We encourage incoming students to answer the CS placement questionnaire at
www.cs.stolaf.edu/placement/. This brief online form is worth filling out even if you have no background in CS or programming.
CS placement is not a test; instead, it is a quick, no-risk survey on background and preferences. The results are a non-binding recommendation about a first CS course that would fit you well.
Here are descriptions of the various CS placement recommendations for students entering in 2011-12.
- CS 121 in Fall 11 (or later)
- This is our standard introductory course, “Principles of Computer Science” (CS1). It has no prerequisites other than mature study skills, and well-prepared first-term students can do well in the course. CS 121 serves as the prerequisite for the other “foundation” courses in CS, and also provides a one-course “hands-on” survey of the field of Computer Science for students who are just curious. Note: Fall Section B and the Spring section focus on applications to humanities. Satisfies [AQR].
- CS 121 in Spring 12 (or later)
- Students with this recommendation are encouraged to get a semester of college-level experience before taking CS 121 (see above).Satisfies [AQR].
- CS 125
- This introductory CS course is designed for science and mathematics students. The course has no prerequisites, except a general comfort with mathematics; applications of CS concepts and practices to various natural science and mathematics fields are included.Satisfies [AQR].
- CS 251, offered Fall 2011, or CS 241, offered Spring 2012
- students placed into one of these non-introductory courses should get in touch with the Director of CS or the course instructors Prof. Hall-Holt (251) or Prof. Brown (241) or if they haven’t already done so.
Finally, we encourage you to consider our placement recommendations carefully. If something doesn’t seem right, or if you have any questions about placement (or about CS at St. Olaf), please contact the Director of CS or a CS faculty member—we’d be glad to talk with you!
Director of Computer Science
Olaf Hall-Holt (
firstname.lastname@example.org), RMS 201, x3996