Computer Science


Computers have transformed our world technologically, economically, and socially. Although computer science has its roots in mathematics, the use of computers increasingly informs almost every academic discipline. At Occidental College, the study of Computer Science emphasizes an understanding not only of the process of computing but also of the promise and limitations of computers within an intellectual, societal, and ethical framework. A minor in Computer Science can help prepare students for a variety of opportunities for subsequent employment or graduate work. Moreover, the minor can provide students with models of problem solving and theoretical constructs that can shed light on human intelligence and the workings of the mind.

Minor Requirements


The requirements for the minor consist of three core courses, two computer science electives, and one interdisciplinary elective.

Core Courses

This requirement may be satisfied by either COMP 127 or COMP 131, and COMP 229, and MATH 210, for a total of 12 units. The goal of these courses is to provide students with beginning experience, both practical and theoretical, to continue in computer science.

COMP 127Introduction to Computer Science through Data


COMP 131Fundamentals of Computer Science


COMP 229Data Structures


MATH 210Discrete Mathematics


Two Elective Courses

This requirement can be fulfilled by any two courses below. The goal of these courses is for students to acquire depth in particular areas of computer science.

COMP 317Algorithms Analysis


COMP 337Programming Languages


COMP 353Information Theory


COMP 367Practicum in Computer Science


One Interdisciplinary Elective Course

Choose one of the following. Note that these courses may have additional prerequisites not listed here.

BIO 268Biostatistics


BIO 326Molecular Evolution and Phylogenomics


COGS 210Introduction to Artificial Intelligence


COGS 242Computational Approaches to Cognition


GEO 355Paleomagnetism


MATH 352Computability and Complexity


MATH 370Numerical Analysis


MATH 372Operations Research


PHYS 261Simulations in Physics


PHYS 361Computational Physics



Additional mathematics courses relevant to computer science include MATH 150, MATH 320, MATH 322, MATH 350, and MATH 380.

Computer Science Placement

Advanced placement is available to students with qualifying scores on the College Board Advanced Placement Examinations in Computer Science. Those scoring 4 or 5 on the AP Examination may enroll in COMP 229 without the COMP 127 and COMP 131 prerequisites.


Computer Science Courses


Regular Faculty

Eric Sundberg

Associate Professor, Mathematics

A.B., Occidental College; Ph.D., Rutgers University

Justin Li

Assistant Professor, Cognitive Science

PhD, University of Michigan

Jeffrey Miller

Full Time Non Tenure Track Assistant Professor

B.S. UC Davis; M.A., Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara

Advisory Committee

Scott Bogue

Associate Dean for Research; Professor, Geology

A.B., Brown University; Ph.D., UC Santa Cruz

Ron Buckmire

Professor, Mathematics

B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Jeffrey Cannon

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

B.A. Occidental College; Ph.D. University of California, Irvine

Carmel Levitan

Associate Professor, Cognitive Science; Advisory Committee, Neuroscience

B.A., Stanford University; Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Janet Scheel

Associate Professor, Physics

B.S., University of Illinois, Urbana; M.A., M.S., Cornell University; Ph.D., Caltech

Alec Schramm

Professor, Physics

B.A., Cornell University; M.A., Ph.D., Duke University

Amanda Zellmer

Assistant Professor, Biology

B.S. University of Wisconsin, PhD University of Michigan