Computer Science

Creating with information and code.

We work with students to be able to use technology as a powerful tool for inquiry, research, collaboration and presentation. Students develop skills they need to be successful at using technology to meet the challenges of rigorous upper school work as well as pursue intellectual passions of their own in our Ninth Grade Seminar class. Many of our students go on to extend their knowledge by taking computer science and related classes where they learn how to code and make tools of their own design. We recognize that technology can also be used to draw us away from schoolwork and each other. To help us maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks, we take care to use technology in positive ways and coach students on how to confidently manage their time online.

"I was excited to apply my AP Computer Science class knowledge to real word experiences, such as creating code and formulas for an Excel model about municipal finance during my Senior Comprehensive Project. New jobs and careers related to technology are developed everyday; it is important that I have these skills in order to adapt to the evolving job market." Charlotte Murray OPC '18

Key Characteristics

  • Hands-on, confidence building learning approach for students to master school systems for communication, document creation and managing their homework.

  • Coordination with the Upper School learning specialist, division directors and grade-level deans to meet the individual technology learning needs of students.

  • Extended learning opportunities for students who want to learn how technology works and to create tech tools of their own.

  • Attention to the human side of technology with a focus on the health, safety and ethics of technology use in our society.

Curricular Highlights

Maker space. 9th graders learn about technology by creating hands-on projects in our IdeaLab.

AP Computer Science. In two advanced-placement classes, students explore the principles of Computer Science and its effects on society. 

Independent Study. Students with a particular passion in the field of computer science may work with the department chair to design a personalized curriculum that suits their skill level and interests.

"It is important that no matter what field you go into, you explore how to use technology to push ahead of what is already established. I discovered my love for art and technology at PC and my teachers helped me bring them together in class projects." Chris Stone OPC '10, 3d Artist at Riot Games, Los Angeles, CA

Graduation Requirements

The Computer Science Department offers courses for Upper School students in the use of computers. Due to the rapidly changing nature of this field, all courses and the course offerings are revised annually. The 9th grade course, Learning Skills and Computer Applications, is the point of introduction to basic computer use in the Upper School.

Course List

All Year

AP Computer Science Principles


Whether it’s 3D animation, engineering, music, app development, medicine, visual design, robotics or political analysis, computer science is a big engine powering the technology, productivity, and innovation that drives the world. Computer science experience has become an imperative for today’s students and the workforce of tomorrow. AP Computer Science Principles enables you to combine what you’ve learned in algebra with programming to build apps and explore how computing and technology can impact the world. With a unique focus on creative problem solving and real-world applications, students will work individually and with a partner to create code, apps, animations and other digital creations of their own design. Performance in two multiweek, in-class AP projects along with an AP paper and pencil test at the end of the year make up the overall AP score for this class. Prerequisite: Algebra I (students do not need to have prior knowledge of any programming language.) Find out more about AP CSP at (10th, 11th, 12th grades)

AP Computer Science A

Advanced Placement Computer Science A (JAVA)
(2 Units)   ALL YEAR

Computer Science A is an advanced, college-level computer programming class that uses the object-oriented JAVA computer language. The course includes problem solving, design strategies, data structures, algorithms, and the ethical and social implications of computing. This course is to help students considering science, engineering or technology in college and beyond to go deeper into the discipline. It is offered as a next-level class for students taking the programming introduction course AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) or as a first computer science class for students showing an existing, firm understanding of computer science principles. Prerequisite: APCSP (C810) or equivalent experience with CS foundational principles. (10th, 11th, 12th grades)

One Semester

Ninth Grade Seminar



This seminar series combines disciplines to help 9th graders become savvy with learning skills, wellness topics, research ability and technology use. Students survey learning styles, master time management, and practice listening, note-taking, goal-setting and test-taking skills. They learn fundamental concepts of human development, how to identify signs of stress and healthy coping mechanisms, and ways to achieve balance between school, family and extracurricular commitments. Students also search library databases and practice citing sources, note taking, building an outline, and formulating a thesis statement using the NoodleTools app. Also with their laptops, students configure their printer and PC Hub system setups, collaborate on projects using online document tools, and work on two movies using the Quicktime and iMovie software on their laptops. Their last project is a video note to their advisor about their personal learning style. (9th grade)

Independent Study in Computer Science


Opportunities for investigation exist through independent study projects designed by the student and through the Computer Science Department. Any student may schedule time for individualized or group instruction or for assistance with special projects. Independent study in computer science is available each trimester. Interested students should see the department chair to arrange.