Programming Languages: Theory and Practice

(CIS 352 at Syracuse U)

Note: parts of this syllabus are subject to change with adequate notice to students.

An introduction to the design and implementation of programming languages, focused on operational semantics and interpreters. This course is heavily project-focused and usees a specification-based grading rubric to teach both formal (written) and practical (coding) skills.



CIS352 employs a specification-based grading methodology. There are three categories of assignments:

Informal Grading Rules for CIS352

Projects Exam Questions Grade
Minimal Satisfactory Excellent Satisfactory Excellent
5/5 5/5 2/5 10/11 5/11 A
5/5 4/5 2/5 10/11 4/11 A-
4/5 4/5 2/5 9/11 4/11 B+
4/5 3/5 2/5 8/11 3/11 B
4/5 3/5 1/5 8/11 2/11 B-
3/5 2/5 1/5 7/11 1/11 C+
3/5 2/5 0/5 7/11 0/11 C
3/5 2/5 0/5 6/11 0/11 C-
3/5 1/5 0/5 5/11 0/11 D
< 3/5 0/5 0/5 < 5/11 0/11 <D
Participation GPA Δ
< 20 -
≥ 20 – < 30 =
≥ 30 +

Grade calculator




Projected grade:

Projects and Labs

This course will have six individual projects. Each of these will be completed using the course’s autograder. Projects will be handed out every few weeks, starting after the second or third week of class. All projects are due at 11:59PM the last day of class.

Labs will be led by the TA or instructor to facilitate studying and reviewing material presented in lecture.

Collaboration and the Honor Code

Again: You should never share code with another student. This includes both sending a file to another student and “over the shoulder” copying (even when, e.g., variable names are changed, etc..). In the eyes of the instructor, these are both equally bad. You should never be sitting and helping another along by writing their code. By doing so you are both violating the honor policy and disadvanting the student you are helping (as they may not then properly learn the material).

Student Support

Syracuse University values diversity and inclusion; we are committed to a climate of mutual respect and full participation. There may be aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion and full participation in this course. I invite any student to meet with me to discuss strategies and/or accommodations (academic adjustments) that may be essential to your success and to collaborate with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) in this process.

If you would like to discuss disability-accommodations or register with ODS, please visit their website at Please call (315) 443-4498 or email for more detailed information.

ODS is responsible for coordinating disability-related academic accommodations and will work with the student to develop an access plan. Since academic accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible to begin this process.


As part of the regular ABET accreditation process for the undergraduate program in computer science, we may be collecting samples of students’ work in each of our undergraduate classes. As a result, some of your labs/homeworks/exams may be photocopied/scanned (or electronically copied) to be presented for accreditation at some later point.

Student Mental Health

Mental health and overall well-being are significant predictors of academic success. As such it is essential that during your college experience you develop the skills and resources effectively to navigate stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. Please familiarize yourself with the range of resources the Barnes Center provides ( and seek out support for mental health concerns as needed. Counseling services are available 24/7, 365 days a year, at 315.443.8000.

Discrimination and Harassment

The University does not discriminate and prohibits harassment or discrimination related to any protected category including creed, ethnicity, citizenship, sexual orientation, national origin, sex, gender, pregnancy, disability, marital status, age, race, color, veteran status, military status, religion, sexual orientation, domestic violence status, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender.

Any complaint of discrimination or harassment related to any of these protected bases should be reported to Sheila Johnson-Willis, the Universitys Chief Equal Opportunity & Title IX Officer. She is responsible for coordinating compliance efforts under various laws including Titles VI, VII, IX and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. She can be contacted at Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services, 005 Steele Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1120; by email:; or by telephone: 315-443-0211.

If you notice any incidents of harassment or discrimination, however minor, please email me. You may wish to use an anonymous email service such as Please feel free to tell me as much as you feel comfortable. I am a mandatory Title IX reporter and must report incidents such as sexual harassment, relationship violence, stalking, etc…


Slack is an instant messaging app for teams. We’ll be using it for most course management. This is the best place to get in touch with me for one-off questions, ask for an appointment for office hours, etc.. Email me if you have not been invited to the course Slack.