A special undergraduate program tailored for double-major students
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
A 7-gigapixel panorama of HKUST. Hong Kong, June 2010.

General Information

The Computer Science and Engineering Department offers a BSc in Computer Science (COSC) program in addition to its existing BEng in Computer Science (COMP). This special program, however, is not intended for students to take it by itself. It is designed for students who wish to graduate with a double-major degree, i.e., when enrolling in this program in Computer Science, students are also required to declare study in another major. They are then required to complete the requirements of both majors, and will receive a degree with two program designations upon graduation.

Students who join the program are carefully supervised in order to build and follow a study plan tailored to their specific interests and needs, and serve as a strong platform to achieve their future career goals. Many alumni subsequently joined top graduate level programs worldwide (see alumni stories at the end of the video).



Admission to the COSC double-major program requires the permission of both the CSE department and the 2nd department. We currently expect a CGA of A- or higher at the time of the application and the existence of a workable double-major study plan that allows the student to finish within the standard 4 years.

In very special cases we will accept students who have a slightly lower average but have shown exceptional performance in their major courses.

"Trying out" the program

Students who are interested in the possibility of declaring a COSC double-major, should try to develop a tentative study plan to better assess the feasibility of completing the program.

This process can be done even before the student declares or is assigned a department during the first year. Please see this Study Plan Sheet for detailed requirements.

Officially joining the program

Students who have already registered in the BEng in Computer Science (or other undergraduate programs) and wish to study the BSc in Computer Science as their first major must apply for transfer into this program. They are required to declare study in another BSc program (second major) at the same time. Transfer applications should be submitted no earlier than the first regular term of their second year of study and at the latest before the end of the add/drop period in the first regular term of their final year of study. Note that this transfer can only be officially completed after the student is assigned a department. However, the student can discuss their study plan with the coordinator in advance of declaring a department to ensure that they will be able to join the COSC double-major.

Declaration procedure for COMP BEng students: Fill in two forms at the same time: (1) the Application for Program Transfer form to transfer from BEng program (e.g., COMP/CSIE/CPEG) to BSc program (COSC), (2) the Declaration of Additional Undergraduate Major Program form to declare a dual program designation (e.g., MATH). Please note that MATH requires students to declare which major option (e.g., Applied Math, Pure Math) they wish to pursue at the time of declaring MATH as the second major. The forms can be submitted to COSC coordinator (via the CSE General Office) any time during a semester, however the transfer will only be effective at the beginning of the following semester.

Students who wish to study the BSc in Computer Science as their second major should follow the declaration procedures set by their (first) major department.

Leaving the program

Students who wish to discontinue study in the BSc in Computer Science as their first major may apply for transferring to the BEng program in Computer Science or other program. Application for the former must be submitted to the Department of Computer Science and Engineering no later than the last day of the add/drop period in the first semester of their final year of study. Application for the latter will be considered and approved by the program department concerned.

Study Plan

Important Resources

This section provides information on preparing a study plan and filling out a Study Plan Sheet that meets the requirements of the COSC degree.

Current detailed information on program requirements on all majors for first year students can be found in the Program Catalog. For students admitted in earlier years, this information is in the Curriculum Handbook. Direct links to the COSC program information is provided on the menu bar to the left.

Note that students also need to fulfill the requirements of the second major. Make sure to also check these requirements in the program catalog or curriculum handbook.

Refer to the external shortcuts on the left sidebar at the top of the page for direct links to other useful resources, such as course listings.

School, University, and Language requirements

School course requirements only need to be fulfilled for the first major. School requirements for the additional majors do not need to be fulfilled unless they are a prerequisite to a required course of one of the majors.

University course requirements are common and can double-count for both majors.

Students only need to fulfill language requirements of one major. They need to officially request a substituation for the other major's language requirement at the general office of the other major. Usually students are expected to follow the language requirements of the first major, however there are situations where it may be suitable to take language courses from the other major. For example, the language course in the final year of the COSC major is tied with the FYP project. So, if a student is not doing an FYP project, it would make sense to take the language course of the other major even if COSC is their first major.

Notes for students interested in going out on exchange

HKUST students are highly encoraged to go on exchange. The international exposure gained enhances students' educational experience, boosts personal development, and helps provide a competitive advantage in future career development.

The majority of our COSC students do exchange out for a semester. Doing an exchange is possible, though care must be taken to develop a study plan to accommodate, taking courses that can be transfered to HKUST to fill degree requirements.

Notes for students interested in doing research

Students interested in doing research are encouraged to approach a faculty member with similar research interests and discuss the possibility of working on a UROP project. UROP stands for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and is one of HKUST's signature programs designed to provide a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in academic research and help them develop a broad and insightful perspective of their areas of interest. For additional information on this program refer to the UROP project page.

As with the exchange program, care must be taken not to overload oneself with too many courses and research tasks in the same term.


