Computer Science

  • Degree Type Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Science
  • Department Computer Science
  • Academic Division The College
  • Offerings Major MInor

An instructor and student look at a computer screen together. An instructor and student look at a computer screen together.

Computer science at W&L provides a foundation in computing fundamentals, invariant principles and practices of the discipline including analysis, algorithm design and the selection of theoretical models, software and hardware systems, and historical, social, legal and ethical context of computing.

Computer Science 

Computing has transformed life. Advances in computing have enabled breakthroughs in genetics, protein modeling, medicine, weather simulations and all scientific fields. Video games and movie graphics are increasingly realistic. Children acquire various skills using fun, educational software. The Internet has revolutionized commerce, transportation and communication. Policies and laws have been reimagined to account for the new world created in cyberspace.

As a general-purpose discipline, computer science attracts students from all types of backgrounds. The projects they work on are limited only by the human imagination. With a solid foundation in computer science, W&L students have the knowledge and skills to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. Since computing is integral to so many other disciplines, some students pursue computer science along with another major.

Honors Program

The Honors Program in computer science is an enrichment opportunity for students who demonstrate superior achievement in computer science. Honors work consists of research for and preparation of an honors thesis, followed by a presentation of the completed thesis at a departmental seminar to which the public is invited.

Research and Internship Opportunities

Students may pursue individual or team-based research projects under faculty supervision in many specialized areas, during either the summer or the academic year. Such projects have often led to honors theses and placements in highly selective graduate programs. Our students are encouraged to intern during the summer to gain industry experience at government labs and at small and large companies.

Sara Sprenkle

Department Head

Carolyn Wingrove-Moore

Administrative Assistant

News


Meet Ford Scott ’24

Ford Scott '24 enjoys the intersection of technology and the humanities and has furthered his interests through independent study and internships.

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Katie Yurechko '24

W&L’s Katie Yurechko Among 2024 Class of Marshall Scholars

Yurechko ’24 is the university’s first Marshall Scholar.

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Digging Deep

W&L’s Summer Research Scholars program gives students hands-on experience in collaborative research with faculty mentors.

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W&L Student Co-Authors Paper Published Online by Sage Journals

Katie Yurechko ’24 presented research related to content creators circumventing TikTok’s content moderation algorithms.

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Katie Yurechko '24

W&L Student Attends Association for Computing Machinery Web Conference in Austin, Texas

Katie Yurechko ’24 presented on how algorithm awareness impacts algospeak use on TikTok.

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W&L Students Place Second in the HooHacks Hackathon Event

Lakpa Sherpa ’25 and Ignas Volcokas ’25 designed a personal learning assistant that utilizes the power of artificial intelligence.

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W&L’s Sarp Sahin ’26 Selected to Present at Sports Medicine Conference

First-year Johnson Scholar to offer preliminary research on foot-limb dominance and neuromuscular asymmetry in pediatric soccer players.

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Stackhouse Theater seating

From Screen to Square Film Screening: Hidden Figures

The upcoming screening is the second installment in the DeLaney Center's ongoing film series.

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Students jogging on the Colonnade

Life on Two Legs

In this Spring Term course, Washington and Lee students are making data science look like a walk in the park.

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Katie Cones '21

W&L Graduate Katie Cones ’21 Awarded Fulbright ETA to Bulgaria

The English Teaching Assistantship provides Cones a stipend to teach English to students in Bulgaria and lead cultural exchange activities.

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Elyssa McMaster

W&L’s Elyssa McMaster ’22 Awarded Fulbright to Italy

McMaster has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to Italy to complete a hybrid art history and computer science project.

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Sample Courses

At W&L, we believe education and experience go hand-in-hand. You’ll be encouraged to dive in, explore and discover connections that will broaden your perspective.

CSCI 315

Artificial Intelligence

Basic concepts of heuristic search, game playing, natural language processing and intelligent systems, with a focus on writing programs in these areas. Course combines a discussion of philosophical issues with hands-on problem solving.

CSCI 209

Software Development

An examination of the theories and design techniques used in software development. Topics include the software life cycle, design patterns, the Unified Modeling Language, unit testing, refactoring, rapid prototyping and program documentation.

CSCI 313

Theory of Computation

A study of the principles of computer science embodied in formal languages, automata, computability and computational complexity. Topics include context-free grammars, Turing machines and the halting problem.

CSCI 319

Video Game Design

In this course, students learn to design and program video games using Python and the Pygame module. Concepts covered include video game code organization utilizing object-oriented programming, OOP design patterns, 2D animation, artificial intelligence and responding to user feedback.

Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.

Sara Sprenkle
Sara

Sara Sprenkle

Head, Department of Computer Science; Associate Professor of Computer Science

Sprenkle teaches courses in programming, software development, and upper-level electives in software engineering. Her research focuses on automatically testing web applications to make sure they are behaving properly.

Curriculum Vitae

Cody Watson
Cody

Cody Cody Watson

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Watson teaches applications of deep learning in software engineering and the progression of software 2.0. Has recently been exploring the applications of software methodologies to deep learning-based solutions.

Taha Khan
Taha

Taha Khan

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Khan teaches Fundamentals of Programming II. His research focuses on computer security, privacy and human-computer interaction, including cybercrime, commercial VPN services privacy, and privacy-centric management of longitudinal data in the personal cloud.

Simon Levy
Simon

Simon Levy

Professor of Computer Science

Levy teaches courses on artificial intelligence, neural networks, and robotics. His current research involves high-fidelity simulation of autonomous aerial vehicles (drones).

Website

Kefu Lu
Kefu

Kefu Lu

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Lu teaches introductory computer science, courses in computer science theory, and upper-level electives in parallel computing and big data analysis from both a data science and computer science perspective. He researches how to best harness the power of complex systems.

Website

Elizabeth Matthews
Elizabeth

Elizabeth Matthews

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Matthews’ research interests include video game design, measuring enjoyment of digital media, and procedural content generation. She teaches courses in programming, software development and video game design.

William

William Tolley

Adjunct Professor of Computer Science

Cody Watson
Taha Khan
Simon Levy
Kefu Lu
Elizabeth Matthews
Sara Sprenkle