Mathematics Department to Offer Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Mathematics Department to Offer Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Beginning this fall, the 2015-16 school year, students will be able to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in computer science, in addition to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree that has been available since the 2012-13 school year.

The hope is that offering the B.S. will make UD more attractive to students who otherwise might skip over it, said Assistant Professor of Mathematics Rob Hochberg. People don't typically think 'University of Dallas' when they think computer science,' and this is another step that is helping to change that.

According to computer science major Reid Hansen, BS 16, there isn't enough difference between the B.A. and B.S. that he would have chosen to go to a different school, but he was still very excited to learn that UD would be offering the B.S.

The B.S. is just generally more accepted in the workforce and graduate school; most schools that have a computer science major have a B.S., explained Hansen.

The B.S. requires 12 advanced computer science credits, including the courses Theory of Computation and Research in Computer Science, in addition to all the requirements of the B.A. The B.S. would therefore be appropriate for students who wish to take more computer science and fewer electives. Like the B.A., the B.S. requires students to complete a computer science practicum, which takes the form of an internship, a research project or a large programming project.

Research and internships are an important part of the computer science program; the faculty encourage students to find interesting projects and assist them in the process. Some projects have included developing mobile applications for hotel chains, optimizing Home Depot's website and writing software for Fidelity Bank.

Hansen, for example, is working with Hochberg on a program to train computers to analyze retinal images and recognize signs of diabetic retinopathy. Most of Hansen's research and work, on which he has spent the majority of this summer, is done right here on campus in the computer lab, but students also travel elsewhere for their projects and internships; one student is currently in Canada working on medical software.

With his B.S., Hansen hopes to continue on to graduate school and/or get a job in programming. His special interests are machine learning and artificial intelligence.

"I feel like I'll be well-prepared by the program at UD," he said.

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