Computer Science

Starting a major

  • Introductory courses are CS 121 and CS 125 (both satisfy [AQR]). These require no prior CS background – but incoming students should answer the CS placement questionnaire to determine which course to take, and when.
  • CS majors should complete CS 251 (Software Design, SD) by end of their sophomore year. (See
  • Inquire about a CS major early on. (The CS program does special tracking of all students with declared/requested CS majors, in order to ensure they can register for CS courses they need for normal progress.)

Are there courses students MUST, SHOULD, or CAN take their First Year?

  • Should: If curious about/ interested in a CS major, complete an intro course CS 121 or CS 125 during the first year (unless advance-placed beyond these).
  • Can: Take CS 241, CS 251, or other CS courses they are qualified for.

Credit for previous coursework

Graduation credit for an AP course (CS-A or CSP) with a 4 or 5 on AP exam.


  • CS placement ( is a questionnaire (not a test) that advises which CS course a student should take first, based on prior CS and computing background, college preparedness, and academic interests.
  • We recommend that all students take the CS placement questionnaire, whether or not they have prior experience in CS.
  • Note: Students with prior experience may receive advanced placement even if they haven’t taken a formal CS course.

Informational Events

  • Week One departmental information sessions
  • MSCS “To be or not to be” event in October