For Prospective Students

CS Kickstart will be in August 2019. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

CS KickStart is a one week introductory course for incoming Berkeley women who are interested in math, science or engineering. Approximately 30 participants will come to Berkeley a week before Golden Bear Orientation (08/06/2017-08/11/2017) to participate in a unique set of activities. Students will learn how to program, find out about the various domains of computer science and meet computer science students and professionals. We offer this program free of charge to students. Participants will be housed on campus and will experience computer science through a variety of activities including:
  • Programming Labs: During the computer programming labs, students will acquire basic computer programming skills and work on a team project.
  • What is Computer Science: To develop students' understanding of computer science, we will host a series of talks from "How computer science is going to save the world" to one hour lectures about computer security, computer graphics, computer systems, computational biology and data management.
  • Who are Computer Scientists: Alumnae working in industry and academia will visit our program to talk to students about their job as a computer scientist.
  • Life at Berkeley: Formal information sessions as well as informal mentoring will allow participants to learn from current undergraduates about utilizing campus services and navigating within the computer science major and minor at Berkeley.
  • Field Trip: Students will visit a Silicon Valley company to explore an example work environment for a computer scientist.
  • Social Activities: In addition to the daily activities, students will participate in a number of social activities led by current undergraduates (e.g. ice cream social, game night) to create a network of students that together may promote a climate of inclusion within the EECS department.

2018 Schedule

Previous Schedules

The following is the curriculum utilized during instruction and labs throughout CS Kickstart 2012. The 2012 curriculum was developed by Stephanie Rogers, Amy Pavel and Carrie Cai.


Day 1: During the first part of the day, the students learned the basics of what Computer Science is and were introduced to the general idea of and the basics of programming languages (i.e. what data, functions, expressions are). During the lab exercises, students learned to interact with the Jython interpreter (by typing in expressions) and define their own functions. During the second part of the day, students learned specifically about the representation of pictures and pixels, picture and pixel methods in Jython, basic picture manipulations, and for loops. The second set of lab exercises allowed students to experiment with a variety of picture manipulations.

Day 2: During the first part of the day, students were taught about conditional statements, double for loops, and ranges, and were shown how to utilize these techniques to manipulate pictures. During the lab exercises, students learned to apply conditional statements, double for loops, and ranges to create their own picture manipulations (some of the challenging lab exercises were walked through by instructors). During the second part of the day, students learned about chromakey and the basics of implementing it. During the second set of lab exercises, students had the opportunity to implement chromakey themselves, and create additional picture manipulations.

Day 3: On the third day, students learned how to create a collage of pictures (by creating an empty canvas and implementing a copy method). During the lab, students implemented the methods (scaling, copying, and cropping) that would allow them to create a collage, and worked further on their picture manipulations.

Day 4: On the fourth day, students were introduced to a variety of other picture effects they could use (such as blurring, the sketch effect, blending) and approaches to implementing them. Students used lab time to finish "editing" their pictures by implementing the techniques of their choice in Jython.

Curriculum Files by Day

We are interested in applicants from all majors and levels of CS experience. In the past we have accepted CS and EECS majors as well as other majors such as Cognitive Science, Business, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Civil Engineering, Bioengineering, undecided and more!
The target demographic for our program is females. However, all incoming freshmen who have submitted an SIR to UC Berkeley (including spring admits) are welcome to apply.
Past CS KickStart participants have had a wide range of previous programming experience. Based on survey results, 98% of participants would recommend CS KickStart to a friend who doesn’t have previous programming experience and 80% of participants would recommend CS KickStart to a friend who does have previous programming experience.
For an overview of our program schedule, please visit the schedule page. To see the exercises we did in our programming labs last year, please visit the curriculum page. We will also have a lot of fun activities and bonding time that isn’t shown on the schedule.
Thanks to our sponsors, CS KickStart is completely free of charge to participants.
Housing will be provided free of charge during CS KickStart week. Participants will live in double or triple rooms in Unit 1 for four days and then move into their school year housing.
Yes, you can bring all your belongings with you -- we will have a place where you can store you stuff until you move into your actual room.
The application will be due in June.
Email your question to and we'll get back to you. If lots of people ask the same question, we’ll add it to this page!