Computer Science studies the computational structures and processes that appear throughout the natural and human worlds. The study of those processes (known as algorithms) can lend insight into the functioning of our brains, the structure of our genes, the mechanisms by which people form communities, and many other questions in a wide range of disciplines. At the same time, an understanding of algorithms and the structure of data can help us create a tremendous variety of useful software tools. Carleton's computer science curriculum is designed to provide students with a balance between theoretical study and the practical application of theory to the design and construction of software.
Since computer science plays a key role in our world, we recommend Introduction to Computer Science (CS 111) for all Carleton students. We also offer introductory-level courses on specific topics, such as Life in the Age of Networks (CS 108).
Those who choose to major in computer science find many opportunities following graduation. Carleton Computer Science graduates who pursue employment in the computing industry find jobs in a many different roles and at a wide variety of companies. In addition to graduate programs in computer science, Carleton CS majors seeking further education have pursued graduate study in areas such as bioinformatics, linguistics, cognitive science, and law.
Requirements for a Major
The course requirements are Mathematics 111; Computer Science 111, 201, 202 (or Mathematics 236), 204, (or 257), 208, 251, 252, and 254; and two additional courses from among Computer Science courses numbered 200 or above. Although they are not required for the CS major, we recommend that our students take as many mathematics and statistics courses as possible. Majors must complete a capstone experience (CS 399 and 400): during fall and winter terms of the senior year, the student will participate on a team of four to seven students working on a faculty-specified project. This means students ordinarily must plan to be on campus fall and winter of the senior year. Potential majors should take Computer Science 111, Mathematics 111, and at least one of Computer Science 201, 202, and 208 by the end of the sophomore year.
Students contemplating graduate study in computer science should consider taking additional courses in both mathematics (ideally the full Calculus sequence plus Mathematics 215 and 232) and computer science. Those interested in computer engineering should consider taking physics courses through Electricity and Magnetism, and Electronics.
A guide for majors is available on the Computer Science Web site.