Computer Science Department

Over the course of three decades, the computer science department at Washington and Lee has built a curriculum that provides outstanding computer science education in a liberal arts setting.  We offer students courses in all of the major areas of computing, as well as opportunities to participate in several ongoing research programs sponsored by our faculty.

Beginning students take a two-semester introductory programming sequence course in the Python language, where they become proficient in problem solving and developing software using the latest and most advanced programming techniques.  They then take courses in software development with Java, computer organization (assembly language and C programming), programming language design, and algorithm analysis.  Electives in many areas are then available.  You can enter the honors program and write a senior thesis if you qualify.

Research areas included robotics, parallel computing, machine learning, security and privacy, human-computer interaction, and software engineering.  The department also has strong interdisciplinary ties to such areas as data science, neuroscience, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental geoscience,  mathematics, and digital humanities.

Faculty sponsor student research with summer internships, and you can also find summer opportunities at other universities, in government, or in the private sector.  Some graduates have been admitted to some of the top graduate schools in the country.  Other graduates use our aggressive career office and strong alumni network to find permanent employment in government or the private sector.

Students have majored in computer science and also majored in almost any other subject here.  Many students have another science major, such as biology or physics; some have a second major in our commerce school, and a few have a second major in a subject like philosophy, classics, or theater.  Students can also have a minor in a subject that offers one, where you take approximately one half of the courses required for  a major.  In all cases, we encourage our majors to pursue a broad sampling of subjects in the liberal arts, which we believe is the best way to get a true education.

We have a collegial and fun-loving group of students in the program at any given time, and our record of attracting women and students of underrepresented groups to the major is unsurpassed.  Our majors, like other students, are involved outside the classroom in many extracurricular clubs, organizations, and athletic teams.

In short, if you want a first-rate computer science education at a first-rate liberal arts college, you should check out the computer science department at Washington and Lee.  Please feel free to contact the department chair, Professor Sara Sprenkle at sprenkles@wlu.edu, if you have any questions.

Computer Science Department Blog

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

CS major Katie Yurechko – First Marshall Scholar at Washington and Lee!

Katie Yurechko, ’24, a computer science and philosophy double major, was one of 51 Marshall Scholars chosen in 2023.   She is the first Marshall Scholar at W&L! The Marshall Scholarship program was created in 1953 by an Act of British Parliament as a thank-you to former U.S. Secretary of State General George Marshall and the …

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

CS’s Capture the Flag (CtF) event

On November 2 , the Computer Science Department held its first ever Capture the Flag event. Capture the Flag (CtF) in computer security is an exercise in which participants attempt to find text strings, called “flags”, which are secretly hidden in purposefully-vulnerable programs or websites. From unraveling cryptic codes to identifying vulnerabilities in simulated systems, …

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

“Step Away from Your Screen” by CS Major Katie Yurechko ’24

Computer Science Major, Katie Yurechko, ’24,  provides a unique and compelling perspective on the use of social media in her feature “Step Away from Your Screen”. Since this article was created exclusively for the Alumni Magazine,  it does not yet exist on the W&L website.  A  “go” link has been created that goes directly to …

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

CS Prof. Liz Matthews’ Advisor awarded National Award from President Biden!

Juan Gilbert, a University of Florida professor and graduate school advisor to Professor Matthews, received the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Biden. His pioneering designs in election technology aim to make voting more secure and accessible and, ultimately, protect our democracy. Click on the link to see the details. https://youtu.be/jWRJHD7nR4g?t=1630 The post CS Prof. Liz Matthews’ Advisor awarded National Award from President Biden! first appeared on W&L Computer Science Blog.

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