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New Beginnings

A Computer Science Career Pathway for Non-majors

Many computing professionals bring a background in another field to their work. This is most often achieved by adding a Masters degree in Computer Science to an undergraduate degree in the sciences, business or another field. New Beginnings is designed to prepare high-achieving post-baccalaureate students with diverse educational backgrounds for graduate study in Computer Science.

New Beginnings uses a cohort-based, integrative, immersive format to cover the foundational knowledge in programming, theory and systems that undergraduates typically acquire during their first three years as a computer science major. It is a full-time program that combines lecture and laboratory work, and requires students to be on campus five days a week (Monday through Thursday from 10AM to 2PM, and Friday afternoons).

The program begins on July 1. Admission to New Beginnings is competitive. Applicants are expected to have at least a year of mathematics beyond pre-calculus (Calculus, Linear Algebra, etc.), and an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or better. No prior programming experience is expected. If your math background or GPA does not the requirements, submit your GRE scores.

Students who successfully complete the program are accepted into the PSU Computer Science M.S. program which can be completed with another year and a half of full-time graduate study.

How to apply:
Contact An adviser will be in touch to help you determine if this program, or another post-baccalaureate opportunity is right for you.


New Beginnings FAQ

Q: What are the program dates? How often do I need to come to class?

A: The New Beginnings program starts on July 1 and ends in March. For the 2015-2016 Academic Year, the first module runs July 1, 2015 - September 4, 2015; the second module runs September 28, 2015 – December 12, 2015; and the third module runs January 4, 2016 – March 19, 2016. During these periods, New Beginnings students will be in class or lab from 10AM to 2PM, Monday – Thursday. Most Friday afternoons, students will also be expected to attend our weekly seminar.


Q: How many credits is each module? How much does the program cost?

A: Each of the New Beginnings modules is 16 undergraduate credits. The entire New Beginnings curriculum consists of three modules roughly corresponding to the Summer, Fall and Winter quarters.

Tuition and fees for the 2014-2015 Academic Year
The tuition and fees for the 2015-2016 academic year will probably be somewhat higher.


Q: How do I apply to the New Beginnings program?

A: Applicants should submit the Departmental Graduate application. We will review applications upon receipt, and will continue to accept applications until the July cohort is full. If your application is approved by the Admissions Committee you will be invited to an interview with some of the New Beginnings faculty. If you are not already a PSU student, you will also have to apply to the University as a postbac student.


Q: Will I get a degree after I complete the New Beginnings curriculum?

A:No. New Beginnings is intended to prepare you to be successful in our graduate program. Upon successfully completing the New Beginnings curriculum, you’ll be admitted to the Computer Science Master's program. The M.S. in Computer Science requires another 45 credits of graduate work beyond the New Beginnings curriculum.


Q: What material is covered by the New Beginnings curriculum?

A: New Beginnings compresses the relevant material found in our 3 year undergraduate core curriculum into 9 months of full-time, accelerated study. Topics from the following courses are covered:

  • Programming and data structures: CS 161, 162, 163
  • Machine organization and architecture: CS 201
  • Programming systems: CS 202
  • Discrete mathematics, logic, and computability: CS 250, 251, 311
  • CS 300 Elements of Software Engineering
  • CS 321 Programming Languages and Compiler Design I
  • CS 333 Operating Systems
  • CS 350 Algorithms and Complexity

Complete descriptions of these courses


Q: What if I don’t complete the entire curriculum?

A: If a New Beginnings student is unable to complete all three modules, they have the option of being placed into our non-accelerated Grad Prep program so they can continue to prepare for the graduate program, but at a slower pace.


Q: What about financial aid? Is any support available?

A: Information on financial aid at PSU can be found on the Financial Aid website. Once students complete the New Beginnings curriculum and are advanced to unconditional admission, they will be eligible to complete for Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships, like any other graduate student. They will also be eligible to participate in the many internship opportunities available to our upper class and graduate students, including our popular PCEP program.