Computer Science Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I major in CS?

CS is a high-demand major at Pomona, with a fixed number of seats available in the required courses. As a result, we have a limit to the number of CS majors that we can support and with current staffing the department cannot accommodate everyone who seeks to pursue a major under existing demand.

There are two main mechanisms that limit the number of CS majors. First, you must take CS51 some time in your first three semesters if you want to major/minor. Since there are a fixed number of seats in CS51 for each class year, not everyone will be able to enroll in CS51 in their first three semesters. Second, each semester we have a fixed number of seats for first and second year students in CS54 (our second course in the intro sequence) that will be PERM-only. If there are more students in CS51 that want to continue into CS54 the next semester than the number of seats, we will randomly fill the seats. Students that are not selected will not be able to take CS54 (either that semester or in the future) and will not be able to major or minor in CS. Students that are selected will be able to continue into CS62 and declare the major or continue to take upper division classes without declaring (e.g., for the minor).

Can I minor in CS?

Yes! Students who are able to enroll in CS54 will be able to continue to CS62 and will be eligible to enroll in upper division CS classes. Like the major, we currently have capacity to support a limited number of minors.

How do I enroll in CS51?

We allocate a fixed number of seats each semester for each class year (first years, sophomores, etc.). If the seats fill up for your class year during pre-enrollment, PERM the class and we’ll revisit the list if seats become available. However, you’ll likely have to try again the following semester.

Can I skip CS51?

If you have taken AP CS-A or have other prior programming experience you must still enroll in CS51 if you would like to take additional CS classes. Once enrolled, contact the chair of the CS department and confirm your background is sufficient and then you can drop the class and would be eligible to try and enroll in CS54 the next semester.

If you do not have significant CS experience before Pomona, you must take CS51 (e.g., you cannot take an intro to CS class at another institution).

Can off-campus students take CS classes at Pomona?

If you are an off-campus student that has declared a CS major through HMC, we reserve a small number of seats in our upper-division classes that are allocated through the pre-placement process each semester. For our intro classes, we prioritize Pomona students. Given demand and capacity this has meant that only Pomona students can currently take our intro classes.