Computer Science

Department/Program Description.

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science offers a major in mathematics and a major in computer science. We also participate in the Informatics and Modeling Certificate Program, described below.

Each student's course of study is designed to provide an introduction to the basic areas of mathematics or computer science and to provide the technical tools that will be useful later in the student's career. The course of study is planned in consultation with the department's advisory committees or the student's faculty advisor.

Student Learning Outcomes.

The department has the following learning goals for mathematics majors.
• Develop a basic understanding of, and computational facility with, major objects of mathematical and applied interest, such as functions, vector spaces, and groups.
• Understand abstract mathematical reasoning, e.g., understand an abstract system of rules, find examples of objects that satisfy those rules, conjecture theorems from those examples, and prove those theorems.
• Understand some mathematical applications and ways to use mathematics in practice, and be able to make connections to topics outside of the strict course content.
• Students should be able to write about and speak about mathematics, clearly and elegantly.

An undergraduate may achieve the BA with honors in mathematics or honors in computer science via one of several routes:
  • The honors thesis, written under the supervision of a faculty member under conditions monitored by the University Committee on Honors.
  • (Mathematics only) A strong performance in a suitable sequence of courses, normally including some graduate courses, selected in consultation with a member of the department's advisory committee. The candidate also is expected to prepare a public lecture on a topic chosen together with a faculty advisor.
  • (Mathematics only) The comprehensive examination, offered by the department and/or by visiting consultants to select students nominated by the faculty.
Additional Information.

Lectures. The departmental colloquium series presents lectures on recent research by invited mathematicians and computer scientists from other institutions. Advanced undergraduates are encouraged to attend these colloquia and to participate in graduate seminars. The undergraduate Math Club hosts informal talks in mathematics; accessible to students at all levels.


Admission to the Major.
Entry requirements:
To declare the computer science major, a student must have
  • Earned a C- or higher in COMP211;
  • Either earned a C- or higher in COMP212 or be enrolled in COMP212 and be earning a grade of C- or higher based on completed work; and
  • Either earned a C- or higher in MATH228 or MATH261 or be enrolled in MATH228 or MATH261 and be earning a grade of C- or higher based on completed work.

The MATH228 or MATH261 requirement applies to students declaring the COMP major after June 30, 2016.

Major Requirements.

To complete the computer science major, a student must complete the following courses:

  • COMP211, 212
  • COMP231 or COMP331
  • COMP301, 312, 321
  • Two additional electives
  • MATH228 or MATH261
  • MATH221 or MATH223


  • COMP231 was offered academic year 2014-2015 and earlier; COMP331 will be offered academic year 2015-2016 and later.
  • Any COMP course at the 300+ level except COMP409-410 (Senior Thesis Tutorials) can be used as an elective for the major.
  • At most, one individual or group tutorial may be used as an elective unless prior approval is given.
  • Only 1.0-credit courses taken A-F may be used to satisfy major requirements.
Related Programs or Certificates.

Informatics and Modeling Certificate. The department is an active participant in the Informatics and Modeling Certificate ( The certificate provides a framework to guide students in developing analytical skills based on the following two pathways:

  • Computational Science and Quantitative World Modeling (CSM-
  • Integrative Genomic Sciences (IGS-

The CSM pathway introduces students to modeling techniques and provides students with a foundation in the quantitative simulation, evaluation, and prediction of natural and social phenomena. The IGS pathway introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics and its relationships to molecular genomics, evolution, structural biology, and bioethics. The department offers courses that support both pathways such as COMP211 and COMP212 and also offers special interdisciplinary courses for the IGS pathway such as COMP327 and COMP350. The certificate requirements are described in the links for the two pathways.