College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Computer Science & Software Engineering

Computer Science Course Plan

Four-Year Plan

Here is a suggested plan to complete the computer science major in four years. With some work, the major can be fit into 3 years if you are declaring your major late.


Fall Semester

MA & CS courses
  • CS 142 - Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

    An introduction to programming in a high-level language (assignment, data types, expressions, selection, loops, functions, arrays) including parallel programming for supercomputers. Topics such as AI, software engineering, and databases, are also discussed. Prerequisite: MA101, or equivalent. (U)(3)

  • CS 151 - Foundations of Computer Science

    Introduction to mathematical problem solving, with emphasis on techniques for designing computer-based solutions. Concepts include problem-solving principles, logic, proof techniques, sets, sequences, functions, relations, and inductive and recursive thinking. Prerequisites: MA 101 or 102 or equivalent, with a declared major or minor in CS/SE. (U)(3)

  • MA 106 - Calculus & Analytic Geometry 1

    The beginning calculus course for properly prepared students. Topics include differentiation, integration, elementary differential equations, and exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. Applications are emphasized. The Analytic Reasoning core course is waived for students who successfully complete this course. Prerequisite: Placement, or C- in MA 102. (U)(5)

Spring Semester

MA & CS courses
  • CS 248 - Object-Oriented Programming and Data Structures

    This course is an introduction to object-oriented programming using Java. Topics include algorithm analysis, recursion, the stack, queue, tree, and heap data structures, sorting algorithms, and GUI programming. A brief survey of computer science is also included: history, software engineering, computer organization, operating systems, networks, programming languages, databases, artificial intelligence, and theory. Prerequisites: CS 142 or equivalent and CS 151. (U)(5)

  • MA 107 - Calculus & Analytic Geometry 2

    Continuation of MA 106. Topics include methods of integration, improper integrals, infinite series, conic sections and polar coordinates. Prerequisite: MA 106. (U)(4)


Fall Semester

MA & CS courses
  • CS 351 - Algorithms

    A systematic study of data structures and algorithms with an introduction to theoretical computer science. Topics include lists, stacks, queues, trees, and graph structure, searching and sorting algorithms, mathematical algorithms, time and space complexity, an introduction to the theory of NP-completeness, and an introduction to computability theory. Prerequisite: 248. (U)(3)

  • CS 321 - Computer Organization

    Principles of computer architecture are introduced from a layered point of view, beginning at the level of gates and digital logic, and progressing through micro-programming, the machine language execution cycle, addressing modes, symbolic assembly language, and the fundamentals of operating systems. Advanced topics including pipelined and parallel architectures are also covered. Corequisite: CS 248. (U) (3)

Spring Semester

MA & CS courses
  • CS 252 - Foundations of Computing 2

    As a continuation of CS151, concepts include mathematical logic, formal grammars, algebraic structures, finite state machines and automata, graph theory, and combinatorics. Prerequisite: CS151 (U) (3)

  • SE 361 - Object-Oriented Design

    This course uses the Unified Modeling Language (UML) as a vehicle to introduce the basic principles of object-oriented methodology and design, covering classes, objects, data abstraction, polymorphism, information hiding and relationships among classes such as inheritance, association, aggregation and composition. Specific design techniques are covered for object-oriented programming languages such as Java and C++. The course also provides a first exposure to the software development lifecycle of object-oriented software applications. A small team design project is required. Prerequisite: CS 248. (U)(3)


Fall Semester

MA & CS courses
  • CS 485 - Computer Ethics

    Ethical and social issues in computing with emphasis on professional responsibilities, risks and liabilities, and intellectual property. Prerequisite: CS 142 and sophomore standing. (U-G)(1)

  • CS 490

    An introduction to research methodology in computer science, including an overview of computer science literature and techniques for presenting and evaluating research results. Prerequisites: CS321, CS351, and SE361, or junior standing and permission of the department. (U)(2)

  • MA 215 - Linear Algebra

    Systems of linear equations, matrices, determinants, vector spaces, linear transformations and the eigenvalue problem. Prerequisite: MA 107. (U)(3)

Spring Semester

MA & CS courses
  • CS 473 - Topics in Computer Science: Cryptography

    In-depth study of special topics not covered in regular courses. Prerequisite: permission of department. (U-G) (3)

  • CS 452 - Parallel Algorithm Design & Programming

    A study of theoretical and practical paradigms of parallel algorithm design. Topics include model costs, lower bounds, architecture and topology, data-parallelism, synchronization, transactional memory, message passing, and parallel design for sorting, graphs, string processing, and dynamic programming. (U)(3)


Fall Semester

MA & CS courses

Spring Semester

MA & CS courses


- CS142 is designed for students who cannot program yet. If you have had C++, Java, or Visual Basic up through if statements, loops, arrays, and functions, you do not need CS142, although you can take it for review if you wish.

- We strongly recommend taking foreign language to satisfy the LAS language requirement as soon as possible to avoid losing any vocabulary you may remember from high school.

- If you took the placement test in a foreign language, you may only need 3, or even 2 semesters of foreign language.

- Some courses could be taken earlier or later than specified (For example, CS252 could be taken as early as the spring, Freshman year).

- If you need to take MA102 before CS151 and MA106, many courses would be pushed back a semester or year. Compensate by taking more core courses in your first semester (say, social science or science core). Note that CS142 requires MA101, but not MA102, so you may be able to take CS142, if you need it, during your first semester.

As you can see, there is plenty of room to pick up a second major or minor in another department. Some popular choices include a math major or minor, or a minor in the College of Business Administration. A double major with a foreign language is also easy to fit in.

If you plan for it, you can also fit in a semester of study abroad. It may be difficult to take CS courses at other institutions and have them count effectively in our program, so plan to take primarily electives and core courses.

If you have been invited, you can also do the honor's program with the CS major. For details, see the Honor's Program Web Page. CS490 is the departmental honors course.

We often accept MA205, 206 in place of CS151, 252 for satisfying the major or minor requirements upon petition to the department head. Note that doing this, together with using MA341/CS451 or MA365/CS455 as CS electives, makes the CS minor relatively easy for mathematics majors to obtain.