Who did you turn to for advice or help, and what was their role? What did you learn about yourself?
  3. Describe an example of a situation where you took on a leadership role, helped resolve a dispute, or contributed to a group’s goals. What was your role, what were your responsibilities, and what contribution did you make?
  4. Describe a group, organization, or community with which you have been involved. How long have you been involved? Describe the impact of your involvement in this community, and what you learned from being a member.

U of T Comp Sci Supp App – Writing Tips & Examples 

These questions ask you to comment on experiences, goals, skills (like leadership) and community involvement. 

These questions are common for university applications (and they also come up a lot in interviews, check some examples in our Interview Skills Guide here). 

COACH’S TIP: Each question has a limit of 120 words (including spaces and punctuation). Your application will stand out if you can be clear and concise, creating a memorable answer that gives some personal insight into who you really are. 

We’ve developed 2 communication approaches to help you stand out. 

The 4 questions for the U of T CS Supplemental Application are personal questions and suitable for our Narrative Communication Approach™, which uses storytelling to create an emotional connection with the reader. However, we realize that as a Computer Science applicant, you (and the Supp App reviewers) are probably more comfortable with the Deductive Communication Approach™, which is a top-down structure that states the answer right up front, followed by the main reason and supporting evidence and data. This is a common approach for STEM fields.

You can choose whichever approach you are most comfortable with (or you can use a mix of both depending on the question). The key is whatever you’re most comfortable with and whichever style is more aligned with your strengths and style.

Here are the 5 components that an essay following the Narrative Approach should have: 

  • Hook: The story starts with a curiosity-inducing event or captivating experience that makes the audience want to keep watching/reading.
  • Context: The setting is established and we get the basic information: Who, What, When, Where, and Why?
  • Catalyst: A specific event or problem arises, causing challenges for the main characters. The climax of the story is usually within the Catalyst.
  • Outcome: This section showcases the result of the character’s actions and the impact on themselves and others.
  • Reflection: This is the moral of the story, where the protagonist reveals what they have learned and how it has impacted their life going forward. 

It looks like this:

communication skills

Learn more about these 5 components here.

Here are the 4 components that an essay following the Deductive Approach should have: 

  • Hypothesis/Answer: State your answer concisely and right at the beginning of your essay.
  • Main Reason(s): Provide 2-3 reasons about why you think your answer is true. 
  • Supporting Arguments: Each paragraph should use data, evidence, experiences, etc. to support the Main Reasons. This is where you should be more personal, providing personal insight whenever possible. 
  • So What?: Summarize why this all matters, including learning outcomes and lessons, how you evolved as a person, etc.

It looks like this:

interview skills interview tips deductive communication skills approach

Learn more about these 4 components here.

If you need some support working on your essay questions and using the Narrative/Deductive Approaches, connect with a coach for support and to find out how to submit a U of T Computer Science Supp App that gets noticed.

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U of T Computer Science: About the Program

U of T Comp Sci at St George vs. Mississauga vs. Scarborough

The University of Toronto has over 75,000 undergraduate students enrolled across its 3 campuses. 

With so much information out there, it can be tough to decide which campus is best for your interests, goals, and skills. Besides physical location, each campus has something unique to offer

Wondering what makes the St. George, Scarborough, and Mississauga Computer Sciences programs different/similar? 

Here are the top similarities and differences between the 3 campuses to help make your decision easier:

  • Similarities:
    1. Curriculum: Much of the core courses required for you to take as a CS Specialist or Major is shared across campuses, so you’ll learn the same course content no matter which campus you decide to attend. For example, the second year course Software Design is offered at UTSG as CSC207H1, UTSC as CSCB07H3, and UTM as CSC207H5. These shared courses are often exclusions of each other, meaning that if you take more than one of them, you will only get the credit for one course. However, this rule also means that you can decide to take the course at another campus if you wish.
    2. Degree: At the end of your time at U of T, no matter which campus you attended, if you graduated from the Computer Science program you will receive an Honours Bachelor of Science (HBSc) from the University of Toronto.
    3. Internship Opportunities: Although you will work with a different department in helping you land internships whether you’re in the Co-op program (UTSC), the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) at UTSG, or the PEY program (UTM), no one campus gets better opportunities than others. You are always welcome to apply to positions directly from a company’s job board rather than the job board offered by the school.
  • Differences:
    1. Work Experiences: UTSC is the only campus that offers a Co-op program, while UTSG offers the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) and UTM offers Professional Experience Year Co-op (PEY Co-op; read more about both below). At UTSC, you can enrol in their Co-op program to work Co-op placements throughout your undergrad starting as soon as in your second year. UTSC Co-op placements usually last 4 months each with a total of three placements. UTSG’s ASIP and UTM’s PEY start after your third year and allows you to engage in a 12-16 month work-term. Due to the scheduling, by enrolling in PEY Co-op, you would be extending your undergrad by at least a year. It’s possible for you to finish your degree in 4 years at UTSC even with Co-op, but it’s not uncommon for students to take an extra semester or two to complete their degree
    2. Specializations: Depending on which campus you decide to enrol in, you will have different fields within the industry to specialize or major in. UTSG has the greatest selection of programs. You can find UTSC’s selection here and UTM’s here.
    3. POSt Requirements: You can read more about the POSt requirements in detail below. Each campus has its own requirements for POSt acceptance. At the time of writing this guide, UTSG and UTSC both offer guaranteed acceptance if you meet their requirements. Meanwhile, UTM will assess you based on your grades for certain courses.
    4. Courses: While the three campuses share many courses within the curriculum, there are courses that are offered exclusively at each campus. For example, given that UTSG CS Specialists can focus their studies in Artificial Intelligence, you can take CSC301H1: Algorithmic Game Theory and Mechanism Design there. UTSC offers a focus in Software Engineering, so you can take courses like CSCD70H3: Compiler Optimization as part of your time there. UTM has a Specialist program in Information Security, so you can take more specific courses like CSC422: Cryptography and Computational Complexity at UTM. And although you may have some professors teaching cross-campuses, most professors teach exclusively at one campus.

