Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any other questions!
- First Years
- Gen Ed
- Prior Experience
- Simultaneous Enrollment
Is attendance at lectures expected?
No, but if you’re not simultaneously enrolled in another class at the same time, we do recommend you attend in person! We hear good things! And more pragmatically, many students find that attending in person provides some helpful structure that keeps them on track. But you’re indeed welcome to watch lectures online, either live or on demand after.
Is attendance at section expected?
Yes, as sections are meant to be a more intimate, interactive opportunity to master the course’s material. If ever unable to attend your own TF’s section, though, you’re welcome to attend any other!
Can first years take both CS50 and a Freshman Seminar SAT/UNS?
Yes. Even though first years may not ordinarily enroll in both a Freshman Seminar and another non-letter-graded course in any one term, they may take both CS50 and a Freshman Seminar SAT/UNS.
Should first years take CS50?
Yes, if they would like! In Fall 2017, first years composed a majority of CS50’s student body. While students should be mindful of CS50’s workload and should perhaps avoid taking 4 pset-based classes, students shouldn’t shy away (from CS50 or any other introductory course) simply because they’re first years.
Does CS50 satisfy a Gen Ed requirement?
Yes. Students graduating in 2019 can take CS50 to fulfill EMR, SLS, or SPU, provided they change to a letter grade. Students graduating after 2019 can take CS50 (SAT/UNS or for a letter grade) to fulfill the Science distribution requirement.
How can I change from SAT/UNS to letter grade?
In my.harvard, select Student Home, then select Documents, and then, under Document Center, download Petition to Change Grading Sts as a PDF. Indicate a change from SUS to LG, and drop off the form at the Registrar’s office in Suite 450 of the Smith Center (at 1350 Massachusetts Avenue) no later than 5pm on the term’s fifth Monday. If you email (a scan or photo of) the form to email@example.com, one of the course’s heads can sign it digitally and email it back to you for your advisor’s and resident dean’s signatures.
Should I take CS50 SAT/UNS or for a letter grade?
Unless your (potential) concentration or Gen Ed requires that you take CS50 for a letter grade, you should take CS50 SAT/UNS, which is the default. Not only does SAT/UNS allow you to explore an unfamiliar field (whether CS or some other) without fear of “failure,” odds are, more pragmatically, it will reduce undue stress during your semester’s busier times.
What is CS50’s grade distribution?
Per CS50’s syllabus, “what ultimately matters in this course is not so much where you end up relative to your classmates but where you, in Week 10, end up relative to yourself in Week 0.” Accordingly, provided you put in the time and effort, odds are you’ll fare quite well! In Fall 2017, 26% of students received a final grade of SAT, 28% of students received a final grade of A, 23% of students received a final grade of A-, 16% of students received a final grade in the B range, and 4% of students received a final grade in the C range, per the below. In cases of E (2%) or UNS (1%) were typically extenuating circumstances.
Which concentrations offer concentration credit for CS50?
Which concentrations require a letter grade in order for CS50 to count for concentration credit?
Which languages will I learn?
Does CS50 have any prerequisites?
No, CS50 does not assume any prior CS or programming experience. In fact, 68% of Fall 2017’s students had never taken a CS course before!
Should I skip CS50 if I already took AP CS A?
Probably not. Most students who have taken AP CS A still take CS50 as it tends to fill in gaps in their knowledge and also introduces them to C (and more!).
Can I simultaneously enroll in CS50 and another course that meets at the same or overlapping time?
Yes, you may simultaneously enroll in CS50 and another course that meets at the same time, watching CS50’s lectures anytime online and attending the other course in person.
Ordinarily for simultaneous enrollment, you need the permission of the other course’s instructor, you need to arrange for “compensatory instruction,” and you need to petition the Ad Board itself. But the Ad Board has already granted an exception for CS50 itself, which obviates those needs.
To simultaneously enroll in CS50 and another course that meets at the same or overlapping time, all that you need to do is enroll in the other course via my.harvard and then email firstname.lastname@example.org to have CS50 manually added to your crimson cart as well. No other steps are necessary.
How much academic support does CS50 provide?
Quite a lot! In Fall 2017, in addition to lectures and sections, CS50 also offered 308 staff-hours of office hours per week as well as 147 tutoring sessions with a 3:1 student:staff ratio.
How difficult is CS50?
For many students, CS50 is simply more time-consuming than it is difficult. Starting each week’s problem set early, then, makes things easier! And the course’s difficulty was also recalibrated back in 2016, per the Q data below.
How much work is CS50?
Although the course’s workload had been on the rise in recent years, the course’s workload was recalibrated back in 2016, per the Q data below.
By mid-semester, most students spend 12+ hours per week on the course’s problem sets, but it definitely varies by problem set, per the below, and student.