(Serious) are Computer Science programs more difficult in colleges that put the major under their school of engineering?

I read somewhere online that “if you’re CS program is in the school of engineering, you can count the number of hours of sleep you get in one hand.” From other things I’ve read, that seems to be the case. I’ve heard that engineering majors are among the most difficult and it’s hard to have a social life or go partying regularly if that is your major. What are your thoughts?

Engineering majors are among the most difficult. There’s a big gap though between partying regularly and no social life. Most engineering students fit somewhere in the middle.


If you want to party, then don’t major in engineering. It’s brutally tough.

Kids that are valedictorians with top SAT/ACTs regularly get their a$$es kicked.

You are going to school to learn, not party. Yes, there’s more to school that school - but there’s a reason why, depending on the study, 40-60% of kids who go into engineering don’t…or as the old joke is, they end up in b school.

Regards to CS being in engineering or, for example, in liberal arts like at Michigan…it’s going to kick your a$$ either way.

Based on your question, I see you being in that transfer out group.

You’re going to be an adult…if you really want something, then you need to do what it takes to get there.

Lots of kids party and depending on the school, lots don’t finish.

It may seem not a huge deal when you’re 18 but when you’re 25, you’ll realize what a mistake that was made.

The difference between CS being in math or engineering has to do with background and history. When CS is in LAS, that may mean that there is a stronger emphasis on CS theory. There also may be more of an emphasis on the “science” part of CS.

So in LAS, they will tend to focus on implications, while in Engineering, they will focus more on applications.

Another difference is that, while Engineers believe that you need to work your butt off as matter of principle, mathematicians don’t believe that you need a life outside of academics. They sleep and socialize about the same, but Engineers complain more.

If you are applying to CS in LAS under the impression that it will be easier, you will get a rude awakening, which will be unfortunate, since you will need that sleep.


CS in the schools of arts and sciences at universities or at LAC’s is very difficult. I cannot compare, but just echoing previous poster’s comment that it is certainly not an easy way out.

You can have a social life either way.

1 Like

And there is the third configuration: computer science is a free standing school independent of both engineering and arts and sciences.


There are not a lot of generalizations that are universally true. If you really want to know, you need to evaluate each college’s CS major individually.

Generalizations that are often, but not always, the case:

  • Engineering-based CS majors are more likely to have additional math and non-CS science requirements than non-engineering-based CS majors.
  • Engineering-based CS majors are more likely to have ABET accreditation for CS (which requires the additional math and non-CS science mentioned above). This is mostly of interest for those wanting to take the patent exam, or those looking for validation of the major at a lesser-known-for-CS school.

Engineering and CS majors do have social lives. But maybe not if your definition of “social life” is getting drunk at least four nights per week and being hung over four days per week.


I think this is a poor reason to select or not select a major. Why do you want to major in CS? Will you enjoy it, are you interested in it? Or is it because you think it pays well?

If your goal is to party in college, and it sounds like it is, find a cheap college and major that will be easy for you and have fun.

Yes, CS people will have a social life - but they will grind and grind and grind - my son is a MechE and always complains, all the business kids, hotel kids, poli sci kids are always having fun and I’m always studying. Yes, he hikes and goes to football games - but his feeling is he puts in a lot more work than they do.

He certainly puts in a lot more work than I ever had to - even in grad school. I majored in journalism and history as an undergrad and got an MBA with a marketing focus - and I never had the workload he’s had.

My daughter is similar but it’s based on learning a new language (Chinese)…the rest of her classes no big deal.

In CS/engineering, they mostly all seem to be a big deal.

But I’d look big picture - being able to party is not a reason to not select a major…unless you don’t truly love the major.

But again, this is why so many are being weeded out. And if you’re planning to party, you will be weeded out.

Thanks for your answers even if I really regret mentioning partying in my post (man I wish I could edit posts).
I didn’t pick CS because they make a lot of $ after college, though that would be a good reason to stay. I picked because I’m really interested in computers and like programming (there are no other fields of study that interest me). Right now I’m a sophomore in CC and plan on transferring to a 4 year school next year.
I just recently got over loneliness, thinking about how almost all the 4 year schools opened up for in-person classes while my CC is still mostly online and I have basically no friends; I realized that I don’t know how much I want to socialize. I don’t know if I’ll care much about partying or want to do so multiple times a week after I transfer - if I do, I hope that I will have have a good balance between school and everything else.

My son is a ME. Several of his friends in school were CS/SE. There’s plenty of time to socialize, even get hammered occasionally. You just can’t do it as frequently as people with less demanding majors. It will mostly depend on how efficient you are. If you haven’t read Cal Newport’s book How To Be a Straight A Student, it’s all about being efficient enough that you get good grades and can still drink beer. It’s certainly one of the best efficiency books ever written. Good luck!

1 Like