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Information Processing Studies Courses

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Principal Course Distribution Requirement

Principal courses offer introductions to the breadth of disciplines in the College. They acquaint students with the subject matter in an area, with the types of questions that are asked about that subject matter, with the knowledge that has been developed and is now basic to the area, and with the methods and standards by which claims to truth are judged.

Students must complete courses in topical groups in three major divisions (humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences). For the B.A., three courses are required from each division, with no more than one course from any topical group. The B.G.S. requires two courses from each division, with no more than one from any topical group. To fulfill the requirement, a course must be designated as a principal course according to the codes listed below.

These are the major divisions, their topical subgroups, and the codes that identify them:


  • HT: Historical studies
  • HL: Literature and the arts
  • HR: Philosophy and religion

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

  • NB: Biological sciences
  • NE: Earth sciences
  • NM: Mathematical sciences
  • NP: Physical science

Social Sciences

  • SC: Culture and society
  • SI: Individual behavior
  • SF: Public affairs

No course may fulfill both a principal course distribution requirement and a non-Western culture or second-level mathematics course requirement. Laboratory science courses designated as principal courses may fulfill both the laboratory science requirement and one of the distribution requirements. No free-standing laboratory course may by itself fulfill either the laboratory science requirement or a principal course requirement. Students should begin taking principal courses early in their academic careers. An honors equivalent of a principal course may fulfill a principal course requirement.

View all approved principal course distribution courses »

Non-Western Culture Requirement

A non-Western culture course acquaints students with the culture, society, and values of a non-Western people, for example, from Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, or Africa. Students must complete one approved non-Western culture course.

One approved non-Western culture course is required. Occasionally courses with varying topics fulfill the non-Western culture course requirement. See the Schedule of Classes for details. These courses are coded NW.

View all approved non-Western culture courses »

Transfer and Earned Credit Course Codes

These codes are used to evaluate transfer credit and to determine which academic requirements a course meets.

  • H: Humanities
  • N: Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • S: Social Sciences
  • W: World Civilization and Culture
  • U: Undesignated Elective Credit (course does not satisfy distribution requirement)

All Information Processing Studies courses

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An introduction to the theoretical areas of computer science and their applications. Emphasis will be placed on the methods and standards by which computer science makes judgments and on what computers can and cannot accomplish. Among major topics covered are: how to read and to implement algorithms; what is memory and how much of it is required for various tasks; why computers cannot multiply; how finite-state machines compute; applications of finite-state machines to programming; recognizing languages; formal grammars. "Can machines think?" and other contemporary topics in the philosophy of computer science will be covered as time permits. Prerequisite: MATH 101 or MATH 104. LEC
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The course explores some of the most significant and enduring ideas in mathematics: the great theorems, discoveries of beauty and insight that stand today as monuments to the human intellect. Emphasis will be placed on the methods and standards by which mathematics makes judgments. Among the major topics covered are: Euclid and the infinitude of primes, Archimedes determination of circular area, Cardano and the solution of the cubic, the Bernoullis and the harmonic series, a sample of Euler's number theory, Cantor and the transfinite realm. Along with the essential mathematics, the humanity of these great mathematicians is captured. Prerequisite: Membership in the University Honors Program, high school algebra and geometry, and permission of the instructor. LEC
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This course is designed to allow students to do further readings in the theory of computing beyond the material presented in IPS 101. Topics, scope, and meeting times to be arranged for the individual student. Prerequisite: IPS 101 and consent of instructor. LEC
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