Major Requirements

MCS Core Courses

Math Core (28 units)
  1. One of the following sequences:
    1. MATH 19
      MATH 20
      MATH 21
    2. MATH 41
      Math 42
    3. AP Credit - Score of 5 on the Advanced Placement Calculus BC exam (total of 10 units)
  2. One of the following sequences:
    1. Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra
      Linear Algebra, Multivariable Calculus, and Modern Applications (Math 51, 5 units)
      Integral Calculus of Several Variables (Math 52, 5 units)
      Ordinary Differential Equations with Linear Algebra (Math 53, 5 units)
    2. Modern Mathematics: Continuous Methods (a proof-oriented sequence)
      MATH 61CM (5 units)
      MATH 62CM (5 units)
      MATH 63CM (5 units)
    3. Modern Mathematics: Discrete Methods (a proof-oriented sequence)
      MATH 61DM (5 units)
      MATH 62DM (5 units)
      MATH 63DM (5 units)
  3. One of the following:
    1. Applied Matrix Theory (Math 104, 4 units)
    2. Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory (Math 113, 4 units)
Computer Science Core (22-25 units)
  1. Mathematical Foundations of Computing (CS 103, 5 units)
  2. Programming Methodology (CS 106A, 5 units); if a student opts out of CS 106A, they will need to take a higher-level CS course.
  3. Programming Abstractions (CS 106B or X, 5 units)
  4. Two of the following: 
    1. Introduction to Scientific Computing (CME 108, 3 units)
    2. Computer Organization and Systems (CS 107, 5 units)
    3. Introduction to Automata and Complexity Theory (CS 154, 4 units)
    4. Design and Analysis of Algorithms (CS 161, 5 units)
    5. Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy (CS 181W, 4 units)
    6. Ethics, Public Policy, and Technological Change (CS 182W, 5 units)
Management Science & Engineering Core (7-11 units)

Option A: MS&E Core Set of Two

  1. Both of the following:
    1. Introduction to Optimization (Accelerated) (MS&E 111X or 211X, 4 units)
      NOTE: 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.
    2. Stochastic Modeling (MS&E 221, 3 units)

Option B: MS&E Core Set of Three

  1. Choose three of the following:
    1. Introduction to Optimization (MS&E 111, 111X, 211, or 211X, 3-4 units)
    2. Introduction to Stochastic Modeling (MS&E 121, 4 units)
    3. Stochastic Modeling (MS&E 221, 3 units)
    4. Introduction to Stochastic Control with Applications (MS&E 251, 3 units) 
Statistics Core (11-12 units)
  1. Theory of Probability (STATS 116, 5 units, or Math 151, 4 units)
  2. Introduction to Statistical Inference (STATS 200, 4 units)
  3. One of the following
    1. Introduction to Applied Statistics (STATS 191, 3 units)
    2. Introduction to Regression Models and Analysis of Variance (STATS 203, 3 units)

*Stats 200 cannot be substituted.

**PLEASE NOTE: CS 109 is NOT equivalent to STATS 116. If you've declared MCS, you should take STATS 116 -- not CS 109. If you are an MCS major, but have already taken CS 109 before declaring, you will be required to take STATS 217 in place of STATS 116 to fulfill the Statistics core requirement.

Additional Degree Requirements

Writing in the Major (WIM) (3-5 units)
  1. One of the following:
    1. Applied Group Theory (MATH 109, 4 units)
    2. Applied Number Theory and Field Theory (MATH 110, 4 units)
    3. Groups and Rings (MATH 120, 4 units)
    4. Fundamental Concepts of Analysis (MATH 171, 4 units)
    5. Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy (CS 181W, 4 units)
    6. Ethics, Public Policy, and Technological Change (CS 182W, 5 units)
    7. Statistical Methods in Computational Genetics (STATS 155, 3 units)
    8. Data Narratives (MCS 120 / DATASCI 120)
MCS Electives (9 units)
Capstone Experience, Starting with Graduating Class of 2025 (1 unit or more)

Starting with the graduating class of 2025, Stanford will require all students to complete a capstone experience, regardless of their major. 

MCS majors will have the opportunity to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired during their studies and think independently and creatively using the tools of the discipline during a capstone experience, which is an essential part of the undergraduate program. There are a variety of ways to complete the Capstone requirement, both within and outside MCS/Data Science. 

To satisfy the capstone requirement, choose one of the following options: 

  1. The Data Science Experience (DATASCI 190, 1 unit). This course satisfies the Capstone Requirement if taken after or concurrently with Data Narratives (DATASCI 120, 3 units). DATASCI 120 can be double-counted for the WIM and part of this capstone option. 
  2. Data Science Practicum I (DATASCI 192A, 2 units) & Data Science Practicum II (DATASCI 192B, 2 units)
  3. MCS Honors Program
  4. Notation in Science Communication 
  5. Completing a project-based class in another department that involves significant MCS/data science work could also be considered for the capstone requirement. The class would need to be pre-approved by the program. Examples from the past include BIODS 217 and HISTORY 238C.
  6. Completing an independent research project in MCS/Data Science with a final portfolio could also be considered for the capstone requirement. This project would need to be pre-approved by the program.


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

  • The student must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better in all course work used to fulfill the major requirement.
  • All courses used to fulfill major requirements must be taken for a letter grade with the exception of courses offered satisfactory/no credit only.
  • Students who earn less than a 'C+' in STATS 116 Theory of Probability or STATS 200 Introduction to Statistical Inference must repeat the course.