College of Engineering


Computer Science Department

Degree Name

BS in Computer Science




Hasmik Gharibyan


The goal of this paper is to explore the perceived effect that the Computer Science Curriculum has on the mental health of female students. To discover these effects we conducted 50 interviews over a period of several months with the female students of the Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE) department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. The total amount of Computer Science (CSC) majors at this institution is approximately 680, with 150 of them being female, so we were able to gather responses from 33.3% of the female CSC students from our interviews. It is worth noting that the overwhelming majority of interviewees (68%) were Seniors who provided extensive information on their experience in the major. The purpose of the questions we asked was to gather data on depression, anxiety, and how the CSC curriculum influences on their overall happiness. This paper will highlight the major trends that we saw in the responses such as the imposter syndrome, the difficulties of sophomore year and CPE 357, the benefits of having friends within the major, and the negative mental health impacts resulting. From there it will propose potential causes for the trends as well as solutions that may be helpful.