Computer Science

Computer Science is about more than performing calculations and learning specific programming languages -- it’s about precision, problem solving and creating technology services and solutions that will work in an increasingly complex future. With coursework that combines solid theory, real-world practice and specialization options, RWU students are ready for high-demand career fields from app developers to data structures and systems analysts.

The Computer Science Major

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The Computer Science major is designed to prepare students for either professional employment in the computer science and programming fields or for graduate study in computer science. Students receive a thorough grounding in modern computer science theory and learn how this theory can be applied to the design of complex software systems.
The curriculum begins with a year-long introduction to the art and science of computer programming, using the Java language. This introduces concepts of object-oriented programming, development and analysis of algorithms, and principles of software design.
The student’s intermediate years involve the study of how hardware is constructed and organized, the nature and development of programming languages, the study of efficient data structures and algorithms, and the theoretical study of the computational process. Experience is gained using procedural, functional, logic, and object-oriented programming languages. At each stage, appropriate mathematics is used as a method of describing and reasoning about computing systems.
The student’s final year is devoted to using this foundation to design and engineer major software projects in areas such as compiler and operating system design, computer graphics, or artificial intelligence.
Incorporated into the major is a strong mathematics and natural science component. Calculus, discrete mathematics, and probability and statistics form the nucleus of a math program that earns the graduate a core concentration in mathematics. The program also includes a minimum of three semesters of lab-based science. Students may elect to earn a minor in mathematics (by taking a sixth mathematics course) or to take a fourth science course.
The Computer Science Program is designed to enable graduates to anticipate and to respond effectively to the uncertainties of a changing technological, social, political and economic world. Specific program educational objectives and outcomes include:

Program Educational Objectives

During the first few years after graduation, we expect our graduates to:

  1. Apply disciplinary knowledge and skill to analyze, design, implement, and test solutions to applied problems individually and in diverse teams. Present solutions using the variety of media that best promotes understanding.
  2. Continue to grow intellectually and professionally in the computing sciences and appreciate the continuous pursuit of knowledge in other areas of interest.
  3. Use knowledge and draw on experiences relevant to current and emerging needs in computing sciences and recognize the social, ethical, and cultural impact of technology in a global setting.
  4. Serve as an exemplar and ambassador of the RWU Computer Science program, strengthening its tradition of excellence, by becoming active in professional societies and organizations and by volunteering within your community

Program Outcomes

We expect our graduating students to possess:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the discipline
  • an ability to analyze a problem, and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to its solution
  • an ability to design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs
  • an ability to function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal
  • an understanding of professional, ethical, legal, security and social issues and responsibilities
  • an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  • an ability to analyze the local and global impact of computing on individuals, organizations, and society
  • recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in continuing professional development
  • an ability to use current techniques, skills, and tools necessary for computing practice
  • an ability to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory in the modeling and design of computer-based systems in a way that demonstrates comprehension of the tradeoffs involved in design choices
  • an ability to apply design and development principles in the construction of software systems of varying complexity

Degree Requirements

The major in computer science leads to the Bachelor of Science degree. Students normally complete a minimum of 121 credits, including satisfaction of all University Core Curriculum requirements. The approved outline is as follows:

First Year (14 credits) - Fall

COMSC110Introduction to Computer Science I & Lab(4 credits)
CORE102Challenges of Democracy(3 credits)
MATH221Discrete Mathematics(4 credits)
WTNG102Expository Writing(3 credits)

First Year (15 credits) - Spring

COMSC111Data Structures & Lab(4 credits)
CORE 103Human Behavior in Perspective(3 credits)
MATH213Calculus I & Lab(4 credits)
Science course sequence & lab (first course)
(BIO103 or CHEM191 or PHYS201)
(4 credits)

Second Year (17 credits) - Fall

COMSC210Principles of Computer Organization & Lab(4 credits)
COMSC335Theory of Computation(3 credits)
CORE104Literature, Philosophy, and the Examined Life (3 credits)
MATH214Calculus II & Lab (4 credits)
WTNG220Critical Writing for the Professions(3 credits)
(BIO104 or CHEM192 or PHYS202) 

