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The academic study of computing is quite different from the use of computers in graphic arts, as word processors, or as web browsers. None of the three SCU programs demands that students have taken courses in calculus or computer programming prior to beginning any program at Santa Clara. But an examination of the courses required by all three programs shows that each major tacitly assumes that students have shown the academic aptitude for studying rigorous courses in mathematics, science, and computer programming, since all three majors require courses in these subject areas.
Since the in-depth study of computing involves learning certain computer languages and writing computer programs, successful students of computing, regardless of their major, have demonstrated an ability to solve problems similar to mathematical "word problems" or geometry problems. This includes skills such as analyzing and subdividing a problem, organizing the parts, and ordering the steps leading to a solution.