U of T Computer Science POSt After First Year

Once you’re accepted into the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science, you AREN’T actually admitted into the Computer Science program (aka POSt, or ‘Program of Study’) officially.

Instead, you are part of the Computer Science admission category in your first year, and then you enrol in the Computer Science POSt (‘program’) at the end of your first year.  

This is one of the biggest surprises to students after they’ve received their acceptance letter from the University of Toronto. 

To make things easier to understand, here’s a handy checklist you can use to make sure you cover all the steps for enroling in the CS POSt:

u of t computer science university of toronto comp sci
U of T Computer Science POSt Requirements

Here are the requirements to successfully be admitted into the Computer Science Program of Study (POSt) at the University of Toronto. 

These requirements apply specifically to students admitted to the Computer Science admission category (and if you apply from a different admission category you will have different requirements).

Each campus has different requirements, so we’ve split them up into individual sections below. 

REMEMBER: At the time of writing this guide, these POSt requirements are for the 2021-2022 school year. Students enrolling in Fall 2022 or Winter 2023 will adhere to the 2022-2023 POSt requirements, which will be made available in Fall 2022 by the respective departments for each campus. The changes in the requirements may include, but are not limited to, CGPA requirements, minimum grade requirements, assessed courses, and limited vs guaranteed admission. 

UTSG COMPUTER SCIENCE

You will be guaranteed admission to the Computer Science POSt after your first year, as long as you meet these requirements:

Once you have done this, you must indicate whether you want to pursue a Specialist, Major and/or Minor (keep reading for a complete breakdown about this below). 

For more information on UTSG POSt requirements, visit this page.

u of t computer science university of toronto comp sci

St. George Campus, Bahen Centre For Information Technology, U of T (photo by Diana Tyszko) 

UTSC COMP SCI

In first year, you must complete these requirements to be admitted into the CS POSt (Specialist, Major, and/or Minor): 

Completion of these requirements will guarantee you a spot into UTSC’s CS POSt.

For more information on UTSC Computer Science POSt requirements, visit this page.

u of t computer science university of toronto comp sci

U of T Scarborough, Instructional Centre, (image credit).

UTM COMP SCI

If you are accepted into the Computer Science, Mathematics & Statistics admission category at UTM and you want to pursue a Specialist Program or Major Program in CS, you must have completed the following after your first year:

REMEMBER: For UTM, upon completion of these requirements, you will be assessed for POSt and not guaranteed entry like UTSG or UTSC.

For more information on UTM Computer Science POSt requirements, visit this page.

u of t computer science university of toronto comp sci

U of T Mississauga, Department of Mathematics and Computational Sciences (image credit)

U of T Computer Science  – Specialist vs. Major vs. Minor & Streams 

Once accepted into the U of T Computer Science program, you must choose the area of Computer Science you want to focus on, as well as how broad or general you want your learning to be. 

How? By choosing a Specialist, Major, and/or Minor

By the end of their first year, all students at the University of Toronto must indicate their area of study by choosing:

  • 1 Specialist OR
  • 2 Majors OR
  • 1 Major and 2 Minors 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between these 3 options:

  • Specialist: Think of this as you being an expert in one subject area. A Specialist in Computer Science provides an in-depth and focused understanding of Computer Science and exposes you to a broad range of upper-year CS topics. 
  • Major: This program will give you a concentrated understanding of an academic field of study. A Major in CS builds on the content of a CS Minor, and allows students to study a few topics more deeply. By taking a Major, students can integrate their studies with another discipline. 

COACH’S TIP: If you are planning on taking a Co-op at UTSC (more on these below), then you must indicate this when choosing a Specialist or Major on ACORN. For example, if you choose Computer Science, you would select “Computer Science: Comprehensive Stream – Specialist” if you don’t want to do a Co-op OR “Computer Science: Comprehensive Stream – Specialist Co-op” if you want to do a Co-op.

  • Minor: This allows students an opportunity to study many different areas, giving you the knowledge and understanding to use what you’ve learned in other fields. A Minor in CS provides an intro to theoretical and applied CS as a complement to the study of other areas. The Minor program is open to any student (while  the Specialist and Majors in CS have specific enrolment requirements).

REMEMBER: No matter what program you’re studying, you need 20 credits to graduate. At the University of Toronto, 1 credit is one FULL year (i.e. 2 semester) courses, and a 0.5 credit is a HALF year (i.e. 1 semester) course.

Having trouble deciding whether you should choose a Specialist, Major, and/or Minor? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to focus on one specific research area in the field of Computer Science and become an expert in that one thing? 
    • If yes, choose a Specialist (see the Specialist options in the next section of this guide).
  • Do I want to study other disciplines while also still having a broad and comprehensive knowledge of the various fields of study and research areas in Computer Science? 
    • If yes, choose a Major in CS.
  • Do I want a broad knowledge of many different areas, disciplines, and programs, while not being confined to just Computer Science? 
    • If yes, then a Minor is a good choice. 

