2.1.1. Which Computer Science Degree Should I Choose?

The B.S. has credits in the upper division track allowing the student to pursue more deeply a particular area of computer science and tailor the degree to a specific area of interest. For students who are more likely to practice in an area that is highly specialized or technical, the B.S. may provide a better background.

The B.A. is a good fit for someone who wants to learn Computer Science + X. It allows room to explore another area of study when compared the technical course heavy BS program. The B.A. includes a richer set of elective credits than the B.S. For application areas that involve the liberal arts, this broader background may be more appropriate. The B.A. may also be a more efficient option for students pursuing a double major or a large minor to stay on track for a four-year graduation.

Students don't have to pursue a specific track or specialization in the B.A., but it's recommended to package the 8 minimum credits of CSCI 4000-5000 level electives into a given area similar to our B.S. program tracks. 

Common additions to pair with both the B.S and B.A. program would be Carlson Management Minor, Math Minor, Statistics Minor, Geographic Information Science Minor, Interdisciplinary Design Minor, and the IT Infrastructure Certificate. As previously noted, additions may be easier to fit into a graduation plan with the B.A. program.

The curriculum differences between the B.S. and B.A. are:

  • The B.S. requires two additional science courses beyond the university required physical and biological science requirements; the B.A. doesn't require additional science courses.
  • The B.S. requires a junior or senior level math oriented course; the B.A. doesn't require this math requirement.
  • The B.S. requires 23 total credits of 4000-5000 level computer science or related coursework that includes the math oriented course mentioned above; the B.A. requires 8 credits of CSCI specific 400-5000 level electives.
  • The B.S. doesn't require a second language; the B.A. requires a second language.
  • The B.S. doesn't require additional outside the major electives; the B.A. requires 18 credits of upper-division coursework outside of CSCI (This is where a student can add minors, additional majors, or more CSCI-related courses if they want)

Most employers and graduate schools will not specify which type of computer science degree is required to apply for a given position. Students in the B.S. and B.A. programs will be competing for almost all of the same job and graduate school opportunities. What will make a student stand out to employers or graduate schools will be what surrounds their degree on their resume. Some of the possible opportunities students can pursue to add to their resume include research, TA positions, student group involvement and leadership, and internships.