Declaring the BACS Major

Page Last Updated: Thursday, February 29, 2024

  1. Who can declare the BACS?
  2. New BACS degree with new requirements
  3. Transfer Students and the BACS
  4. Getting Information and Advising Before You Declare the BACS
  5. How to Declare the BACS
    1. When can I declare?
    2. Will I be accepted into the major?
    3. I want to declare! What do I do now?
    4. Submitting the Declaration of Major for the BACS
  6. How to Undeclare the BACS Major

Who can declare the BACS?

The BACS was created for College students who want to study computer science and combine that with the study of how computing applies in other fields of the arts and sciences. As noted in the Undergraduate Record:

  • “Because the goals of the degree are integrated with the study of the liberal arts, students from outside the College of Arts and Sciences who have not taken significant coursework in the College will not be allowed to declare the BA in CS degree as a second major.”

In particular, students in Engineering are not allowed to declare the BA in Computer Science (but are welcome to declare the BSCS as a 2nd major or to complete the CS minor). Students from schools other than Engineering (or the College) who wish to explore if they have taken enough coursework in the College to be allowed to declare the BACS should contact the program director at bacsdirector@virginia.edu.

New BACS degree with new requirements

Effective Summer 2022, a “new” version of the BACS major came into existence. Almost every student who declares the BA in CS in Summer 2022 and later will complete the requirements for this “new” version of the BACS. Some current majors are completing the “Old BACS”, but they all had to complete CS2110 (an “old” course) by the end of Fall 2021. Any student taking CS2100 in Spring 2022 or later must do the “New BACS”, and in order to declare you must have met its prerequisites.

  • What are the prerequisites? CS1110 or equivalent with a C+ or higher, and CS2100 or equivalent with a C+ or higher.
  • Where can I find the requirements for the “New BACS”? The official degree requirements are in the 2022-23 Undergraduate Record.

Can I declare the “Old BACS”? Only if you completed CS2150 with a C+ or higher by the end of Fall 2022. If you did but did not complete CS 3330 by the end of Spring 2023, contact the Program Director for advice. (We won’t be teaching “old” courses like CS2110, CS2150 and CS3330 again, so they and the Old BACS are being phased out.)

Transfer Students and the BACS

Transfer students who believe they have met the prerequisites to declare with courses from their previous school can declare the major when they arrive. Those starting in the Fall semester should attend UVA’s summer orientation, when staff from the CS department will advise new transfer students, evaluate course equivalencies, help them get into classes they need, etc. Fall students who don’t attend summer orientation and students arriving in Spring should contact the BACS Director by emailing bacsdirector@virginia.edu to be advised and have any questions of course equivalencies resolved.

Important: Transfer students should not carry out the instructions below about how to declare until they have been advised by someone in the CS department.

As noted in the Undergraduate Record, transfer students who have not completed the degree’s pre-requisites (CS 1110 or equivalent and CS 2100 or equivalent, with grades of C+ or higher) before their first semester in residence cannot be accepted into the major. Students missing CS 2100 can “defer” the major and then declare after Fall if they earn a C+ in CS 2100. Students who take CS 2100 in their 5th semester can complete all the degree requirements in 8 semesters, but there is little flexiblity or room for error. (We strongly recommend students in this situation have a “Plan B” for another major and also take courses toward that major in their first semester at UVA.)

Due to prerequisite dependencies, it is nearly impossible for third-year students who have not completed CS 1110 (or its equivalent) to complete the BA in CS in the four remaining semesters. It is important that students transferring to the University as third-years complete the equivalent of CS 1110 and ideally CS 2100 before coming to UVA. The ability to complete the degree in a timely fashion is one factor that will determine if you are accepted into the degree program.

Getting Information and Advising Before You Declare the BACS

You might have questions. You might want to meet with someone to get info or advice before you declare. We definitely want to help, but there are literally hundreds of students who declare the BACS each year, so we have a system to try to get you the info you need. We just can’t have one-on-one meetings with everyone. Of course, if what we provide doesn’t answer all your questions, we will meet! But before that, here are steps to take.

  1. There’s an info video recorded for those who are thinking of declaring. See the Video Library on the menu to the left.
  2. Each semester we’ll offer info sessions via Zoom where you talk to the program’s director to get questions answered. Upcoming sessions are to be added soon – watch this space! All held by Zoom at https://virginia.zoom.us/my/horton.uva
  3. We have a page called Info for New BACS Students on the menu to the left. This page is designed for those who’ve just declared, but all majors should keep a link to this because it has many useful links.

