Faculty of Arts & Science
A place to learn, discover, think and do.
Computing and Computer Science at Queen's University


Goodwin Hall
Room number: 

Director: S.G.Akl
Undergraduate Chair: J. Dingel
Undergraduate Chair (Assistant): D. Lamb
Graduate Coordinator:
J. Stewart
Graduate Assistant:
Debby Robertson

Computing Science is one of the top degrees for careers in North America. The School of Computing is home to diverse areas of study such as computer science, software design, game development, biomedical computing, cognitive science, computing and mathematics, and computing and the creative arts. Offering an exciting learning experience in this ever-changing field, by fostering interaction across disciplines, Computing prepares you for countless careers and graduate degrees. Our 12 to 16-month internship option gives students an opportunity to gain experience in industry, while earning academic credits. Our outstanding professors are both internationally recognized experts and committed educators who take pride in giving you the skills and theoretical knowledge you’ll need to excel as a computer scientist.

Degree Options

Bachelor of Computing (Honours) - BCPH

Specialization in Biomedical Computing
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the combined disciplines.

Specialization in Cognitive Science
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the discipline.

Specialization in Computer Science
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the discipline. This plan has been accredited by the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS).

Specialization Computing and Mathematics
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the combined disciplines.

Specialization in Software Design
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the discipline. This plan has been accredited by the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS).

Major in Computing
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - BAH

Specialization in Computing and the Creative Arts (COCA)
This specialization consists of the majority of the courses in Computing and a SubPlan such as Art, Drama, Music or Film and Media with room for elective courses.

Bachelor of Computing - BCP

General in Computing
A less intense course of study leading to a 3-year degree.

Bachelor of Arts - BA

General in Computing
A less intense course of study leading to a 3-year degree.

Full list of Undergraduate Degree Plans at Queen's University

Graduate Degree Options

Computing - MSc (research)
Computing - MSc (project)
Computing - MSc (coursework)
Computing - PhD

Courses Available to First-Year Students 2015-16

CISC101: Elements of Computing Science (Fall term and Winter term)
Introduction to algorithms: their definition, design, coding, and execution on computers. Intended for students who have no programming experience. All or most assignment work will be completed during lab time.

CISC102: Discrete Mathematics for Computing I (Fall term)
Introduction to mathematical discourse and proof methods. Sets, functions, sequences, and relations. Properties of the integers. Induction. Equivalence relations. Linear and partial orderings.

CISC110: Elementary Computer Animation (Fall term)
Introduction to tools and techniques for creating 2D computer animations. Introduction to animation software (e.g., Flash) and scripting languages (e.g., ActionScript). Involves a project in the student’s area of interest, such as fine art, education, or commerce.

CISC121: Intro to Computing Science I (Fall term and Winter term)
Introduction to design and analysis of algorithms. Recursion, backtracking, and exits. Sequences, linked lists and references. Binary search trees. Elementary searching and sorting. Assertions and loop invariants. Order-of-magnitude complexity. Numerical computation. Documentation, testing and debugging.

CISC124: Intro to Computing Science II (Fall term and Winter term)
Introduction to object-oriented design, architecture, and programming. Use of packages, class libraries, and interfaces. Encapsulation and representational abstraction. Inheritance. Polymorphic programming. Exception handling. Iterators. Introduction to a class design notation. Applications in various areas.

COGS100:  Introduction to Cognitive Science (Fall term)
An introduction to the historical and contemporary issues, and research findings of the core cognitive science disciplines including artificial intelligence, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology. The emphasis will be on the ways that the interactions among these disciplines leads to an enhanced understanding of the processes of intelligence and intelligent systems.

The following courses are used primarily as electives and do not lead to honours degree plans:

CISC P81:  Computers: Applications and Implications (Fall term)
Computers are changing our lives; this is a course for any student interested in learning about computing. It surveys many fields of computing science, presents case studies of fascinating examples of computers in use in diverse areas, from searching the world-wide web to medicine, and discusses the possibilities, limitations, and risks of computers.