If you need some help deciding whether a Specialist, Major, or Minor is right for you, connect with a coach now for support.

To learn more about Specialists, Majors, and Minors at U of T, visit this page.

U of T Computer Science  – Specialists & Streams 

When you choose whether you want to do a Specialist, Major, or Minor, you must also choose the research area you want to focus on.

For Computer Science, here there are different Specialist/Major/Minor options depending on which campus you want to attend. These are called Specialists (UTSG and UTM) and Streams (UTSC).

Here is the complete list of Specialists and Streams for UTSG, UTSC, and UTM.

UTSG COMPUTER SCIENCE – SPECIALISTS, MAJORS, AND MINORS 
UTSG CS Specialists

Here’s a list of the Focus areas you can take as a Specialist at UTSG Computer Science: 

  • Focus in Artificial Intelligence
  • Focus in Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing
  • Focus in Computer Systems 
  • Focus in Computer Vision
  • Focus in Game Design 
  • Focus in Human-Computer Interaction
  • Focus in Scientific Computing
  • Focus in Theory of Computation 
  • Focus in Web and Internet Technologies 

For a full description of each Specialist Focus area, as well as requirements and courses, see the UTSG Computer Science program website.

UTSG CS MAJORS

Here’s a list of the Focus areas you can while completing a Major at UTSG Computer Science: 

  • Computer Science Major 
  • Focus in Artificial Intelligence
  • Focus in Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing
  • Focus in Computer Vision 
  • Focus in Game Design
  • Focus in Scientific Computing 

For a full description of each Major Focus area, as well as requirements and courses, see the UTSG Computer Science program website.

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UTSC COMP SCI – SPECIALISTS, MAJORS, AND MINORS 

At UTSC Computer Science, you will be able to build a working knowledge of the primary areas of this field. 

UTSC CS Streams

In order to provide students with areas of study that fit their individual interests and academic/professional goals, UTSC CS has 4 Streams (or Specialists) that students can choose from. 

At UTSC CS, you can choose a stream only if you’re taking a Specialist (i.e. not a Major or Minor).

The Streams are:

  • Comprehensive Stream: A broad and balanced exposure to the field of Computer Science. This stream is ideal for students who are thinking about applying to graduate studies (MSc or PHd) in Computer Science.
  • Entrepreneurship Stream: This provides a strong foundation of Computer Science and Software Engineering, while exposing students to the framework and the methodologies that underlie the development of innovative technology ideas into viable commercial opportunities. Enrolment into this Stream is limited to highly qualified and motivated students, and preference will be given to students enrolled in the Specialist (Co-op) Program.
  • Information Systems Stream: Similar to the Software Engineering Stream (below), but it provides additional exposure to certain aspects of business management. This Stream is ideal for students who are interested in a career in technical management but who have a deep interest in the technology.
  • Software Engineering Stream: Emphasizes the engineering side of the discipline, including computer systems and core applications.

REMEMBER: Even though you can pick a Stream to study, all students in the Computer Science program must complete a core of 18 courses (9 credits), regardless of the Stream you’ve chosen.

For more information about these Streams and for course requirements for each Stream, visit this page

UTSC CS Majors

The Major program requires a total of 8 credits (i.e. 16 distinct, 1 semester courses).

As mentioned above, students must meet certain requirements before applying to the Computer Science Major after their first year (listed here).

In addition to meeting the necessary POSt requirements, students must also complete the following CSC and MAT courses to be eligible to enrol for the Computer Science Major at UTSC:

For more information about the Major in Computer Science at UTSC, visit this page.

UTSC CS Minors

As mentioned above, students must apply to the Computer Science Minor after their first year, and must have completed the necessary requirements (listed here).

The Minor program requires a total of 4.0 credits (i.e. 8 distinct, 1 semester courses). Students can take a maximum of 3 CSC elective courses (i.e. 1.5 total credits) at the C and D level.

As a part of the Minor, students will have the chance to take introductory programming courses, basic math courses, intermediate programming, system, and theory courses, and electives. 

For more information about the Minor in Computer Science at UTSC, visit this page.

UTM COMP SCi – SPECIALISTS, MAJORS, AND MINORS

Like St. George and Scarborough, the Mississauga campus has various CS programs that appeal to students with different skills, interests, and goals.

Here are the programs that are offered at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus for Computer Science.

UTM CS Specialists 

Bioinformatics 

According to the U of T Computer Science program website, the Bioinformatics Specialist focuses on the following: “Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary science that combines Biology, Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics and Chemistry. Bioinformatics is the managing of large amounts of biological information generated from research using advanced computational methods/programs.

The Specialist program includes various courses in genetics and molecular biology which will put into context the vast amounts of genomic data and how it is isolated, sequenced and analyzed.  Furthermore, the computer science courses will give you the foundation to write your own computer programs as needed to analyze large amounts of data that would not be able to be done by hand in a timely manner. This program also provides a solid foundation in mathematics and statistics that will also help you to design and analyze experiments.

Bioinformatics is used in research that looks at the genetic make-up of an entire organism.  Some of its many applications are in medicine or biology.

This program is offered through the Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences.”

