Computer Science encompasses both the theoretical and the practical aspects of the study of computers and algorithmic processes. Students majoring in computer science at Oberlin are prepared both for further graduate studies in the discipline and also for careers in the industries and businesses that actively recruit computer scientists with a liberal arts background. Computer Science at Oberlin is taught within the context of a liberal arts degree, with emphasis on the lasting principles of the discipline rather than on specific training in particular tools and techniques. The CS Program stresses the fundamentals of computer science while maintaining a highly current and relevant curriculum utilizing state-of-the-art methodologies and tools. More detailed information about the Computer Science major and minor can be found below. Information about the Cognitive Sciences Concentration, which also involves Computer Science courses, can be found in that section of this catalog.
Advanced Placement. Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement AB examination in Computer Science or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Level examination are normally awarded eight hours of credit equivalent to Computer Science 150 and 151. Students who have received a score of 3 on the AB examination, a score of 3 or higher on the A examination, or a 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Level Examination in Computer Science are normally awarded four hours of credit equivalent to Computer Science 150 and are encouraged to enroll in Computer Science 151 or 160 in their first semester. In some cases the advanced placement examination booklet may be reviewed by the Computer Science faculty before credit is granted. Other students with exceptional backgrounds who believe that they have sufficient preparation to elect courses for which Computer Science 150 or 151 are prerequisite should consult with the Director of the Computer Science Program to discuss appropriate placement.
Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions. Students who wish to begin their study of computer science will normally elect Computer Science 150, the first course counted toward the major or minor in computer science. While CSCI 150 is self-contained, it moves quickly through issues that students with some programming experience will have seen before. Students with no prior experience may wish to take CSCI 140 before starting the 150-151 sequence. Since the requirements for the major in computer science are substantial, students planning to major in the discipline are encouraged to begin their coursework in the first year at Oberlin, taking Computer Science 150 and 151 during that year along with Mathematics 133 and 220. Students with significant prior programming experience should consult with a faculty member to determine an appropriate introductory course.
Students who are interested in developing significant computer skills but are not interested in computer science per se are advised to enroll in one of our 100-level non-major courses when offered.