Queen’s internship option, unlike other co-op programs, avoids interrupting your studies with several short work terms. Instead, it offers 12- to 16-month industrial placements after second or third year through the Queen's Undergraduate Internship Program (QUIP). These longer work terms result in employers who are willing to invest in training and supervision. Our interns regularly participate in significant projects with many of Canada’s leading high-tech companies, making a notable contribution, and often returning for permanent employment upon graduation.

Qualified students in any of the Plans leading to a Bachelor of Computing (Honours) degree may register in a 12- or 16-month Professional Internship program for their degree.  Students who meet the minimum GPA requirement of 1.90 in at least 54.0 units must seek approval of the Chair of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Computing.  These students have the opportunity to pursue a 12- or 16-month paid work term in a career-related position after completing their second or third year of study.  Upon successful completion of the internship program, students’ transcripts will be annotated with a statement certifying that they have completed their degree with a Professional Internship.

Job and Career Opportunities for Computing Grads

Computing Science is rooted in basic principles of mathematics and logic. Students in our computer science programs gain a strong basis in these areas as well as in the analysis of algorithms and theory of computation. Students see how these principles are applied to the creation of software and are given ample opportunity to refine their software development skills. Our computer science programs provide a broad training with the opportunity to focus on specific application areas like artificial intelligence, computer graphics, data mining, and human-computer interaction.

Some of Computing grads work in the following industries:

  • Accounting
  • Actuarial Science
  • Aerospace
  • Animation
  • Auditing
  • Biomedical Technology & Engineering
  • Communications
  • Computer Graphics / Special Effects 
  • Computing Science - incl. Software Hardware and Analysis
  • Corporate Training/Development
  • Demography Data Processing
  • Editing
  • Education
  • Graphic Art
  • Information Science & Management
  • Media - Electronic & Print
  • Medical Informatics & Research
  • Marketing
  • Medicine
  • Photography
  • Robotics
  • Security Services
  • Software Design
  • Statistics
  • Telecommunications
  • Web development

Career paths for Computer Science grads handout from Career Services >

New Programs in the School of Computing

Computing and the Creative Arts (CoCA)

CoCA is an exciting new multi-disciplinary program for students interested in both Computing and the Arts. You'll learn how to direct, develop and use cutting-edge computer software programs for Music, Art, Drama, and Film production. As part of this offering, you will acquire the technical expertise to design and develop new applications and take full advantage of future trends in digital technology. You'll get the theoretical and historical background necessary to make critical judgements about new approaches to artistic expression and practical knowledge of the challenges faced by creative artists in a digital age.

Students who follow this program will find careers in the video-game and entertainment industries, art galleries, museums, and multimedia design and production, but also in more traditional computer industries as these increasingly adopt multimedia user interface design. There is no lack of jobs for students following this program, which include: 3D Game Developer; New Media Artist; Sound Designer; Art Management; 3D Animator; Computer Graphics Designer; Web Developer; Interaction Designer; Human Factors.

High School Background Required

One grade Mathematics or recognized equivalent required; Computer Science or recognized equivalents recommended.

Biomedical Computing

In the fall of 2001 Queen's University introduced a new program in computational biology and medical informatics: Bachelor of Science Computing (Honours), Subject of Specialization in Biomedical Computing. This is the first program of its kind in Canada.

Biomedical Computing involves the application of computational methods for the advancement of biological and medical science. Activities in this area range from data acquisition, robotics and laboratory analysis to the dissemination, storage and retrieval of knowledge.

Modern biomedical computing is rooted in a broad range of application areas. Imaging needs from microscopy to mammography have motivated and relied on advances in imaging science. Medical data storage and access systems benefit from the study of information retrieval. Algorithms and software development are of key importance in areas such as genome sequence analysis and acquisition, which also depend on techniques from statistics and artificial intelligence.

High School Background Required

Grade 4U Advanced Functions, Calculus and Vectors, and Chemistry or recognized equivalents required; Grade 4U Biology and Computer Science, or recognized equivalents are strongly recommended

Computing Electives Open to Non-Computing Students

CISC P81/3.0 Computers: Applications and Implications
Used as an elective course by upper-year students who are not currently, and have not previously, studied Computing.  CISC P81 may be taken by first-year students.

CISC 101/3.0 Elements of Computing Science
CISC 101/3.0 introduces students to the elements of computer science.  Any student who has been admitted to a Bachelor of Computing or Bachelor of Science Program, or who may wish to pursue upper-year courses in computing at a later date, but who does not have any previous programming experience, should take this course.