Read more about the specific enrolment requirements, courses, and completion requirements here

Computer Science 

As mentioned above, students must apply for the Computer Science Specialist at the end of their first year, having completing a minimum of 4.0 credits, including: 

  • CSC148H5 (see minimum grade note below)
  • MAT102H5 (see minimum grade note below)
  • MAT134H5 or MAT136H5 or MAT134Y5 or MAT135Y5 or MAT137Y5 or MAT157Y5 or MAT233H5
  • ISP100H5
  • A cumulative grade point average (CGPA), determined annually. It is never lower than 2.5.
  • All students must complete 4.0 U of T credits before requesting this program. Courses with a grade of CR/NCR will not count as a part of the 4.0 credits required for program entry.

Read more about the specific enrolment requirements, courses, and completion requirements for the UTM CS Specialist here

Information Security

According to the U of T Computer Science program website, the Information Security Specialist focuses on “all the major aspects of information and computer security, while giving an overview of the field, as well as in-depth courses in the systems, number theory and computation complexity aspects of computer security.”

Read more about the specific enrolment requirements, courses, and completion requirements here

UTM CS Major

As mentioned above, students must apply to the Computer Science Major after their first year, and must have completed the necessary requirements (listed here).

The Major program requires a total of 7.5-8 credits (i.e. 15.5-16 distinct, 1 semester courses).

For more information about the Major in Computer Science at UTM, visit this page.

UTM CS Minor 

As mentioned above, students must apply to the Computer Science Minor after their first year, and must have completed the necessary requirements (listed here).

The Minor program requires a total of 4.0 credits (i.e. 8 distinct, 1 semester courses). Students can take a maximum of 3 CSC elective courses (i.e. 1.5 total credits) at the C and D level.

As a part of the Minor, students will have the chance to take introductory programming courses, basic math courses, intermediate programming, system, and theory courses, and electives. 

For more information about the Minor in Computer Science at UTM, visit this page.

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U of T Computer Science – Courses 

Here are some of the courses students are required to take at UTSG, UTSC, and UTM for the Specialist, Major, and Minor, so you can get a better idea of the areas of study and course material for each.

UTSG Computer Science Courses
UTSG SPECIALIST 

Students enrolled in a Specialist program at UTSG are required to complete 12.0 credits in total, including at least 1.5 credits at the 400-level

Within 12 months of starting their studies, students are required to complete 2.5 credits of these 100-level courses:  

Note that only one of these courses CSC111H1 is a half-year course (denoted by the H in the course code) and the rest of them are full-year courses (denoted by the Y in the course code). Thus, 2 full year courses and 1 half year course makes up 2.5 credits.

Each Specialist has different course requirements, so if you’re considering a specific one, check out the full list here

In Years 2-4, students can choose from a variety of courses and electives to meet the set credit requirements for their chosen Specialist. See the full list of course requirements and descriptions for each Specialist here.

REMEMBER: In addition to the CS Specialist courses, every U of T student must also take Breadth Requirement courses so that they take courses across many different disciplines in the Faculty of Arts & Science. Learn more about U of T’s Breadth Requirement here

UTSG MAJOR & MINOR

To complete the UTSG CS Major, students must complete 8 credits, including at least one at the 400-level. 

Here are the required first year courses (which total 2.5 credits): (CSC108H1, CSC148H1, CSC165H1/​ CSC240H1)/(CSC110Y1, CSC111H1); MAT137Y1/​ MAT157Y1/​( MAT135H1, MAT136H1)

After their first year, students can choose from a variety of courses and electives to meet the set credit requirements for their chosen Major. See the full list of course requirements and descriptions for each Major here.

Students in the UTSG CS Minor must have a total for 4.0 credits, including the following required courses: (CSC108H1/​ CSC120H1, CSC148H1, CSC165H1/​ CSC240H1)/(CSC110Y1, CSC111H1). They must also have a total of 1.5 credits from the course list here, with at least 1.0 credit must be at the 300-/400-level.

For a complete list of the course requirements for each of the Specialists, Majors, and Minors at UTSG CS, visit this page. If you need some help navigating the courses and deciding which Specialist/Major/Minor is right for you, connect with a coach for support.

UTSC Comp Sci Courses 
UTSC SPECIALIST 

UTSC CS Specialist students must complete a core of 18 courses (9 credits total), regardless of the Stream and additional requirements of that Stream, by the time they plan on graduating. These core courses are meant to provide a foundational knowledge about the field of Computer Science. 

These courses are taken down over the 4 years of the program, divided into Years 1-4 like this: 

First Year Required Core Courses (3.0 credits)

  • CSCA08H3 Introduction to Computer Science I
  • CSCA48H3 Introduction to Computer Science II
  • CSCA67H3 Discrete Mathematics
  • MATA22H3 Linear Algebra I for Mathematical Sciences
  • MATA31H3 Calculus I for Mathematical Sciences
  • MATA37H3 Calculus II for Mathematical Sciences

REMEMBER: Students in their first year will take these 6 CS/Math courses and 4 electives if they want to enroll with a full course load. Don’t forget that in order to apply for the Computer Science POSt at the end of your first year, you must complete 4.0 credits (or 8, 1 semester courses).

