Choose an Intro Course

Introductory Courses in Computer Science

The Computer Science Department at Wellesley offers three introductory computer science courses: CS 111, CS 115 and CS 230.

  • CS111 and CS115 do not have any prerequisites, but assume a basic familiarity with using computers as tools.
  • All fulfill the Mathematical Modeling (MM) requirement.
  • None fulfills the Laboratory Credit requirement.
  • All include a mandatory weekly discussion or lab meeting in addition to the two weekly class meetings.

Read the descriptions below or speak with a member of the CS faculty to decide which course is best for you. This flowchart can help determine the best first CS class. Students with significant prior programming experience equivalent to CS 111 should take the CS placement questionnaire to determine their optimal CS course placement. Questions about the CS placement questionnaire can be sent to

CS 111 Computer Programming and Problem Solving

CS 111 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. CS 111 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.

CS/MAS 115 Computing for the Socio-Techno Web

CS 115 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 MAS 115). 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.

CS 230 Data Structures

CS 230 is the second course in the CS Major or CS Minor sequence, after CS 111. Students with significant prior programming experience (e.g. the AP Computer Science course in Java or another full-year high school programming course) may be eligible for placement directly into CS 230. To help you decide if this is a good idea for you, speak with one of the instructors of CS 230, listed on the CS 230 course website.