BACS Integration Electives

Site Last Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2024

What Integration Electives are Offered Next Semester? Click on this link to see a page that shows what Integration Electives are offered that you can enroll in. The page lets you search, sort, find courses with open seats, see which count for a College General Education requirement, etc.


  1. 1) What are Integration Electives and what is their role in the BACS Degree?
  2. 2) Where can I find a list of integration electives for the BACS?
  3. 3) What if a course I hope will count is not on that list?
  4. 4) Is there guidance on what College courses can be petitioned or what cannot count?
  5. 5) Can BACS integration electives also satisfy requirements for another major or a minor?
  6. 6) Is it possible for any course from outside the College of Arts and Sciences to count?
  7. 7) Can I use a course that I take at another university (e.g. summer school, study abroad)?
  8. 8) There’s a course that’s been accepted but it’s not showing up in SIS as counting for me!
  9. 9) Who decides about petitions and about other policies about integration electives?
  10. 10) Courses that have already been petitioned
  11. 11) How to petition for an integration elective to be accepted or for one to count for you
    1. BACS Integration Elective Petition Form

Hello, BACS student who has a question about integration electives! There’s a lot here to read, we know. But we wanted to answer all possible questions about integration electives. Rules have become more complicated in the last few years. Many of you want to count a course in this category that’s not on the official list (see link below). At the end of this document the petition process is described and there’s a link to the online petition form. But many students don’t understand what integration electives are about and what we might accept (and what we won’t). And it’s complicated, I’m sorry to say. If you’re read this before and you know what you’re doing, the link to the petition form is at the very bottom.

1) What are Integration Electives and what is their role in the BACS Degree?

The BA degree in Computer Science degree is offered by the College of Arts and Sciences with a goal of providing students with a strong foundation in computer science, combined with courses in arts, humanities, and sciences, in order to develop an understanding of how topics in these areas connect with computing. Integration electives in the BACS are central in supporting this goal of “connecting” CS with other subject areas in the arts and sciences. As defined in the Undergraduate Record, Integration Electives are:

…non-CS courses that contribute to this program of study by exploring applications of computing to arts and sciences fields in a significant way or by providing fundamental computing depth and background. Integration electives are courses offered by departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

2) Where can I find a list of integration electives for the BACS?

Starting in Spring 2020, there is one official list maintained by the University Registrar. If you look at the description of the BACS requirements in the Undergraduate Record, you’ll find the courses listed there. That page (as of October 2023) is: http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=58&poid=8142

Is there a convenient list of all the integration electives that are offered in the up-coming semester? This page shows what Integration Electives are offered in the upcoming semester that you can enroll in. The page lets you search, sort, find courses with open seats, see which count for a College General Education requirement, etc.

The course list in the UG Record is official! If that changes and something on this website or another disagrees with that, the one in the Record is the official list. What the UG Record says supersedes any other list you might find online, including here.

This courses that can count will change from one academic year to the next, and will be updated just once a year (in the summer, before the next academic year begins). If a new course is added in a year after your declared the BACS, we will accept this but you’ll have to fill out the form described later in this document.

3) What if a course I hope will count is not on that list?

It’s important to understand how integration electives are defined and what their role is in the BACS program. That was covered in Section 1 above.

Here are some common questions and answers related to this:

