Computer Science Bridge Program

This Web site addresses questions and concerns of prospective applicants who lack a formal preparation in undergraduate Computer Science. It defines a Bridge that will put you in a competitive position to apply to the Masters program and will pave success in your graduate studies. It contains useful resources ranging from the bridge’s course sequence to information about the application process. Should you have further questions, please contact our student affairs team (

Please note that this information is accurate as of June 13, 2022, and it is subject to change without notice at any time.


The Bridge to Computer Science is a sequence of courses that will prepare you for your graduate studies and to make a successful career switch. The Bridge includes the courses listed below. However, if you already have taken some of these courses in your previous studies, you are not required to take them again. 

This image shows a flow chart of the prerequisite courses for the Pathways program.

Bridge students will gain knowledge of:

  • Algorithmic Foundations
    • Two semesters of college calculus. Applicants whose background does not include calculus can satisfy this requirement by 
    • CSDS 302/MATH 304 Discrete Mathematics. The course is offered during the Fall and Spring semesters, and occasionally during the Summer term. Discrete Mathematics requires two semesters of college calculus to be completed as a prerequisite before enrolling. No proficiency exam is offered for CSDS 302. CSDS 302 can be replaced by any MATH course whose number is 300 or higher.
    • CSDS 410 Algorithms.The course is offered during the Fall semester. CSDS 410 requires knowledge of both Data Structures and Algorithms and of Discrete Math, both with a grade of C or above. CSDS 410 transfers to the MS degree upon completion of the Bridge and will count toward the credit hour requirements of the MS degree.
  • Programming and Data Structures
    • CSDS 132 Introduction to Programming in Java.  Applicants whose background does not include programming can satisfy this requirement by:
      • Taking CSDS 132 at CWRU, or
      • Taking the proficiency test in CSDS 132 before classes start in the Fall or Spring semester.

Students with a background in Scientific or Business Programming (such as Matlab, Python) or industry experience should be aware that CSDS 132 contains significant contents in the area of Object-Oriented and Functional Programming, and thus should assume that they are required to take the course or pass the proficiency test.

  • CSDS 233 Introduction to Data Structures. The course is offered during the Fall and Spring semesters, as well as during the Summer term in most years. Please note that CSDS 132 is a prerequisite for CSDS 233 and must be completed before enrolling in CSDS 233. No proficiency exam is offered for CSDS 233. 
  • Either CSDS 425 Computer Networks or CSDS 493 Software Engineering. Both courses require knowledge of Data Structures and Algorithms with a grade of C or above. Please note that Computer Networks’ recommended preparation includes CSDS 338 Operating Systems; however, students lacking the recommended Operating Systems background will still be able to enroll in the course. Either course transfers to the MS degree upon completion of the bridge.



Proficiency Test?

When/How Offered?


Transfers to MS



Fall, Spring or 

AP Calculus BC, sub-score 5



CSDS 132 Intro Programming in Java


Fall, Spring



CSDS 233 Data Structures and Algorithms


Fall, Spring, 

most Summers

CSDS 132


CSDS 302/MATH 304 Discrete Math OR MATH 300+


Fall, Spring, 

occasionally Summer



CSDS 410 Algorithms



CSDS 233 and MATH 300+ with C or above


CSDS 425 or CSDS 493


Fall, Spring

CSDS 233 with C or above


Transferable Courses

Bridge students are welcome to take courses in addition to those listed above. In particular, bridge students can take courses that are transferable to the MS program and that will satisfy the degree requirements of the MS degree. Transferable courses include at most two courses in each of the following categories:

  • Any course listed under the CSDS code whose number is 300 and above, and for which the student has the prerequisite background. Note however that these courses can be transferred only by students in the course-only and project track of the MS degree, but not by research-track students nor by BS/MS students.
  • Any non-CSDS course whose number is 400 and above and that is relevant to Computer Science. 

Please, consult the student affairs team ( to determine if non-CSDS courses are transferable.

