Choosing Your First Computer Science Course

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If you are interested in computer science as a possible major and do not have AP credit,taking one of these introductory CS courses in your first semester at Cornell is a good idea but not required.

  • CS 1110 - Introduction to Computing Using Python; OR
  • CS 1112 - Introduction to Computing Using Matlab

Which of these courses you take is entirely your choice. Both courses cover the same foundational computing concepts and adequately prepare you to take CS 2110 or CS 2112, even though one course uses Python and the other uses Matlab as the programming language. CS 1110 provides more practice with object-orientated design. CS 1112 has a mathematics pre/co-requisite (CS 1110 does not, though many students find it helpful to have taken calculus before CS 1110). Whichever course you choose, you can, if you'd like, also learn the other programming language by later taking a 1 credit transition course (CS 1132 - Transition to Matlab or CS 1133 - Transition to Python).

If you are interested in computer science as a possible major and took an AP-level course in high school in Java and received a 5 on the Computer Science A exam or performed sufficiently well on the CS placement exam taken during Orientation, you will be offered credit for CS 1110.

  • Students considering majoring in Computer Science or Information Science may want to accept the AP credit and start with CS 2110 or CS 2112, as the primary programming language in both of these courses is Java.
  • If you choose to take the credit for CS 1110 and go directly into CS 2110 or CS 2112, you may want to eventually take one of the two transition courses (CS 1132 or CS 1133) to learn Python or Matlab, but this is optional.

If you have exceptional prior experience in CS, upper-level courses may be appropriate. Contact the CS undergrad office at 607-255-0982 or ugrad@cs.cornell.edu for more information and guidance.