Second Year Required Core Courses (3.5 credits)

C-level Required Core Courses (1.5 credits)

D-level Required Core Courses (0.5 credit)

  • CSCD03H3 Social Impact of Information Technology

For the last 0.5 credits, Specialist students will also need to complete a writing requirement comprised of 1 course chosen from the following: ANTA01H3, ANTA02H3, (CLAA02H3), (CTLA19H3), CTLA01H3, ENGA10H3, ENGA11H3, ENGB06H3, ENGB07H3, ENGB08H3, ENGB09H3, ENGB17H3, ENGB19H3, ENGB50H3, (ENGB51H3), GGRA02H3, GGRA03H3, GGRB05H3, (GGRB06H3), (HISA01H3), (HLTA01H3), ACMA01H3, (HUMA01H3), (HUMA11H3), (HUMA17H3), (LGGA99H3), LINA01H3, PHLA10H3, PHLA11H3, WSTA01H3.

COACH’S TIP: When choosing your electives, take the opportunity to take courses that seem interesting to you and you want to learn more about (they don’t have to be CS). However, remember that you must take a course within one of the “Writing Requirement” courses for CS (mentioned above) as well as the general U of T breadth requirements

For more information on these required courses and a full description of each, visit this page

UTSC CS MAJOR 

Students who take a CS Major at UTSC must complete 8.0 credits total, including the required courses listed below: 

CS Major Required A-level courses (3.0 credits)

  • CSCA08H3 Introduction to Computer Science I
  • CSCA48H3 Introduction to Computer Science II
  • CSCA67H3 Discrete Mathematics
  • MATA22H3 Linear Algebra I for Mathematical Sciences
  • MATA31H3 Calculus I for Mathematical Sciences
  • MATA37H3 Calculus II for Mathematical Sciences

CS Major Required B-level courses (3.0 credits)

and 0.5 credit from the following:

CS Major Required C-level courses in numerical computation and theory of computing (1.0 credit)

  • CSCC37H3 Introduction to Numerical Algorithms for Computational Mathematics

and 0.5 credit from the following:

  • CSCC63H3 Computability and Computational Complexity
  • CSCC73H3 Algorithm Design and Analysis

CS Major Required CSC electives (1.0 credit)

Students must also take 1.0 credits in any C- or D-level CSC courses, and it’s encouraged that they take the Writing Requirement course by the end of the second year.

For a full list of the CS Major course requirements and descriptions, visit this page

UTSC MINOR 

Students taking a Minor must complete 4.0 credits, including the following required courses. For a full list of the CS Minor course requirements and descriptions, visit this page

UTM Comp Sci Courses 
UTM SPECIALIST

Students must complete 11.5-14.0 credits, depending on which Specialist you take (Bioinformatics, Computer Science, or Information Security).

Each Specialist also has a different list of required courses. Learn more about the Specialist requirements as well as the individual course descriptions here

UTM MAJOR 

The only Major that is offered at UTM is in Computer Science. 7.5-8.0 credits are required to complete this Major, including the follow required courses: 

First Year:

Second Year:

Higher Years:

  1. 2.0 credits from the following: any 300/400 level CSC course (offered at UTM) or GGR335H5 or GGR337H5 or GGR437H5. At least 0.5 credit must come from 400-level courses, and no more than 0.5 credit of GGR courses may count to this requirement.

For more information on the UTM CS Major and the course requirements and descriptions, visit this page.

UTM CS Minor 

The UTM Computer Science Minor requires 4.0 credits, including the following required courses: 

For more information on the UTM CS Minor and the course requirements and descriptions, visit this page.

U of T Comp Sci – Tuition & Entrance Funding 

Students attending the University of Toronto are required to pay tuition, incidental, ancillary fees, and other fees like residence, meal plans, text books, etc. 

Fees will vary depending on your course load, year of study, and the campus where you’re studying. 

Students in their first year (having been accepted to the Computer Science admission category) will pay the general arts and science tuition. Then, once accepted into the CS program, students pay a higher tuition fee in upper years

Here are the approximate tuition fees for Computer Science students:

  • Undergraduate Domestic (Ontario Resident) – Year 1: $6,100 
  • Undergraduate Domestic (Ontario Resident) – Upper Years: $11,420

  • Undergraduate Domestic (Non-Ontario Resident) – Year 1: $6,280
  • Undergraduate Domestic (Non-Ontario Resident) – Upper Years: $11,760

  • International Students – Year 1: $59,320
  • International Students – Upper Years: $61,350

In addition to the tuition fees, U of T lists various other costs associated with attending university (see the full breakdown here):

u of t computer science university of toronto comp sci

REMEMBER: These additional costs will vary depending on which campus you choose. For example, the St. George campus will likely be the most expensive out of the 3 because the cost of everything is significantly higher in downtown Toronto.

Check out this resource for a full breakdown of the U of T Computer Science tuition and future increases. 

To calculate your approximate tuition and to create a budget, use this handy budgeting tool.

U of T Computer Science – Faculty & Staff

UTSG Computer Science

For a full list of the Faculty in the Department of Computer Science at U of T St. George, visit this page.

UTSC Comp Sci

For a full list of the UTSC Computer Science Faculty, visit this page.

UTM Comp Sci

For a full list of Faculty at University of Mississauga’s Mathematical & Computational Sciences, visit this page.

U of T Computer Science – Contacts 

UTSG Computer Science

If you have questions about the Computer Science program at UTSG, don’t be afraid to contact the school directly. 

