Computer Sciences at SOAR

A message from the CS advisors:

As advisors, we want to be clear with our students that we are committed to creating an inclusive, equitable, and safe environment for our campus community. We value our students’ identities and recognize the racist and oppressive systems in higher education that create challenges and pain that conflict with our commitment to our students. As advisors, we stand in solidarity with our students as we all tackle racist systems that create barriers to accessing a quality and safe educational environment.

We remain committed to evaluating ourselves, our privilege, and our advising practices to improve the student experience in the Computer Sciences Department and at UW-Madison. As part of our actions to dismantle oppressive systems, we are committed to providing our students a space to share their experiences, to be heard, and to be helped to the best of our ability. Our advising goes beyond just answering academic questions. We want you to know: We support you. You belong. You matter.

– Shelby Arkin, Madeline Juillard, Michael Radloff, and Mollie Stolbov

Information for incoming students and campus advisors

General Information

  • Prerequisites are enforced on all CS courses.
  • CS 200, 300, and 400 are intended for Computer Sciences majors.
  • CS 220 and 320 are intended for Data Science majors. 
  • Other majors may require or recommend a Computer Sciences course – please consult with your advisor .
  • Some courses have waitlists. To see waitlist lengths, please check this spreadsheet (log in with your UW credentials).
  • It is recommended to take no more than one programming course per semester in the first year.

Courses

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CS 200: Programming I

  • Language: Java
  • Prerequisite: Quantitative Reasoning A (can be satisfied with math placement or credit for a course that fulfills QR-A)
  • Notes & Details: 
    • CS 200 assumes little to no programming background.
    • We release seats gradually throughout the summer and will not open a waitlist until SOAR is complete. Please try to make an open section work with your schedule

CS 304: Wisconsin Emerging Scholars for CS 200

  • Audience: Students enrolling in CS 200 with no programming background, students from groups underrepresented in computer science 
  • Language: Java
  • Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in CS 200, must successfully enroll in 200 prior to enrolling in 304
  • Notes & Details:
    • WES-CS is a small, interactive peer led study group where students can gain computing confidence.  WES-CS provides a supportive, collaborative environment where diverse groups of students can explore CS through small group problem-solving activities
    • Students can enroll for 0 or 1 credit
    • Students interested in enrolling should complete the WES-CS interest form

CS 300: Programming II

  • Language: Java. It is expected that students know Java going into CS 300. Students are highly encouraged to speak with their instructor during the first week of class if they have any concerns about learning Java
  • Prerequisite: CS 200, CS 220 or CS 301
  • Notes & Details: We release seats gradually throughout the summer and will not open a waitlist until SOAR is complete. Please try to make an open section work with your schedule

CS 638: Wisconsin Emerging Scholars for CS 300 (Lec 003, 004, 005, and 006)

  • Audience: Students enrolling in CS 300 who want more support in their first programming course at UW. Students from groups underrepresented in computer science or those who are concerned about the transition from their college to UW’s programming sequence are ideal students for this course
  • Language: Java
  • Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in CS 300
  • Notes & Details:
    • WES-CS is a small, interactive peer led study group where students can gain computing confidence.  WES-CS provides a supportive, collaborative environment where diverse groups of students can explore CS through small group problem-solving activities

Students interested in enrolling should complete the WES-CS interest form

CS 400: Programming III

  • Language: Java. Students are highly encouraged to speak with their instructor during the first week of class if they have any concerns about learning Java
  • Prerequisite: CS 300
  • Notes & Details: Eligible freshmen can enroll, space permitting, or add themselves to the waitlist. Priority is given to incoming transfer students

CS 220: Data Programming I

  • Language: Python
  • Prerequisite: Quantitative Reasoning A (can be satisfied with math placement or credit for a course that fulfills QR-A)
  • Notes & Details:
    • CS 220 assumes little to no programming background
    • We release seats gradually throughout the summer and will not open a waitlist until SOAR is complete. Please try to make an open section work with your schedule

CS 320: Data Programming II

  • Language: Python
  • Prerequisite: CS 220
  • Notes & Details:
    • Eligible freshmen can enroll, space permitting, or add themselves to the waitlist. Priority is given to incoming transfer students

Math Courses

  • The Computer Sciences major requires Calculus I (Math 221, 171-217, or 275) and Calculus II (Math 222 or 276)
  • Computer Sciences requires two courses beyond Math 222. We recommend Linear Algebra (Math 340) and Stats for Engineers (Stats 324). Students double majoring with another math-based major, please review your other major’s requirements for math recommendations

Incoming Credits

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Advanced Placement (AP)

  • AP Computer Science Principles
    • Score of 4 or higher gives credit for CS 202 (note that CS 202: Introduction to Computation is taught infrequently)
    • Enroll in CS 200
    • Note for students who took the exam in 2020: because AP CS Principles is a portfolio, there were no changes to the content. Students will be fine to enroll in CS 200
  • AP Computer Science A
    • Score of 3 or higher gives credit for CS 200
    • Enroll in CS 300
    • Note for students who took the exam in 2020: Units 8-10 (2D Arrays, Inheritance, and Recursion) were not covered in this year’s AP exam. Inheritance and Recursion are already topics covered in CS 300. 2D Arrays will be built into the beginning of CS 300 because of the changes to AP. Students who earned a 3 or higher should still enroll in CS 300 and are welcome to talk to the CS consultants if they have any concerns 

International Baccalaureate (IB)

  • IB Computer Studies (higher level only)
    • Score or 4 or higher gives credit for CS 200
    • Enroll in CS 300
    • Note for students who took IB CS in 2020: you are still able to earn college credit for IB coursework. Students who earn a 4 or higher or higher level IB Computer Studies will get credit for CS 200 and should enroll in CS 300. Students who have concerns are welcome to talk to the CS consultants

Transfer Credits

  • If you have a Computer Sciences course transferring in as electives, you can request that it be reviewed by the CS Department. More information, including the form to request a reevaluation, can be found here
  • If you are not sure on which syllabi you should submit for review, you can speak to the CS Consultant. If you need help changing your schedule post-SOAR due to updated credit evaluations, please email advising@cs.wisc.edu for some assistance

Consultants

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When to contact a consultant

  • Course Access
    • AP/IB credits known but not posted to UW record (For AP scores, please send your unofficial score report)  
    • Issues enrolling in CS 200, 220, or 300
  • Course Selection
    • CS 200 vs 300 – students with substantial programming experience but no college level credit can talk to a CS consultant to determine the best first course
    • Interested in Data Science and Computer Sciences and debating CS 200 or 220 as first course
    • Questions about WES-CS
  • Transfer Credit
    • Questions about whether or not to submit a reevaluation request
    • Transfer credits not posted yet
  • Anything else not covered on this page

How to contact a consultant

  • Email us at: advising@cs.wisc.edu. Please include your campus ID and any necessary screenshots. Emails are responded to within 24 hours (except weekends)
  • If we aren’t able to answer your question via email, we will schedule an appointment with you using the Teams platform.