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Mathematics and Computer Science

Computer Science and Mathematics are intimately related, and the substantial mathematical requirements of the computer science undergraduate program reflect this important relationship. Not surprisingly, it's quite easy for computer science majors to complete a mathematics minor as well. Note that the mathematics minor and major are administered by the Mathematics department. This page is advisory only -- only the Mathematics department can make definitive statements about their requirements.


These three courses have similar intentions but differ in detail. MATH 300 is an introduction to the mathematical method, logically correct proofs, and certain fundamental definitions -- it is a pre-requisite for several advanced courses in the mathematics major. COMPSCI 250 is an introduction to the mathematical method in the context of the discrete mathematics required for the study of the theory of computation. COMPSCI 250 may be substituted for MATH 300, thus most Computer Science majors or minors will take CMPSCI 250 instead of MATH 300. MATH 455 is a more advanced course in discrete mathematics applicable to Computer Science and Engineering. In some cases, MATH 455 may be substituted for CMPSCI 250 as an alternate prerequisite for an upper-level CS course and will replace COMPSCI 250 in combination with other courses in some cases. Additional details are provided below.

Double Majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics

Double majoring in computer science and mathematics is an important option for computer science students. This is an especially valuable course of study for students who are considering graduate education in computing or applied mathematics. The Mathematics department has a variety of concentrations for Mathematics majors, each with its own requirements. Some of these, especially the Mathematical Computing Concentration, allow computer science courses to be used to meet some requirements. Interested students should consult with the Mathematics department for details, but note in particular:

  • Most double majors need not take MATH 300 because they will take COMPSCI 250. However, students can take  MATH 300, MATH 455 and COMPSCI 311 to jointly satisfy the COMPSCI 250 and COMPSCI 311 requirements. This second option will usually only be relevant for math majors who add a CS secondary major after completing MATH 300 and MATH 455.
  • In the Theory of Computation track for the BS-CMPSCI, students may use MATH 411 as one of their eight upper-level math courses.
  • Any four technical math courses numbered 300 and above can serve as an outside concentration for the BA-COMPSCI degree.

Computer Science Major with Minor in Mathematics

The Mathematics minor consists of eight mathematics courses.  Four of these (Math131, Math 132, Math 233, Math 235) are either required for the BS-COMPSCI or can be used for its requirements.  The other four must be upper-division courses (numbered 300 or higher, but not 300 or the writing course) and one of those four may be Algorithms (COMPSCI 311) or another course outside the Math Department but approved by them.

MATH Major with Minor in Computer Science

The CS minor requires CICS 160, CICS 210, and three COMPSCI courses for CS majors. Note that students may not use MATH 300 and MATH 455 to replace COMPSCI 250 in the CS minor. However, most courses that require COMPSCI 250 as a prerequsite allow MATH 455 as an alternate prerequisite.