To complete the CS major, students must have Carleton credit for Math 111 (Calc 1). Students may also satisfy this requirement with credit for Math 101. Some Carleton students have previous calculus experience but do not have Carleton credit for Math 111; for these students, we grant an exception by allowing other courses to stand in for Math 111:
- Any student who has earned a 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB or BC exam but has not earned Carleton credit for Math 111 must complete either (i) a 6-credit Math Department course for which Math 111 is a prerequisite, or (ii) Math 215 or a 6-credit Math Department course for which Math 215 is a prerequisite. Retaking Math 111 is also acceptable, though not recommended.
- Under all other circumstances, students must complete Math 111 or another 6-credit Math Department course for which Math 111 is a prerequisite.
Note that a high score on the Math Department placement exam does not satisfy this requirement, as the placement exam grants only placement rather than Carleton credit.
Placement without Credit
In unusual circumstances, a student has done work prior to enrolling at Carleton that’s essentially equivalent to some course in our curriculum, but the student does not enter Carleton with credit for that experience. (This situation can arise in a number of different ways, including self-study or a student exceeding the cap on prematriculation credits.) In this case, we can normally grant placement out of the corresponding Carleton course, so that you can begin studying CS with a later course in the curriculum. If you eventually become a CS major, we’ll normally ask you to make up the resulting “credit deficit” in the major by taking an additional elective. (This policy is designed for the case of a student who studied relevant material prior to enrolling at Carleton. In keeping with the spirit of the college policy on transfer credits and summer study at other institutions, it does not apply for an enrolled student who wishes to study relevant material in lieu of taking a required course in the major.)
Scrunching of Courses Required for the Major
By college policy, for a course to count toward the major, it cannot be taken on an elective S/Cr/NC basis. Occasionally, though, we receive questions from CS majors who wish to scrunch a CS course that they’re currently taking, or who wish to declare a CS major having previously scrunched an early course required for the CS major. To be clear, we’re delighted to have you as a major if the way that you realized that you wanted to study CS was by taking an early course scrunch and then discovering that you loved the field. But, in keeping with both the letter and the spirit of the college policy, once you know that you will be a CS major, you cannot count a scrunched course towards the CS major. If you have already earned an S (elective scrunch) in a course that is required for the CS major, there are two options:
- You can petition the college to permit you to retake the course for a letter grade. (By college policy, you need to petition to do so, as your S normally shows mastery of the material that would preclude retaking the course.)
- You can petition the department to allow another course (or courses) to substitute for the scrunched requirement. As a department, we normally only consider such a petition at the time that you declare a CS major. (Note: you being in the process of declaring a CS major is necessary for us to support your petition, but not sufficient. We do not support petitions that smack of GPA optimization or attempts to game the system.)
CS Elective Requirements and Off-Campus Study
To complete the CS major, students must earn 12 Carleton credits from CS electives (non-required CS courses numbered 200 or above, excluding independent study, senior seminar, and comps). Normally, CS majors satisfy this requirement by taking two 6-credit CS courses at Carleton. However, in some off-campus study programs, students may take a course appropriate as a CS elective but that counts for fewer than 6 Carleton credits. Students in this situation should consult with the chair of the CS department to discuss their particular circumstances; in some situations, we may be able to waive a small credit deficit in this requirement.