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Regardless of their field of study, college students live in the digital information age. The Elements of Computing Program offers a set of courses intended to help students understand the sophisticated technologies they use everyday and gain the computer skills that employers value. The goals of the program are to:
  • Provide students with knowledge of computer science that employers find valuable.
  • Support study in other disciplines requiring computational proficiency.
Elements courses are intellectually stimulating and personally rewarding, and they can supplement any undergraduate program.

Declare This Certificate

All enrolled undergraduates at UT are welcome to take just one or two Elements courses or to pursue a coherent set of courses that lead to receipt of an Elements of Computing certificate. The Certificate may be used as part of a resume or as proof of computational knowledge. The Certificate will be accompanied by a letter that explains the program. Students can earn the certificate in one of two ways:

  • Students who complete an approved sequence of 12 semester hours of Elements courses will earn a certificate from the Department of Computer Sciences.
  • Students who complete an approved sequence of 18 semester hours of Elements course will earn a certificate from the University of Texas and have it recognized on their official transcripts.

On the semester that a student completes the certificate, he or she should submit the certification form. Students will be awarded the certificate once the form has been approved at the end of the certification process.

Required Courses

An approved Elements sequence consists of the following, all with a grade of C- or better:

  • 1 Core Course:
    • CS 303E Elements of Computers and Programming or equivalent (such as CS 305J)
  • 3-5 Elective Courses, 2 of which must be upper-division(4 must be upper-division for the 18 hour certificate):
    • CS 301K Foundations of Logical Thought
    • CS 302 Computer Fluency
    • CS 313E Elements of Software Design
    • CS 320N Topics in Computer Science. Example topics include: Computers from the Ground up
    • CS 324E Elements of Graphics and Digital Media
    • CS 326E Elements of Networking
    • CS 327E Elements of Databases
    • CS 329E Topics in Elements of Computing. Example topics include: Elements of Web Programming, Elements of Computing in Society


Participants in the Elements of Computing Program come from a wide range of majors at UT. These students are interested in computer science and seek to acquire relevant technological skills they can pair with their academic and career pursuits.


Computer Science is about problem solving. Thus, the qualities of a good computer scientist include:

  • A passion for finding elegant solutions
  • An ability to use mathematical analysis and logical rigor to evaluate such solutions
  • Creativity in modeling complex problems through the use of abstractions
  • Attention to details and hidden assumptions
  • An ability to recognize variants of the same problem in different settings, and being able to retarget known efficient solutions to problems in new settings.

If you like to solve puzzles, then computer science is for you!