Course Description

Data Structures are the paramount concern of this course. The principle objective of the course is to help you learn how to design and analyze a wide range of data structures.

The course covers data structures and associated algorithms. Relationships among data structures, their utility in various situations, and factors affecting their performance in algorithms will be considered. You will learn to analyze the demands of algorithms, how to choose appropriate data structures, and how to integrate data structures into algorithms.


Required Textbook

C ++ Language Reference

There are many reference sources for the C++ language. Here are some favorites:

Other References

Some optional reference books:


We will assume that you have mastered the material from CMSC 201, CMSC 202, and CMSC 203. We will not review material that has been covered in the prerequisite courses. We assume prior experience with C++ (CMSC 202). We do cover a few of the concepts from CMSC 202, but from a deeper point-of-view. If you are not familiar with C++, please seek help from TA office hours.

Note: Computer science majors must also have completed CMSC 201 and CMSC 202 with a grade of B or better to be enrolled in this course.


Your grade is based on 6 programming projects, 6 homework assignments, 2 in-class exams, the final exam and attendance. The points are distributed as follows:

points # Total
Project 0 3 1 3
Project 1-5 7 5 35
Homework 1-6 2 6 12
Exam 1 & 2 15 2 30
Final Exam 15 1 15
Attendance 5 1 5
Total: 100

Your final letter grade is based on the standard formula:

0 ≤ F < 60 ≤ D < 70 ≤ C < 80 ≤= B < 90 ≤ A ≤ 100.

These levels may be adjusted slightly in your favor, but grades will not be “curved” in the conventional sense.

Your grade is given for timely work done during the semester; incomplete grades will only be given for medical illness or other such dire circumstances.

Note that the due dates for the projects and the dates of the exams are already set (q.v., the course schedule). Please plan your schedules accordingly. Makeup exams will be given only under the most dire circumstances (almost never).

Attendance and Readings

Attendance is required in this section. The classroom will have assigned seating after the add/drop period. You will receive full credit with up to 3 absences. You are responsible for material covered in the lecture, even if it is not in the textbook. You should keep up with the assigned readings during the semester. Some reading material will be distributed through the course web page. You are responsible for the material in the readings, even if it is not covered during lecture.

You must study to do well in this course. It will not be enough to attend lectures and do the homework. As advanced undergraduates, you will be responsible for learning material that is not necessarily covered in lectures. A prime learning requirement is that you contribute to class discussions and raise questions about the course material.

Office Hours

TA's for this class hold office hours throughout the week. See Staff page. If you need to contact any of the course staff outside of lecture and office hours, email is much better than the telephone. You should, however, observe the following etiquette:

Debugging help must be received in person. (No email debugging!) This is so the instructor or TA can ask you questions about your program, and help you learn how to debug on your own.

Academic Integrity

Cheating in any form will not be tolerated. Instances of cheating will be reported to the UMBC Academic Conduct Committee. These reports are filed by the Committee and can be used for disciplinary action such as a permanent record on your transcript. Academic honesty is absolutely required of you. You are expected to be honest yourself and to report any cases of dishonesty you see among other students in this class. Reports of dishonest behavior will be kept anonymous.

Further details on honesty in doing projects for this course are on-line at the Project Academic Conduct link.

Students are welcome and encouraged to study together for exams, but examinations are to be your own work — not your neighbor's and not your notes. All exams are closed-book, closed-notes. Only pencils (or pens) and erasers are permitted in the exam room unless otherwise indicated. Scratch paper is provided to you, as needed. Having any other materials in your possession during an exam will be taken as evidence of cheating and dealt with accordingly.