Address: Bahen Building, Room 4207, 40 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2E4

Phone: 416-978-6360

Email: cs.undergrad@utoronto.ca

Website: web.cs.toronto.edu 

UTSC Comp Sci

Address: 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON, M1C 1A4

If you have questions about the Computer Science program, contact the Academic Program Advisor, Susan Calanza, at 647-601-4645.
Website: https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/cms/computer-science-1

UTM Comp Sci

Address: Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, University of Toronto Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6

Phone: 905-828-5350
Website: https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/future-students/category/computer-science-mathematics-statistics

U of T Computer Science – ASIP, Co-Op, & PEY

One of the main differences between the 3 U of T campuses are the Co-op offerings. 

Many students choose to study at the Scarborough campus because of the opportunity to do a Co-op (vs. St. George and Mississauga which have a Professional Experience Year, aka a PEY). 

Keep reading to learn about each program and campus. 

UTSG Computer Science

The St. George Campus also has an Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP), where students can explore different career options, gain experience, make contacts, and build skills. 

Participation in the ASIP is limited to eligible Arts & Science students enrolled at the U of T St. George campus.

Students enrolled in the Computer Science Specialist and Computer Science Major and the Data Science Specialist are all eligible to apply starting in Year 3. 

With the ASIP, students get professional development training, work placement opportunities, and personalized support, with 12, 16, or 20 month placements

Students are typically admitted into the ASIP in the Fall of their second year, but there are also Year 3 entry opportunities as well. 

Students must complete 4 courses to prepare them for the ASIP:

For more information on the ASIP, including requirements, courses, and enrolment, visit this page.

UTSC Comp Sci

The Co-op program at U of T Computer Science in Scarborough gives students the chance to attend classes while also doing paid work in private and/or non-private sectors. 

UTSC CS offers a Specialist CS Co-op as well as a Major CS Co-op

CO-OP ENROLLMENT 

Students admitted to a Co-op Degree POSt in their first year of study must request a Co-op Subject POSt on ACORN upon completion of 4.0 credits. After the first year, when you declare your POSt, you select the Co-op option for the program you wish to enrol in.  

Prospective students (i.e. those not yet admitted to a Co-op Degree POSt) must meet the enrolment requirements and have a CGPA of at least 2.75 across all attempted courses.

Co-op program requirements for a specific program are essentially the same as the requirements for that program, but with a CGPA (cumulative GPA across all courses) requirement. For example, the requirements for the specialist CS Co-op enrolment requires the student to meet the enrolment requirements for the specialist program as well as achieve a CGPA of 2.5.

REMEMBER: Students not already enrolled in the Co-op first year stream can apply if they meet these requirements as well.

CO-OP PREP

For the Co-op Specialist and Major, students must complete three Co-op work terms, each of four-months duration, one of which can be during the summer.

COACH’S TIP: In our experience with students, this is more of an ideal path and lots of variables can come up during the process. For example, some companies offer 8/12/16 month terms (not 4). The important thing is that you complete the bare minimum of 12 months cumulatively, whether that’s three 4-month terms, one 4-month term and one 8-month term, or one 12-month term is up to the student’s preference.

There are also specific Co-Op Preparation Course Requirements. They are (visit this site for more information):

  • COPB50H3/​(COPD01H3) – Foundations for Success in Arts & Science Co-op
    • Students entering Co-op from outside of UTSC (high school or other postsecondary) will complete this course in Fall or Winter of their first year at UTSC. Enrolment in each section is based on the admission category: Typically, students in Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics enrol in the Fall semester while all other Arts & Science Co-op admission categories enrol in the Winter semester however this may vary year to year.
    • Current UTSC students entering Co-op in April/May will complete this course in the Summer semester.
    • Current UTSC students entering Co-op in July/August will complete this course in the Fall semester.
  • COPB51H3/​(COPD03H3) – Preparing to Compete for your Co-op Work Term
    • This course will be completed eight months in advance of the first scheduled work term.
  • COPB52H3/​(COPD11H3) – Managing your Work Term Search & Transition to Work
    • This course will be completed four months in advance of the first work scheduled work term.
  • COPC98H3/​(COPD12H3) – Integrating Your Work Term Experience Part I
    • This course will be completed four months in advance of the second scheduled work term.
  • COPC99H3/​(COPD13H3) – Integrating Your Work Term Experience Part II
    • This course will be completed four months in advance of the third scheduled work term (for programs that require the completion of 3 work terms and/or four months in advance of any additional work terms that have been approved by the Arts and Science Co-op Office.

All of these courses are either pass or fail (you don’t get a mark).

REMEMBER: These courses will be additional courses on top of a student’s current course load. Therefore, a full-time student’s semester with one of these courses would be a total of 6 courses. 

These courses are more crucial in your first year leading up to your very first placement. Each course helps you develop job search skills and tools you’ll put in practice when actually finding a placement. This includes resume and cover letter prep, how to analyze job descriptions, as well as mock interviews

The first 2 courses listed are taken before you start applying for the Co-op. These courses are heavier in workload (weekly assignments and full lectures in class). Once you start applying for a placement (about 4 months before you’ll start the actual placement), the Co-op prep course for those semesters are much lighter. The goal of these courses is for you to find a placement, so while there may be a few goal setting assignments or check-ins, your priority is to apply to jobs.

Once you’ve done these courses, if you cannot find a placement during the 4 months prior to when you would’ve started your work term, your work term interval simply gets pushed back a semester and you spend another 4 months in school seeking for a job again

CO-OP APPLICATION

UTSC has a Career Services Management System (known as CSM) where students can login to apply for jobs. 

Job placements are curated by the department for your program, so Computer Science students will only see jobs related to their field.

