What requirements does this course satisfy?

CAS students who have not completed the core curriculum need to take two divisional studies courses in the MCS division. This course will count as one of the two.

CAS students who have not scored at least 580 on the math portion of the SAT I (or at least 23 on the math portion of the ACT, or at least 3 on a mathematics AP exam) have a mathematics competency requirement. Taking this course will satisfy it.

This course counts toward a computer science minor.

We hope that this course will be interesting even to students for whom it does not satisfy any particular requirement.

Should I register for MA 109 or CS 109?

It does not matter, because you will be taking the same course.

Do I have to register for a discussion section?

Yes. The discussion section, which is led by a faculty member, is an integral component of the course. Discussion sections will cover material not covered in lectures. Attendance in discussion sections is necessary.

Will I learn how to program or create web pages?

No. While this course will deepen your understanding and appreciation of concepts that are fundamental to computer technology and will use computers to help you learn certain concepts, it is not a course that focuses on how to use particular technologies. There are other divisional courses in CS that would be more appropriate for those interested in programming or web development.

I am not clear as to what quantitative reasoning means, so I am tempted to take an MCS divisional course on a topic that I am more familiar with, such as calculus, programming, or statistics. How are the topics in MA/CS-109 different?

Courses on calculus, programming, or statistics aim to develop specific skills that are needed for particular concentrations. For example, calculus builds the foundations necessary for many natural science disciplines and programming enables students to use computing in various application domains. MA/CS-109, on the other end, is aimed at developing a much broader understanding of some of the most basic yet powerful concepts in mathematics, statistics, and computer science. More importantly, it aims to develop an appreciation of how the quantitative reasoning that underlies these disciplines is instrumental in navigating the world we live in. Thus, MA/CS-109 is a more appropriate choice for students whose concentrations do not require the development of specific skills in mathematics, statistics, or computer science and who are interested in how these disciplines affect our lives.

I am considering MA/CS-109 as one of my two MCS divisional courses. Is it better if I take it as the first of these two, or should I start with another MCS divisional course?

Given its broader coverage, it makes more sense to take MA/CS-109 as a first MCS divisional course (and as early as possible in your program), to help you choose further MCS course(s).