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Joint Concentration

A joint concentration is a good choice for students with a serious interest both in computer science and in an area that is either foundational to the study of computing or where computing is being applied in significant ways. Note that a joint concentration is not a “double major.” The two fields must overlap in a way that will enable the candidate to write a senior thesis acceptable to both departments. Computer Science touches on many fields of inquiry including engineering, social and natural sciences, and the humanities, and we’ve had successful joint concentrators with all these fields.

The the handbook entry contains the official requirements for a joint concentration. These are the same as those for the honors CS track (see also here) but with the following differences:

  • Only three technical electives are required. (Instead of 6 for the honors track and 4 for the basic track.)

  • These three technical electives must satisfy the breadth requirement as stated in Breadth Requirement.

  • One semester of Computer Science 91r may be used to satisfy the breadth requirement for joint concentrations.

CS allows to count courses that are also counted towards the requirements of the other field.

Joint concentrations are not “double majors.” Joint concentrators should be interested in the overlap between two fields, not simply in both. A thesis in the intersection of the fields is required for joint concentrators, read by both concentrations. The student is typically awarded the minimum honors recommended by the two concentrations separately. These requirements, including the thesis requirement, are the same whether Computer Science is the primary field or the allied field of the joint concentration. Ultimately the primary field is responsible for the English honors recommendation.

Students interested in combined programs should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies at an early date and should work carefully with both concentrations to ensure all deadlines and requirements of both concentrations are met. Students with separate interests in more than one field should consider a secondary rather than a joint concentration, or simply using some of their electives to study one of the fields.

We advise all our joint concentrators to make sure that they satisfy the non-joint requirements for at least one concentration, in case they are unable to complete a thesis.