Stanford University

Core Courses

MCS will accept letter grade or credit for all major/minor courses for 2020-21 academic year.

Major requirements total: 76-89 units

All major courses must be taken for letter grades unless an approved course is offered satisfactory/no credit only.

Undeclared students looking for an introduction to MCS may take Data Science 101 (STATS 101).  If the MCS major is then declared, STATS 101 may be used for elective credit toward the major.


1. Single-variable calculus (10 units)

Take 1:

Students may choose one of the following sequences (15 units)

2. Students may choose one of the following sequences (15 units)

Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra

  • MATH 51: Linear Algebra and Differential Calculus of Several Variables
  • and MATH 52: Integral Calculus of Several Variables
  • and MATH 53: Ordinary Differential Equations with Linear Algebra

or Modern Mathematics: Continuous Methods (a proof-oriented sequence)


1: Students who scored a 5 on both the Calculus AB and BC advanced placement exams (total of 10 units) can be waived out of MATH 19 Calculus, MATH 20 Calculus, MATH 21 Calculus; MATH 41 Calculus* and MATH 42 Calculus*. See also the Registrar's Advanced Placement web site (AP or IB exams).

*MATH 41 and MATH 42 will no longer be offered 2017-2018 academic year.

2: Math 60 sequences replace Math 50 Honors series (MATH 51H, 52H, 53H)

  • MATH 61CM: Modern Mathematics: Continuous Methods
  • and MATH 62CM: Modern Mathematics: Continuous Methods
  • and MATH 63CM: Modern Mathematics: Continuous Methods

or Modern Mathematics: Discrete Methods (a proof-oriented sequence)

  • MATH 61DM: Modern Mathematics: Discrete Methods
  • and MATH 62DM: Modern Mathematics: Discrete Methods
  • and MATH 63DM: Modern Mathematics: Discrete Methods

3. Select one of the following Matrix Theory classes (3 units)

Computer Science

  • CS 103 (5 units): Mathematical Foundations of Computing
  • CS 106A (5 units): Programming Methodology
  • and either
    • CS 106B (5 units): Programming Abstractions
    • or CS 106X: Programming Abstractions (Accelerated)
  • Select two of the following (7-10 units):
    • CME 108: Introduction to Scientific Computing
    • CS 107: Computer Organization and Systems
    • CS 154: Introduction to Automata and Complexity Theory
    • CS 161: Design and Analysis of Algorithms
    • CS 181W: Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy
    • CS 182W: Ethics, Public Policy, and Technological Change (WIM)

Management Science & Engineering

  • MS&E 111X/211X^ (4 units): Introduction to Optimization (Accelerated)
  • MS&E 221 (3 units): Stochastic Modeling
  • Or select three of the following:
    • MS&E 111/211: Introduction to Optimization (ENGR 62)
      • or MS&E 111X/211X^ (4 units): Introduction to Optimization (Accelerated)
    • MS&E 121: Introduction to Stochastic Modeling
    • MS&E 221: (3 units): Stochastic Modeling
    • MS&E 251: Stochastic Control (last offered 2019)

^ As of Autumn 2017, MS&E 211 is no longer considered part of the "Take 2" MS&E core.  Students wishing to take 2 MS&E Courses must take MS&E 211X and 221. If a student has taken MS&E 211 prior to Autumn 2017-2018, then the course will be counted as part of the "Take 2" MS&E core option.


  • STATS 116/MATH 151 (3-4 units): Theory of Probability/ Intro to Probability Theory
  • STATS 200* (3 units): Introduction to Statistical Inference
  • Select one of the following (3 units):
    • STATS 191: Introduction to Applied Statistics
    • STATS 203: Introduction to Regression Models and Analysis of Variance

*Stats 200 cannot be substituted.

**PLEASE NOTE: CS 109 is not equivalent to STATS 116. If you wish to declare MCS, but have already taken CS 109, you will be required to take STATS 217 to fulfill the Statistics core requirement.

Writing in the Major Requirement

The University requires students to complete at least one approved writing-intensive course in each of their majors. See the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking web site for a full description of the WIM requirement.

WIM courses offered by other majors may be used in cases of specific concentrations (e.g. biology, decision theory). Adviser approval required.

*CS 182W  Ethics, Public Policy, and Technological Change, will also count


For MCS, a total of 3 courses, representing at least two departments, is required.  See our pre-approved list of electives found here.

Further elective courses not listed should be approved by the student's faculty advisor.

See full details on the Bulletin