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Sample Interdisciplinary Tracks for Non-Engineering Majors


As mentioned above, we want to extend a warm welcome to students in disciplines in which extensive computer application is either relatively new or nontraditional. To be more concrete, here are examples of course choices that might be appropriate for a few such areas:

Artificial Intelligence / Cognitive Science

How can computers be made to behave intelligently? How can the brain be modeled from a computational perspective? These two questions are emerging as central challenges in this century. A student following an artificial intelligence / cognitive science track might take COS 402 (Artificial Intelligence), plus one of the following courses:

  • COS 429 Computer Vision;
  • ELE 481 Machine Vision;
  • MAE 345 Robotics and Intelligent Systems;
  • MOL 437 Computational Neurobiology and Computing Networks;
  • PSY 330 Introduction to Connectionist Models: Bridging between Brain and Mind.

Students interested in this track for the certificate should see Professor Rob Schapire.


With increasing amounts of data being generated in a variety of genome-wide biological studies, modern molecular biology is rapidly becoming an information-based science. Now biology can be studied at the level of systems, be it systems of interacting proteins in the cell, intercellular signaling, organ-level interactions, or whole organisms. This modern biology requires a new generation of scientists who are proficient in computer science, statistics, and mathematics, as well as biology. We thus recommend the core sequence COS 226 and COS 323 (for the two-out-of-three), plus two of the following courses:

COS 340 Reasoning about Computation;
COS 551/MOL 557 Introduction to Computational Molecular Biology;
COS 557 Analysis and Visualization of Large-Scale Genomic Data Sets;
ORF 309/MAT 309 Probability and Stochastic Systems.

Students interested in this kind of track for the certificate should see Professor Thomas Funkhouser or Professor Olga Troyanskaya.

Computational Social Science

With the proliferation of large data sets and high-speed computing, social scientists have increasingly come to rely on computational tools for analysis. The track in computational social science addresses such applications as (a) computational modeling and simulation (the use of "intelligent agents" equipped with particular capacities, preferences, and behavioral routines to model large-scale social systems); (b) computer-based natural language and text processing; and (c) statistical computing (with particular reference to the refinement of econometric, sociometric, and psychometric algorithms). Prerequisites for a certificate would typically include COS 126 (Introduction to Computer Science); COS 226 (Algorithms and Data Structures); COS 323 (Computing for the Physical and Social Sciences); and appropriate courses in Sociology, Economics, or Politics. 

Digital Media

Digital media, including both graphics and sound, have become central both to our culture and our science. There are (at least) three general areas that might serve as a focus for certificate students interested in these computer applications:


Courses for a graphics media track might include COS 426 (Computer Graphics) or COS 429 (Computer Vision), plus COS 436 (Human Computer Interface Technology) or COS 479 (Pervasive Information Systems). The choices are wide and will vary with the student. Those interested in a graphics track for the applications certificate should see Prof.Szymon Rusinkiewicz.


The collaboration between Music and Computer Science at Princeton has a long and rich history. Specific cross-listed COS/MUS courses include MUS/COS 314 (Introduction to Computer Music) and COS 325/MUS 315 (Transforming Reality by Computer). A music track for the certificate might include one of these two, plus COS 436 (Human Computer Interface Technology) or COS 479 (Pervasive Information Systems). Again, a wide range of choices is possible.

Policy and Intellectual Property

The legal and political aspects of digital media are becoming increasingly important in our society. A track for the certificate that focused in this area might typically include COS 491 (Information Technology and The Law), plus any one of many other possible courses, depending on the student's particular interests. 

Deadline to join the Class of 2017 Applications of Computing Certificate Program will be Wednesday, March 1, 2017. 


** In order to be eligible for the program, students must fill out this worksheet and be approved by Program Coordinator, Michelle Medici.**


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