Courses and Requirements

Virtually every discipline today—from anthropology and biology to philosophy and women’s studies—is impacted by computers and computational thinking. Recent innovations and discoveries not only in the natural and social sciences but also in the arts and humanities are possible because of the work of computer scientists. Pixar’s animation achievements, for example, wouldn’t have been possible without the pioneering work of Pixar computer scientists (including Eben Otsby ’77, Vassar’s first computer science major!).

Whatever your primary area of interest, a strong background in computer science will expand your options and enhance your ability to think critically, solve problems, and communicate clearly and concisely.

Non-computer Science Majors who want a basic foundation in computational thinking can take the introductory computer science sequence, CMPU 101 and CMPU 102. Students majoring in the sciences are also advised to incorporate this sequence into their program of study. Students eligible for Advanced Placement may, with the permission of the department, bypass the introductory sequence and begin with CMPU 145, Foundations of Computer Science, which introduces the theoretical, structural, and algorithmic foundations of the discipline.

In addition to the major, the department offers a flexible six-unit correlate sequence that can be tailored to meet the needs and interests of the student.

Academic Requirements

Academic requirements and courses are available in the Vassar College Catalogue.


Correlate Sequence

Senior Thesis

While a senior thesis is not a requirement for a concentration in Computer Science, it is an opportunity for students who wish to undertake a capstone research project during their senior year.

CMPU 300

  • Special permission form is required to register for 300, which is the first half of a year-long course.
  • The student is responsible for securing both a primary advisor and a second reader and for providing a paragraph-long description of the project by the end of the third week of classes. If the topic is interdisciplinary, then, with the Computer Science department’s approval, the second reader may be outside the Computer Science department.
  • A Written draft of the thesis proposal is due to the advisor one week before the course drop deadline. It should include: a problem statement, a bibliography from the literature search, an outline of the approach to solving the problem, evaluation criteria, and the significance of the work.
  • Each student and advising professor will work out a schedule of due dates for experiments and data collection, chapters, preliminary drafts, etc.

CMPU 301

  • Special permission form is required to register for 301, which is the second half of a year-long course.
  • A complete draft of the thesis is due to the second reader three weeks before the last day of classes so that it can be returned to the student within a week for any needed changes.
  • The final version of the thesis is due on the last day of classes.
  • The student is to do a presentation to the Computer Science faculty at the end of the semester.