Interdisciplinary Computing

​Computer technologies and computing concepts have infused virtually every area of academic study. The interdisciplinary computing major provides a student with the flexibility to design a course of study that combines computers and computing and any other academic discipline. Students can combine the study of computing with traditional academic disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, sociology, or biology, and with emerging fields that involve a substantial computing component, such as bioinformatics, cognitive science, digital arts, and computational economics.

Students who elect this major will design a course of study in consultation with two faculty advisers, one in computer science and one in the student’s chosen coordinate discipline. Together they will develop a coherent course of study consisting of an appropriate selection of courses in mathematics, computer science, and the coordinate discipline. The specific courses that make up the major will vary according to the student’s particular focus but all approved majors will have the following general requirements:

  • Three core computer science courses
  • Three computer science electives appropriate to the coordinate discipline
  • Six to seven courses in the coordinate discipline
  • A two-semester senior seminar
  • A two-semester senior project
  • One math course
  • Students coordinating with a discipline in the natural or social sciences will also be required to take one additional numeric or symbolic reasoning course

Some examples of possible courses of study are: (for a more detailed illustration of the possible course combinations within these examples, click on the course of study below)

  • Bioinformatics  Modern molecular biology has come increasingly to rely on computers for genome sequencing,  protein folding,  the analysis of cell structures and processes, and for approaching many other biological problems. 
  • Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science  How can computers and robots be made to behave intelligently?  Can the human brain and human intelligence be understood by means of computational models?   What are some of the social and ethical implications posed by intelligent machines?
  • Economics and Computing  Computational technology and concepts have become increasingly important in all areas of economics and finance, from analysis to security to modeling and visualization. 
  • Digital Media  Computing capabilities have expanded the expressive potential of humans by providing software-based mechanisms to create, manipulate, present and catalogue images, sound and video. 

For more detailed information on requirements for each area of study, click on the area below:

  • Physical Sciences and Engineering  Study of computing can be combined with any of the traditional physical science and engineering disciplines.  There are many exciting scientific applications of computing, including data mining, data visualization, computational modeling of molecular structures, and modeling and simulation in quantum mechanics.
  • Social Sciences Study of computing can be combined with any of the traditional social science disciplines,  such as sociology and political science.  Study in these areas might focus on some of the social and political implications of computing in modern society—the digital divide, the open source movement, social impacts of digital media.
  • Humanities and Arts  Study of computing can be combined with almost any of the traditional humanities and art disciplines.  Students interested in history could focus on the history of computing. Philosophers could focus on a wealth of interesting philosophical questions.

For a summary sheet of requirements for Interdisciplinary Computing, click here.

For a summary sheet of requirements for Interdisciplinary Computing, specifically with Economics, click here.