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(Message started by: Anthony on Apr 23rd, 2007, 2:17pm)

Title: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Anthony on Apr 23rd, 2007, 2:17pm
I intend to take the patent bar based upon a certain number of credits in computer science taken at Rutgers University.  Apparently, the Rutgers computer science program is not accredited by the CSAC or otherwise(although DeVri is, a local Vo-tech school), and I am concerned.  If I take the patent bar based upon a certain number of credits in computer science, does the program need to be accredited?  According to the general requirements bulletin it does not appear so. . .

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Isaac on Apr 23rd, 2007, 2:57pm

on 04/23/07 at 14:17:10, Anthony wrote:
If I take the patent bar based upon a certain number of credits in computer science, does the program need to be accredited? According to the general requirements bulletin it does not appear so. . .


Almost certainly the issue will be your coursework other than computer science including the physics/chemistry two course with lab sequence.   But your computer science courses don't need to be from an accredited program.  That would be some kind of catch 22 nightmare.



Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Anthony on Apr 23rd, 2007, 3:39pm
What other issues will arise?  I have physics credits and two consecutive chemistry classes to apply towards option four. . . .

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by jamestyler on Apr 23rd, 2007, 11:02pm

on 04/23/07 at 15:39:05, Anthony wrote:
What other issues will arise?  I have physics credits and two consecutive chemistry classes to apply towards option four. . . .



Do the physics and chemistry lab credits apply?  It's been a while since I read the requirements...

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Anthony on Apr 24th, 2007, 3:44pm
iv. Option 4: 40 semester hours in a combination consisting of the following:
 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics, and
 32 semester hours of chemistry, physics, biology, botany, microbiology, molecular biology,
engineering. (For Computer Science, see other acceptable course work.)
 The 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics must be obtained in two
sequential courses, each course including a lab. Only courses for science or engineering
majors will be accepted. For Computer Science, see other "Other Acceptable Course
Work."
All acceptable coursework for Options 2 and 4 must be for science or engineering majors.

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Isaac on Apr 24th, 2007, 4:01pm

on 04/24/07 at 15:44:14, Anthony wrote:
The 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics must be obtained in two sequential courses, each course including a lab. Only courses for science or engineering
majors will be accepted.


Based on comments made here by CS majors, this particular requirement appears to be a frequent trip up.  You have to have 2 sequential 4 hour chemistry courses or two sequential 4 hour physics courses with labs in both semesters.   Many schools including those with accredited programs don't require courses like this for CS majors.

Another trip up is that courses like MIS and IT type courses probably won't count.

But I'm just talking in generalities.  I haven't seen your transcript.


Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by stillstudying on Apr 25th, 2007, 7:38pm
I've been told that passing the A.P. Chemistry exam (high school class for college credit) counts, although it may require a certain score.  (Somewhat irrelevant aside: my university required a 5 (highest score) to be exempted from both semesters of freshman chemistry;  a 4 only exempted someone from the first semester.  Possible relevancy: that might be the PTO's criteria too, at least if I've been told correctly that they will count it.)

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by BlueMikey on May 7th, 2007, 12:06pm
Is there some logical reason behind why the USPTO singled out computer science as the only acceptable major that they require to be accredited?

The top four CS schools are generally thought to be Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, and Carnegie-Mellon and, out of those four, only two are accredited.  

In fact, out of the top 10 schools listed on one site I found ranking CS programs, only MIT, Berkeley, and Illinois carry accredited CS programs.  Using the top 20, add UCLA, USC, and Michigan.  If 70% of the top schools in the country don't see accreditation as worthwhile, why does the USPTO?

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Isaac on May 7th, 2007, 1:58pm

on 05/07/07 at 12:06:29, BlueMikey wrote:
If 70% of the top schools in the country don't see accreditation as worthwhile, why does the USPTO?


I don't find the argument using the top schools to be all that persuasive.  It could be that accreditation provides a guarantee that certain coursework (which may or may not be computer science courses) has been taken.   If the PTO is interested in that course work, they would logically be unsatisfied with simply looking at the schools rep.

I'd also guess that schools don't view accreditation as necessary unless it causes their students problems out in the job market.   For example, how many of those same schools do you think run unaccredited electrical engineering programs.   I'd guess the answer to be zero.  Problems qualifying for the patent bar are probably not on a school's radar.

That said, I don't know why the special requirement for CS grads.


Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by plex on May 7th, 2007, 3:03pm
It is very likely as Isaac has suggested. CS, for whatever reason, has not been given a lot of attention by many schools, even the top schools, for whatever reason, even though it is extremely important in most other technical degrees.

My school has a #4 ranked ME program and a #6 ranked EE program and our CS department is unaccredited. The curriculum is undeveloped and the teachers are of a very noticeably lower caliber than those in the rest of the school.

