Data Science

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python

Provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MITx)
$75 USD
for a certificate
Study for free
See Prerequisites

An introduction to computer science as a tool to solve real-world analytical problems using Python 3.5.

Course Format:Instructor-Led
Start Date:Aug 30, 2018

What you will learn

  • A Notion of computation
  • The Python programming language
  • Some simple algorithms
  • Testing and debugging
  • An informal introduction to algorithmic complexity
  • Data structures


This course is the first of a two-course sequence: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python, and Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science. Together, they are designed to help people with no prior exposure to computer science or programming learn to think computationally and write programs to tackle useful problems. Some of the people taking the two courses will use them as a stepping stone to more advanced computer science courses, but for many it will be their first and last computer science courses. This run features lecture videos, lecture exercises, and problem sets using Python 3.5. Even if you previously took the course with Python 2.7, you will be able to easily transition to Python 3.5 in future courses, or enroll now to refresh your learning.

Since these courses may be the only formal computer science courses many of the students take, we have chosen to focus on breadth rather than depth. The goal is to provide students with a brief introduction to many topics so they will have an idea of what is possible when they need to think about how to use computation to accomplish some goal later in their career. That said, they are not "computation appreciation" courses. They are challenging and rigorous courses in which the students spend a lot of time and effort learning to bend the computer to their will.

Before you start

High school algebra and a reasonable aptitude for mathematics. Students without prior programming background will find there is a steep learning curve and may have to put in more than the estimated time effort.

  • Instructor-Led: course contains assignments and exams that have specific due dates, and you complete the course within a defined time period.
  • Course ends: Nov 14, 2018

About Charter Oak State College Credit-Eligible Courses

We're partnering with Charter Oak State College, Connecticut's public online college, to provide students with a unique opportunity to be awarded transferrable credit for work completed in selected edX courses. This partnership will give students from all backgrounds an affordable and flexible way to earn college credit, track their accomplishments and work toward a degree. Students who enroll in the Verified Certificate track and pass the course with an 65% or higher are eligible to receive Charter Oak State College credit.

Credit details:

Number of credit hours for this course: 3 credit hours
Cost: $300 USD ($100 USD/Credit Hour) - pay for credit earned after passing the course with a 65% or better.

  • Learner must enroll in the Verified Certificate option to be eligible for credit upon completion of the course.
  • Learner must abide to all course and academic integrity policies throughout the entire course.
  • Learner must receive a passing grade of a 65% or better in the course


What type of computing environment do I need for this course?

  • You need to have a computer running one of the following operating systems:
    • Microsoft Windows, version XP or greater (XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7)
    • Apple OSX, version 10.2 or greater
    • Linux - most distributions that have been released within the past two years should work
  • In addition, you will need the ability to download, install, and run software on your computer.

What browser should I use?

  • We strongly recommend that you use the Chrome browser while visiting the edX site. This site is optimized for viewing in Chrome.
  • If you cannot use Chrome, you should use the Firefox browser. Be advised you may have trouble with site functionality if you choose to use an alternate browser.

What programming language(s) will this course use?

  • 6.00x will be using the Python programming language, version 3.5.
  • You are not expected to have any prior programming knowledge - this course is intended for students who have little to no experience with any programming language.

What is the format of the class?

  • The class will consist of lecture videos, which are broken into small chunks, usually between eight and twelve minutes each. Some of these may contain integrated "check-yourself" questions.
  • There will also be programming assignments and standalone exams/quizzes, which are not part of the video lectures.

Will the text of the lectures be available?

  • Yes, transcripts of the course will be made available.

Do I need to watch the lectures live?

  • No. You can watch the lectures at your leisure - you do not need to watch the lectures at any set time.

How much does it cost to take the course?

  • Nothing: the course is free.

Also in Data Science at edX


Drive your career forward with university-backed credit programs and verified certificates


Study and demonstrate knowledge on your schedule


Try a course before you pay


Learn with university partners and peers from around the world