Silicon Valley Semester 2020

An informational session will be held for Notre Dame freshman on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 in B01 McCourtney Hall at 5:30. This is your opportunity to learn more about what the Silicon Valley Semester can offer you during your junior year.

The application process for the Silicon Valley Semester 2020 is complete. 36 juniors have been invited to the cohort including the following majors CSE, EE, Business-Analytics, Sci-Business, Economics, and Applied Math.

SVS 2020 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 juniors meeting Major, College and general university course requirements. 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.

Selection of the Silicon Valley Semester (SVS) cohort for Spring 2019 is complete with 32 students from the Colleges of Engineering, Arts & Letters, and Science. While the experiential learning opportunity, a part-time internship at a Bay Area company, is the primary rationale for SVS, a limited number courses are offered to help students maintain progress towards graduation. The courses being offered in Spring 2019 include;

Required Courses

  • PHILO2 course: Technology Ethics (3 credits) related to PHIL 20632
  • CSE 34794 Internship for Silicon Valley Semester Students (3 credits, S/U)

Computer Science & Engineering

  • CSE 34151 Theory of Computing 
  • CSE 34341 Operating Systems
  • CSE/Tech Elective: Intro to Cybersecurity (3 credits) related to CSE 40567

Electrical Engineering

  • EE 30363 Random Phenomena (3 credits)
  • EE/Tech Elective: Intro to Cybersecurity (3 credits) related to CSE 40567

Computing & Digital Technologies

  • Intro to Cybersecurity (3 credits, similar to CDT 40200)
  • One addition CDT required course


  • Data Management (ITAO 30230, 1.5 credit).
  • Data Storytelling (ITAO 30150, 1.5 credit)

Additional courses being developed include free electives

  • Intro to Design Thinking (2-3 credits, similar to DESN20203)
  • Intro to Entrepreneurship (2-3 credits)


ND-California is particularly interested in recruiting a new cohort of students for the Fall 2019 semester. With enough interest from students requiring a similar group of courses, a Fall program will be initiated.

Questions and expressions of interest by September 28, 2018 via e-mail to include the following information;

  • Major, Class Year
  • SVS Semester Preference (Fall 2019 or Spring 2020)
  • Three courses you would take
  • Desired internship area
  • Previous internship experience
  • Previous CA experience

Application Due: November 16, 2018 

References Due: December 1, 2018

Invitations Extended: December 15, 2018 (tentative)

Decision to take part due: March 1, 2019


  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 additional majors will provide an opportunity for Notre Dame-California to expand opportunities into the booming biotech industry located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  2. Coursework: Notre Dame-California provides a variety of courses for students participating in the SVS. Courses will be offered when an adequate number of students can benefit from any specific offering. Course prerequisite requirements will apply when applicable. Any major may be considered for inclusion and ND-California will work with groups of students to provide additional course beyond the list above to make this possible.
  3. 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.
  4. Size: We expect the Spring 2020 SVS cohort to have between 30-40 students.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Administration: Prof. Richard Taylor ( is serving as the Director of Notre Dame California in 2018-2019 and will be overseeing the selection process for SVS F2019/S2020. Please contact Professor Taylor if you have any questions at
  8. Facilities: Courses will be offered at Notre Dame’s Palo Alto facility, a newly constructed instructional/collaborative suite in the heart of Palo Alto.
  9. Calendar: SVS 2020 will 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.
  10. Deadlines: Questions and initial expressions of interest should be sent to Professor Taylor ( by September 28, 2018. Students expressing interest will be provided application materials.