Application to the Bridge

Bridge students are regarded as non-degree seeking students, and should apply following the corresponding procedure outlined by the School of Graduate Studies. Specific questions about the application process can be directed toward and questions about the Bridge program can be directed to the student affairs team (

Application to the MS

Bridge students can apply for admission to the CWRU MS CS  so that they can start MS studies in the semester immediately after the bridge has been completed. Although completion of the Bridge does not ensure admission to the MS program, a strong record in coursework and recommendation of Bridge instructors are major factors in the positive evaluation of MS applicants. In general, it is advisable that as many letters as possible should come from faculty in the CWRU CS program. Bridge students who apply to the MS at CWRU are able to request an application fee waiver from the student affairs team ( and from submitting GRE scores. Upon admission, transferable courses will be added to the MS record.


1. Jill has a B.S. in Civil Engineering. She has taken Programming in C++, and covered many abstract topics in Object-Oriented and Functional Programming. She has also taken a senior-level math course in Scientific Computing. 

Because Jill’s programming course covers foundational topics in Object-Oriented and Functional Programming, she is proficient in CSDS 132, even though her course was in C++ and not in Java. She has taken a senior-level math course, so she does not have to take CSDS 302 either. During the summer, she takes CSDS 233 and during the Fall she takes CSDS 410, 493, and CSDS 391 Artificial Intelligence. She does well in all her courses and she is admitted to the MS program. Three of the four courses (CSDS 391, 410, and 493) transfer to the MS program, and she completes it by taking an additional seven courses.

2. Jack has a B.A. in English from a small liberal arts college. When he was in college, he took two semesters of calculus. After graduation, he took an introductory Python MOOC and became a software project manager for a small software development company.

Even though John’s calculus is for liberal arts majors, it still satisfies the calculus admission requirements. However, his Python MOOC and job experience do not cover fundamental concepts in Object-Oriented and Functional Programming and are not transcriptable. John studies the CSDS 132 syllabus on his own and passes the proficiency exam at the beginning of the Fall semester. In the Fall semester, he takes CSDS 233, CSDS 302, and a senior-level business school course in Internet marketing. In the Spring, he takes CSDS 410, 425, and CSDS 435 Data Mining. John does well in his courses, and is admitted to the MS program. He can transfer four of his six courses (CSDS 410, 425, 435, and Internet marketing) to the MS program, which he completes by taking an additional six courses.

Financial Aid

Funding for the bridge courses may be obtained through private educational loans offered by external commercial lenders. Please see the information page on private loan lenders and their applications.Please, contact the Office of Financial Aid for further details. The department does not offer funding to MS students.


Tuition depends on many factors, such as the number of background courses needed and the term in which they are taken. For illustration purposes only, a student taking and passing all available proficiency tests, CSDS 233, and CSDS 302 at CWRU in the summer term would pay $7,203 in tuition at 2022 rates, excluding fees and living expenses. Non-degree graduate students can take advantage of the discounted tuition for undergraduate-level courses during the summer semester. Bridge students are encouraged to take Summer courses whenever possible.


Bridge students can request transcripts showing the courses that they have taken in the Bridge. Although a post-baccalaureate certificate is currently being developed, at this time, Bridge students will not receive a separate certificate. Bridges students are generally considered by the university as non-degree seeking students.

Full-Time Status

Bridge students are required to maintain full-time status only if mandated by immigration law or by financial aid requirements. Students can maintain their full-time status by taking at least 9 credit hours of coursework per semester during the academic year and 6 hours during the summer. Typically, achieving full-time status requires taking both Bridge courses and additional courses. Generally, full time students can take at most one online course per semester. 


International students will be issued documentation for an F-1 visa as non-degree seeking students. Upon admission to the MS program, their visa documentation will be updated.

CWRU Students

Undergraduate Students

Current CWRU undergraduate students can complete the Bridges requirements during their undergraduate studies. Most bridge courses can be:

  • Counted toward an undergraduate minor in Computer Science (CSDS 132, 233, 302, 410, and either 425 or 493)
  • Double counted within the  BS/MS program in Computer Science (CSDS 410, 425, and 493)
  • Double counted toward their major (for example, in Biomedical or Chemical Engineering). Please, consult your major advisor for further information.

Graduate Students

Current CWRU graduate students can take Bridge courses during their graduate studies. Furthermore, graduate students can elect to take CSDS 410, 425 or 493 as fellowship courses and be charged no tuition. However, fellowship courses are not transferable to the MS, unless taken as a non-degree student prior to admission to the MS program.