I place the blame much more at the feet of the universities rather than USPTO and other employers. It is not their job to make sure the schools get their act together. My #1 complaint about my undergrad was its unaccredited CS department.

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by BlueMikey on May 7th, 2007, 4:05pm
I guess its true that simply using the top schools as a measure of what is in a degree isn't good, but...

Google, Microsoft, all the big employers, they care more that the school teaches the most current technologies and methodologies, not that some accreditation service said they were good 10 years ago (can you imagine a CS department without an update in 10 years?).  It was my experience (I worked as a graduate lecturer at my school in computer science) that good schools didn't feel the need to get accredited because no one cares (well, almost no one obviously) whether the schools are or not.

What you said, plex, is true about any unaccredited program.

It just seems silly to me that you can:

1) Become a patent lawyer if you have a CS degree from St. Cloud State but not if you have a CS degree from Stanford.
2) Become a patent lawyer if you have a ME degree from an unaccredited program but not if you have a CS degree from an unaccredited program.


I guess I just find this upsetting because I'm just entering law school and what if I wanted to be in patent law?  I went to a top 40 undergraduate CS program with professors who have been published in everything, lecturers who have written textbooks in use and won national awards, and students who got picked up all over the country.   If I wanted to do patent law I'd be instantly disqualified because I didn't take two physics courses back to back 10 years before I'd even be taking the Patent Bar Exam. :(  It's absurd how they devalue a great computer science degree.

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Isaac on May 7th, 2007, 4:55pm

on 05/07/07 at 16:05:42, BlueMikey wrote:
If I wanted to do patent law I'd be instantly disqualified because I didn't take two physics courses back to back 10 years before


I agree that the the two course sequence physics/chemistry sequence is a very questionable portion of the requirements, particularly when such study isn't required of students at accredited CS programs. Whatever the patent office hopes to accomplish by reviewing transcripts, I'm not sure that purpose is served by requiring the 2 course physics/chemistry sequence of CS students. There should be some other allowable combinations of coursework.

But all that said, requiring such a sequence of those with unaccredited engineering degrees including those mythological unaccredited ME students would screen out virtually noone. Essentially all engineering students take either two semesters of chemistry or two semester of physics if not both and all of them would easily have more than enough other qualifying course work. Reviewing their transcripts in the same way as transcripts from the CS students are reviewed might seem fair, but it would be entirely a waste of time for the patent office. Perhaps the lack of balance in the requirements simply reflects that.


Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by confused_3l on May 14th, 2007, 6:11pm
My take on it? The USPTO freaked when State Street Bank came down and wanted to keep the patent bar "exclusive". Ever wonder why you can't take the exam with a business degree, even though business method patents are now accepted?

In my own case, I was more than a little shocked to find out that my CS degree from UChicago wasn't valid at face value, especially after working for a number of years.  Luckily, I have enough physics/chemistry/biology/etc. to qualify under Category B, but I still think it's somewhat of a cruel joke.

On a side note, does anyone have a clue as to why the USPTO only accepts photocopies of course catalogs in order to qualify under category B? You'd think that an agency devoted to new technologies would have figured out by now that the majority of colleges have switched over electronic formats in lieu of killing trees. Printing off a webpage, complete with a verifiable link, doesn't seem to be good enough.

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Isaac on May 14th, 2007, 6:17pm

on 05/14/07 at 18:11:30, confused_3l wrote:
On a side note, does anyone have a clue as to why the USPTO only accepts photocopies of course catalogs in order to qualify under category B?


One issue is that the PTO wants course descriptions that were applicable at the time you took the class.  I don't know that schools are doing anything more than putting up the current course catalog.

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by confused_3l on May 15th, 2007, 12:59pm
I can't speak for other schools, but UChicago has an online archive of their course catalogs for each academic year going back to 1995. It would take the USPTO all of 15 seconds with a computer to verify this.

In my case, I didn't have the forethought to keep copies of the catalogs since I worked for a few years between undergrad and law school and had to contact the school to track down paper copies.  The library had them and generously offered to make the photocopies I needed: for a $100+ "research fee", of course....

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Isaac on May 15th, 2007, 2:04pm

on 05/15/07 at 12:59:08, confused_3l wrote:
I can't speak for other schools, but UChicago has an online archive of their course catalogs for each academic year going back to 1995. It would take the USPTO all of 15 seconds with a computer to verify this.


That might seem like a long period of time, but I would have needed another decade or so of prehistorical data.  :)    In any event I didn't have this issue to deal with because I have an engineering degree.  


Quote:
In my case, I didn't have the forethought to keep copies of the catalogs since I worked for a few years between undergrad and law school and had to contact the school to track down paper copies.