  1. By College policy, the official list that’s published cannot contain special topics courses (new courses without a permanent course number) or graduate courses. But some of these courses are great integration electives, and they’re not on the list only because of procedural reasons. Check the list of courses that have been petitioned and approved before, and submit a petition just to let us know you’ve taken one of these. (See Section 10 below.)
  2. By College policy and also because of the role integration electives play in the BACS, the official list does not include any courses taught by departments outside the College of Arts and Sciences. But see Section 6 below about this issue.
  3. Question: Can my advisor give approval for a course that’s not on the list to count as an integration elective? Answer: No, you have to submit a petition. Read on for details.
  4. Question: There’s a course in the College that looks like it ought to count. Can it? Answer: First, check the list of courses that have been petitioned before. (See Section 10 below.)
    1. If it’s been rejected, sorry, it can’t be used.
    2. If it’s listed as having been accepted, great! But you must submit the petition form so we can update your record in SIS.
    3. If it’s not listed, you can use the petition form to ask us to consider this.
  5. Question: There was a course on a previously official list that’s not on the latest list. Answer: Every student has an official “requirements term” in SIS and the list for that year is the one SIS uses to check your degree requirements. First, here’s a link to the previously official list for majors who declared before Fall 2019. (All courses on the official 2019-2020 list are included in the most recent list linked to in Section 2 above.)
    1. Use SIS’s Academic Requirements report and What-If tools to see if that course counts for you. (When you start the tool, be sure to set the “Requirements Term” at the top of the What-If page to match what SIS says is your official Requirements Term for the BACS.) If it does, it will count no matter when you take it as long as you don’t change your requirements term (and you chose the right Requirements Term when you ran the report).
    2. If SIS does not show it counting, but you took it during a year it was listed in the UG Record’s list, you can submit a petition that we will approve. (You took it based on what you saw on the list that was current at that time.) In the section of the petition that asks you to justify why the course should count, explain this situation.
    3. If you have not yet taken it, this means we removed it from the list for some good reason. Students who have a later requirements term than the one that includes that course cannot take it and have it count.
  6. Question: There is a course on a more recent list, but not on the older list for my requirements term. Answer: Yes, we’ll count this without any problem. Submit a petition – see the final section below. In the section of the petition that asks you to justify why the course should count, explain this situation.

4) Is there guidance on what College courses can be petitioned or what cannot count?

The College members of the BACS committee and the College Dean’s office have given us guidance on certain courses that are not acceptable as integration electives (and some that are):

  1. Normally 1000-level courses will not be accepted. (Yes, there are some exceptions to this rule on the official list.) In general, courses that are an introduction to a subject area are focused on goals other than connecting computing with that subject.
  2. The College does not allow ENWR classes to count towards any major.
  3. Courses that are fundamentally general education courses are generally not appropriate. Some exceptions are possible (e.g. 2nd writing courses), and so you will see some of these on the list of approved courses.
  4. Courses that are “standard” or “core” or “central” in a subject area are generally not appropriate. (For, example Macro Economics, Organic Chemistry, Genetics are all courses that every major in their respective discipline takes, whether they’re interested in computing or not, and these courses are not usually tailored or specialized in any way to have a computing+X focus (where X is the other discipline).
  5. We also do not approve classes that are close to or duplicate material learned in CS courses. (For example, courses where a major component is teaching programming to students with no programming background.)
  6. Some courses in the iXperience program that have a computational component can count as integration electives (but definitely not as CS electives).
  7. A Pavilion Seminar (PAVS) course that meets the goals for a BACS integration elective may possibly count, despite a published College rule that says that they cannot be used for a major requirement. (We got approval for this from the College.) Submit a petition if you think a PAVS course you are taking is appropriate.
  8. The College has told us that no Engagement courses (EGMT) courses can be used to satisfy this requirement.

5) Can BACS integration electives also satisfy requirements for another major or a minor?

Sharing courses with another major:
The College’s rule states: “No more than two courses can be counted simultaneously for two non-interdisciplinary majors; an interdisciplinary major may share up to three courses with another major.” (You can see this rule and a list of which majors are “interdisciplinary” on this page in the section “Number of Credits”.)

Sharing and CS111x and CS2100/CS2110: For the BACS, these courses are prerequisites to declare the major, and for this reason are not officially degree requirements. So College sharing rules for major and minors do not apply to these courses!

For College CS majors, it depends on if you’re following the “old” or “new” CS major requirements.

  1. If you’re following the “old” curriculum requirements, the CS degree you’ll get is an interdisciplinary major, i.e. it is officially part of the “interdisciplinary” degree program. Therefore, you can share up to 3 courses from the BACS (CS courses and/or Integration Electives) with any other major.
  2. If you’re following the “new” curriculum requirements, the CS degree you’ll get is NOT an interdisciplinary major. If the other major is interdisciplinary, you can share up to 3 courses from the BACS (CS courses and/or Integration Electives) with that interdisciplinary major. But if the other major is not interdisciplinary, you can share only 2 courses.
  3. It’s possible that the other department may need to agree to sharing. CS always approves of such sharing. Check with your advisor or DUP in the other department to see if they have any restrictions. Cognitive Science in particular has some specific rules about this. Check with CogSci about this if that’s your second major.