Each posting will have a job description, duration of the term, contact information for the recruiter, etc.

To apply, you simply upload your resume and cover letter and submit it through the portal. 

REMEMBER: You can apply to Co-op placements outside of the portal, but you have to be in communication with the Co-op department to make sure the placements you are applying to meet their requirements for a Co-op position.

If your application is successful, you’ll receive an invitation to proceed to the interview process, which you’ll schedule through the CSM portal as well.

At the end, you’ll receive an email from the Co-op department if you were extended an offer. It’s very rare for companies to have direct contact with applicants instead of going through the department.

Need help with your Co-op application? Our Youth Coaches™ have helped hundreds of students take their co-ops to the next level and achieve more than they ever thought possible. Connect with a coach now to get started.

WORK PLACEMENT 

The Co-op work placement is designed to mimic a real life work experience. 

During the Co-op, you’ll earn an hourly wage (depending on the company’s offer), you will go through an onboarding process and training as a new employee and take on real responsibilities as a member of their team. 

Depending on where your placement is, you’ll have lots of opportunities with a variety of companies ranging from bigger companies like IBM and Canadian banks to smaller tech startups. 

A REAL CO-OP EXPERIENCE 

One of our Youth Coaches™, Anna, graduated the UTSC CS in 2021. While she was there, she went through the Co-op program at UTSC Computer Science. 

Here’s her experience so that you can see what it’s like and you can make an informed decision about where you want to study Computer Science.

Here’s what she said about her Co-op experience:

“For my Co-op, I had the more traditional schedule of doing three 4-month work terms with my first one being in the earliest possible term (immediately after my first semester of my second year). 

My three placements were at Public Services Procurement Canada, Toronto District School Board, and Index Exchange, respectively, where I took on primarily web development roles

As with any Co-op student, I dedicated a lot of time during the prep period to apply for roles. My ratio of applications to interviews was about 10:1, meaning that for every 10 applications I sent out, I usually received at least one interview invitation.

I was very lucky with my first and last placements. I had gotten an offer within my first month of applying to jobs, so I ended up saving a lot of time throughout the semester and I didn’t have to do as many interviews. My second placement, however, took about 10 interviews and about three months of seeking before I got an offer. Although it took a lot more time to get my second placement, I was very thankful to get more interview experience. The more interviews I did, the less nervous I felt going into them.

I really value my experience at every single one of my work placements. Not all of them were ideal, but it helped me learn what I look for and what I don’t look for in a job. I met a lot of wonderful people and built connections that will last me a lifetime. I’ve learned skills that I’ve used moving forward both in and outside of an academic setting.

Ultimately, it gave me an advantage over graduates who have never had a role in the tech field when applying for my first full-time job. I drew on my experiences in all of these roles and gave concrete examples that took place in a professional work environment during my interviews.” 

UTM Comp Sci

U of T’s Mississauga campus offers a Professional Experience Year (PEY). The PEY requires 12-16 months in a professional work environment and students can also go abroad to explore various placements. 

Only MCS students who are currently in their third year can apply for the PEY. 

The PEY allows students to gain valuable experience and potentially secure a position before they graduate from U of T. 

If you have questions about the PEY at UTM CS, email sd.ecc@utoronto.ca or connect with a coach now.

Learn more about the Mississauga Computer Science PEY here.

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University of Toronto Computer Science: Common Questions from Students

What are the main differences between the UTSG, UTSC, and UTM Computer Science programs? Which of the three is the better program?

As prestigious as UTSG is, the programs themselves are the same.

No matter which campus you go to, every U of T Computer Science student is taught essentially the same curriculum, but there are a couple of differences between them.
While there are courses that are exclusive to a specific campus, this doesn’t mean you have to choose one course over another. If you are really keen on taking a course that isn’t offered at your campus, you can easily enroll in cross-campus courses and take that course at the campus where it is offered.

First, the class sizes at UTSG will be significantly bigger than classes at UTM or UTSC. If you prefer smaller class sizes, then these might be the better options for you.  

In terms of internships, the 3 campuses are a bit different. If you’re interested in internships, then you can weigh your options between UTSG’s ASIP, UTSC’s Co-op program, and the PEY at UTM (see the complete breakdown of each in the About the Program section above).

The takeaway here? As with most things, every student is different. Your preferences for campus location, course offerings, faculty, class sizes, etc. might make a certain campus a better fit for you. 

However, this doesn’t mean that one campus is better than the other. U of T is the top-rated school in Canada for a reason, and no matter where you take Computer Science, you’ll gain the skills, knowledge, and strong foundation for a successful academic and professional career.

For more information on the differences between these programs, check out the section we wrote earlier in this guide

Is U of T Comp Sci hard to get into?

The short answer? Yes, because the tech industry is growing more popular and more competitive every year. Therefore, as more people are hoping to get into a career in this field, it’s only natural that the admission average rises with every year. There are also thousands of international students trying to get a spot in Canada’s top university.

The admissions averages are also quite high (UTSG: Low 90s; UTSC: Low 90s for both Co-op and non Co-op; and UTM: Low to Mid 80s), and these averages can be hard for students to achieve. 

It is also a bit easier to apply to UTSC and UTM Computer Science because the admission requirements are purely based on marks and you aren’t required to submit a Supplemental Application (which is a mandatory component of the St. George CS application). For students who don’t have a lot of extracurriculars, UTSC and UTM are probably easier to get into because admission is based solely on grades.

