McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science   Northwestern University
Department of Computer Science Northwestern University

Computing and Information Systems Curriculum

The Program in Computing and Information Systems offers students in the College of Arts and Sciences the opportunity to study computer science within the context of the College's focus on liberal arts and sciences, as distinct from the engineering context offered by the Computer Science program in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Faculty and courses for the Program are drawn from the McCormick School's Department of Computer Science. Courses and research in the Department address the underlying theories, enabling technologies, and applications of modern computer science. There is a strong focus on the design, implementation, and evaluation of software systems, including interactive, distributed multimedia, artificial intelligence, robotics, and database systems.

Research in the Department is highly interdisciplinary, including important links with Cognitive Science and Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as Learning Sciences within the School of Education and Social Policy. Undergraduates are encouraged to join ongoing research projects within the Department. (For more information about Computer Science, and course listings, please consult the Department's write-up under the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.)

The major in Computing and Information Systems is highly flexible, emphasizing the interdisciplinary study and project work that are critical in a field as rapidly changing as computer science. The specific courses to be taken are largely determined by the goals and interests of the individual student. The major includes a two-quarter "capstone" project activity that helps integrate the skills and knowledge acquired in coursework.

Computing facilities available to students in the Program are extensive. The campus is completely networked, including dormitories, with a 100-megabit FDDI University Network backbone. All students have full Internet access. Electronic mail, web sites, and other computer-based communication facilities are extensively used within the Program to foster a sense of community and facilitate communication among students and faculty beyond the classroom.

Program of Study for Majors

Prerequisites:
5 courses - Mathematics 214-1,2,3 and 219, and Mathematics 330-1, Stats 210, or equivalent.
Major courses

Introductory sequence:
CS 111 (Fundamentals of Computer Programming), 211 (Fundamentals of Computer Programming II), and 311 (Data Structures and Data Management). Students without any prior programming experience may wish to take CS 110 (Introduction to Computer Programming) before CS 111.

Intermediate and advanced computer science courses:
Eight courses chosen from CS 200-level and above (excluding CS 317).

Additional advanced technical courses:
Two courses chosen from CS 310-399 (excluding CS 317), Mathematics 215, 221, 308, 310, 313, 335, 337-1,2,3, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) 203, 205, 313, 328, 358, 361, 362. (Please consult the Computer Science Mathematics and External Technical Electives lists for the most up-to-date information on suitable courses in this category.) 

Advanced electives:
Two courses chosen subject to the approval of the student's advisor. Appropriate courses in this category would include advanced courses in, for example, Computer Science, social sciences such as Psychology, Economics, or Learning Sciences, Mathematics, natural sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, or other disciplines such as Radio/Television/Film, Journalism, or Music.

Project Courses:
Two courses requiring substantial project work (e.g., CS 394 or 399). The project or projects developed in these courses must be approved by the student's advisor as well as the course instructor in order to fulfill the project requirement in Computing and Information Systems.

Double Major with the Integrated Science Program

The Integrated Science Program (ISP) is a highly selective program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students majoring in ISP may complete a second major in Computing and Information Systems through a curriculum tailored specifically to their needs.

Introductory sequence:
CS 111, 211, and 311.

Intermediate and advanced computer science courses:
Seven courses chosen from CS 200-level and above (excluding CS 317).

Project Courses: Two quarters of ISP 398 or CS 399. The project or projects developed in these courses must be approved by the student's advisors in both the ISP and CIS Programs in order to fulfill the project requirement in Computing and Information Systems.

Minor in Computing and Information Systems

The Program offers a Minor in Computing and Information Systems for students who wish to develop a strong competence in computer science while majoring in another area. Students choosing this minor are expected to have completed MATH 214-1, 2, 3 and 219, which are prerequisites for most computer science courses.

Minor course requirements (9 units)
Prerequisites:
Mathematics 214-1,2,3 and 219.
Minor courses
Introductory sequence:
CS 111, CS 211, and CS 311. (Students without any prior programming experience may wish to take CS 110 before CS 111.)

Intermediate and advanced courses:
Six courses chosen from CS 310 through 399 (excluding CS 317)


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