Queen's School of Computing

Introductory Courses

There are intentionally two different levels at which it is possible to start a degree program in Computing, designed to allow you maximum flexibility in your first year course explorations. If you have experience in high-school computer programming (or comparable experience), you can start with CISC 121/3.0. Otherwise, you should start with CISC 101/3.0 or CISC-110/3.0 and then go to CISC 121/3.0.

If you take CISC 121/3.0, you are allowed to transfer to CISC 101/3.0 before the last date to start a half-course in that term, without academic penalty.

If you only want to take one or two courses in computing, rather than do a concentration, you could choose to take
COGS-100/3.0 (Introduction to Cognitive Science) and then CISC P81/3.0 (Computers: Applications and Implications) or
CISC 101/3.0 (Elements of Computing Science) or
or CISC-110/3.0 (Elementary Computer Animation).

If you plan to obtain any degree in Computing, you must take a first year course in Linear Algebra MATH 111/6.0 (or 110) and/or Calculus MATH 121/6.0 (or 122 or 120). CISC 121/3.0 and 124/3.0 require any 100-level MATH course as a pre- or co-requisite. If you plan to pursue the Computing major, Computing general or the Computer Science, Software Design or Biomedical Computing programs, you must take both Calculus MATH 121/6.0 (or 122 or 120) and Linear Algebra MATH 111/6.0 (or 110), though not necessarily both in 1st year.

Course Substitutions

Certain courses in Commerce (365/3.0), Computer Engineering (ELEC 470/3.0, 471/3.0, 476/3.0, 478/3.0) and Mathematics (272/3.0, 337/3.0, 401/3.0, 402/3.0, 434/3.0, and 474/3.0) may be substituted for CISC options in any Computing concentration, with permission of the School of Computing (and possibly the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering).

Course Exemptions

A student can be exempted from taking any required course with the permission of the Chair of Undergraduate Studies. Permission is given if the student can demonstrate knowledge of the material in the course. This is normally done in consultation with instructors of those courses for which the exempted course is a prerequisite. A student that is exempted from a CISC course has to replace it by another CISC course at the same or higher level in order to meet the graduation requirements.

Credits From Other Universities

Students entering the Faculty of Arts and Science from other faculties at Queen's or from other universities can apply for transfer credits. The application is handled by the Faculty of Arts and Science or the Admissions office. Approved transfer credits can be counted as credits in concentrations or electives. Only courses taken in the new degree program are counted when calculating averages for Admission to Honours or Class of Degree.

Queen's students may take courses at other universities. However, they must have permission before doing so. A "letter of permission" must be obtained through the Faculty of Arts and Science. A transfer credit cannot be given if a course has been taken without this prior approval. Again, courses at other universities count as credits, but the marks obtained are not included in the computation of averages.


Decisions about grades, about Admissions to Honours, or Class of Degree, by instructors, the School of Computing, or the University, can be appealed. To begin with, students have the right to see their marked final examination papers. If this informal review is unsatisfactory, the student may submit a formal request to the Registrar for reconsideration. A deposit of $35 is required for formal appeals, which is returned if a substantial change results from the review. Before considering a formal appeal, read Regulation 13 in the Arts and Science Calendar, and verify that your grade was correctly calculated.

Fourth Year Courses

The following fourth year courses may not be offered in any given year:
  • CISC/SOFT 423 Software Requirements
  • CISC 435 Computer Communications and Networks
  • CISC 462 Computability and Complexity
  • CISC 466 Algorithms II
  • CISC 490 Topics in Computing Science
Third year courses are scheduled in such a way that all these courses can be taken in third year. A student who wants to take any of the above courses can do so in either their third or fourth year.

Graduate Courses

With the permission of the instructor and the Chair of Undergraduate Studies, undergraduate students may take for credit graduate courses for which they have the prerequisite background. This permission will normally be given only to students with first-class standing in the first three years of their program. Course descriptions are given in the Calendar of the School of Graduate Studies and Research and in the Computing Graduate Student Handbook.


A student job file is maintained in the general office. This file is designed to aid both students and faculty in arranging summer employment. Students interested in summer employment should leave their résumé in the main office. Some students have in the past found summer employment with faculty research projects by talking directly to their instructor. Career Services can help you find summer employment.