In April, 2021, the MSCS department approved changes to the majors that we offer. The old Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and Statistics (AMS) majors were split. Under the new structure students may major in Mathematics (encompassing both theoretical math and applied math) or a new Statistics major or a new cross-disciplinary Data Science major or Computer Science. The computer science major remains unchanged.

Existing Mathematics and AMS majors can continue their major under the old requirements, which are listed below.

New major declaration will need to meet the new requirements, except with permission for unusual circumstances. If you are interested in declaring one of the MSCS majors, please follow the new requirements and see the instructions on declaring an MSCS major or minor.


Old Major Requirements

Computer Science Major  | Computer Science Minor  |  Mathematics Major  | Applied Mathematics and Statistics (AMS) Major  | Mathematics Minor  | Statistics Minor | Data Science Minor 


Computer Science Major

Major Requirements

  1. Three introductory courses, taken in sequence. Students with prior experience should determine proper placement in this sequence in consultation with program faculty. Students prepared to skip this entire sequence must take a fourth advanced elective.
  2. Three supporting math/stat courses: MATH 279, and any two additional math/stat courses, numbered 135 or above, taken at Macalester.
  3. Three core courses: COMP 221, COMP 225 and COMP 240 
  4. Two advanced elective courses in computer science, numbered 300-499;
  5. One additional advanced computer science course numbered 300-499, designated as a capstone, which must be taken prior to spring semester of the senior year;
  6. Pass the project component of the capstone course, and pass the capstone presentation requirement.

    Mathematics and statistics courses that support a Computer Science major particularly well include: STAT 155, MATH 236,  STAT 253, MATH 313, MATH 365 and MATH 379.

    Students who plan to attend graduate school in computer science are encouraged to take COMP 361, more than the minimum number of computer science electives, as well as additional supporting work in related disciplines.

    Students planning a Computer Science major who enter Macalester without prior experience should take COMP 123 in their first year.

Computer Science Minor

Minor Requirements

Requirements for a minor in computer science are:

Any five courses in computer science numbered 120-489. Minor plans including more than one crosslisted course require departmental approval. (Note: Credit can be awarded for only one of the introductory courses COMP 120 or COMP 123.)

No more than two courses can count toward any other minor or major.

Mathematics Major

Students earn a major in Mathematics by choosing between two paths: Mathematics or Applied Mathematics and Statistics.

Requirements for Mathematics are:

  1. Three courses that are introductory to the major (taken in any order): MATH 236MATH 237 and MATH 279
  2. Two supporting courses: STAT 112 or STAT 155, and any non-cross-listed Computer Science course
  3. Five Math courses numbered 300 or above and including:
    At least one of MATH 377 or MATH 378
    At least one of MATH 376 or MATH 379
    At least one 400-level Capstone Course taken before spring semester of senior year
  4. Pass the Capstone Presentation

Requirements in Applied Mathematics and Statistics are:

  1. At least one calculus course taken at Macalester: MATH 137 or MATH 237
  2. Two core courses: STAT 155 and MATH 236
  3. Eight additional electives satisfying the following three requirements. Courses can double-count across categories but there must be eight distinct total courses. All eight courses must be MATH or STAT courses numbered 200 or above, or be one of the COMP courses listed in Computing below.Computing: at least two courses chosen from COMP 112COMP 120COMP 123COMP 221COMP 225COMP 302COMP 365;Applied Mathematics and Statistics Breadth: at least five electives chosen from STAT 112MATH 237STAT 253MATH 312MATH 354MATH 365MATH 432MATH 437STAT 451STAT 452STAT 453STAT 454MATH 455MATH 479 (and topics 394/494 with departmental approval);Depth: at least four Mathematics or Statistics courses at the 300- or 400- level, including at least one 400-level capstone course;
  4. Pass the Capstone presentation requirement

Mathematics Minor

To obtain a minor in mathematics, you must complete the following:

  1. MATH 279MATH 236MATH 237 and at least 8 semester credits from Mathematics courses numbered 300-489, except topics courses unless prior departmental approval has been given.
  2. COMP 123 or an equivalent course.

