Department Chair- Welcome Letter & New Student information


Dear Incoming Students to the Software Engineering Department:

I would like to extend you a warm welcome to RIT and the Department of Software Engineering (SE) in the Golisano College of Computing & Information Sciences. You are joining an exciting and demanding college that will provide an education to help you meet the expectations and opportunities you will encounter in your career and throughout your life. It is our hope that your academic career at RIT will prove to be fruitful and challenging.

Before New Students arrive on campus, we need you to complete the following:

  • Here are your first steps to get ready for the fall semester - please complete these items by June 30.
    • You are required to take the Math Placement Exam (MPE). We are offering the MPE through June 30th, but you are encouraged to take the test no later than June 20th.
    • Please fill out our questionnaire by 7:00 PM EST on June 30 to aid in planning your first schedule. This questionnaire is how we get to know you in order to build the best possible schedule for you! We cannot express enough the importance of this deadline.
  • Later this summer, access your tentative fall semester schedule online at using your RIT computer account. Instructions for setting up your password can be found here:
  • You have an opportunity to prepare yourself for your introductory programming class via an optional and free online class experience called Code Zero. More information will be forthcoming. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.
  • Find departmental related information, refer to our SE website.
  • "Like" our Facebook page (@SEatRIT) to start connecting with the department and find out about great events that you can be a part of during your time with us.
  • If you haven't already done so, review the Orientation checklist.

Soon you will have an opportunity to:

  • Meet fellow students, faculty, and staff.
  • Attend a mandatory advising session and meet your academic advisor, who will be available to you throughout your entire RIT career. More information about advisors here.
  • Review curriculum requirements.
  • Answer scheduling questions.

The SE Department will offer you the support, challenges, and rewards expected from a high-quality academic program. If we can assist you as you prepare for college, please contact us by telephone at 585-475-5461 or email your assigned academic advisor at I congratulate you thus far on your accomplishments. We trust that your experience at GCCIS and in the SE Department will be as fulfilling for you as it is for us. We are looking forward to working with you this fall!

Naveen Sharma, PhD
Associate Professor and Chair 

Typical Freshmen Fall Semester Schedule

As you adjust to your new home at RIT, you will have a well-balanced variety of courses in your first semester, typically ranging 14-17 credits. Expect the following in your schedule:

  • RIT365, a program for freshmen
  • Software Engineering Freshman Seminar
  • Software Development Sequence or its equivalent 
  • Calculus
  • General Education courses

You can anticipate receiving a schedule in early August. If there are any adjustments to be made to your schedule, we will be happy to discuss them at our advising session during New Student Orientation.


Orientation week is coming fast! You have started to pack and you've reviewed your schedule in SIS or Tiger Center. Let's see if we can help address your questions before you arrive on campus.

This can happen for lecture/lab situations and is nothing to worry about. In some cases it's actually a classroom that is either two small rooms or one big one.

It means you have been placed (by your advisor) on a waitlist for a specific course. If you are added directly from the waitlist, you will actually receive an e-mail, but your advisor will also continue to keep trying to make your schedule final for fall. There is time during Orientation to discuss an unfinished schedule with your advisor.

Our priority for fall courses is to ensure all students are in courses that meet their requirements to make degree progress. The perfect schedule is the one you have! A valid reason to change your schedule would be any of the following:

  • You already have AP credit or transfer credit for a course on your schedule 
  • You recently joined ROTC or varsity athletics and you have practice times that conflict with your schedule
  • You have a disability accommodation with the Disability Services Office at RIT that requires specific scheduling constraints (such as having travel time in between courses on your schedule)

You'll be able to see which textbooks are required once you have a fall schedule. To see the textbook for each course, log in to view your schedule on Tiger Center: If you scroll below the schedule, there is a button to "View Textbooks."

Textbooks can be purchased through RIT's Barnes & Noble location at Park Point, or through any site. We recommend keeping your receipt, in case there are unexpected changes to your schedule or book requirements.

We do not have any specific requirements as far as the computers our students use. Any newer computer will have the power and memory needed for the coursework. Our current students have a wide range of different computer set-ups (laptop vs. desktop, Mac vs. Windows, different operating systems, etc.), so it really comes down to personal preference. If students need specific software for a course, the instructor will let students know how to access it.

Placement in Mathematics Course

Your mathematics course will be an important component of your fall schedule. Regardless of AP or transfer credit, all SE students must take the Mathematics Placement Exam (MPE).

Programming Experience

Looking for more experience? There are plenty of online tutorials you can try - these are a few examples:

  • Khan Academy has plenty of video tutorials in bite-sized chunks
  • Udacity offers free, online, self-paced courses, such as Intro to Computer Science
  • Code Zero will also offer you an opportunity to learn more about programming, please look for email updates this summer