Undergraduate Advising FAQ

College Advising Centers

Arts & Science Advising

107 Oldfather Hall (map)
(402) 472-4190

College of Engineering Advising

W204 Nebraska Hall (map)
(402) 472-3160


Computer Engineering

What is ACE?

The Achievement-Centered Education (ACE) is the university’s general education program. It clearly defines the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s institutional objectives and student learning outcomes. At its core, it consists of 10 Student Learning Outcome categories:

Written communication, oral communication, math and computation, natural sciences, humanities/history, social sciences, fine arts, ethics, human diversity, and integrated knowledge.

Each undergraduate student must take at least one course that applies to each category. Many of your ACE requirements will be fulfilled by your core curriculum and other required courses. You have some flexibility as to how you cover the rest. See the advising for more details or visit with an advisor to discuss your options.

More information on the ACE Program can be found on the official ACE website along with a complete list of ACE-certified courses

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What is the Department's Academic Integrity Policy?

It is a general policy that applies to all computing courses. The text of the full policy is available here. It is the responsibility of every computing student to be familiar with this policy and adhere to it and to the policies established by individual instructors in particular courses.

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What are the Minimal Acceptable Grades?

Computer science majors must receive at least a C in all computing courses that apply to the degree. A Pass/No Pass may be used for up to 6 hours in the major (and the minor), but you must complete a substitution form and discuss it with your advisor. To avoid being placed on probation and ultimately dismissed, your GPA, both semester and cumulative, should stay above 2.0. See the Registration and Records site for further details on academic probation.

Computer engineering students must receive at least a C+ in CSCE 155A, CSCE 155H, CSCE 155E, CSCE 155N, CSCE 155T, CSCE 156, CSCE 230, CSCE 235; ELEC 215, ELEC 235; MATH 106, MATH 107, MATH 208; PHYS 211, PHYS 212 and a GPA of at least 2.5 (semester and cumulative) in order to be considered for formal admission to the program (see "What is the Admission process to computer Engineering?"). If a student's cumulative GPA drops below 2.4, a student may be placed on restricted status, may be removed from the college, and may not be able to graduate.

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If I retake a course, how does it affect my GPA?

In general, if you retake a course in which you received a failing grade (C- or less), only the most recent grade will be used in the computation of your cummulative GPA. The old, failing grade should no longer contribute to your GPA. This process is automatic and handled by registration and records. For more details, see the university's official policy on course repeats. Note, however, if you repeat a course in which you got a passing grade, both grades will count toward your cummulative GPA.

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What is the senior check?

Both computer science and computer engineering majors must go through a senior check process that, in a sense, provides a guarantee that successful completion of a specific set of classes being taken and to be taken will lead to the degree. This should be done while there is still time to make adjustments for the last one or two semesters, should adjustments be needed. Computer science students file for the senior check with the Records Office in the Administration building, and the process may take a few weeks. Computer engineering students can pick up the form from the School of Computing office and schedule a brief appointment with an undergraduate Advisor. A copy of the most recent senior check form for computer engineering majors can be found here.

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What steps do I need to take to graduate when I'm a senior?

You will need to fill out a graduation application with Registration and Records. Complete information can be found on their website. You should be aware that the deadline for submitting the application is several months in advance of your planned graduation date.

Prior to filing your application, you should meet with an advisor to run a degree audit to ensure that you are on track to meet all of your degree requirements.

Finally, you will need to undergo an exit interview close to the final week of classes in the semester you intend to graduate. You will be contacted to make an appointment for this exit interview.

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How can I find my Teaching Assistant?

Teaching assistant offices are located throughout Avery Hall and the Schorr Center. Most TAs post their office locations and hours on the course web page or through Canvas. You should visit with your TA during their regular office hours or by making an appointment. The Student Resource Center is also an excellent place to seek help and other resources.

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How can I change my major?
  1. Talk to your advisor (make an appointment)
  2. Ask for your advising file from the department, school, or college office. All computing majors can go to Avery 256.
  3. Take the advising file to your college Dean’s office, located in 114 Othmer Hall. They will provide a form and a signature.
  4. Take the advising file to your new college Dean’s office and get another signature. If you are changing majors within a college, steps 3 and 4 can be combined.
  5. Take the advising file to the new department or college office. Again, for computing majors, this is Avery 256.
  6. Talk to your new advisor.

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Can internships be taken for credit?

Yes! Internships provide invaluable on-the-job experience. You can take CSCE 491 (internship) if you can find a faculty member who will agree to sponsor your course credit. A contract must be completed with all parties (student, faculty sponsor, and employer) which may include extra readings, reports, meetings, etc. The forms can be obtained from the SEIC office, Nebraska Union, room 230. However, there are limits to the number of credit hours that you can count toward your degree. Up to 6 credit hours can substitute for 400-level technical electives. No more than 6 credit hours can count toward your degree. Computing students should also check the College of Engineering web pages for co-op and internship information.

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When are the deadlines and finals for this semester?

