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 Ken Lambert at, if you have any questions.

Computer Science Department Blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Grace Hopper Conference 2016 — Celebrating Women in Computer Science

Alexus McGriff ’18, Karishma Patel ’18, and Professor Sara Sprenkle attended the 2016 Grace Hopper  Women in Computing Conference, in Houston, Texas, October 18-22. The primary focus of the Conference was technical and professional development with a highlight being that Alexus was awarded a scholarship to attend.  The conference has grown over the years to about 15,000 attendees–this one being the biggest GHC […]

Thursday, September 08, 2016

CSCI Major AJ Joshi ’17 — Internship Highlights

Learn more about AJ Joshi Class of 2017, a double major in Physics-Engineering and Computer Science,  as he elaborates on his Internship pursuits–  

Friday, June 24, 2016

Faculty Focus — Professor Ken Lambert’s Book

CSCI Department Chair, Ken Lambert, is spending the summer completing a book on computer programming called “A Gentle Introduction to Functional Programming in Haskell”.  Click on the link to learn more!    

Friday, May 27, 2016

Computer Science Major/Minor Award Recipients

Congratulations to the following CSCI students who have received scholarships awards or prizes: MICHAEL WATKINS HOLT – Special Honors – Valedictorian; The Robinson Award in Mathematics and Science,  Johnson Scholar, William D. McHenry Male Scholar-Athlete LUCY MAUDE SIMKO (’11) – National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (three years of funding in support of graduate study) JOHANNA MICHELLE GEORGEN – The […]