No more than two courses can count toward any other minor or major.

Statistics Minor

Minor Requirements

Five courses total (with a maximum of two counting toward other majors, minors, or concentrations). These must include STAT 155 and STAT 253, and any three courses from the following: STAT 112STAT 125MATH 354STAT 453STAT 454MATH 455COMP 123COMP 440ECON 381GEOG 225GEOG 378POLI 269PSYC 301SOCI 269, or another course approved by the Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Chair. At most, one course may come from outside of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

Data Science Minor

The requirements for the minor are as follows:

Two courses in each of the three areas below.

  1. Computing
    *COMP 123 – Core Concepts in Computer Science AND
    * One of: STAT 112 Introduction to Data Science or COMP 127 – Object-Oriented Programming and Abstraction or COMP 128 – Data Structures or COMP 302 – Introduction to Database Management Systems or COMP 365 – Computational Linear Algebra or COMP 440 – Collective Intelligence or COMP 484 – Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, or others as approved by the department.
  2. Statistics
    *STAT 155 – Introduction to Statistical Modeling AND
    *One of: STAT 253 – Statistical Machine Learning or STAT 453 – Survival Analysis or STAT 454 – Bayesian Statistics, or others as approved by the department.
  3. Domain area expertise
    * Two courses in a single domain meeting the following criteria: the courses should be focused around a theme (e.g., bioinformatics) and not a broad discipline AND that theme should
    one that allows the possibility of data science-related activities, either within the courses themselves or in the student’s future career or further education.
    * Pre-approved domain courses are listed below. Proposals for other areas of domain expertise (supported by two courses) will be approved on a case by case basis by the department.

No more than two courses can count toward any other major, minor, or concentration.
Applied Mathematics and Statistics Majors may not also earn a Data Science Minor.

Pre-Approved Domain Courses

PHYS 120 – Astronomical Techniques and
PHYS 440 – Observational Astronomy

BIOL 190 – Genetics and COMP 320 – Computational Biology

Computational Linguistics

LING 100 Introduction to Linguistics  and
LING 294  Computational Methods in Linguistics

Data-Driven Journalism
MCST 114 – News Reporting and Writing and one of the following:
MCST 355 – Advanced Journalism: Electronic
MCST 357 – Advanced Journalism: New Media

BIOL 170 – Ecology and the Environment

Environmental Science and Policy
Two of the following:
ENVI 231 – Environmental Economics and Policy
ENVI 133 – Environmental Science
ENVI 240 – The Earth’s Climate System
ENVI 150 Climate and Society
ENVI 160 – Dynamic Earth and Global Change

Geographic Analytics
GEOG 225 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and one of the following:
GEOG 262 – Metro Analysis
GEOG 362 – Introduction to Remote Sensing
GEOG 364 – GIS and Community Partnerships
GEOG 365 – Urban GIS
GEOG 366 – GIS for Global Urban Environments
GEOG 367 – Environmental Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
GEOG 368 – Health GIS
GEOG 378 – Statistical Research Methods in Geography

Political Analytics
POLI 269 – Empirical Research Methods and
one of:
POLI 214 – Cyber Politics
POLI 242 Political Economy of Development

Quantitative Economics
Two of the following:
ECON 381 – Introduction to Econometrics
ECON 472 – Quantitative Macroeconomic Analysis
ECON 485 – Empirical Finance

Quantitative Public Health
Two of the following:
BIOL 402 – Seminar in Virology
BIOL 357 – Immunology
GEOG 256 – Medical Geography
STAT 125 – Epidemiology

Social Processes and Relations
SOCI 269 Social Science Inquiry and
one of the following:
SOCI 190 Criminal Behavior/Social Control
SOCI 283 Economic Sociology