If you’ve watched the info video, looked at the Basic Info page and still have questions, email the Program Director(s) at bacsdirector@virginia.edu to ask a question or request a meeting.

How to Declare the BACS

When can I declare?

You can submit your declaration any time, but our staff may not necessarily process it immediately. (In particular, those submitted in summer may not be processed until mid-August.) We normally process these in batches. We will attempt to process applications submitted at peak times (start of fall term, right before course registration) more promptly. Declarations submitted in late April and May are often not processed until June.

Will I be accepted into the major?

All College students who meet the prerequisites will be allowed to declare. Currently there are no “caps” or limits on the number of College students who can declare the BACS. So it is not a competitive admissions situation.

I want to declare! What do I do now?

There are two forms to complete: the CS department form, and the College’s major declaration form with DocuSign.

  • First, fill out the CS department declaration form (June 2022 version). When you complete that PDF form, you’ll need to save it to your computer after you enter your responses into it.
  • Second, follow the instructions below to complete the College’s major declaration form using DocuSign. You will attach the CS declaration form (the PDF file you completed) when you submit the College form using DocuSign.

Before you declare:

  • If you are not sure you meet the prerequisites, contact bacsdirector@virginia.edu before applying.
  • Read the Info for New BACS Students page. Check that out at some point, please, as it answers many questions.
  • You’ll be assigned a CS advisor when we process your major declaration, and you’ll find that person’s name in SIS. For any CS questions before that, email bacsdirector@virginia.edu.

Submitting the Declaration of Major for the BACS

Go to the College’s page of DocuSign forms, https://college.as.virginia.edu/student-forms. (FYI the instructions recommend you use the Chrome web browser.) You have to do some things to show you’re a real UVA student, and then look for the item “Declaration of Major and Minor Form (DocuSign)”. Read what’s there, and to then get to the form, click on that text in the left column. Note: it says to contact someone in CS to determine what steps you need to in order to declare, but you don’t need to do that – the page you’re reading explains all that!

Step 1:
You’ll first see the “Powerform” where you must enter just 4 things: your name and your email address, and then (for the “DMC” person) enter the Program Director’s name, Tom Horton, and the email address tbh3f@virginia.edu. (Not “horton@virginia.edu”, but “tbh3f@virginia.edu”. Do NOT enter the “bacsdirector” email alias in DocuSign! Failure to enter the correct email address means your form may not come to our attention for months, if at all, due to the way DocuSign works.) Don’t enter or change anything else, but you MUST click on Begin Signing at the bottom. (The following link shows you what this Powerform looks like and where you enter things: https://college.as.virginia.edu/sites/college.as.virginia.edu/files/DoM%20PowerForm%20Instructions3.pdf)

Step 2:
After you click Begin Signing, you’ll see the major declaration form. You’ll need to complete the some info, sign it, and click Finish at the bottom of that page. What info will you need to enter? See the next section for CS-specific instructions. Also, here’s a PDF file the College has provided that shows what this form will look like: https://college.as.virginia.edu/sites/college.as.virginia.edu/files/DecOfMajorForm%20watermark.pdf

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  1. On the line “Intended Major/Minor” you must enter either the text “CS-BA” (for the New BACS major) or “INCOMP-BA” (for the Old BACS major). Entering anything other than these will result in your form being rejected. (If you type, say, “Computer Science” that could mean either degree, and the Dean’s Office can’t tell which of the two degrees you’re declaring.)
  2. Just after that line in the form, be sure to check at least one of the boxes about your intended major. If this will be your second major or if you’re replacing your previous major, this section is important!
  3. There’s a section labeled “Complete the bottom portion of this form with a major/minor advisor”. For CS it’s perfectly OK if you don’t fill this out, but DocuSign requires you put something here. So just put 29 (or anything) for the number of credit hours needed, and enter info for just one CS course. But for the course title write “see attachment”.

Step 3:
At the bottom of that form, you’ll see a button with a paper-clip. This lets you add an attachment. Click on that and attach the PDF file of the completed CS department declaration form that we mentioned earlier. Be sure you don’t forget to complete and attach this!

Final Step:
Be sure to click Finish at the bottom of the major declaration form!

Your form will be forwarded to a sequence of people, who will approve it, assign you a CS advisor, and finally enter your new major into SIS. After the final step happens, DocuSign is supposed to send you an email saying it’s completed. We’ve noticed that sometimes this email doesn’t reach your Inbox, so check on SIS to see if your major has been updated if you don’t see the email.

How to Undeclare the BACS Major

If the BACS is your second major, and you no longer wish to pursue the BACS major, use the “Delete a Major or Minor” form on the student forms page. This form is also used to change a major to a minor.