Advising Information

Advising Information Regarding CS Courses and Requirements

This page has answers to the following questions:

I’m interested in taking a Computer Science (CS) course.  Where should I start?

The best place to start is with one of the following combinations of half-unit courses:

  • COMP 101 + 102   (This combination is offered every fall and winter)
  • COMP 101 + 103   (This combination is offered every spring)
  • COMP 101 + 104   (This combination is offered every fall)

COMP 101 (Intro to Computers and Computing) introduces broad ideas in the field of computing. COMP 102, 103, and 104 introduce Programming Basics in either JavaScript (102) or Python (103 or 104).  The combination is the same as a normal one-unit course.  (In fact, we used to offer full-unit courses corresponding to these 3 combinations, each of which met 3 times per week plus a two-hour lab.  The time in class and the workload has not changed.)

We particularly recommend the combination if you might want to take additional CS courses later.  COMP 101 is required for the CS major and minor, while COMP 102, 103, and 104 all satisfy the prerequisite for COMP 150, which is the prerequisite for all further courses.

Why might you take just one, rather than the recommended combination?

  • You already took a 101/10x combination and want an introduction to the other language.
  • You need 101 for the minor or major, but have previous programming experience and don’t need 102/103/104 before taking COMP 150.
  • You need to overload and want to overload in stages with half units rather than a full unit.

What if I took an AP CS course in high school?

For purposes of course placement and prerequisites, a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Computer Science A exam is regarded as equivalent to successful completion of COMP 150. A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Computer Science Principles exam is not equivalent to a specific Kalamazoo College course but satisfies the prerequisite for COMP 150. In either case COMP 101 is still required for the major or minor.

Students whose high school curriculum covered topics in COMP 101 should talk to the department chair about whether they should place into or out of COMP 101.

For Students Who Entered K Before Fall 2022:

How do the course number changes in prerequisites and major/minor requirements affect me?

The changes made in 2022 to the introductory courses and course numbers were meant to provide students with more clarity and more flexibility, but this transition time period may lead to some confusion.  Hopefully this will help:

  • If you previously took COMP 105, 107, or 108, that is equivalent to having taken 101+102, 101+103, or 101+104.
  • COMP 150 is exactly the same course as COMP 110, just a change in number to make it clearer that this course is quite different from 102, 103, 104 (or 105, 107, 108).

That means that if you previously took COMP 105, 107, or 108, you have met the COMP 101 requirement for the major/minor and also the prerequisite requirement for COMP 150.  If you previously took COMP 110, you have met the COMP 150 requirement for the major/minor and also the prerequisite requirement for COMP 210 (and any other course that has either COMP 110 or COMP 150 as a prerequisite).

If you are looking at an older catalog, then taking a combination of COMP 101 and any of COMP 102, 103, or 104 will meet the COMP 105/107/108 requirement for the major/minor, and also satisfies the prerequisite for COMP 110/150.  Taking COMP 150 will meet any requirements that refer to COMP 110.

How does the change in Math cognate requirements affect me?

In September 2022 we changed the Math cognate requirement for the CS major:

  • Old:  Calculus I, Calculus II, Discrete Math
  • New:  Calculus I, Discrete Math, one additional Math course (not including MATH 110)

This automatically applies to students who started at K in Fall ’22 or later.  If you are in a previous class and want to use a Math class other than Calculus II to satisfy the Math cognate requirement for the CS major, contact Dr. Alyce Brady or Dr. Pam Cutter.