for Prospective Students


This page provides information about the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Grinnell College.

Mathematics Curriculum Computer Science Curriculum Faculty Facilities Placement


The department offers a broad range of courses covering may subareas within mathematics and computer science. All courses develop logical thinking, quantitative ability, and rigorous deductive analysis. The curriculum is divided into two basic parts: mathematics and computer science. Each provides a combination of fundamental theory and widely applicable material of interest to all students of liberal arts. The curriculum further prepares majors who plan careers in pure or applied mathematics, probability and statistics, or computer science, in the natural or social sciences, in teaching, or in other professions.

Additional information is available, as follows:

Information on some current course offerings are available via links from the department's home page


The Department runs a Local Area Network (MathLAN) which includes more than 70 Pentium-based workstations with 17'' or 19'' color monitors for graphics, computation, data analysis, and experimentation. Each classroom in the department contains a computer workstation and projector for presentations and demonstrations. In addition, each of the two computer laboratories contains about 17 workstations, which are used by students in class, for laboratory sessions, and for individual and group use. A printing area in laboratory contains two black-and-white printers and one color printer. A scanner also is available to students in the laboratory.

All MathLAn machines utilize the Linux operating system; the computers in one lab also have a dual-boot capability with the Windows operating system.

Computing is a vital part of Grinnell's academic environment. The college runs an extensive high-speed, fiber-optic network for connectivity computers in residence halls, classroom buildings, laboratories, and offices. For example, the college provides an ethernet connection for each student in the dorms (one connection per pillow). In addition, wireless networks support machines in most academic buildings and in the dormitories. Currently, this network supports over 400 college-owned computers that are available to students, plus over 1000 student-owned computers that are connected to Grinnell's residential network. Internet connectivity comes through a redundant, fractional T3 network.

Placement of Incoming Students

Since each incoming student has a special background, any final decision concerning placement in courses may involve discussion among the student, his or her advisor, and the mathematics and computer science faculty. Generally, the placement process involves these steps:
  1. The mathematics and computer science faculty make a preliminary placement recommendation, based upon results of standardized tests and the high school transcript.
  2. Upon arrival on campus, the student reviews this preliminary placement with his or her advisor.
  3. If the transcript is incomplete, if the student believes another placement might be more appropriate, or even if the student feels slightly nervous about the placement, then the student may talk with a member of the mathematics and computer science department for a detailed discussion of placement.
  4. Final placement comes from the consensus reached based on discussions with a student's advisor.

Specific Placement Information

Click here for your tentative placement, based on your test scores and transcript.

Some General Placement Guidelines:

While the placement process considers may factors, the following guidelines may provide some general information:


Computer Science Advanced Placement Policy International Baccalaureate Policy
created January 22, 1998
last revised January 13, 2005
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