2017-2018 University Catalogue 
    Mar 24, 2018  
2017-2018 University Catalogue

Computer Science

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments and Programs


Professors Mulry, Nevison
Associate Professors Ramachandran (Chair), Sommers
Assistant Professors Fourquet, Gember-Jacobson, Hay
Visiting Assistant Professors Jackson, Strash
Instructor M. E. Smith
Laboratory Instructors Cucura, Lyboult

Computer science is the study of algorithmic processes and the machines that carry out these processes. Computer science is a mix of theory, application, design, and experiment. Theory addresses questions about the nature and limits of computation, the abstract properties of machine models, the complexity of algorithms, and the formalization of programming languages. Applications include machine and systems design, the design and implementation of programming languages, artificial intelligence, networks, graphics, and simulation. An important aspect of computer science is the development of methods for the systematic design of large systems in hardware and software. Both applications and theoretical issues must be tested experimentally.

The computer science major prepares students either for graduate study in computer science or for a variety of professional careers. The computer science minor and the major in computer science/mathematics prepare students for professions in which computer science overlaps significantly with another discipline. COSC 100 COSC 140 , and COSC 150  provide opportunities for non-majors to learn about computer applications in the liberal arts and to survey, at an introductory level, some topics in computer science.


The Award for Excellence — awarded by the department to a student on the basis of outstanding academic performance in coursework taken within the department.

The Laura Sanchis Award for Excellence in Research — awarded by the department to a student on the basis of outstanding research performed within the department.

The Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Computer Science Community — awarded by the department to a student who has made outstanding contributions to the students and faculty in computer science. This may reflect outstanding work as a laboratory tutor and monitor, work on developing software used by students and faculty, work on maintaining the hardware and software in the computer science laboratories, or academic leadership in the department.

The Edward P. Felt ‘81 Memorial Prize Fund in Computer Science — established in 2001 by family, friends, classmates, and professors. This is an annual prize created in memory of Ed Felt ‘81, who died aboard the September 11, 2001, flight that went down in western Pennsylvania. This prize shall be awarded with first preference given to a student or students who exhibit excellence in the field of computer science.

Advanced Placement and Transfer Credit

The department grants advanced placement and credit to students who perform satisfactorily on the College Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement (AP) exam for computer science as follows: students receiving scores of 4 or 5 on the A exam receive credit for COSC 101 . Other students with sufficient secondary school background in computer science may receive advanced placement without credit after consultation with the department chair. Transfer credit for a computer science course taken at another college or university will be granted only by the approval of the department.

Honors and High Honors

Computer Science

Students who graduate with a 3.30 overall average and a 3.50 average in the major program will receive department honors. A student who meets the honors requirement may submit a senior research thesis advised by a faculty member in the department. A student who completes a satisfactory thesis will receive high honors.

Computer Science/Mathematics

Students who graduate with an average of 3.30 overall average and a 3.50 average in the major program will receive honors. A student with an average of 3.70 in the major courses may submit a senior research thesis. A committee of three members of the faculty, including at least one from each department, will evaluate the thesis. A student who completes a satisfactory thesis will receive high honors.

International Exam Transfer Credit

Transfer credit and/or placement appropriate to academic development of a student may be granted to incoming first year students who have achieved a score on an international exam (e.g., A-Levels, International Baccalaureate) that indicates a level of competence equivalent to the completion of a specific course in the department. Requests should be directed to the department chair. Any such credit may not be used to fulfill the university areas of inquiry requirement, but may count towards the major.


Majors and Minors



    Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments and Programs