Sharing with a minor: First, the College rules on sharing apply no matter even if the minor is outside the College (e.g. Data Science).

Second, the sharing rules do not apply to prerequisites to declare the BACS major (CS111x and CS2100) or to declare the minor. (E.g., if Data Science requires a STAT course before you can declare the DS minor, it’s a prerequisite to declare the DS minor, and that course could count for a BACS integration elective if it’s on our list. Or, if another major requires CS1110, there’s no issue because it’s a prereq to declare the BACS and not a major requirement.)

Finally, if it’s a degree requirement for the BACS major and also fulfills a requirement for the minor, it cannot be shared, i.e. used for both. The College has a rule that course credits applied toward a major may not also be applied toward a minor. This means that a BACS student’s integration electives or CS courses may not also be used towards a minor in another subject. CS has no control over this rule.

6) Is it possible for any course from outside the College of Arts and Sciences to count?

Courses outside the College that do not significantly reflect the purpose of integration electives (see the top of this document) cannot count. So a course that primarily focuses on Engineering, Education, etc. will not count. The Commerce school has determined that none of the COMM courses they offer meet the goals of this requirement, so we will not accept any, even by petition.

But, schools outside the College sometimes offer a course that has an arts and sciences nature. In 2019-2020 the BACS Committee reconsidered our policy on this, and agreed that a student may petition and have at most one course outside the College count, as long as that course meets the goals of integration electives.

Here are some examples that show non-College courses meeting this criteria:

  • EDHS 4300, Psycholinguistics and Communication, is the kind of course that could be taught by UVA’s Psychology department.
  • Some STS courses offered by the Engineering School have a heavy focus on a topic in the arts and sciences (e.g. ethics or history) and are taught by faculty with PhDs in an arts or science discipline.
  • APMA courses in Engineering that match an equivalent MATH course on the list fall into this category.
  • Some courses from the Batten School that are courses that could have been something taught by the College’s Politics department.
  • Some courses in Architecture are covered by this guideline also.

There may be other examples. Again, you can only count one course outside the College.

In deciding on a petition for a non-College course, we consider if there’s a department in the College that might in principle offer a course like this. (You can see a list of College departments here or on Lou’s List.) Courses are not appropriate if they have a strong focus on professional or technical practice; this is most often the case for courses from commerce, engineering, nursing, education and some other schools.

In deciding on a petition for a non-College course, we consider if there’s a department in the College that might in principle offer a course like this. (You can see a list of College departments here or on Lou’s List.) Courses are not appropriate if they have a strong focus on professional or technical practice; this is most often the case for courses from commerce, engineering, nursing, education and some other schools.

If you’re not sure after reading this, it does no harm to submit a petition. (See the last section.) We don’t mind if you’re truly not sure and petition, but please don’t submit requests that are clearly covered by the restrictions described in this section.

7) Can I use a course that I take at another university (e.g. summer school, study abroad)?

If the course transfers to UVA with a course number that matches something on our approved list, it will count.

Otherwise, it is still possible. To be guaranteed that it will count, you will need to petition in advance, and we may need details about the course. We may need more info than you can easily obtain before you take the course at the other university.

8) There’s a course that’s been accepted but it’s not showing up in SIS as counting for me!

If it’s not on the official list in the Undergraduate Record for the “plan requirements term” as shown in SIS, you must submit a petition – see the last section. SIS only recognizes those on the official list. If you took a class listed below that that’s been petitioned and accepted, you must submit the petition so our staff knows to enter a “SIS Exception” for you.

The set of courses that can count will change from one academic year to the next, and will be updated just once a year (in the summer, before the next academic year begins). If a new course is added in a year after your requirements term as shown in SIS, we will accept this but SIS does not automatically recognize it, so you’ll have to fill out the form described later in this document.

9) Who decides about petitions and about other policies about integration electives?

