• The University of Toronto now uses the term ‘program’ in replacement of ‘POSt’, POSt ≡ program

As many of you know, CS program admission is one of the most stressful things for new CS students at St. George. Every year since 2014, there has been a cutoff – an average of CSC165 and CSC148 marks – that determines the students who get into the program. There is some misinformation about why it exists and how it works. We hope here to give you a fuller picture, and as much data as possible to allow you to make informed decisions.

The main reason that we have rigorous admission requirements is a limitation of space, instructors, and TAs. The department lacks the resources to operate courses that can fit everyone who is interested. These bounds are the result of complex interactions between the Faculty of Arts & Science, the Department, and outside forces.

The admissions process uses an in-stream/out-stream categorization system. When applying from highschool you are allowed to apply to the CS stream (CMP1). The CMP1 stream has a higher admission average than most and in turn offers mild leniency when applying to the program. What many applicants fail to understand is that you are not in the program until you apply and accept an offer after completing CSC148 and CSC165 (this is also why you are not charged deregulated CS Fees in your first year but “general” artsci fees). Beyond the students who are in-stream (CMP1), any students who has taken CSC165 and CSC148 are allowed to apply to the program. There are many students who explore CS courses, find that they enjoy it, and decide to pursue it as one of their fields of study. As seen in the chart below this make up a sizeable number of the overall applicants to the program.

The department is taking steps to increase its faculty size and teaching capacity to try and accept more students, but the continuously increasing cutoff is only a reflection of the continuously increasing quality and competitiveness of students applying. The gist of how these cutoffs are calculated is basically such:

  1. Sort applicants in decreasing order of their averages (CSC148 & CSC165)
  2. Select top n students, where n is the number of spots in the program for the following year

Admissions is split into two rounds, one following the close of the winter session and another following the close of the summer session.

The following chart was provided after requests to the department for more concrete information. This comparison is between 2017 and 2018.

2018 Admission statistics First Round 2018 Admission statistics Second Round 2017 Major + Spec. statistics

Minor Only Data Science Major + Spec. Minor Only Data Science Major + Spec. First Round Second Round

Apply Offers Apply Offers Apply Offers Apply Offers Apply Offers Apply Offers Apply Offers Apply Offers
CMP1 53 15 28 2 360 197 78 35 24 4 146 49 268 148 57 10
Other 218 81 85 14 428 122 186 79 63 6 253 62 411 155 272 55
Total 271 96 113 16 788 319 264 114 87 10 399 111 679 303 329 65

(This is the first year of Data Science, a joint program with CS and Stats.)

There is typically a predetermined number of positions available in the program each year (Major + Spec., see table below). The total number of offers should exceed that slightly as not every offer is accepted. Transfer students have also been excluded above. Note that not all students in CMP1 decided to pursue a CS Major/Specialist.

The following is the number of applications versus offers for the major and specialist program over the years as taken from the department site.

Year: 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Number of Applications: 537 647 841 828 981
Number of Admissions*: 453 539 567 475 TBA

There used to be the cutoff averages for these years posted on the department site. The department now feels that this is not a beneficial indicator for students. If one year of applicants were to do especially poor (or CSC165 and CSC148 were especially difficult) the cutoff for that year would sink. If another were to do especially well it would rise. While many may take comfort in having a definite goal, these historical cutoffs may not represent the current requirements for the program. The cutoff is basically the average of the student with the lowest marks to get into the program at that given time. If you would like to know more please get in touch with us.

We would like to thank Francois Pitt and the department for their help in giving us these numbers and their permission to release them to the public. Francois also talked on last years Room 2250 Episode about the program if you want further information.

If we get more information, we will update this post. We hope this has helped you and if you have any feedback feel free to let us know. Feel free to open a PR on Github if you would like to contribute :)