For Students

Getting Started in CS

Computer Science is an exciting major, but many entering students are surprised when they discover that they do not have the prerequisite to begin the first computer science course for majors. This course, CSC 130 (Introduction to Computer Science), requires successful completion of a college-level class at the precalculus level or beyond, which entering students can satisfy with AP Calculus credit or transfer credit from another college at the MAT 150 (Precalculus I) level or higher. For students who believe they have equivalent mathematical background but without AP or transfer credit, there are two options:

  1. Take the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. If you score well enough on this test to start your mathematics sequence beyond MAT 190 (Precalculus), then you can enroll in CSC 130. If you choose this option, you should take the test and register for the appropriate math class after getting the results. We will verify that you are registered in a math class beyond MAT 190, and then you can enroll in the first computer science course that same semester. While this test does not give you any credit (it is for placement only), it does reduce the number of math courses you must take by at least one course.
  2. Take one of the appropriate College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests in mathematics. Make sure, if you choose this alternative, that you register and take the test in time for it to be credited on your transcript before you try to register for the first computer science course. Information on UNCG credit granted for CLEP tests is in the UNCG AP/CLEP credit information database (search for “CLEP” as the transfer course).

For students who are not ready for CSC 130 but want to get some course-based experience with computer science, we offer a variety of courses that do not have this mathematics prerequisite, including CSC 100 (The Beauty and Joy of Computing), CSC 105 (Data, Computing, and Quantitative Reasoning), and CSC 120 (Introduction to Computer Programming for Non-Majors). Note that these do not give credit toward a computer science major or minor though, so are only for students who wish to take a class for interest or general-education/elective credit only — check with your advisor if you are not clear on the benefits and limitations of these classes.

For students who are not yet at UNCG and are considering a future Computer Science major, you are strongly recommended to complete as much college credit mathematics as you can while in high school. This involves taking courses such as AP Calculus.