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Should I change my major? (EECS @ Engineering vs. CS @ L&S)

kirgizkirgiz 2 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4 New Member
I want to major in computer science. I don't know much about electric engineering, but I might like that as well. For my Berkeley app I noticed there were 2 CS majors: EECS and CS L&S. I selected the one that was just computer science.

Yesterday a friend told me that just plain CS is a wimpy major and I might not even get it cause it is competitive or something like that. He said all the "hard core kids" do EECS, and a degree from EECS at Berkeley is just as impressive as a degree from Caltech or MIT or Stanford.

I really want to get a good degree out of this and am afraid I'll look like a wimp if I don't change my major to EECS. I'm willing to take the chance of getting rejected from Berkeley, because of this.

So do you guys think I should change my major, and if so, how do I do this? Can I just call the admissions office?
edited December 2007
14 replies
Post edited by kirgiz on
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Replies to: Should I change my major? (EECS @ Engineering vs. CS @ L&S)

  • CastelCastel 1700 replies67 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,767 Senior Member
    Your friend is right, EECS at Berkeley is extremely impacted and very competitive. However, it is a LOT harder to get into than for CS @ L&S. If you are dedicated to engineering and willing to risk everything, then change your major. Best of luck!
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  • kyledavid80kyledavid80 8053 replies40 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,093 Senior Member
    However, it is a LOT harder to get into than for CS @ L&S.

    True, it's harder, but CS L&S isn't impacted anymore, so EECS would be harder. Even then, though, the difficulty of getting into EECS (once at the university) is overblown.
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  • CastelCastel 1700 replies67 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,767 Senior Member
    @kyledavid80: I meant "It is a LOT harder to get into EECS than CS @ L&S."
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  • omgtayzonday08omgtayzonday08 46 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    i dont understand why people think the L&S cs major is so bad. Im sure you learn a bunch of things such as algorithms, complexity theory, more graph theory, etc. which isnt really a focus for eecs. btw i dont go berkeley or anything, im just saying
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  • kyledavid80kyledavid80 8053 replies40 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,093 Senior Member
    There's nothing wrong with L&S CS. It's a focus on computer science, much less so on hardware. CS at L&S is the real computer science.
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  • kirgizkirgiz 2 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks for the info guys. I am more interested in the abstract stuff and programming than hardware. I wouldn't mind doing electrical engineering though.

    But my friend really implied that L&S is just a watered down version of EECS for kids that would likely fail out of EECS. Would a degree from L&S get just as much respect as one from EECS from grad schools and employers? That's really what it comes down to.
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  • kyledavid80kyledavid80 8053 replies40 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,093 Senior Member
    But my friend really implied that L&S is just a watered down version of EECS for kids that would likely fail out of EECS.

    It's really not. EE classes are hard, but so are CS classes; many EECS students intentionally put few CS classes in their schedules in order to stay away from all the theory.
    Would a degree from L&S get just as much respect as one from EECS from grad schools and employers?

    Why don't you compare the salaries and such?

    Career Center - What Can I Do With a Major In...?
    Career Center - What Can I Do With a Major In...?
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  • sakkysakky 14563 replies196 discussions- Posts: 14,759 Senior Member
    Why don't you compare the salaries and such?

    Career Center - What Can I Do With a Major In...?
    Career Center - What Can I Do With a Major In...?

    We have to keep in mind that the above salary links for CS display data regarding the old days (just a year ago) when CS was still impacted, meaning that only those students with high GPA's could declare the CS major. In other words, the data is truncated to exclude those students who weren't good enough to get into the major in the first place.

    In contrast, most EECS students are admitted directly into the major (either as freshmen or as CC transfers), with relatively few continuing students who switched in, and once you're in EECS, all you had to do to graduate is pass your classes (i.e. get a 2.0). I know quite a few EECS grads who barely passed. Naturally many of them ended up with lower-paying jobs, hence lowering the average.
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  • kyledavid80kyledavid80 8053 replies40 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,093 Senior Member
    most EECS students are admitted directly into the major

    Yes, because EECS is much easier to get into than CS impacted, right? (EECS is very impacted too, and is probably one of the most difficult majors to get into.)
    I know quite a few EECS grads who barely passed. Naturally many of them ended up with lower-paying jobs, hence lowering the average.

    I know of quite a few CS grads who barely passed. Naturally many of them too ended up with lower-paying jobs, thus lowering the average salary.
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  • Jhg888Jhg888 106 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 135 Junior Member
    I don't think your friend knows what he's talking about.

    First of all, CS is no longer impacted, so there is no issue of "not getting it."

    Second, L&S CS is very much theory oriented. There are several options available for EECS majors. Only one of them is software-oriented, and thus similar to L&S CS. Many EECS people I know said they found CS classes much more difficult and abstract than their EE counterparts. This, of course, varies from person to person. If you are one to find CS far more difficult than EE, then L&S CS may very likely prove to be more difficult-- as L&S CS requires CS70, CS170, while the non-CS EECS options do not require these.