The hardest (and most competitive) to get into is the St. George campus, because more people want the social experience of St. George and downtown Toronto experience, so more applicants means more competition.

UTSC and UTM on the other hand are a little more secluded in terms of their campus location (and definitely smaller than UTSG) so they might be a bit easier to get into (if you have a competitive average coming out of high school). 

There are so many options for the Specialist/Majors. How do I choose which area of CS to focus on after my first year?

When choosing what area to focus on (when choosing a Specialist/Major), reflect on your interests and which fields of technology you would be interested in working in

For example, if you’re drawn to learning about network security and cryptography, you might want to consider a Specialist in Information Security at UTM. 

Or, if you’re more interested in how people use computers and how to make these experiences people have with software more enjoyable and usable, then you should consider studying Human-Computer Interaction at UTSG. 

Or, if you’re an incredibly hard working, motivated individual who’s passionate about entrepreneurship, then you might want to consider specializing in the limited enrollment Entrepreneurship Stream at UTSC. 

It’s also totally okay to be unsure about what exactly you want to study and what your exact interests are. A lot of students want to learn a little bit about everything to do with Computer Science, so they take a more general approach, like the Specialist/Major in Computer Science or in Software Engineering. 

No matter what you choose, you can rest assured that at U of T you will get a solid foundation for all the areas of Computer Science. You can also take other courses outside of your focus area, so don’t worry about being stuck once you choose your Specialist/Major.

How can I prepare for POSt during my first year?

Before you enrol in your first year courses, make sure that you’re taking all the required courses and that you meet the 4.0 credit requirement for the CS POSt. 

You won’t need to make a definitive decision about your Specialist/Major but you should also familiarize yourself with the requirements for all the programs you’re interested in. 

As you work on the courses in your first year, keep an eye on your grades to ensure that you meet the minimum grade requirement for each course. 

For detailed information about the POSt requirements, refer back to the U of T Computer Science POSt After First Year section above.

What does the workload look like as a U of T CS student?

If you are taking a full course load, the standard is 2.5 credits (or 5 half-year classes) per semester. This makes the course load pretty heavy because you’re focusing on a bunch of different classes at once.  

Most U of T Computer Science courses are focused heavily on assignments, and this can make the workload feel a bit heavy. 

Students will usually get weekly assignments, as well as 2-3 larger assignments throughout the semester. Weekly assignments (which don’t take too long to finish) typically only amount to 10% of the final grade whereas larger assignments can be up to 25-30% each (these larger assignments take 10+ hours to finish). 

If you’re taking courses that are focused a lot around theory, they will be more intensive and the workload will be greater. 

Like most other programs, there will be times when the workload is a lot, especially when assignments and midterms/finals come up. These weeks are the busiest in the year. Just make sure you plan ahead and stay on top of your readings and assignments and you’ll be okay. 

COACH’S TIP: When it comes to course work, organizational skills are key. Our coaches worked with students before they start university to help them learn how to adjust to a big workload, prioritize tasks, and take care of their mental and physical wellbeing at the same time. Our proven approach has helped hundreds of students succeed all throughout university. Connect with a coach to learn more about these workload and study strategies now.

What’s the difference between a CS Specialist and a Major?

A Specialist is a program that delivers a more focused curriculum about a specific research area in the Computer Science field. This is the most in-depth study of a specific area. Students enrolled in a Specialist will also have to complete more credits than a Major.

A Major, on the other hand, provides a more general (but still concentrated) understanding of your field of interest, but not to the level of a Specialist. A Major requires less credits than a Specialist. 

For a complete breakdown of the differences between the CS Specialists and Majors, click here.

What’s the difference between Computer Science and Computer Engineering?

Although the two programs are similar, Computer Engineering is more focused on hardware and the layer of technology between the machine itself and the software. Also, for Computer Engineering, students must take science courses. It is a different department at the University of Toronto (Engineering). 

Computer Science, on the other hand, is heavier on math and theory, and there are various sub-fields of study that students can take. CS students do not need to take science courses (while a CS degree usually covers the basics of hardware, it doesn’t require physics courses). 

In terms of career possibilities, Computer Engineering can lead to more hardware focused jobs, such as developing and designing circuits and microprocessors or working in robotics or aerospace technology. Computer Science focuses more on programming, web development, and database architecture

Do I need to know how to code before starting school?

Absolutely not! While it would definitely be helpful and ease the transition into first year, the intro to programming courses assume you have no prior experience with coding. 

The required courses will teach you everything you need to know, so don’t stress if you don’t have an in-depth understanding of coding and other areas of Computer Science. 

What programming languages are used in classes?

In the first year, students usually start off with Python. In later years, students will have the chance to take courses to learn how to use Java and C.

You’ve Got a Dedicated Coach in Your Corner

For over a decade, we have worked with thousands of students to help them achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Our coaches have a strong success rate supporting students as they apply to the U of T Computer Science program, among other top university programs.

Our 1-on-1 Youth Coaching fills that gap that most high schools miss. We can help you build self-awareness through probing questions and assessments, set bigger goals to elevate your extracurriculars and future career plans, and improve skills that matter on supplementary applications, such as interviewing, written communication, critical thinking, and creativity.

We use a coaching methodology, called ‘full student’ development, that’s been proven to increase your chances of admission to top-tier universities and obtaining competitive jobs/internships.

So, what are you waiting for? Fulfill your post-secondary potential with the mentorship and coaching you’ve always wanted!

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