Silicon Valley Semester 2019

Notre Dame California is pleased to announce the 2019 Silicon Valley Semester, a combined experiential learning opportunity and course offering in the San Francisco Bay area open to any major that can justify the value of the Silicon Valley Semester in their career goals and maintain an appropriate course load.

Applications for Spring 2019 must be completed by January 10, 2018. Reviewers will examine the academic transcripts, personal statements and letters of recommendation for each applicant and invitations to participate will be extended within two weeks.  






Questions and expressions of interest by December 8, 2017

Spring 2019 Application Due: January 10, 2018

Invitations Extended: January 24, 2018

Decision to take part due: March 2, 2018


SVS 2019 will contain the following curricular elements:

  • Experiential learning opportunity through a paid, credit-bearing internship at a Bay area company (15-20 hours per week minimum) worth 3 credits (S/U) towards full-time status. Notre Dame-California is looking to attract students from a variety of majors with sincere interest and overlap in the innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Silicon Valley community. All students participating in the SVS must maintain a full-time credit load as defined by Notre Dame and the US Department of Education (12 hours or more). Dropping below 12 credit hours will result in a loss of financial aid and dismissal from the SVS.
  • ND-California will work with students to provide coursework suitable for a number of juniors and some sophomores meeting Major, College and general university course requirements will be offered. As the internship represents a major focus of this “off-campus semester”, students are strongly encouraged to take only three additional, letter-graded courses.
  • The program will also offer non-curricular elements such as opportunities to network with Notre Dame alumni, meet industry leaders, participate in trips to local attractions and events, exposure to the Bay Area's vibrant culture, and opportunities for community service.


  1. Experiential Learning Opportunity: The internship will typically be 20 hours of work per week. It will be S/U graded and the credits earned do not satisfy graduation requirements. However, three credits will contribute toward a full-time course load. The pay you receive from the internship contributes toward your asset list for financial aid. We are working with alumni and others in the Bay area to identify/sponsor a diverse set of internships directly related to your career interests and you are welcome to identify your own internship. Previous SVS students worked at companies ranging from large multi-national corporations to early-stage startups. The students and internship sponsors will agree on a statement of work including time expectations. The ND California Director will review the statement of work to decide on its eligibility for internship credit.  The internship course grade will be based on (i) student self-reporting of activities including written reports and (ii) an end-of-semester reflection, (iii) a brief evaluation by the internship sponsor.

During the Spring semesters 2017 and 2018, the following Bay Area companies provided internship opportunities to SVS students; AT&T, Gap, HyTrust, Intuit, Kyndi, Ople, OpsPanda, Quakefinder, SAP, Stryker, Survata, Thryve, Viakoo, Wonolo, Yahoo. Interest from science-related majors will provide an opportunity for Notre Dame-California to expand opportunities into the booming biotech industry located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  1. Coursework: Notre Dame-California is working to provide the following list of potential courses and will continue to supplement these courses with additional offerings helping students with a number of appropriate majors to join the SVS in 2019. There may be changes to these offerings but the courses offered will be designed to keep students “on track” for graduation. Course prerequisite requirements will apply when applicable.

Experiential Learning Internship

  • CSE 34794 Internship for Silicon Valley Semester Students (3 credits, S/U)

Core Requirements

  • PHIL 20632 Robot Ethics (3 credits) or
  • related PHILO2 course: Technology Ethics (3 credits)


  • Similar to BIOS 30455 - Medical Microbiology (3 credits)
  • BIOS 40411/42411 – Biostatistics and Computer Tutorial (4 credits)

Computer Science & Engineering

  • Two or three 3 credit major courses;
  • CSE 34151 Theory of Computing 
  • CSE 34341 Operating Systems
  • CSE/Tech Elective such as Information Security (3 credits) 

Electrical Engineering

  • EE 30363 Random Phenomena (3 credits)
  • EE/Tech Elective such as Information Security (3 credits) 

Computing & Digital Technologies

  • CDT 30020 Elements of Computing 2 (3 credits, CORE course)
  • Information Security (3 credits, similar to CDT 40200)

Potential additional courses being developed include free electives

  • Sales & Marketing 101
  • Intro to Entrepreneurship
  1. Selection: The selection process is modeled by the process used for ND International’s study abroad program and the Washington program operated by the Rooney Center. It will involve representatives from several Colleges. Primary considerations in the selection of the cohort will include (i) past academic performance, (ii) two academic and one personal letter of recommendation, and (iii) a statement of interest written by the candidate expressing their interest, course needs, and appropriateness for the Silicon Valley Semester and experiential learning opportunity.
  2. Size: We expect the Spring 2019 SVS cohort to have between 25 and 30 students.
  3. Housing: As in the past, dormitory housing and meal plans will likely be provided at local colleges relatively close to our teaching facility in Palo Alto, CA.
  4. Cost: The program’s housing and tuition charge will be equal to the equivalent charges for a semester on campus.  Selected students will be asked to provide a selection fee, which will be forfeited if the selectee withdraws form the cohort less than four months prior to the semester in California. Students must cover the costs of travel to and from the Bay Area for the semester, and all other personal expenses.
  5. Administration: Prof. Richard Taylor ( is serving as the Director of Notre Dame California in 2017-2018 and will be overseeing the selection process for SVS 2019. Please contact Professor Taylor if you have any questions.
  6. Facilities: Courses will be offered at Notre Dame’s Palo Alto facility, a newly constructed instructional/collaborative suite in the heart of Palo Alto.
  7. Calendar: SVS 2019 will likely have the same calendar as Spring and Fall semester as the South Bend campus. However, some courses and internship opportunities may utilize Spring and Fall break weeks.
  8. Deadlines: Questions and initial expressions of interest should be sent to Professor Taylor by December 8, 2018. Please include your major, preferred semester, preferred courses (preferably three but four may be possible), and desired internship area. Applications for Spring 2019 are due by January 10, 2018; invitations extended by January 24, 2018; decisions due by March 2, 2018. With adequate interest a Fall 2019 SVS may be available.