A computer science curriculum teaches students about the scientific aspects of computer systems and how humans and computers interact. Students pursuing a computer science degree learn about the mathematical and theoretical foundations of computing and study the nature of computing to determine which problems are computable and how computers solve those problems. If you like to solve puzzles, then a computer science program may be a good fit. Computer scientists are responsible for solving problems using mathematical analysis and logic, but they also have to be capable of thinking abstractly.
Prerequisites for Entering a Computer Science Program
To apply for most undergraduate computer science programs, you must complete courses in math, physics, and chemistry, but computer science degree requirements vary depending on what schools and programs you’re applying for. You may also be required to show your standardized test scores. Students applying for master’s programs in computer science must have a strong undergraduate background in computer science. Many graduate programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, computer science or computer information systems.
Computer Science Degree Requirements
The computer science field encompasses many areas, so computer science degree requirements vary from one program to the next. However, students are typically expected to take the following core computer science courses to demonstrate their breadth of knowledge in the field:
- Programming languages
- Data structures
- Database management
- Object-oriented programming
- Web authoring and graphics
- Mathematics for computer science
- Computer organization and assembly language
- Computation theory
- Operating systems
- Computer networking
- Artificial intelligence
- Software engineering
Computer science degrees are offered at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD level. In order to earn an associate’s degree in computer science, students are typically required to complete a minimum of 66 credit hours over the course of two years. To earn a bachelor’s degree, which is usually awarded after four or more years of study, computer science degree requirements are usually around 120 credit hours.
Master’s programs require students to complete approximately 36 credit hours of graduate courses and usually last two years, whereas computer science programs at the PhD level typically require students to complete at least 72 credit hours and may last anywhere from three to six years. It is also important to note that in order to become a computer scientist, most employers will require candidate to have earned a PhD.
Flexible Scheduling Options
Many students pursuing a computer science curriculum in this day and age are working adults with full-time jobs who don’t have time to attend full-time, campus programs. Many universities now offer part-time computer science programs that consist of evening and weekend courses aimed at working adults. There are also many online schools that allow you to earn a computer science degree from the comfort of your own home.
IT is a booming industry and job growth in this field is expected to be much faster than average. Completing computer science degree requirements can lead to a highly paid occupation as a computer scientist or software engineer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2008, the median annual wage of computer and information scientists was $97,970. Computer applications software engineers earned $85,430, and systems software engineers earned the median annual salary of $92,430.
If you’re interested in working in a fun, well-compensated field that boasts diverse career paths, consider pursuing a computer science curriculum in school. Computer science is a challenging, exciting, and rewarding field that can give you the power and knowledge to solve some of the world’s most complex problems. Check out the computer schools featured on our site today!