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

Friday, May 17, 2024

Katie Yurechko ’24, co-authors a paper about TikTok and Algospeak

W&L senior CS major Katie Yurechko ’24 co-authored a paper titled “You Can (Not) Say What you Want: Using Algospeak to Contest and Evade Algorithmic Content Moderation on TikTok,”.  Katie collaborated with Ella Steen, a student at Gordon College, and Daniel Klug, a systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon University.  The paper was recently featured online …

Monday, April 22, 2024

2024 Game Demo Day

Students in Professor Matthews CSCI 319 Video Game Design class  showcased their final games at the end of winter term. Game Demo Day took place on Saturday, April 13 from 10:30am – 12:30pm in the Science Center Great Hall. It was a great turnout as lots of people came and played video games! The post 2024 Game Demo Day first appeared on W&L Computer Science 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, …

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