A complete university academic calendar can be found online via the UNL Home Page or specifically through the office of Registration & Records at http://www.unl.edu/regrec/calendar/calendar_main.shtml

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What are the general studies requirements?

Computer Engineers have a formula involving 6 courses in 6 areas. See the advising brochure and undergraduate catalog for more information. Computer Science students should see their advising brochure and the undergraduate catalog for lists of courses. More help can be obtained at the Arts and Sciences Advising Center, Oldfather 107.

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What courses transfer?

Evaluation of transfer hours is done by the colleges upon a student’s admission to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. This process may take a while. The Chief Undergraduate Advisor has information regarding transfers from other University of Nebraska campuses and the Nebraska Community College system. You are welcome to inquire regarding courses that would be recommended. Admissions has further information on their web page including a nice Course Equivalency list for some area institutions.

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How can I get a Mathematics minor?

For Computer science majors its easy: simply take MATH 208 in addition to your required courses and you have your minor! Computer Engineering majors need approximately 4 additional courses beyond MATH 221 which may include CSCE 440 (was 340), MATH 314 and two additional courses.

Getting a double major is also possible, but requires more courses. For Computer Science majors you would need to complete the calculus sequence (MATH 106, MATH 107, and MATH 208) and take an additional 24 Math credit hours.

You are required to take a Option in the Mathematics major the (see catalog entry for details). The most straightforward option is to get a Concentration which requires you to take:

  • MATH 314 (Linear Algebra)
  • MATH 221 (Differential Equations) or STAT 380 (Statistics & Applications)
  • MATH 310 (Modern Algebra) and MATH 325 (Elementary Analysis)
  • 4 additional advanced math courses make up the rest of the 24 credit hours, at least two of them must be at the 400 level
However, the number of hours can be reduced by the following factors:
  • MATH 314 and STAT 380 are required for your major already and would fullfil the requirements above.
  • CSCE 440 (Numerical Analysis, was 340) can count toward both your mathematics hours and as a CSCE technical elective
  • You are also allowed to apply one of the following Math courses toward your CSCE technical electives as well as the 24 credit hours in math: MATH 428, MATH 432, MATH 433, MATH 439, MATH 450, MATH 452
  • One of your CSCE technical electives (including CSCE 421, CSCE 423, CSCE 424, CSCE 428, CSCE 463) can also count toward the 24 credit hours in Math

For your Math courses, you may find the following math courses that have a particular relevance to Computer Science include MATH 428 (Principles of Operations Research), MATH 450 (Combinatorics), and MATH 452 (Graph Theory).  You may also be interested in MATH 432 (Linear Optimization) and MATH 433 (Nonlinear Optimization).

For Computer Engineering majors getting a double major is more complex as it would involve requirements from both the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences and would require a dual matriculation.  See the Undergraduate Catalog or schedule a meeting with an advisor for more information.  You may also find it helpful to discuss your options with the Department of Mathematics Undergraduate Advisor.

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How can I best prepare for Graduate Study in the CSE Department?

Graduate studies in Computer Science or Engineering can be a great choice. To make sure this is the right decision for you, you should have a career goal in mind for which graduate study is appropriate, already have some research interests, and have discussed your options with a faculty member and your undergraduate advisor. To prepare for graduate study in our department you should make sure to have at least a 3.0 GPA. To best prepare you should take all of your deficiencies prior to entering graduate school including CSCE 430 (Computer Architecture), CSCE 451 (Operating Systems), and CSCE 322 (Programming Language Concepts). You should take a variety of elective courses to expand your knowledge and interests. Familiarize yourself with the research interests of the faculty and find a few that you would like to work with on research. Involve yourself in UCARE undergraduate research projects. You will also need 3 letters of recommendation. More information can be found on the Prospective Graduate Student Page.

Check with Shelley Everett, Avery 264 for further admission information and a description of options.

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What happens if I drop below full time?

As long as your hours remain at or above 12 hours, you are considered a full-time student. Taking fewer hours may influence scholarships and loans so be sure to check with the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid, 16 Canfield Administration Building. Rules regarding housing can be checked with UNL Housing in 1100 Selleck. International students may have difficulties with visas. In some cases, the Chief Undergraduate Advisor can sign forms from International Affairs indicating extra hours are being taken from another institution such as Southeast Community College.

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I have a problem with a Teaching Assistant or faculty member, what can I do?

In nearly all cases other than abuse, students should recognize that they paid for and are entitled to the educational services promised by the University and Department. In most cases, problems can be resolved amicably by simply communicating with the individuals involved. Instructors and Teaching Assistants are here to help. You have the right and responsibility to contact the individual in question regarding the problem without fear of retribution. If you have a problem with a Teaching Assistant try to resolve it with the instructor first; if the problem cannot be resolved you should then contact the Teaching Assistant Committee Chair, Dr. Chris Bourke (cbourke@cse.unl.edu). If problem(s) cannot be resolved with the instructor, you should contact Department Chair. If you do not feel comfortable identifying yourself, the department maintains an anonymous feedback form. For further information, check with the Chief Undergraduate Advisor.