The BACS degree program is managed by a joint committee made up of CS faculty and faculty from various College departments. The College Dean’s office is frequently involved in discussions of direction and policy because having a program managed across two schools is unusual. A program director (the DUP, director of undergraduate programs) from CS does day-to-day management, and staff from CS answer many questions and otherwise support the program.

Petitions are initially reviewed by the Director and may then be evaluated by others on the committee (including our member from the Dean’s office). Sometimes we ask the opinion of the instructor or the DUP from the department offering the course. The BACS Committee has final authority on such decisions, i.e. they cannot be appealed to a department chair or dean.

10) Courses that have already been petitioned

Below is a list of courses that are not on the official list accessed from the UG Record (and recognized by SIS) at this time but will be approved because they’ve already been petitioned. However, you must fill out the petition form to request that our staff enter a SIS exception in your record. (You won’t have to enter much more info then the course and who you are.)

Below that is a list of courses for which petitions will not be accepted. Before petitioning, check this list and also the policies in Sections 4 and 6 above.

Accepted automatically (but fill out the petition form):

  • APMA courses that match MATH courses on the list (can only have one non-College course)
  • ARCH 5420, Digital Animation and Storytelling (can only have one non-College course)
  • ARCH 5422, Computer Animation (can only have one non-College course)
  • DRAM 2620, Sound Design (will be on the 2020-2021 list)
  • DRAM 3820, Video Design 1
  • DRAM 4110, Lighting Design
  • ECON 4030, Market Design
  • ECON 4730, Markets, Mechanisms and Machines
  • ECON 4444, AI and the Future of Work (will be on the 2020-2021 list)
  • ECON 4559, Spring 2022, Section 001, Introduction to Algorithmic Economics (Note: CS4501 with this same title can only count as a CS elective.)
  • ENGL 3500, Hacking for Humanists
  • ENGL 3500, Fall 2022, Section 001, Literary Games
  • ENGL 5559-001 from Fall 2020, Big Data and Bio/Graphical Data
  • EDHS 4300, Psycholinguistics and Communication (can only have one non-College course)
  • EDIS 2200, Designing Art, Music, & Games (can only have one non-College course)
  • EVSC 4080, Quantitative Methods in Environmental Sciences
  • MATH 3354, Survey of Algebra
  • MATH 4651, Advanced Linear Algebra
  • MDST 3180, Media Law
  • MDST 3430, AI and Cinema
  • MDST 3500, Comparative Histories of the Internet
  • MDST 3559-011 from Spring 2020, Designing Play (will be on the 2020-2021 list)
  • MDST 3665, Digital Media Accessibility
  • MESA 2559: Playing Games: A Gateway to the Mid East & S Asia
  • MUSI 2559/3559 in Summer 2022: Sonification for Musicians, Designers and Scientists
  • MUSI 3374, Composing Mixtapes
  • MUSI 4620, Audio Visual Environments
  • PHYS 5630, Computational Physics I
  • PHIL 2500 sections on the topic Minds and Machines
  • PHIL 3400, Introduction to Non-Classical Logic
  • PHIL 3620, Science Fiction & Philosophy
  • PSYC 2100, Introduction to Learning (AKA Learning and Behavior?), Fall 2018
  • PSYC 2160, Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSYC 2700 Child Psychology (Counted by SIS if major declared Fall 2022 or later)
  • PSYC 2559 (J-term 2021), Cognition and Cognitive Biases
  • PSYC 3310, RM: R Applications of Psychology
  • PSYC 4500, Computational Methods in Psychology and Neuroscience, Fall 2020 and ?
  • PSYC 5270, Computational Neuroscience
  • PSYC 5332, Introduction to Quantified Cognition
  • PSYC 5500, Electroencephalography in Spring 2020
  • PSYC 5710, Machine Learning and Data Mining
  • PSYC 5715, Introduction to Machine Learning for Psychologists
  • RELG 3001 Gods, Humans, Robots
  • SARC 5400, Data Visualization
  • SOC 4780, The Politics of Data
  • STAT 3110: Foundations of Statistics
  • STAT 3280, Data Visualization and Management
  • STAT 4559 from Fall 2020, Statistical Text Analysis
  • WGS 3415 Sex and Resistance on the Internet
  • Research coursework or independent study in a College department where computing is applied to that area, as long as this course receives a letter grade.