CISC 102/ 3.0 Discrete Mathematics for Computing 1
CISC 102 introduces students to the mathematical discourse and proof methods of computer science.

CISC 110/ 3.0 Elementary Computer Animation
CISC 110/3.0 introduces students to the elements of computer animation.  This course assumes no previous programming experience.  It is an alternative to taking CISC 101/3.0 for students who have been admitted to a Bachelor of Arts Program, or who may wish to pursue upper-year courses in computing at a later date, but who do not have any previous programming experience.  It is also a good elective choice for any student in Arts and Science, particularly students who wish to pursue a discipline in one of the creative arts.

CISC 121/3.0 and CISC 124/3.0 Introduction to Computing Science
CISC 121/3.0 and CISC 124/3.0 are the first year courses that introduce you to the study of Computing at the University level.  Some previous programming experience is assumed in CISC 121/3.0, which is the prerequisite for CISC 124/3.0.  All students who wish to pursue a Plan in any Computing discipline should take these courses in first year.  They are also suitable electives for any Arts or Science students.  Students who have no previous programming experience but who have been admitted to Computing or who would like take further courses in Computing at an upper-year level should take CISC 101/3.0 or CISC 110/3.0 in the Fall Term, then take CISC 121/3.0 in the Winter term and CISC 124/3.0 the following Fall term. 

Graduate Studies in Computing

Our Graduates rank among the best in Canada. They expand the horizons of science, technology, commerce and the arts by providing ever more powerful and general computing capabilities. Because Computing Science forms one of the pillars of our society, our graduates have no problem finding the opportunity that suits them, whether that be furthering their research career, developing their career in one of the leading IT companies around the world, or striking off on their own and developing an entrepreneurial opportunity.

You can join the School of Computing Grad Studies in a few simple steps:

  1. Review our research groups and faculty members.
  2. Check our admissions requirements.
  3. Apply on-line by January 15. This deadline is flexible for Canadian applicants. The application is done on a separate site managed by the School of Graduate Studies.
  4. Contact a potential supervisor and tell them of your application.
  5. Offers are normally made between February and June.

Prospective Graduate students are encouraged to review our Frequently Asked Questions or to contact graduate-inquiries@cs.queensu.ca for further information about our programs. Information is available for research groups within the School of Computing and graduate students (email gcs@cs.queensu.ca ) are available to answer questions about their labs.

The academic year begins in September, so this is the normal date for admission to all graduate programs. Admission for January or May is possible for Ph.D. applicants.

Computing Research at Queen's

The School of Computing is actively engaged in research on a broad range of topics, with an eminent research record. Research areas include: Information Systems, Human-Machine learning, Software Engineering, Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Computational Linguistics, Theoretical Computer Science, Computational Geometry and Graph Theory, Biomedical Computing, Perception and Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Parallel Systems and Programming Languages and Systems.

Our Research Clusters are:

  • Computer Science Theory (Parallel Computation, Unconventional Computation, Wireless Sensor Networks, Computational Geometry, Semantics of Programming Languages, Automata Theory, and Descriptional Complexity)
  • Databases (Database system performance, autonomic systems, and cloud computing)
  • Biomedical Computing (Computer-aided surgery, bioinformatics, biomedical imaging, computational biology, and computational neuroscience)
  • Game Development and Human Computer Interaction (Game design, games for health, gaming graphics, games for health, game development infrastructure, and novel gaming interactions)
  • Software (Software engineering and systems)
  • Data Mining
  • Computer Networking and Dependability

More information on Research in Computing at Queen's University

Alumni Profile

Susan Bartlett is a Queen’s University Alumna with a B.Sc. in Software Design and a B.A. in English Literature. Through skills honed at Queen’s, Susan leads teams of designers, researchers, and business strategists to deliver innovative solutions at Bridgeable. She is passionate about understanding the complex interactions people have with the world around them, and using design to make those interactions simpler and better. Susan Bartlett Rhodes Scholar 2003 University of Oxford B.A., Philosophy, Politics & Economics Queen’s University B.Sc., Software Design B.A., English Literature

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