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High demand sees U of C bump up computer science program transfer average

By Gayathri Peringod, April 13 2019 —

Students looking to transfer into the University of Calgary’s computer science undergraduate program will have their work cut out for them.

The U of C’s computer science department has increased its admissions average for transfer students this year, representing a pattern at a growing number of universities across Canada doing the same.

According to the department, the current admission average for computer science transfer students is 3.60, up 0.2 points from last year.

University of Calgary provost and vice-president academic Dru Marshall attributed the increase in transfer GPA to increasing student demand in a statement to the Gauntlet.

“Computer Science is a high demand program at the University of Calgary and that demand continues to increase, due, in part, to the strong labour market for our computer science graduates,” Marshall said. “In response to the high student demand, the Computer Science program is currently operating at maximum capacity.”

According to the Office of Institutional Analysis, the computer science program at the U of C has doubled in size over the past 10 years and is now one of the largest programs at the university.

The U of C is not alone in this trend — student demand for computer science degrees in Canada and the United States has been steadily rising in the past decade. The Computing Research Association, a non-profit that tracks administrative data from around 200 American and Canadian universities, reported that enrolment in computer science nearly quadrupled from 2006–15.

Marshall acknowledged the need to develop a sustainable response to the demand in the statement.

“The University of Calgary recently submitted a proposal to the provincial government in response to the announcement and call for additional technology student spaces at post-secondary institutions in Alberta,” the statement read. “Through the expansion of existing programs and the ongoing development of new programs, the University of Calgary is committed to producing graduates who are trained and ready to contribute to, and lead in, the new emerging technology sector in Alberta.”

The CRA’s report states that institutions have struggled to keep up with student demand. The report documents that teaching capacity does not match the growth of undergraduate computer science majors.

It goes on to predict that this likely leads to significantly larger class sizes for professors and a greater number of classes taught by graduate students, postdocs, adjuncts and visitors.

The Varsity reported in March that the University of Toronto’s computer science department will increase their enrolment by 10 per cent after reported mental-health issues related to pressure in the program and the suicide of a computer science student last month.

The CRA predicts that course demand will remain high in the future, in part due to the role of computing in modern society, and posits that programs will need to work within institutions to develop a sustainable way to meet the demand.

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