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Can I skip a prerequisite to a certain course?

Prerequisites have been carefully established over the years and generally should be followed. There are very limited exceptions. Students whose backgrounds include substantial programming may enter CSCE 156, and upon successful completion apply for credit for CSCE 155. Students whose course histories may not fully reflect their preparation for a course may inquire with the professor for permission to enter a course. Instructors have the right to require withdrawal of students who do not meet the prerequisites.

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Where can I get help with a class/homework?

You should take full advantage of the many resources the Department offers. In particular:

  1. Your instructor - Attend lectures regularly and engage your instructor in discussion; ask questions in class; visit them during their office hours or make an appointment.
  2. Your Teaching Assistants - Teaching Assistants hold regular weekly office hours, visit them and ask questions, ask for examples, etc.
  3. The Student Resource Center - Teaching Assistants and senior students hold regular office hours in the Student Resource Center located in Avery 12. Regular hours and more information can be found on the current undergraduate resources page

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Where can I get complete descriptions of courses and a course schedule?

The Undergraduate Catalog provides a complete list of courses and requirements. More complete course specifications can be found on CSE’s Course Specification page. A complete 4-year course offering plan is also available on the current undergraduate resources page, though it is subject to change

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How do I declare a Minor?

Computer Science students fill a form at the Arts and Sciences Advising Center, 107 Oldfather Hall. Computer Engineering students fill a form at the Dean’s office, 181 W Nebraska Hall.

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How do I get substitutions and waivers approved?

Each College has forms for substitutions and waivers, and copies should be available in the Department office. They may require a variety of signatures and supporting documentation.

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What can I do about academic suspension?

You have two semesters (including summer, possibly) to be away from the university. During that time: work, take courses at a community college, in other words - anything to demonstrate your preparedness upon applying to return. If you wish to appeal, Computer Science students may go to the Arts and Sciences Advising Center, 107 Oldfather; Computer Engineering students may get appeal forms at the Dean’s office, 181 West Nebraska Hall. You should also schedule an appointment to discuss these issues and get help from the Chief Undergraduate advisor.

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What are the requirements involved with the senior design capstone courses?

All Computer Science majors must take the CSCE 486 and 487 Senior Design sequence and all Computer Engineering majors must take the CSCE 488 and 489 Senior Design sequence. These courses are designed to give you practical experience in advance of entering the job market. During the Capstone course experience, students work in teams on a substantial software, hardware or integrated software/hardware project over the course of an academic year. Many students will have the opportunity to work on projects sponsored by leading researchers and industry partners through the  CSE Design Studio. In addition, the Capstone sequence fulfills your ACE 8 and ACE 10 course requirements. The sequence must be taken in immediate succession. Finally, plan ahead as CSCE 361 (Software Engineering) is a prerequisite for both 486 and 488.

Some students may be invited to participate in the Raikes School Design Studio (CSCE 401H/402H). 401H and 402H can be used to substitute for 486/487 for Computer Science students and 488/489 for Computer Engineering students. The same ACE requirements are also fulfilled by taking 401H/402H

Finally, keep in mind that Computer Science students whose academic catalog year is 2012-2013 and prior may count all 9 hours of this sequence toward their technical electives (and may not count any other practicum-type courses). Computer Science students whose academic catalog year is 2013-2014 and beyond may only count a maximum of 6 hours toward their technical electives. For Computer Engineering students the catalog year cutoff is 2011-2012.

Computer Engineering majors, with permission, may also substitute the Senior Design sequence offered by the Department of Electrical Engineering, ELEC 494 and ELEC 495. Currently, ELEC 494 does not contribute to an ACE 8 requirement, so students pursuing this option would need to pick up additional ACE 8 hours in another course.

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What is the Admissions process to Computer Engineering?

Details for the requirements and process for applying for Professional Admission to the College of Engineering are enumerated in the Undergraduate Catalog in the Student Standing/Classification Section of the Computer Engineering Requirements. In brief, there is a check after the first couple years of study to identify those students likely to succeed in our program. Those who do not pass this check are advised of alternatives that will more likely find success. For further help and questions, you should contact the College of Engineering Dean's Office.

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Can Computer Engineering students get minors?

Yes, though minors generally involve additional hours of coursework before graduating. The undergraduate catalog has a list of minors with details. Applicants should fill out a form available in the College Dean’s office, W 181 Nebraska Hall.

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What is involved with the Robotics Engineering minor?

The Robotics Engineering minor is a cross-disciplinary minor that involves taking specific classes in several disciplines. For complete information see the College of Engineering's page the Robotics Engineering Minor.

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What must be done to prepare for graduation for Computer Engineering majors?
  1. File for a Senior Check at least one or two semesters prior to graduation.
  2. Early in the semester of graduation, file for the degree. This requires a $25 non-refundable fee. Watch carefully for the deadline!
  3. Make certain all fines, fees, and other expenses are paid.

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