    Also, your friend is wrong in that CS is a watered down version of EECS. L&S CS requires ALL the CS classes that the EECS CS option requires (the requirements are clearly posted). The difference lies in what OTHER (non-CS classes) are required. EECS has COE's requirements while CS has L&S's requirements. Therefore, whether you do CS or EECS's CS option, there will be no difference in what you learn and the classes you take in terms of CS. A person with a CS degree will be equally capable of performing a CS job as an EECS person.

    Any CS/EECS degree from berkeley is prestigious. That shouldn't even be an issue-- and its naive/silly to be concerned over it. What is more important is what you are interested in and hope to learn. L&S CS maximizes computer science. EECS can focus on a variety of subjects depending on what option you pick.
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  • sakkysakky 14563 replies196 discussions- Posts: 14,759 Senior Member
    Yes, because EECS is much easier to get into than CS impacted, right?

    Frankly, yeah it is. Or, perhaps more accurately, the criteria is quite different. Most EECS students were admitted as freshmen, where obviously a decision could be made only on your high school record. I think we can all agree that high school is quite different from college. Another large chunk were admitted directly as transfers from other schools (i.e. CC's). Again, I think we can agree that CC is quite different from Berkeley.

    In contrast, back in the impaction days, precisely zero CS students were admitted directly. Purely by definition, all of them had to be admitted as continuing students, which means that all of them had to do well in actual Berkeley CS coursework. However, many students do not do well in Berkeley CS coursework which means that they are unlikely to have gotten into the major in the first place. However, those directly-admitted EECS students could do poorly in Berkeley CS coursework and still remain in the major.

    Hence, the salient difference is that only a minority of Berkeley EECS students were admitted as continuing students, whereas in the old days, all CS students were admitted only as continuing students.
    I know of quite a few CS grads who barely passed.

    If they had barely passed their lower division CS prereqs, then they wouldn't have gotten into the major at all.

    Now, it is true that there probably are some people who did well enough in those lower division CS courses to get into the CS major, and then started doing poorly. But at least they did well enough in those lower division CS courses to get in. No such assurance exists for the EECS students. I personally know a bunch of EECS students who got C's or worse in the CS61 series. Yet they still were allowed to remain in EECS. In the old days, if you had gotten those kinds of grades while trying to get into CS, you would have been denied entry.
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  • kyledavid80kyledavid80 8053 replies40 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,093 Senior Member
    I don't think the selectivity is as great as you make it seem. Sure, they use different sources, but to get directly into Berkeley's EECS program as a freshman is pretty damn hard in itself, and the majority do okay in it.
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  • mrniphtymrniphty 222 replies33 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    The EECS web site has a section that compares L&S CS and the CS track for EECS: Computer Science - Two Ways | EECS at UC Berkeley
    kirgiz wrote:
    Yesterday a friend told me that just plain CS is a wimpy major and I might not even get it cause it is competitive or something like that. He said all the "hard core kids" do EECS, and a degree from EECS at Berkeley is just as impressive as a degree from Caltech or MIT or Stanford.

    I really want to get a good degree out of this and am afraid I'll look like a wimp if I don't change my major to EECS. I'm willing to take the chance of getting rejected from Berkeley, because of this.

    ...

    But my friend really implied that L&S is just a watered down version of EECS for kids that would likely fail out of EECS.

    Straight from the horse's mouth:

    "Both programs offer rigorous technical training in computer science. Technical requirements in computer science are almost identical in the two programs." (From the link above)
    kirgiz wrote:
    So do you guys think I should change my major, and if so, how do I do this? Can I just call the admissions office?

    Obviously no one but you can decide what's best for you. EECS gives this advice:

    "If you have an interest in humanities and social sciences, then the BA program might be a good choice. There is greater opportunity to take courses in economics, statistics, business applications, and computer science, during your undergraduate years. If you consider yourself to be more of a technical person, or have more of an interest in sciences and math, the BS program may be better suited for you."

    If you do decide to change your major, you will need to submit the request in writing.

    "Q: Can I change the major (and/or college/school) I applied for at Berkeley?
    "A: In general, it is our policy to allow major changes only within the application filing period. After November 30, you must submit a written request by mail or fax to change your major and/or college/school. Please note that we may not be able to accommodate major or college changes, due to a variety of administrative factors. Please submit your request with an explanation for the change to:

    "Major/College Change Request
    Office of Undergraduate Admissions
    University of California
    110 Sproul Hall #5800
    Berkeley, CA 94720-5800
    Fax: 510-642-7333"

    From https://students.berkeley.edu/myberkeley/myberkeleyapp.asp?todo=cms&id=88#5
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  • kirgizkirgiz 2 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Ok guys, I will stick with L&S. Thanks for all the help.
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