Second Year (16 credits) - Spring

COMSC230Principles of Programming Languages(3 credits)
COMSC340Analysis of Algorithms(3 credits)
CORE105Aesthetics in Context: The Artistic Impulse(3 credits)
MATH315Probability & Statistics(3 credits)
Science course sequence and lab (second course)(4 credits)

Third Year (15-16 credits) - Fall

COMM210Introduction to Public Speaking(3 credits)
COMSC330Software Design(3 credits)
COMSC420Principles of Operating Systems(3 credits)
Specialization Elective(3/4 credits)
Additional science course with lab (CORE 101 is not acceptable)(4 credits)

Third Year (15-16 credits) - Spring

COMSC440Language Translation & Compiler Design(3 credits)
  Specialization Elective(3/4 credits)
  Specialization Elective(3/4 credits)
  Math Elective (200 or above)(3/4 credits)
  Free Elective(3 credits)

Fourth Year (15-16 credits) - Fall

COMSC490Integrated Senior Design I(3 credits)
CORE Core Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar(3 credits)
SEC230Networking and Telecomminications(3 credits)
  Specialization Elective(3/4 credits)
  Math Elective (200 Level or above)(3/4 credits)
  Science Elective(3/4 credits)

Fourth Year (13 credits) - Spring

COMSC401Computer Science Senior Seminar(1 credit)
COMSC492Integrated Senior Design II(3 credits)
SEC231Advanced Networking(3 credits)
  Specialization Elective(3/4 credits)
  Free Elective(3 credits)

Total: 121-124 Semester Credits


Digital Systems Specialization

The Digital Systems Specialization is only for students majoring in Computer Science. This specialization is well suited to those computer science majors who enjoy working with control systems or with the interaction of software and electronic devices.

Required Courses:

ENG240Circuit Theory and Lab 
ENG270Digital Systems Design and Lab 

And three courses from the following list, three of which must be above the 300 level:

ENG260Engineering Electronics and Lab 
ENG424Digital Systems Processing 
ENG430Special Topics in Electrical or Computer Engineering (with permission of advisor) 
ENG445Dynamic Modeling and Control 


The Mathematics Specialization

The Mathematics Specialization is only for students majoring in Computer Science. This specialization is well suited to those computer science majors who are interested in pursuing advanced studies or careers in the analytical aspects of computing. Students interested in a dual major with Mathematics should select this specialization.

Required Courses:

MATH255Introduction to Math Software 

And four courses from the following list:

MATH301Linear Programming 
MATH305Math Modeling 
MATH317Differential Equations 
MATH331Lineal Algebra 
MATH342Numerical Analysis 
MATH351Calculus of Several Variables 
MATH370Advanced Calculus for Physical Sciences 
MATH371Real Analysis 
MATH381Complex Analysis 

The MATH courses that the student selects for the specialization cannot be used to satisfy the core concentration.

The Custom Program Specialization

The Custom Specialization is only for students majoring in Computer Science. This specialization is well suited to those computer science majors who wish as broad an educational experience as possible. It is also well suited to those who may wish to focus their electives to pursue a minor in the network security field.
The student must select five advisor approved courses from among those courses with COMSC, ENGR, SEC, CIS, or MATH designations. All must be above the 200-level and three must be above the 300- level. The mathematics course(s) a student selects as electives cannot be used to satisfy the Mathematics Core Concentration requirement or the MATH/Science requirement.

The Computer Science Minor

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The Computer Science minor is designed to provide students with an in-depth familiarization with the computer science domain. Students will learn high-level programming skills and the basic theory associated with the discipline. The minor is well-suited for students majoring in mathematics and education. Graduates can apply this minor as an underpinning for exploiting technology as it pertains to their primary degree.

Required Courses:

COMSC110Introduction to Computer Science & Lab 
COMSC111Data Structures & Lab 
COMSC210Principles of Computer Organization & Lab 
COMSC230Principles of Programming Languages 
MATH221Discrete Mathematics 
COMSC340Analysis of Algorithims