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, web applications, digital humanities, and genetic programming.  The department also has strong interdisciplinary ties to such areas as neuroscience, engineering, mathematics, business administration, 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

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Spring Term ’22 – Professor Watson’s class takes a “Walks Through the Ages”

  CSCI 257-01: “A Walk Through the Ages: Using Artificial Intelligence to Understand the Evolution of Exercise,” .  in this S22 course, students monitor movements on exercise trackers and examine patterns of exercise, movement and health impacts while researching the evolution of human exercise. This course is co-taught by assistant professor of computer science Cody …

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Just released — W&L After Class Podcast featuring Professor Khan!

  Washington and Lee’s Office of Lifelong Learning has a podcast “W&L After Class” where you can hear from various faculty members about a wide variety of topics they have expertise in. In session 3, Taha Khan, assistant professor of computer science  at W&L, discusses his research on computer security, privacy and human-computer interaction – …

Thursday, October 28, 2021

CS’s Professor Khan has publications!

Professor Taha Khan published 2 papers in AY 2020-21.   Both papers were published in the same conference, USENIX Security.  The USENIX Association is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to supporting the advanced computing systems communities and furthering the reach of innovative research.  Professor Khan’s papers were entitled “Helping Users Automatically Find and Manage Sensitive, Expendable Files …

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