Already determined NOT to be eligible:

  • Any calculus or differential equations course
  • Any course offered by the School of Commerce
  • ARTS 2559 Drawing and Design
  • ASTR 1220 Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe
  • ASTR 3450 Mission to Mars
  • ECE 2330 Digital Logic Design
  • EDIS xxxx Applied Teaching with Technology other than EDIS 2200, Designing Art, Music, & Games
  • EGMT xxxx The College has told us that no Engagement course can count
  • ENGR 1620 Introduction to Engineering
  • ENGR 2595 Design Like You Mean It
  • ENWR xxxx No ENWR courses are allowed to count per College rule
  • HIST 3452 The Second World War
  • LPPP 3559 Hacking the Department of Defense
  • LPPP 3559 Hacking for DOD Innovation
  • LPPS 3241/STS 3020 Science and Technology Policy
  • MDST 3310 Sound and Cinema
  • MDST 3140 Mass Media and American Politics
  • MDST 3559 Propaganda and Digital Politics
  • MDST 3559 Superhero Media
  • MDST 4251 History of Games
  • MUSI 4523 Issues in Ethnomusicology: African Electronic Music
  • PHYS 1050 How Things Work
  • PHYS 1655 Introduction to Python for Scientists and Engineers
  • PHYS 2010 Principles of Physics I
  • PLAP 3140 Mass Media and American Politics
  • PLCP 1010 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • PSYC 2400 Introduction to Personality Psychology
  • PSYC 2600 Introduction to Social Psychology
  • SLAV 2360 Dracula
  • STAT 1559 Intro Data Science with Python/R
  • STAT 1601 Intro Data Science with R
  • STAT 1602 Intro Data Science with Python
  • STAT 2559 Introduction to Programming for Applications
  • STAT 3250 Data Analysis with Python

You may recognize that the approved list is somewhat smaller than in past years. The BACS committee discussed the goals of integration electives and reviewed the set of courses in Spring 2019, and determined the set of courses had grown to include a number of inappropriate courses. The committee also decided to avoid this problem going forward by being more careful to make sure that new petitions meet the goals described in this document.

11) How to petition for an integration elective to be accepted or for one to count for you

First, be sure you have looked at the official list at this link and the two lists in the previous section, as well as information in Sections 4 and 6.

You cannot submit a petition until you are officially declared to be a BACS major in SIS. Wait until you’re accepted. We can’t process your request in SIS if you’re not a major.

Note that the BACS Integration Elective requirement is for 12 credits. This is normally four 3-credit courses. If you petition for a course that’s not 3 credits, it will be considered, but keep in mind that you’ll have to earn a total of 12 credits in this category.

Petitions are not normally handled by email, due to the volume of requests and the fact that multiple people may be handling petitions. Please use the form.

Again, the petition form is used for both of the following purposes:

  1. If the course is on the “accepted automatically” list in the previous section, submit the petition form at the link below. You’ll only need to identify yourself, the course, and the semester you took the course. Note: It will help us if you wait until you’re officially enrolled in the course to ask us to update SIS to recognize one of these “automatic” requests.

  2. If you’re petitioning for a course that’s “new”, i.e. one that’s not on any list in this document, the petition request may take place in two stages.

    1. Some requests are easy to decide, and so we’ll first ask for some basic info and see if we can answer quickly. (For example, a grad course in computational biology. Easy decision!) We’ll ask for a brief justification and a course description.
    2. Other requests require more info, and we may need to ask others to help us decide. If we need more info, we’ll follow up and ask you to supply more info, which may include a course syllabus, schedule, or other evidence of how computing is a focus in that course, how much of the course has this flavor, etc.

BACS Integration Elective Petition Form

BACS Integration Elective Petition Form

Note: We may not be able to decide on your petition if the information we need is not available because the course will first be offered in a future semester, or because it’s at another university and you can’t get this information, or because you can’t get that information for some other reason. In such cases, you may have to wait until you can get that info without knowing whether or not we’ll approve it in the end. If such uncertainty is a concern, it might be better to plan to take an approved course rather than risk a negative response from us later.