  1. What are the major differences between the BEng (COMP) degree and the BSc (COSC) degree?

    The BSc degree retains all of the core COMP BEng requirements. The major differences are that Final Year project and industrial training requirements have been removed and the choice of required COMP courses is more flexible. This allows strong students to have the flexiblity to take more advanced courses, get a double-major with other fields, and have more time for UROP or other research opportunities.

  2. What other majors can be taken as a second major with COSC?

    Any other major with the exception of COMP and CPEG could, theoretically, be taken as a second major with COSC.

    In practice, scheduling constraints make some 2nd major pairings impossible. Known workable pairings are COSC/MATH (for all MATH programs), COSC/PHYSICS, COSC/MAEC and COSC/RMBI.

    This does not mean that other pairings are impossible. In fact, the COSC double-major was originally only designed with the MATH pairing in mind. Later combinations were added when interested students came to the CSE department and asked if it was possible to set up a study plan allowing other possibilities. If you are interested in a pairing that is not listed above, please contact the COSC coordinator.

  3. I don't know now if I want to double-major but do want to keep my options open for declaring later. What should I do?

    The first thing you should do is take the courses that would be necessary for double-major students. For COSC, that requires taking COMP 1021/2 as early as possible. For MATH, that would require taking MATH 2021 or MATH 2023.

    If you are all interested in the possibility of declaring a double-major later, it is best for you to talk with the COSC coordinator as early as possible in order to develop a reasonable study plan.

  4. How long will it take a student to get a double-major?

    Usually the same duration as a standard program, though overloading will be required as there is an increase in number of required credits.

  5. Can courses double-count towards requirements of both COSC and MATH?

    Yes. Some MATH courses, such as MATH 2121 and MATH 2421, are required by the COSC degree. Thus these courses count towards fulfilling requirements of both majors.

    In addition, the COSC 4-yr program requires taking 6 COMP electives. Of these, with prior approval of the COMP UG Coordinator, up to 3 can be satisfied by taking computer science related courses in a non-COMP department. Some courses for which such approval has already been granted are:

    • MATH 3343: Combinatorial Analysis (not regularly offered)
    • MATH 4321: Game Theory (offered in Spring)
    • MATH 4141: Number Theory (offered in Fall)
    • MATH 3312: Numerical Analysis (offered in Fall)
    • ELEC 2410: Basic Electronics (offered in Fall)

    Notice that the above list is not exhaustive; other non-CSE courses may also considered upon the approval of the UG director.

  6. What are possible course substitutions?

    Various course substitutions may be allowed by different departments. For example, MATH 2023 can be replaced by MATH 2021, MATH 2033 by MATH 2031, MATH 3033 by MATH 3043, MATH 2721 by MATH 2421 or any MATH 3xxx course.

    The general principle is that any substitutions allowed by the department XXXX for their normal BSc programs are allowed for the double-major COSC-XXXX program. Please seek approval from the XXXX UG coordinator concerning any substitutions of XXXX courses.

  7. What will be the degree awarded for double-major COSC-MATH?

    Only one degree will be awarded. For example, for students doing COSC+MATH:

    • students whose 1st declared major was COSC will get a BSc in Computer Science & Mathematics.
    • students whose 1st declared major was MATH will get a BSc in Mathematics & Computer Science.
  8. How are study patterns and course registration handled?

    Once enrolled in the double-major, ARR will pre-register all required courses according to the study pattern of COSC-MATH that appears in the Academic Calendar. This means that only the COSC+MATH study pattern is sure to have no time table clashes.

    You should note, though, note that many double-major students, even COSC+MATH ones, do not follow the normal study pattern (e.g., because they want to go on exchange). In this case, there might also be time clashes.

    In order to minimize the number of clashes the CSE department does provide some help with registration. In particular, our office staff will contact all registered BSc students prior to semester registration and ask for a list of all required courses (in both majors) that they need to take that semester. We then inform ARR so that are aware of your scheduling issues. This does not guarantee lack of scheduling conflicts but does help minimize them.

  9. Do COSC students have to take the FYP (COMP 4983/4984)?

    No. Double-major students do not have to register for the final year project course. They may do a final year project or final year thesis if they want to, though. In those cases, the FYP/FYT will count as two COMP electives.

  10. Do COSC students have to register for Industrial Training (COMP 2999)?

    No. If a COSC student, does want to take an industrial training module, he/she will need to ask for special permission to register. If you are interested in pursuing this, please ask the COSC coordinator for more information.

  11. Can COSC students still minor in other programs?

    Technically, yes, but this would be difficult and probably require a lot of overloading.


Coordinator: Prof. Mordecai Golin
Email: golin 'the at symbol' cse.ust.hk

Mailing address:
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong
(no zip code)

Academic Building, Room 3559
(accessible through lifts 25-26)