For Off-Campus Students

This document provides information on Computer Science courses and major programs at Harvey Mudd for students at the other Claremont Colleges.

Pomona vs HMC CS Introductory Sequence

HMC's introductory computer science sequence comprises CS 5, CS 60, and CS 70, while Pomona and CMC's introductory sequence comprises CS 51, CS 52, and CS 62. Both introductory sequences prepare students for the shared upper-division curriculum comprising courses numbered 81 and above. However, since these two sequences present material in different orders and with different emphases, students may not mix-and-match these introductory courses.

CMC, Scripps, and Pitzer Students

Students from CMC, Scripps, and Pitzer (our sister schools without their own CS majors) should be aware of the following policies:
  • The three course introductory sequences can be taken at either CMC/Pomona (CS 51, 52, 62) or at HMC (CS 5, 60, 70) and the student can still choose to major in CS through HMC.
  • A student who takes CS 51 should complete the introductory sequence at CMC and/or Pomona.
  • A student who starts the CMC/Pomona introductory sequence and wishes to take the HMC introductory sequence must start at the beginning of the HMC sequence (CS 5).
  • A student who chooses to major in CS at HMC will be considered identical to a HMC CS major with respect to advising and access to HMC CS courses.
  • A student who chooses to major in CS at Pomona will be considered identical to a Pomona CS major with respect to access to HMC CS courses (see restrictions below).

Pomona Students

  • Pomona students intending to major in CS must major through Pomona and must complete the Pomona/CMC introductory sequence (CS 51, 52, 62).
  • A Pomona student who takes CS 5 (and/or CS 60) and wishes to major in CS must still complete the introductory sequence at Pomona and is advised to speak with the Pomona CS Department chair about their options.
  • Access to CS 70 is generally limited to HMC students and off-campus students pursuing a CS major at HMC. Since Pomona students cannot major in CS through HMC, they are generally unable to register for CS 70.

Majoring in CS, CSM, or MCB

Students wishing to major in CS, CSM (Joint Major in Computer Science and Mathematics), or MCB (Mathematical and Computational Biology) through Harvey Mudd must declare their major with their home registrar and contact the HMC CS Department Chair to sign a departmental major form and be assigned a HMC CS advisor.

For the sake of registration priority in HMC CS courses, a "major" is any student majoring in CS through Harvey Mudd or Pomona or CSM or MCB through Harvey Mudd, regardless of the student's home campus. Majors are identified by their designation on the Claremont Portal system. In general, with exceptions noted below (the HMC introductory sequence and CS 121), our department provides equal access and priority to CS courses for all officially declared CS, CSM, and MCB majors.

Math Requirement for Off-Campus Majors

Off-campus majors must take a college-level math course at the level of calculus or above before enrolling in CS 70 and must take a college-level course in linear algebra before taking CS 140 (Algorithms).

Discrete mathematics (Math 55) is required for the major and students are encouraged to take this course at Harvey Mudd but may choose to take Math 55 or CS 55 at one of the other Claremont Colleges.

Other Majors that Require HMC CS Courses

Some major programs at the the Claremont Colleges (other than HMC's CS, CSM, and MCB majors) may recommend or even require a CS course (e.g., a self-designed major). Off-campus students who wish to take a CS course at Mudd towards such a major must obtain written permission to take these courses from the CS department chair before the major is declared. Otherwise, the department cannot guarantee enrollment in these courses.

Minors and Sequences in Computer Science

All departments at HMC have a designated "minor" program that is intended for HMC students who choose the HMC Off-Campus major program. HMC students who are CS minors have the same registration priority for HMC CS courses as do majors.

Other Claremont Colleges students pursuing a CS minor or sequence through their home college are welcome to take HMC CS courses as space permits and have the same registration priority as all other non-major students from off campus. HMC CS faculty are currently unable to serve in any official capacity as advisors for off-campus students pursuing minors or sequences in computer science.

Taking Computer Science Courses at HMC

Students at all of the Claremont Colleges are welcome to take Computer Science courses at Harvey Mudd. However, due to high demand for computer science courses, access to our courses for non-majors is limited. The department's enrollment policies are explained here.

CS 5: The Introductory Course

CS 5 is offered in three color-coded sections: CS 5 "Gold" is for students with no prior computing background. CS 5 "Green" is a biologically-themed version of CS 5 "Gold". CS 5 "Black" is for students with prior computing background in any programming language. These courses typically have many seats available for off-campus students. While demand for these courses often exceeds the number of available seats, most students are able to get into CS 5 eventually. Students who are declared HMC CS majors are always able to register.

Beyond CS 5

The next courses in the HMC CS sequence are CS 60 ("Principles of Computer Science") and CS 70 ("Data Structures and Program Development").

Registration priority for CS 60 is:

  1. Declared CS, CSM, and MCB majors (sophomores and above) as well as HMC sophomores regardless of major
  2. HMC first-year students
  3. HMC students (irrespective of major) by seniority
  4. Other Claremont Colleges students who are not majoring in CS, CSM, or MCB at HMC

Registration priority for CS 70 is:

  1. Declared CS, CSM, and MCB majors (sophomores and above) as well as HMC sophomores regardless of major
  2. HMC students (irrespective of major) by seniority
  3. Other Claremont Colleges students who are not majoring in CS, CSM, or MCB at HMC

Beyond CS 70, registration priority is given to CS, CSM, and MCB majors regardless of their home campus, then to HMC students by seniority, and then other Claremont Colleges students who are not majoring in CS, CSM, or MCB at HMC.

These registration priorities are enforced by the Portal system during pre-registration. Approximately one week after pre-registration is complete, the department processes PERM requests using the same priority ordering.

CS 121 ("Software Development") is a required course for CS clinic and is required for the HMC CS major but not for the CSM or MCB majors, nor for the Pomona CS major. For that reason, CS 121 gives priority to HMC CS majors.


The following policies address prerequisites in the introductory and mechanisms for skipping prerequisites.
  • CS 51 at Pomona/CMC does not satisfy the prerequisite for CS 60. Students who have taken CS 51 should continue in the Pomona/CMC introductory sequence.
  • The CS 5 prerequisite for CS 60 can be satisfied by first independently completing a set of CS 5 assignments covering foundational material from CS 5 that is assumed in subsequent HMC CS courses but is not covered in typical first courses. Once these assignments are completed, the student may take a placement exam. A sufficiently high score on this exam will permit the student to place out of CS 5 and into CS 60.
  • Students who took CS 5 and wish to skip CS 60 must independently complete all assignments from the previous offering of CS 60 and then take a placement exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can the Math 55 ("Discrete Math") major requirement be satisfied by CMC's Math 55 or Pomona's CS 55?

A: Yes, non-Mudders are welcome to take CMC's Math 55 or Pomona's CS 55 course in lieu of HMC's Math 55.

Q: As an off-campus student in a HMC CS course, will I have access to the computer science computing resources?

A: Yes, all students in our courses are given accounts on departmental computing resources.