College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Computer Science Options for Physics Major

You have a choice to make for the Computer Science degree requirement for the physics major.  You may choose between CS 010A Introduction to Computer Science for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering I or CS 009A Data Oriented Introduction to Computing I.  One big difference is that CS 010A teaches you how to program in the C++ programming language, while CS 009A teaches you to program in the python programming language.  Both are widely used in physics research.  Astronomers tend to use python.  In high energy physics, we mostly use C++ but also use python.  Unfortunately, you can't take both, so you need to make a choice.

If you wish to take upper-divison computer science classes, we recommend you choose CS 010A.  This is because CS 010A is a prerequisite for pretty much all other CS courses and all upper-division CS courses are taught in C++.   If you start in CS 009A, you will need to take CS 009B and then an additional 2-unit course (CS 009C) that will teach you C++.  If you are having trouble making a decision, ask your faculty research mentor, if you have one, your faculty academic advisor, or feel free to ask prof. Long.  We can help you make the best choice for your interests.

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