Waterloo First Year
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justin6768

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 4:18 pm Post subject: Waterloo First Year 


Which first year courses are mandatory for waterloos computer science?
And then how does it work for the other years, is there a good amount of choice? 





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Tony





MichaelM





justin6768

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 5:15 pm Post subject: Re: Waterloo First Year 


Alright thanks alot tony you are very helpful. So as i understand these are the following courses that i will need to take in first year:
CS 125 Introduction to Programming Principles or CS 133 Developing Programming Principles or CS 135 Designing Functional Programs*
CS 134 Principles of Computer Science or CS 136 Elementary Algorithm Design and Data Abstraction
MATH 135 (or MATH 145) Algebra
MATH 136 (or MATH 146) Linear Algebra 1
MATH 137 (or MATH 147) Calculus 1
MATH 138 (or MATH 148) Calculus 2
Why are there so many math courses in comparison to the cs courses?
And will i be taking 10 courses per year? so then that leaves me with my choice of 4 electives for first year? 





Prabhakar Ragde

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 5:30 pm Post subject: Re: Waterloo First Year 


Tony's UW calendar links, alas, are out of date. Here is the link to next year's calendar.
UW Undergraduate Calendar 20082009
That's the link to the whole calendar. Ignore the fact that "TB Skin Test" shows up prominently on the first page. I've never understood why they structure it that way.
Anyway, if you drill down, you will see that the course requirements for Math have changed. The CS ones have been completely restructured. This is all discussed in the blog posting that Tony linked to (which I wrote).
CS 125, CS 133, CS 134 no longer exist (as of fall 2008, except for lameduck sections of 134).
Why are there so many Math courses? Because CS is in a Faculty of Mathematics. And because math is important to CS. I really believe that much of the reputation of Waterloo CS comes from the high math requirements  and vice versa. I think you will be hard pressed to find a CS program of this calibre, though, that offers so many free choices, as MichaelM points out. PR 





MichaelM

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 5:32 pm Post subject: Re: Waterloo First Year 


Well, it depends on what you mean by "year" and what stream you're in, and if you're in coop or not, but yes, a year meaning 2 terms, will have 10 courses, 4 of which are "electives". The first year electives are actually called "nonmath", so I'm pretty sure they want you to get some course breadth and get a bit of a life outside of math .
1A:
CS 125, 133, or 135
MATH 135/145
MATH 137/147
Nonmath
Nonmath
1B:
CS 134 or 136
MATH 136/146
MATH 138/148
Nonmath
Nonmath
As for why so many math courses compared to CS courses, I'm not entirely sure, I'm not a Waterloo student (yet), but I think CS courses probably take a lot of work and time, so they don't give you too much CS first year, but they sure do pile on the math. Why does Waterloo make you take so much math? Thats probably another discussion/topic. 





Prabhakar Ragde

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 5:45 pm Post subject: RE:Waterloo First Year 


The math requirements are mostly out of the way by your third or fourth term of study. We count on them in the CS courses.
Every Faculty of Mathematics student has to take ten courses (out of forty total) outside of the Faculty. CS puts breadth and depth requirements on, to send the message that it's important not to just take the ten easiest courses you can find; this is a key opportunity to learn something about areas of application.
It's typical to take two or three CS courses a term after first year.
MichaelM: delete 125, 133, and 134 from your post, and it will be accurate. PR 





justin6768

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 5:46 pm Post subject: Re: Waterloo First Year 


Thanks everyone. Micheal i actually like your little chart guide a lot, I'm thinking of taking philosophy and business courses as some of my electives.
Ok just to sum things up, 1.0 unit is equal to two courses? And you are allowed 18 elective courses out of 40 total courses?
I apologize for all of the questions but thank you for your responses. 





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Tony

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 5:59 pm Post subject: Re: Waterloo First Year 


1.0 unit is 8 months of study, which normally works out to be 2 courses. Some other Universities (of Toronto for example) have "full year" (8 month long) courses that weight in at full 1.0. There might be a few other exceptions, I think PDENG (used to?) count towards some fraction (0.1~0.2?) of a credit as a technicality. Not sure about PDMATH.
The elective courses still have certain requirements on them (as Prof. Ragde points out  breadth and depth), it's best to consult the calendar and maybe sketch out a plan you might want to follow. 
Tony's programming blog. DWITE  a programming contest. 




MichaelM

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 6:00 pm Post subject: Re: Waterloo First Year 


No problem. I haven't totaled the courses, but 40 sounds about right. And yes, at Waterloo 1 course = 0.5 units. 





justin6768

Posted: Sat May 24, 2008 7:43 pm Post subject: Re: Waterloo First Year 


hey last thing, since most of you guys go to waterloo anyways what are the best residences? Im interested in mostly traditional style.
Also, i dont get the whole college system thing so if someone could explain that would be great. 






