Department of Computer Science

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science

Sharon Stansfield, Associate Professor and Chair

From individual communication to mass media, from scientific research to business, from entertainment to health care, technology provides the structure and tools for living and working in the contemporary world. The majors and minors offered by the department of computer science are designed to equip students with the knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and technical skills to design and create this technology for the 21st century. All courses in the department introduce real-life problems and emphasize both practical software development and fundamental concepts, so that students can understand and adapt to continually evolving technology.

Majors in Computer Science

The computer science B.S. and B.A. majors combine breadth in theoretical and practical computer science with depth in specialized areas. The B.S. in computer science focuses on developing a depth of knowledge and skills in computing and the natural sciences, while the B.A. in computer science offers more flexibility for students who wish to also pursue majors or minors in other fields. In both programs, students are able to master the fundamental concepts of computing and develop the problem-solving skills needed to create computer-based solutions across all disciplines. Both programs also emphasize the challenges in human-computer interactions and the design skills necessary to make technology both approachable and useful for humans. Finally, both degrees provide students the comprehensive understanding of computer science necessary for a career in industry or for graduate school.

Major in Emerging Media

The B.S. in emerging media, a partnership between the Department of Television-Radio in the Roy H. Park School of Communications and the Department of Computer Science in the School of Humanities and Sciences, combines coursework in new media platforms and media computation to provide students with a unique skill set in emerging media technologies: identifying market opportunities, designing concepts, employing storytelling structures, creating and using software tools, developing sound economic models, and promoting the kinds of organizational and consumer change that make new media products successful. The mission of this program is to produce graduates who will be leaders within the evolving discipline of emerging media whether as designers and creators of media and technology or as entrepreneurs creating media products. Because new media are inherently multidisciplinary, integrating artistic creativity with computational expertise, this program takes an integrative approach to the education of our graduates — while still maintaining a strong disciplinary focus.

Students entering through the Department of Computer Science take the media computation concentration, emphasizing computational systems design and development. Students entering through the Department of Television-Radio take either the media design and production concentration or the media entrepreneurship concentration, emphasizing the creative design and promotion of new genres and platforms for emerging media. All students share a substantive common core, then branch out into the concentrations to develop their specialties, and finally come back together in two upper-level project courses where they will work as teams to design, develop, and pitch a new media product, such as an “app” for an iPhone, a new form of gaming or entertainment genre, or an innovative educational simulation.


The computer science department offers several minors designed to help students effectively incorporate technology in a diverse array of fields:

  1. The minor in computer science provides general computational skills that enable students not only to use computers and computer applications, but also to extend and combine applications to make them more effective.
  2. The minor in web programming helps students gain a deep understanding of how to create engaging and effective websites while also ensuring that they have a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals that enable them to quickly adapt to emerging web technologies.
  3. The minor in game development focuses on the concepts central to the design and implementation of games and on understanding the structure of the technologies behind games.


Minimum Grade for Prerequisites

A grade of C- or better is required for a course in computer science to fulfill a prerequisite for another computer science course.

Advanced Placement

Students can receive credit and advanced placement in COMP 17100 Principles of Computing Science I with a grade of 4 or 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement examination. 

See COMP courses

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