I find that a bit strange.   I believe that most people go through the registrar's office and get the required information without paying a $100 research fee.


Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by confused_3l on May 15th, 2007, 5:06pm

on 05/15/07 at 14:04:16, Isaac wrote:
I find that a bit strange. I believe that most people go through the registrar's office and get the required information without paying a $100 research fee.


LOL. I called the registrar's office first; they said they didn't keep hardcopies of prior years since they've been putting that information online now for a little over a decade. (and kindly gave me the URL  ::))  The only place that had actual hard copies on campus was the library in the special collections section, so I had the choice of either travelling to Chicago or be at their mercy to the tune of something like $3.50 a page to have them do it for me.  

It does make you wonder, though, what the USPTO will do when schools decide to save on printing costs by going paperless.

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Isaac on May 15th, 2007, 5:19pm

on 05/15/07 at 17:06:12, confused_3l wrote:
LOL. I called the registrar's office first; they said they didn't keep hardcopies of prior years since they've been putting that information online now for a little over a decade.


LOL.     Now that you mention it, all "I called the registrar" anecdotes I know were from awhile back.  Maybe things are different now...



Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by bean on May 22nd, 2007, 9:05am
if you don't have the 8 credits for physics or chemistry, just find some community college to make up the credits.   I just did it.

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by potatobbq on Jun 3rd, 2007, 4:14am

on 04/24/07 at 15:44:14, Anthony wrote:
iv. Option 4: 40 semester hours in a combination consisting of the following:
 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics, and
 32 semester hours of chemistry, physics, biology, botany, microbiology, molecular biology,
engineering. (For Computer Science, see other acceptable course work.)
 The 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics must be obtained in two
sequential courses, each course including a lab. Only courses for science or engineering
majors will be accepted. For Computer Science, see other "Other Acceptable Course
Work."
All acceptable coursework for Options 2 and 4 must be for science or engineering majors.


I noticed that it requires that not only must the hours be obtained in two sequential courses, but also "each course including a lab." Not every physics/chemistry course had a correspoding lab at my school (UCSD) and I didn't take every corresponding lab component of all the physics/chemistry courses because it wasn't required... is this going to be a problem?  I think I do have 10 consecutive semester hours of chemistry and 12 in physics (counting the units earned from the seperate lab courses).  I'm getting ready to study for the exam this summer but I don't know if this requirement will trip me up... input would be appreciated, thanks.

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by biopico on Jun 3rd, 2007, 9:42am
The most straightforward way to find out the answer for you is TO ACTUALLY SEND IN YOUR APPLICATION TO USPTO AND HAVE THEM EVALUATE YOUR DEGREE.

I was a bit worried but I did send in my application.  Fortunately, I got an approval letter within 10 days.




Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by still_studying on Jun 4th, 2007, 7:50pm

on 06/03/07 at 09:42:41, biopico wrote:
The most straightforward way to find out the answer for you is TO ACTUALLY SEND IN YOUR APPLICATION TO USPTO AND HAVE THEM EVALUATE YOUR DEGREE.

But then we can't obsessively worry about it for months and months!  Don't spoil our fun!

(Besides, it costs a minimum of $240 and starts the clock ticking on actually taking the exam.  It's nice to get a little reassurance ahead of time that the money won't be wasted.)

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by biopico on Jun 5th, 2007, 5:44pm
Dear Still_Studying:
I meant "Absolute Assurance".

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by MichPatentGirl on Jun 27th, 2007, 2:06pm
Has anyone with a CS degree from a non-accredited program been accepted by the PTO without the qualifying chem/physics credits?  Perhaps someone has been successful by arging that all of their courses were also EE courses?  Or maybe someone has been able to get around it by practicing patent law for a few years and having statements signed by registered patent attorneys  that the individual has the necessary skills to be a patent attorney?  Thanks in advance for any stories/advice!

Title: Re: Accreditation of Computer Science Degree
Post by Isaac on Jun 28th, 2007, 1:40pm

on 06/27/07 at 14:06:21, MichPatentGirl wrote:
Has anyone with a CS degree from a non-accredited program been accepted by the PTO without the qualifying chem/physics credits? Perhaps someone has been successful by arging that all of their courses were also EE courses? Or maybe someone has been able to get around it by practicing patent law for a few years and having statements signed by registered patent attorneys that the individual has the necessary skills to be a patent attorney? Thanks in advance for any stories/advice!


If you go to the link below, you can find some OED decisions on petitions  to certify "alternative" educational backgrounds.    You might not find something closely related to the scenarios you've proposed, but perhaps you can get a flavor for OEDs flexibility or lack thereof.   I think the decisions are under "Technical"


http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/foia/oed/oed.htm



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