Source code

Computer Science

Computer science is the practical and scientific approach to computation and its applications. A computer scientist specializes in the design of computational systems and the theory of computation. Its subfields can be divided into many different practical and theoretical disciplines. Some fields are highly abstract (such as computational complexity theory) while others emphasize real world applications (such as computer graphics). Computer science degrees offer entry into well paying professions with very high demand.

Program Information

Cornell University’s Department of Computer Science ranks in the top five in the world. Cornell students first complete the core requirements of their College before applying to the major. To be considered, students must have completed the following prerequisites: Computers and Programming, Calculus, and Discrete Structures. They also must be in good standing. The Computer Science program is rigorous and broad, but intelligent course selection can lead to employment in any technical area or graduate study. Stanford University also has an excellent Computer Science program. Undergraduates have the opportunity to get involved in research – as long as you demonstrate you can do the required work. The Computer Science Department is located in Silicon Valley, which provides excellent connections to local companies. These connections can help students gain summer internships. After completing the core courses, students are offered a variety of options for pursuing work in the many different areas in the field, including Artificial Intelligence, Graphics, Theory, and Systems. Many students get jobs right after graduating from Stanford, while others choose to attend graduate school and specialize in a certain area. Graduates are generally prepared to pursue any field in their graduate studies because of the broad computer science curriculum.

cs student

Pros & Cons

The field of computer science offers great job perspectives and a good starting salary. Computer science is an extremely fast growing industry, and there are tremendous job opportunities for undergraduates. Some schools (like Stanford) are located right in the middle of the industry, and thus provide numerous opportunities for making connections in the profession and landing internships. It usually takes longer than 4 years to complete the degree, however. This is largely because some classes are extremely difficult, forcing you to take less classes a semester. You also need to have a high level of math understanding and must take numerous math courses, which can be difficult as well. Lastly, while the connections provided at Stanford and other schools in the area are a huge benefit, it is much harder to get into these schools and much more expensive to attend them. You will need to have great SAT scores and a high GPA, as well as strong references.

Graduate School & Career

There are many potential careers for computer science majors, including:

  • Computer Software Engineer – these engineers are programmers in the business of developing software. They design software from the beginning to its final release, working through many revisions and fixing any bugs. The field is expected to grow by 21% over the next decade.
  • Information Systems Manager – these managers oversee the information technology work of organizations and businesses. They also oversee the planning of information technology, including software and hardware upgrades, web development, and programming.
  • Computer Network Administrators – IT administrators work with systems, computer networks, and databases. Professionals in this field oversee computer databases, secure computer networks, administer networks, or develop websites.