Table of Contents

What is Computer Science? Why study Computer Science? What courses comprise Computer Science? What is required to succeed in Computer Science?

What is Computer Science?
Computer Science is the science of computing. Just like Chemistry figures out what chemicals can do, Computer Science figures out what computers can do. And just like chemists create new chemicals, computer scientists create new software to do the things that computers can do. Internet.com's webopedia says that Computer Science is:

The study of computers, including both hardware and software design. Computer science is composed of many broad disciplines, including artificial intelligence and software engineering.

What is the difference between Computer Science (CSC), Computer Information Systems (CIS), and Computer Engineering (CE) ?
Simple answer: CSC = create software; CIS = apply that software to run a business; CE = create new computers to run that software. A CS major learns science rather than business or engineering. Like all Arts and Science degrees, the CS degree balances science with humanities and social sciences. Technology is important, but you will also have to deal with humans and society. This make a CS degree excellent preparation for law school, an MBA, or even medical school (see the question about Medical Informatics).

What is the difference between Computer Science and Information Technology?
Computer Science studies the underlying principles of computing, leading up to their application in various fields. Information Technology is more concerned with the application of computing, and the tools that are used in application.

What is the difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering?
There is quite a bit of overlap. A computer scientist might figure out a cool new thing to do and create a prototype piece of software. The software engineer would turn that prototype into a cool new software product. Software engineering focuses mainly on the development, operation, and maintenance of software, but Computer Scientists also can go all the way, and create software products used by industry. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering has a program called the Bachelors of Science in Information Technology and Software Engineering. This is a combination of Information Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Software Engineering.

As a Computer Science major, what unique skills will I have in the current job market?
You will really understand what is going on inside the computer and be able to absorb new technology. Thanks to your understanding and practice, you will be an excellent programmer. You will also be able to express yourself articulately, both in speech and in writing. You will also understand your neighbor and your nation.

What jobs are available with a BS in Computer Science?
A BS in CS is excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers and postgraduate education options. At present, industry demand for Computer Science majors greatly outstrips supply. There are computer technology related jobs.

How much will I make?
The median incomes for various Computer Science jobs in the southeast are available from the DataMasters Salary Survey. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce survey shows that Computer Science graduates earn well above the average.


Are there a lot of Mathematics courses to take as a Computer Science major?
Five. Less than CE. More than CIS. Less than CS majors at a lot of other schools. Exactly what we think you need.

I'm interested in computer generated graphics/design and animation, does Computer Science include study in these areas?
These are elective courses, but they are areas of great strength in the new Department of Computer Science at UM. You will have the opportunity to work with faculty on cutting edge research projects. Keep in mind that these area involve both science - creating new visual effects, and art - using these effects to entertain and edify. Our program concentrates on the former.

What is Medical Informatics and how does it relate to today's job market?
More and more medical technology depends on computer technology, and an understanding of computers greatly benefits doctors and other workers in the medical field. Also, whether by choice or necessity, many premedical students do not end up going to medical school. In that case, the Medical Informatics degree provides the same benefits and opportunities as the regular Computer Science degree. Medical Informatics is a specialized Computer Science degree program plus internship that prepares undergraduates for medical school. Contact Dr. Dilip Sarkar for details.


What is required to succeed at University?

In 1986, Derek Bok, then the president of Harvard, summoned a professor at the Graduate School of Education and asked him to evaluate how well the university educated its students and ways it might improve. Why, Dr. Bok wanted to know, did some students have a great experience while others did not? The professor, Richard J. Light, a statistician by training, gathered colleagues and deans from 24 other institutions to examine the question and come up with a scientific method to find the answer. ... Professor Light has gathered the best ideas in a book, "Making the Most of College" (Harvard University Press, 2001). The suggestions are often simple.

["The Harvard Guide to Happiness" by Kate Zernike, New York Times, April 8, 2001].