A computer science student studies the theory of computation and the design of devices that calculate. This means learning to understand the theoretical side of computer systems. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates jobs in this field will grow by 19 percent over the next decade. That makes this an exciting industry for students looking to turn their love of computers into a career. Since at their base level, computers work with a mathematical language, analytical study is part of the program. However, this math deals more with logic than numbers.

Math Prerequisites

Prerequisites are classes you must take in order to qualify for a computer science major. Prerequisites vary by both school and CS specialty, but you can expect most to require core math classes such as algebra and geometry. Penn State lists Calculus with Analytic Geometry I and II, as well as Matrices in their math prerequisites. Students take perquisites while still in high school or during the first year of college.


Calculus is about change and will certainly be part of a studying computer science, according to the University of San Diego. Differential calculus focuses on the derivative of a function. As you look at a graph, differential calculus attempts to measure how the lines change with different input.

Integral calculus deals more closely with the linear operators. For example, if looking at a graph that shows distance, time and speed are linear operators.

Logic for Mathematics

Predicting logical outcomes is a large part of programming. That is why logic is such a critical study in computer science. Logic for Mathematics and Computer Science studies fundamental set theory and problem applications as they relate to computer languages and design. Some schools may require you to pass a basic math test to enroll in a logic course.

Numerical Analysis

Numerical analysis looks closely at equations and the integration of them into computer programs. This course is about problem solving through differential equations. Numerical analysis is the first stage of algorithm studies.


An algorithm is a calculation used in executing applications. For example, search engines work by using algorithms to filter out websites. The algorithm provides a step-by-step procedure for a calculation. A course that covers this distinctive methodology will focus on analysis, design and computation of algorithms.

Statistical Analysis

Statistical analysis teaches the art of gathering and presenting data. It deals with surveys and experiments, as well as statistical data found in databases. Students learn how to collect, collate and analyze data.


Probability looks at data and equations and determines the most common outcome. It is the measure of how likely it is something will happen given a set value. It also looks at how changes to specific values will affect that outcome.

Someone interested in studying computer science doesn’t have to be a math wiz. The mathematics of computer science deals more with the logical application of numbers than it does actually creating equations. If you have a head for figuring things out, and not just adding them up, than computer science might be the career path for you.