Introductory Courses

The Computer Science Department at Wellesley offers three introductory computer science courses:

CS111: Computer Programming and Problem Solving
CS112: Computation for the Sciences
CS115: Computing for the Socio-Techno Web

Take a closer look to decide which one is best for you!

CS111 is for students who want an in-depth introduction to programming and problem solving and might want to take more advanced computer science courses. It is particularly for students who plan to major or minor in computer science, but also for students that are majoring elsewhere but want to learn general programming and problem solving techniques. CS111 covers fundamental ideas in programming, including abstraction, modularity, recursion, control structures, and data structures. You will get hands-on experience with these ideas by reading, modifying, debugging, designing, writing, and testing programs written in the highly versatile Python programming language. Example applications involve graphics, text-based games, and simple data analysis and visualization.

CS112 is for students who want an introduction to computer programming that provides the tools necessary to use computers effectively in scientific work, including in the natural and physical sciences, biological sciences, medicine, mathematics, psychology and economics. Students learn to write software to solve problems, visualize and analyze data, perform computer simulations, and implement and test computational models that arise in a wide range of scientific disciplines. The course introduces MATLAB, an extensive and widely used technical computing environment with advanced graphics, visualization and analysis tools, and a rich high-level programming language.

CS115 is for students who want a broad exposure to the fundamental concepts of computer science, but also for those that may want to major in Media Arts and Sciences (cross-listed as MAS115). Students get hands-on programming experience building Web applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Given that most people experience the Web today using computer technologies from online networks (Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc), the technical topics are explored along with the social aspects of computing. We study the structure of the Social Web, and focus on a variety of cyberspace issues such as information availability, personal and group privacy, online security, critical thinking, online propaganda and manipulation, restricted resources, self-perception, and decision-making. No prior knowledge of computing is assumed.

Students with significant prior programming experience (e.g. the AP Computer Science course in Java or another full-year high school programming course) are encouraged to consider skipping a 100-level course and instead take CS230 Data Structures. To help you decide if this is a good idea for you, talk to Lyn Turbak or Takis Metaxas.

Discussions/Labs: CS115 students are required to attend a 70-minute weekly discussion section in addition to two weekly lectures. CS111 and CS112 students are required to attend a 2-hour weekly laboratory section in addition to two weekly lectures. None of these are considered laboratory courses.

Mathematical Modeling Distribution: All of these introductory courses count for one Mathematical Modeling (MM) distribution credit.