Bachelors programs in computer science (CS) cover the theoretical and mathematical underpinnings of computing. Schools offer various degree titles, including bachelor of arts in computer science, bachelor of applied science in computer science, and bachelor of computing in computer science.
Schools may also offer interdisciplinary bachelors degrees that allow CS students to combine interests, such as a bachelor of mathematics in computer science, a bachelor of technology in computer science and engineering, or a bachelor of engineering in computer science.
Bachelor of computer science (BCS) courses vary by school and program, but they typically cover areas like computer programming, software engineering, computer hardware, and artificial intelligence engineering. Students may examine topics such as computability, information, automata, and algorithm design.
The page below discusses bachelor of computer science degrees, including common curricula, potential career paths for graduates, and admission requirements. This degree overview also provides program rankings and describes helpful resources, such as professional organizations and scholarships for computer science students.
Most CS bachelors programs include core coursework in computer architecture and programming, data structures, algorithms, and logic and computation. However, given the breadth of the CS discipline, bachelors programs can differ significantly in terms of focus and available specializations. For example, some programs may heavily emphasize math, requiring courses in areas such as calculus, statistics, probability, and discrete mathematics.
Students often get to choose from a variety of electives and specializations in areas including data communications, software testing, operating systems, and computer networking. Theoretically minded students may opt to investigate computation theory, information theory, or human-computer interaction. Other students might pursue specializations in artificial intelligence, real-time computing, or computer graphics.
A bachelors degree in CS is extremely versatile and prepares students for diverse CS and IT careers. Potential roles for graduates include software developer, hardware engineer, computer systems or information security analyst, and network architect.
Graduates may also choose to pursue a relevant masters degree, which is a common requirement for computer and information research scientists. These professionals address complex problems by inventing innovative computing designs and new applications for technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), research scientists earn a median annual salary of $122,840, and jobs in the profession are projected to grow 16% between 2018-2028.
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Computer science bachelors programs look for candidates with strong academic records and standardized test scores. Applicants typically need a high school diploma (or equivalent) and a minimum 2.0-3.0 GPA. Most programs also require freshman applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. Additionally, candidates may need high school prerequisites in English, natural sciences, social sciences, foreign languages, and math.
Computer science bachelors programs often look favorably on prospective students with relevant professional experience and/or prior college coursework, and may waive standardized test score requirements for such applicants.
Most programs allow applicants to submit their application online. Materials may include official transcripts, standardized test scores, and a nonrefundable application fee, typically between $30-$75. Many schools also require letters of recommendation and an essay.
Graduates with an associate degree can pursue some technology-related roles, such as computer systems analyst, web developer, and computer support specialist. However, many entry-level IT and CS job postings expect or require applicants to hold a bachelors degree.
Graduates with a bachelors degree can work as software developers, database administrators, information security analysts, hardware engineers, or network architects. Some bachelors graduates use their degree to qualify for masters programs, which allow for further advancement in the field.
For professionals already working in the field, earning a bachelors degree in computer science can lead to salary advancement or promotion to management-level jobs with more responsibility, such as IT project manager or computer and information systems manager.
According to PayScale, professionals with a bachelors in computer science make an average of $85,000 annually, while associate degree graduates in CS make about $65,000 per year. According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers make a median annual salary of $146,360.
Banatao Family Filipino American Education Fund Scholarships
Each year, the family of Dado and Maria Banatao awards five $5,000 renewable scholarships to eligible Filipino students. Available to students from specific counties in California, each of the five scholarship recipients must be of at least 50% ethnic Filipino heritage.
Eligibility requires full-time enrollment in an accredited, four-year college and a major in a STEM subject, such as computer science. Scholarship recipients must also demonstrate financial need and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.
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Generation Google Scholarship
In an effort to increase diversity in the computer science field, this Google scholarship supports aspiring computer science majors, emphasizing underrepresented groups in tech. Applicants must plan to study in the United States or Canada, and awardees receive $10,000 USD or $5,000 CAD. Recipients also receive an invitation to the Google Scholars Retreat.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma and demonstrate current or intended enrollment in a relevant bachelors or graduate degree program at an accredited college or university. Google chooses recipients based on demonstrated leadership, academic merit, and prospective influence on diversity in the field.
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Google Lime Scholarship
Serving students with disabilities, this scholarship awards $10,000 USD or $5,000 CAD to qualified students in the United States and Canada. Applicants must be full-time students pursuing a computer science degree at an accredited institution. They must also demonstrate leadership potential, academic merit, and a passion for their subject of study.
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CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service
A collaborative offering from the Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation, the CyberCorps program offers full-tuition scholarships to full-time computer science students at participating universities. Each institution stipulates its own application process.
Participants in the program must complete summer internships and pledge to work in government for a duration equivalent to the years of scholarship funding received. If willing to work in the sector longer, some recipients can also collect $20,000-$30,000 stipends.
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Are computer science degrees worth it?
Computer science degrees pave the way for extensive job opportunities, and PayScale data indicates that computer science bachelors degree-holders make $20,000 more annually than those with associate degrees in the same field.
Is computer science a hard major?
Computer science courses are difficult, but diligent students with quantitative aptitudes typically find computer science both challenging and rewarding.
What is the best computer science degree?
When choosing the appropriate degree to pursue, students should consider their career aspirations. According to PayScale, professionals with a bachelor of engineering in computer science make an average of about $100,000 annually about $15,000 more than graduates of some other CS bachelors programs.
How long does it take to get a bachelors degree in computer science?
Bachelors programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete, but some programs offer accelerated and/or part-time options.
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